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Leaping Into Audio Books

Audible book - Bright Dark Madonna

My colleague Elizabeth Cunningham wrote a series called The Maeve Chronicles that has been recorded. Bright Dark Madonna is part of that series.

Some writings just sound better when heard than when read silently.  Those are the books that should be recorded and turned into audio books.

What kind of writing do you do?

Actually, there is a huge market for audio books, in all categories.  Mysteries, romances, poetry, even children’s books.  Technical books probably don’t have a huge market, but what do I know?

Do you recall seeing those splendid ads for Audible with different real people captivated by audio books?  Well, that’s real.  Real people listen to audio books in all kinds of places, from the breakfast table to desert isles to busy buses and jogging.

For a long time I believed that the company doing the recording selected the books that were read, and for a long time that was the case.  But recently Amazon has opened up the audio book production option to everyone, even you and me.  Audio books are flooding the market as never before.

The company Audible (the one that does those great commercials) is actually owned by Amazon, giving it a humongous reach via Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

The Cost of Audio Production

As I write this (spring 2016), Amazon offers three options for audio book production, and one of them is FREE.  Honest.  Check here to see the current options.  If your book is long, and you want total control over it, it can be pricey, perhaps several thousand dollars.  But if you are willing to relinquish some artistic and sales control and take a lower percentage on sales, you can have your book recorded for free.

Do note that if you choose the “free” option that you will be required to sell it via Amazon/ Audible/ iTunes ONLY.  You cannot directly sell it yourself.  For instance, if Audible has it listed for $29, you cannot sell it on your own website for $10.  You must work through Audible/ Amazon/ iTunes.  For many authors this is just not an issue.  But if it is an issue for you, plan accordingly.

Audible/Amazon is clearly anxious to tie up the market for its own authors.  The aggressive advertising and financial nudges for authors to limit sales to Audible/Amazon/iTunes is irresistible for many authors.

Do remember that you will still need a stand out cover.  A basic blue background with white text just doesn’t cut it anymore.  If your book is already in print, with a snazzy cover, that snazzy cover will work great for the audio book.  But if this is new writing, budget for a graphic artist to create your spectacular cover.

Post Production of the Audio Book

As with any book production, plan on doing most of the marketing for the audio book yourself.  Here is where your own website comes into play.  Create a website that will

  • Entice buyers to buy your audio book (you will get an additional commission as an affiliate of Amazon);
  • Introduce your current peeps to the audio book(s);
  • Be a place for online reviewers to go to see what you do;
  • Entice your readers to join your newsletter;
  • Introduce them to your FaceBook page or Pinterest page.

Use snippets of the recording as a teaser for your book (you may need to record these yourself). There is a lot that a well-constructed website can do for an author, even an author who writes exclusively for audio books.

The Non-Audible Option

Since you will be handling the promotion of the audio book yourself, you may want to consider recording the book yourself.  If you have a TRAINED VOICE and a talent for recording, it is not difficult.

Use a top microphone, like a Yeti.  Use top grade sound recording software.  Find a quiet place.  And record your book yourself.

More likely, you will want to create snippets of your audio book for promotional purposes, and the same advice applies:  Use top grade equipment and top graphics for your cover.

Wow.  The world has just opened up to your audio book.  What will you record?

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