So in my quest to arrive über late to every party, I’m just discovering the exciting world of Audio Books. My name is Evie Gaughan and I have never listened to an audio book. There, the first step is admitting it. It’s not something I have ever tried, so I can’t say whether it would appeal to me or not, but there is no denying the growth in popularity of audio books among readers. Unit sales of downloaded audio books grew by nearly 30% in 2011 compared with 2010, according to the Audio Publishers Association.
Reading on the go is the next big thing in publishing and today’s technology allows readers to download MP3’s of the latest best-seller and listen to it on their smartphone or tablet while driving to work, going to the gym, cooking dinner etc. and then switch to the eBook version on their Kindle. For the bigger publishing houses, this recent surge in audio book consumption is a God send and they are pulling out all the stops with celebrity narrators such as Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Colin Firth (I can’t image anything more divine than being read a bed-time story by any of those honeyed voices!)
Of course Amazon is leading the way for self-published authors with Audiobook Creation Exchange, a marketplace where authors can have an audio book produced and available to sell on iTunes and Audible (an Amazon company). Having only recently become available to UK authors (which doesn’t seem to include Irish authors – even though Irish customers have to purchase our books on Amazon UK) the feedback has been good. This, despite the fact that Amazon cut the royalty rate from 50% to 40%. There are all sorts of catches and trap doors, like giving Audible exclusive distribution, narrating the book yourself, paying production a flat fee or splitting your royalties, which at the end of the day will leave you with a 20% royalty rate.
Other players in the market are eBookIt, who offer an audio book production and distribution model. Narrators typically earn in the region of $200 per finished hour (it can take anything from 2-3 weeks to produce a full length novel), so if you think you can provide the dulcet tones yourself, it might save you a few pence. But like everything else in self-publishing, you have to produce a quality product because at the end of the day, readers expect a certain standard and won’t thank you for cutting corners. Recording a book at home to the background noise of your neighbours dog and traffic passing by the window just won’t cut it.
Meanwhile, some people may argue (print purists I’ve heard them called) that you can’t really focus on a book when defrosting your fridge or running on a treadmill. Like I say, I have yet to give it a try myself, but if it means more people enjoying more books, then I’m all for it. As an author, it’s certainly an opportunity that is worth looking into and one that I welcome with equal amounts of enthusiasm and bewilderment (typical Indie reaction!) I would love to hear from anyone who has created an audio book, either with Amazon or by themselves. How did you find the process? Did you reach a greater audience? Are you an audio book addict on a mission to convert the rest of us? Let me know 🙂
Download The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris on Amazon.
The Cross Of Santiago, is also available on Amazon.