I am very pleased to welcome T.W. Fendley to my blog for the very first Writerly Wednesday. Every Wednesday from now on I hope to have a guest author or talk about all thing writerly. I very much hope you enjoy this new blog feature and today's wonderful guest author.
Audiobooks: Catch the wave
by T.W. Fendley
For many authors, nothing compares to the moment you first hold the book you wrote. While print books are wonderful, audiobooks offer a thrill of another kind—hearing your work come to life through another person’s interpretation.
Since my novelette, Jaguar Hope, was released as an audiobook in February 2014, I’ve enjoyed working with various narrators. Actors I found on ACX (the Audiobook Creation Exchange)—Shelby Lewis, Laurel Schroeder, Tiffany Williams, and Brenda Villaneuva—narrated my young adult fantasy novel, The Labyrinth of Time, and three of my shorter works. A friend, Matt McGraw, narrated my satirical short story, The Mentor.
But making audiobooks is more than just fun—they make good business sense.
In 2012, the Audio Publishers Association reported the number of titles in audio format had doubled in recent years. Audiobooks are the wave of the future, with sales expected to continue to rise for the next five years. As a writer, that’s a market I want to reach.
With the popularity of mp3 players, smartphones and eReaders, downloadable audiobooks are now accessible to most people. Digital downloads accounted for more than 60 percent of audio sales in 2012, with the percentage expected to continue to rise. In other words, you don’t need to produce CDs to reach most readers.
Even so, for many writers, the skills, time, and equipment you’d need to produce a quality audiobook on your own are too daunting. But ACX makes it easy to create a digital audiobook.
Here's how the process works:
- Sign up at www.acx.com using your Amazon.com account (available in United States and United Kingdom).
- Post audition pages.
- Offer a royalty share or direct payment to the producer/narrator. Royalty share means ACX keeps 60% of the proceeds, and the producer and author split the remaining 40% of royalties.
- Wait for a narrator/producer to contact you, or search the listing for a voice you like and contact them via ACX.
- Sign the contract, which includes deadlines, and send the complete manuscript to the narrator.
- Work with your illustrator to convert the book’s cover to meet ACX specifications (and to add the narrator’s name).
- Review the finished product.
- After ACX does a quality check, they will distribute it within 20 days to Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. If you want to keep more distribution options open (e.g. so you can distribute to libraries), you can choose the nonexclusive distribution option and receive the standard ACX royalty rate of 25% instead of 40%.
Some marketing tricks
ACX works with authors and producers to promote the audiobooks by offering them codes for free copies to send to reviewers or for giveaway promotions. They also pay a $50 "bounty" split by the author and producer if your book is the buyer's first Audible purchase (not available in some states).
While the list price for audiobooks is often as high as hardcover books, Amazon/Audible offer readers some special incentives:
- Audiobooks are available for as low as $4.99 if you purchase the Kindle version.
- Whispersync for Voice allows readers to "switch between reading the Kindle book and listening to the professional narration from Audible."
- The "Great Listen Guarantee" enables the consumer to "exchange any book you don't like."
Monthly subscriptions via Audible and KindleUnlimited make audiobooks more affordable for readers, too.
A couple of ways authors can reach out to audio fans include:
- Library Thing member giveaways: Few audiobooks are listed, so yours will stand out.
- AudaVoxx: For as little as $4, your audiobook can be featured in a genre-targeted weekly e-newsletter. It must have a 4-star or better rating.
About the Book
The Labyrinth of Time
Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn't sixteen-year-old Jade's idea of fun. She'd much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director's son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs.
Following the ancient stones' guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and--with a shapeshifting dog's help--seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.
Can Jade restore the Firestone's powers before the First Men return to judge humanity?
About the Author
T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications.
In October 2011, L&L Dreamspell LLC published her debut historical fantasy novel for adults, Zero Time. Her young adult contemporary fantasy novel, The Labyrinth of Time, was released in November 2014.
T.W. fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop. Since then, she's trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest. She currently lives near St. Louis area with her artist husband and his pet fish.
Learn more at www.twfendley.com.
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