If you’re the author of a book, you probably offer it in both a digital and a print edition. But if you don’t have an audiobook version as well, you may be leaving money on the table. Read on to see why.
Why Offer an Audiobook?
The truth is you don’t have to. Many authors live out successful careers without ever recording their own audiobooks. But there are still a number of advantages to consider:
- It is an additional revenue stream. Authors, especially self-published authors, need to look at every possible way to exploit their rights and make their works work for them. The list that every author should consider includes eBooks, paperbacks, foreign sales, translations, apps, and audiobooks. Every item on this list may not be appropriate for you and your individual situation, but each should be examined in terms of creating a new income stream from an existing work.
- Once recorded, audiobooks are a largely passive income source. In other words, you produce the product once, and it continues to create income for you for years, with little to no additional effort on your part. Even though you should consider some marketing, a lot of it is done for you, since customers viewing your book on Amazon will see your audiobook listed with the other versions. And those who like listening to audiobooks frequent Audible and iTunes looking for the next great author.
- Audiobooks are one of the fastest growing segments of the book market. And with people beginning to listen to audiobooks on their smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices, there’s no end in sight. Conversely, audiobooks are a far less competitive market for self-published authors, since only a fraction of books become audiobooks. For example, ACX says that in 2009 there were 100,000 books published, but only 5000 were turned into audiobooks. Less competition translates into better discoverability, meaning your audiobook has a chance to break out.
- Offering an audiobook puts you in a different class of author. You’ve probably perused the listings on Amazon and seen a book that was only available in a Kindle edition. I don’t know about you but, fairly or unfairly, the fact that there is not a print edition always makes me question if it’s a “real book.” Does that mean it’s not a good book, or not a worthwhile read? Of course not. But having your book in print, eBook, and audio definitely puts you in a different class of author and makes you look like a professional who takes your business seriously. (Not to mention, there will be hardcore fans who want to buy every version of your work. And why deprive them of the ability to give their money to you?)
Why Should You Narrate Your Own Book?
Hopefully by this time you see the value in having an audiobook version of your work. But since you can go through ACX and find an experienced producer to do the narration and technical mastery of your book through a royalty deal, with no up-front expense on your part, why not just do that and be done?
Recording your own book has its advantages:
- If you have loyal readers, they want to find ways to connect with you. That’s why we’re all on social media these days – to connect with readers. Hearing the sound of your voice and your interpretation of the text will really appeal to a lot of your hardcore fans. And to your non-hardcore fans, it signals that you care a great deal about your work, that you didn’t just write a book and throw it up online to see what would happen. Plus not everyone is familiar with the audiobook market – frankly, hearing the book read by the author is what many people expect.
- The truth is, no one knows your own book better than you. You may have a certain actor or archetype in mind for one of your characters. If you hand off your book to an actor, even a great actor, he may take an entirely different approach or interpretation. If in your mind the hero of your epic novel is Matthew McConaughey, but the narrator reads him like he’s Pee-wee Herman, you are going to be sorely disappointed. For 200 pages.
- Another reason to read your own audiobook is one that might not be apparent to you at first glance. Reading your own work will make you a better writer. Think you’re critical of your writing now? Wait until you read it aloud. You will learn some positive things about your writing: What your strengths are, who your characters are, where the pace of your work increases and decreases. You’ll also learn some not-so-positive things: Where you’ve used run-on sentences, awkward sentence construction, repetitive phrases, and so forth. Every mistake and cliché that your eye glided smoothly over when writing, will be like nails on a chalkboard to your ear (to use a cliché).
If you record your book and find the process enjoyable, you may even be able to add another source of income to your portfolio by becoming a narrator for other people’s books. Authors trust other authors to treat their work with care and respect. And maybe you’re just the person to do it. With the audiobook market expanding at a faster rate than the publishing industry as a whole, being a narrator is a skill that is sure to be in demand for years to come and can help you make some income when sales of your own books are slow. If nothing else, you’ll have the equipment and expertise to record not only audiobooks, but also podcasts, YouTube video presentations, audio for eCourses, and much more.
About Kirk Hanley
For over fifteen years, Kirk was a part of famed comedy theatre, The Second City, working as a performer, writer, improviser, producer, director, teacher, and improv workshop facilitator. He has also performed in children’s theatre, outreach programs for teens, industrial stage shows, improvisational comedy revues, television and radio commercials, and corporate training films.
He’s written one-act plays for dinner theatre, online video scripts, and been a contributing writer for The Onion News Network.
Kirk now writes, coaches comedy writers, and narrates audiobooks. To find out more and sign up for his free email updates, please go to www.kirkhanley.com.
Check out Kirk's book:
Have you always wanted to record the audiobook version of your work, but were too intimidated by the technical requirements to get started? Then The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook is the resource you’ve been looking for! In a simple step-by-step process written in plain English, you’ll learn:
- How you can distribute your audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes and immediately create a new revenue stream
- The facts about ACX and how to use it to earn both royalties and bounties
- The advantages of narrating your own book
- Exercises to see if you have what it takes when it comes to recording audiobooks (before spending a dime)
- The equipment you need to set up a professional recording studio for less than $100
- How to download and set-up the free Audacity software to do your recording, editing, and mastering
- Tips the pros use to create characters, speak naturally, and deliver a great reading
- And much more!
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