The next wave in my journey as an indie author is literally a wave. A sound wave. I’ve decided to turn my ebooks into audio books. When I started my indie journey in 2009, I never dreamed I’d be taking a step like this. On my own. Without a publisher. Because, I never dreamed I could afford to produce my own audio books. The success of my ebooks has given me both the financial means and the confidence to give audio books a try.
Why Do Audio Books?
I see the literary world poised on the edge of another explosion similar to the ebook revolution. With ebooks, the trigger was the phone. In the early days, many people (including me) read their first ebooks on their phones. It wasn’t until they realized how much they enjoyed the portability of ebooks that they committed to buying a dedicated ereader.
With audio books, phones will once again provide the trigger. Every day, new readers are discovering the growing selection of audio books available. I joined Audible.com a couple of years ago and was only marginally impressed with the selection available at that time. Recently, though, I’m amazed at how quickly the selection is growing. The minute I started seeing indie published titles popping up on Audible.com, I knew I needed to investigate.
Where to Begin?
The first step was to go to ACX.com and create a “project page.” ACX is a part of Amazon, in the same way that CreateSpace is part of Amazon. You can do the whole thing through them. (I’m also discovering other studios, though, so more investigation is needed.)
What Does it Cost?
There are many options and variables. For instance, you can either pay a narrator upfront, in which case you keep all the royalties. Or, you can find a narrator willing to wave upfront payment in exchange for a cut of the royalties. I’m choosing to pay upfront because I have the means and I feel confident that I will at least recoup my investment. I think, though, that the other option is perfectly viable.
Narrators are paid “pfh,” per finished hour. I’m seeing rates all over the board from a $200 to $1,000 pfh. My contemporary romance novels should run about 8 hours.
In addition to the narrator, you’ll also need a producer. So total cost will include the studio and production. I’m still investigating this.
Finding a Narrator
This is the stage where I am right now. Within 24 hours of uploading my project page to ACX.com, I received two auditions. I wasn’t wild about either one. So, rather than sit around and wait for more narrators to find me, I decided to be proactive. A friend who actually works in the field of audio books told me about Tantor Studios. I contacted them yesterday, and this morning, I had two emails from people who work in the production end. So, looks like the ball is rolling!
Question: Do you listen to audio books? How important is the narrator to your enjoyment of the story?
UPDATE: I wound up going with Brick Shop Studios for the production of my Perfect trilogy with Jane Cramer as the narrator. I’m thrilled to say all three titles have been fully produced!