For some time now, I've been hearing about the many benefits of creating audio versions of one's books: a chance at greater revenues, reaching a wider audience, etc. Up until now I've avoided doing so - basically because it meant having to learn an entirely new area of indie book-publishing. (What can I say? It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.)
Nevertheless, as I was finishing up the most recent novel in my Kid Sensation series, it occurred to me that I really needed to be pursuing all of my publishing options, including audiobooks. With that in mind, I set about learning as much as I could about the subject (and believe me, there's a lot to learn).
The 800-pound gorilla in audiobooks appears to be Audio Creation Exchange (ACX), which sells audiobooks on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible and - big surprise - turns out to be owned by Amazon. ACX has done a great job of streamlining the process of publishing audiobooks, creating a platform that connects authors and narrators/producers and allowing them to collaborate quickly, easily and effectively. Still, the process can almost be overwhelming.
For starters, you have to claim your book and acknowledge that you have the audio rights to it, which is easy enough. Next, you create a title profile describing your book, and also provide a couple of pages to serve as an audition script for potential narrators. You also have to state how you plan to pay your narrator. For instance, you can choose to split royalties from the audiobook sales 50/50 with the narrator, or pay them outright and keep all royalties for yourself. Needless to say, most narrators prefer to be paid upfront. However, the price of an audiobook per finished hour (pfh) can be upwards of $400 or more. Thus, a 6-hour audiobook could easily run you $2400 if you're paying. (Of course, some narrators charge as little as $50 pfh or less, so the price of producing one audiobook versus another can vary greatly.)
Describing your book for the title profile is a lot like crafting a blurb. You want something that's going to attract narrators to your project, entice them to work with you. If everything goes as planned, after you finish the title profile, narrators will start submitting auditions for you to listen to.
I left my title profile up for a week, during which time I received over 50 auditions. 50!!! (This is where the process truly becomes daunting.) That was far more than I ever expected to receive; I had been hoping to get 15-20. It was an embarrassment of riches, to be honest, because almost all of the submissions were quite good. (Yes, I listened to them all.) At the end of the day, however, I selected a narrator that I thought was right for the project, we negotiated a fair price (I offered to pay upfront), and he went to work.
Within a few weeks he had completed the project. I then had to listen to the audio files while reading along with the book to make sure everything was okay. Once I was satisfied, I approved the audiobook and it was submitted to ACX quality control. It took them about a week approve the audiobook for (which I'm told is rather fast compared to how long it traditionally takes). And now - voila! The audiobook of Sensation is available!
It only went on sale today and no one's purchased a copy yet (you can be the first!), but I'm really happy I took the plunge. I've had a couple of people ask me previously - several this week, in fact - if/when I was going to release my works as audiobooks. I'm happy to now to be able to comply with that request, and I'm looking forward to turning all my books into audiobooks.
Update on Coronation: I'm blessed in that the latest Kid Sensation novel had a spectacular debut, as evidenced by the following:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Superhero
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Superheroes
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Metaphysical & Visionary
Thanks to all my readers for your incredible support!