For years and years and years and years (a really long time), I’ve been a passionate subscriber of Audible and lover of audiobooks. Before listening to books became a profitable stream of income for authors, way before the rise of Audible, I was a fan of Books on Tape. I’d go to the library every few weeks, stack up on books on tape, and listen while I drove to and from work. I did data entry at the time, so I listened all day at work. Actually, if it wasn’t for that data entry job, I don’t know if I would have tried audiobooks. Data entry is painfully dull, mind-numbing work. I didn’t have to think much to do it (at least the kind of data entry I was doing), so I listened to books to help pass the time. I quickly became an addict. True story: the only reason I purchased an iPhone was to install the Audible app on my phone. Yes. It’s true. That’s all I wanted the iPhone for, and to this day, I still use it to listen to books.
That being said, it seems that I would have jumped into the audiobook arena as soon as I started publishing books. But I didn’t. Why? Sales.
What do sales have to do with it? To create an audio book, you have to either pay a narrator up front, do a royalty share, or combine the two. Narrators are paid anywhere between $50 – $400 per finished hour. $150 – $250 is a pretty standard rate. Experienced narrators charge a rate of $200 – $400. I wanted an experienced narrator, but those hourly rates were not in my budget, so I knew I’d have to do a royalty share. The problem with that was that I didn’t think any narrator worth her salt would want to do a royalty share with me because my books weren’t selling many copies. It was a conundrum because I desperately wanted my books available in audio.
Fast forward to this year. I’ve done a lot of work promoting my books and have finally started seeing benefits. Benefits, as in sales. Moving books. Attracting readers! Yes, I’m finally, consistently, selling books. That meant…Audible, here I come!
So far, the process has been relatively painless. It’s an entirely new format to publish on, so there are entirely new things I have to learn. My first big question to answer was if I wanted to go exclusive with ACX or wide. (ACX is Audible, and Audible is Amazon. They’re all Amazon.) For my eBooks and print books, I’ve gone wide, except with one series. Audio is different. Having had so many years of experience using Audible as a listener, I know how many authors I’ve discovered because Audible ran some kind of sale or promo. Nicholas Sansbury Smith is one author who comes to mind. If I wasn’t an Audible listener, and Audible wasn’t running a sale that included his first Extinction book, I might never have heard of him. Now I’m about ten books deep and a huge fan. Authors who aren’t exclusive with ACX don’t get the same type of promo opportunities.
A con of going exclusive with ACX is the length of the commitment I’d have to make. Years!
I agonized over this decision…
… but in the end, I decided to go exclusive with ACX. There are other determining factors in my decision, but the above two were major considerations for me.
My entire Bridgeport series is going to be exclusive to ACX. That means they will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
Having made that decision, I was ready to fill out the online forms and upload my files. The entire time I was so nervous about the kind of auditions I would receive. SOOO nervous. Would anyone be as good as the narrators on the books I’ve been listening to all these years? Would I be able to bear hearing someone give voice to my characters?
The good news is, I found an amazing narrator. She blew me away. She was so good I nearly cried when I listened to her audition recording. Hearing my characters was surreal and wonderful. Hearing Zoey’s voice…I can’t explain how that felt.
I’m so excited about this new chapter. Excited and nervous, but I’m glad I finally got up my courage and took this next step.