To Audio, or Not to Audio: That is the Question
Back in January, I decided to have my middle-grade fairy tale, Petrella, the Gillian Princess, which launched in November of 2016, created into an audiobook.
Most publishing experts will tell you that when you’re ready to publish a book, try to have several types of media formats produced so that your designated audience has options to choose for purchase. For example, print, ebook or digital, and now audio, which has been gaining popularity in recent years.
It’s been documented that the audiobook industry is almost a $2 billion dollar industry. (*Resources: Sales of Audiobooks.)
But, as any Indie author who usually has to finance all their publications themselves can attest, it’s not that easy to have multiple media options for your book. It is why I have at least a print and ebook/digital version when I launch a new book.
It was last summer when I was in the midst of editing and re-editing Petrella, the Gillian Princess that I began to take more notice of audiobooks. It all started at my library. At the recommendation of our Children’s Librarian, my daughters discovered “Playaway Audio Books”.
What are Playaway Audio Books? They are little, self-contained devices in which you insert a battery and headphones and are able to listen to a narrated story. We have borrowed so many Playaways from our library ever since; it has allowed my daughters to visualize the story in their minds, giving them another outlet for imagination.
And so, it got me thinking. Since my book was geared toward kids between the ages of 8-13 years old, why not have an audio version of the story?
After having done some research on audibooks in general, and talking with people, I’m finding that audiobooks could be a viable option for those authors looking to gain another audience.
What are the benefits of an Audiobook?
- It’s portable and will work on PC, Tablet, Smartphone, etc.
- You can multi-task. Listen to a book while cooking, driving, cleaning, exercising, etc.
- Allows for a reader/listener to visualize the details of the story.
What are the disadvantages of an Audiobook?
- For those who like to hold a “physical” book, you can’t really hold a digital audiobook. It’s not something you can put on your shelf after you’ve listened to it.
- You need some sort of electronic device in order for it to work.
- For those who like to read words on a page, this is not quite the same.
- For someone who wants to learn new words, unless they have paper and pen, one can’t really underline or write down the words they don’t know. They’d have rewind.
And so, it brings me back to my audiobook. It didn’t take much convincing. My reasons for Audiobook creation are to:
- Utilize another means of reaching my audience with the story.
- Improves listening and pronunciations of new words for the readers/listeners.
- Create alternative options to reading.
“ACX is a marketplace where authors, literary agents, publishers, and other Rights Holders can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other Producers capable of producing a finished audiobook…
…As the Rights Holder/Author, you choose how you produce your audiobook—whether on your own or by engaging a Producer on ACX—and you choose among two royalty models…
“…If you’re a Producer/Narrator, ACX allows you to post a profile…and audition on ACX for posted titles.”
This is a great site. It gives you step-by-step instructions on how enter your book information and set up the requirements on the type of producer/narrator you are looking for. It explains the different options for hiring a narrator, i.e., payment options (royalty share or flat rate), and their distribution overview.
Once I entered all my book information, I waited for a producer/narrator to contact me. This can take days or months, or longer. It depends. Once I received some offers, I was able to listen to their audio samples, and select the perfect narrator for my book.
The Petrella, the Gillian Princess audiobook launched on May 3th, 2017. Right now, it’s too early to tell whether the audiobook has been a success or failure, even though I’ve received some good traffic.
In the end, I believe it’s not the different media formats that make or break a book, but rather the story itself. I can’t convince you to buy my tale whether it is in a book format, ebook, or audio. Like literary agents, fancying a particular genre is a very personal thing. All that’s left is just to keep writing the best story you possibly can.
Benefits of Audiobooks:
Costs of Audiobook Production:
Sales of Audiobooks: