Deciding whether to offer your book as an audio book
This post is the fifty-ninth post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.
Audio books are extremely popular. People listen to books while driving, exercising, doing household chores or simply relaxing. To have your own work performed is an exciting idea. But is it worth it for an independent author to make the jump into the audio book market?
First let’s consider if your book would make a good audio book. If it relies on charts, diagrams and graphs then no it won’t make a good audio book. Cookbooks, guidebooks or any type of reference book should not be made into an audio book.
If you have a fiction book, an audio book might be an option, but realize that selling an audio edition is harder than selling a paperback or e-book especially as a relatively unknown author.
However, an audio book might benefit you by introducing your writing to a new and different audience. It also can make you stand out as not all author offer audio books. There are 100,000 books on Audible compared to the millions of books on Amazon.
The first thing you would have to decide is if you want to do it alone or hire someone to help you put together your audio book. While self-publishing an e-book is easy to do yourself, I would suggest getting some help on doing an audio book.
One of the most popular digital platforms for producing and distributing audio books is Amazon’s ACX (Audio Book Creation Exchange).
If you go to ACX, they list the steps for producing an audio book through their site. You can do your own narration through a program such as Audacity and upload it, or they can help match you with narrators (called producers on the site).
Producers on ACX are either paid up front (at $200 to $1,000 per finished hour with the average book being up to 16 hours) or they can agree to split the royalties 50/50 with the author and receive no advance payment. (This option is only available if you do the exclusive option for audio book distribution).
Of course, many producers aren’t looking to split the royalties unless you are a well-established, bestselling author. This means if you are an unknown indie author you will need to shell out your money upfront.
ACX allows you to hear samples of thousands of narrators and you may “audition” them with your own work. (Hint – make sure you select a section that includes dialogue between key characters.)
Once your audio book is complete, ACX will distribute it through the three leading digital retailers for audio book – Audible, Amazon and iTunes. One major drawback is they control the pricing of your audio book (unlike KDP and CreateSpace where you set the price.)
If you grant ACX exclusive rights to your work, your royalty is 40%. If you opt out of the exclusive rights, the royalty rate is 25%. Keep in mind that Audible is the largest seller of audio books so it might be worth taking the exclusive option.
You also are agreeing to give ACX the right to distribute your book for 7 years no matter if you pick the exclusive or non-exclusive rights. They renew their agreement yearly after that unless they receive written notification of termination of the agreement.
So, with all this said, is it worth it do make your self-published book into an audio book? Only you can decide that. I have never released any of my five books as an audio book but would certainly be interested in trying it.
#45 – Pricing your e-book
#50 – Marketing your E-book