Friday, October 19, 2018

Writing: Audio Version of Books

Recently, on one of the writer's loops of which I'm a member, the question of audio versions of our books came up. Since I'm in the middle of putting out one of those, I thought it would be interesting to address the subject.

In the case of the author contracted with a publishing house,  the document you signed undoubtedly has a paragraph that allows the publisher to put out your book in any and all versions, including print, ebook, radio, TV, audio, etc. This is pretty standard. Some of my books released by publishers are available as audio books, and I wasn't involved in choosing the narrators, listening to the material recorded, or--in essentially every case--marketing that version. I did receive a CD  of one of those audio books, but I have to say it was a surprise to me that it was even available. As for royalties, those are spelled out in the contract, and will vary with the individual situation.

For the indie-published author (and I include agent-assisted publishing), the decision to put out an audio version of a book resides with the author. This is done through ACX (which handles most of the audio books on the market). ACX is a subsidiary of Audible, which is part of Amazon. But all you need to know here is that ACX is where you go to start.

Choosing a narrator is tough, but the website walks you through this, including posting auditions and eventually choosing a producer. There are two ways of paying to have an audio recording of your book--either shell out the cost directly to the producer (who charges on a per hour basis) and be done with it, or strike a revenue-sharing deal with him/her (which means they'll get half your revenues from the recording). This is arranged before you choose your producer.

I've listened to every word recorded by the producer on all my self-published books. I find myself not wanting to do it, but with medical terms thrown in from time to time, I have to be certain they're pronounced correctly. How long will that take? Several hours. But I think it's worth it.

You'll need a cover for the audio book, but this can be resized from the one developed for the print book. And then you have to get the word out. It's all up to you. Worth it? Too early for me to tell.

In just a few weeks, I'll announce (in my newsletter--see sign-up tab on the right--and later on this blog) that the audio version of my last novel, Guarded Prognosis, will be be available just in time for holiday giving. And I hope to have a novella available for the holiday season, as well. Busy, busy, busy.

What is your opinion about audio books? Love 'em, hate 'em, or don't care? I want to know.

Click to tweet. "Ever been curious about how audio books are done?"

12 comments:

Gail H. said...

I find that I am visual mostly. I've tried audio books but my mind is easily distracted and I use lose some of the content while listening.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Thanks for the info.

I prefer my fiction in print or ebook format. It's quiet, and the silence feels like a treat. But once in awhile I like to chill in a recliner or on the floor next to our cute hound and listen to a story.

Richard Mabry said...

Gail and Priscilla, thanks for your comments. I, too, prefer the written word, but apparently there are enough people out there who like to listen to books that it's best for authors (who can) to provide that format as well. It's probably not necessary to listen to all the narration, but I feel like it's incumbent on me to do so. Some authors serve as their own narrator, but that takes equipment and expertise that I don't have.

Patricia Bradley said...

I've only listened to one book and that was when I drove to Tampa. I'm visual, to so a print or ebook works best for me. I have never listened to one of my books so I greatly admire that you've listened to all of your Indie books!

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I honestly never thought about it until I went indie, and had a number of people inquire about audio versions of my novels. Usually, as I've said, it's up to the traditional publisher (if there is one) to do this, and the author has no say-so or responsibility in the matter.

GREG FULLER said...

I like the comments that been posted here about audio books versus handheld or ebook. I don't feel you can actually put yourself in the story or feel the characters movements, fears, concern, etc., if you're being read to. I find that being read to is rather boring and your mind might wonder or you might loose interest.

Anonymous said...

Audiobooks are very popular in our church library. Commuting, vacationing, running errands...all these times are great for audiobooks. Our library patrons that are print readers often also enjoy the audiobooks. I'm an avid reader myself and enjoy audiobooks, too. The important part of the audiobook for me is the reader. On occasion I've listened to a book where the reader is a distraction/doesn't fit the flavor of the story.

Thanks for your post.
Anne

Richard Mabry said...

Anne, hadn't thought of libraries as a venue for audio books. Agree with you that the reader ("producer" of the audio book) is important. When I write them, I hear the voices clearly, but it's almost impossible for one person--man or woman--to reproduce those. But it's another way for people to get that message. Thanks for your comment.

Vicki Rocho said...

Thanks for the information! I'm an audiobook junkie and am often disappointed that for many books there is no audio format available. I still read paper books, but I love that I can listen to a story while driving, shopping, cooking, etc. I also find for some reason that I can listen to nonfiction but dislike reading it in paper format. So I heartily encourage all authors to prepare an audio version too.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Vicki. It's good to hear from those who do, indeed, listen to audio books. As I said in the blog post, the decision to put out a book in this format is up to the publisher when an author has a contract with a traditional publisher. But it's up to the author when a decision is made to publish independently. Yet another thing we hybrid authors have to get used to. Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I prefer reading books - in book form, and my husband prefers listening to books.

Richard Mabry said...

And there are enough people who, like your husband, like audio books to provide a small but significant audience for that format. I appreciate your comment.