Testing, testing . . . 1–2–3. Can you hear me okay? Should I adjust the volume?
Oh, hello. Join me in the studio today as we talk about audio books.
In this era we have access to so many ways to publish books that it can get a tad overwhelming! I mean, we can do it in paperback ourselves, use a traditional publishing house, publish in kindle format so our book is available all over the world, and even turn our book into an audio book. There are more people listening to audio books now than ever before, and there are more audio books being made each year.
But what about our books?
Should we turn them into audio books?
What if we don’t have the expertise to do it?
What if we are terrible at reading aloud?
What if we don’t have the money to do it?
What if –– (fill in the blank)
You can still produce your book on audio!
I’ve been asked about my own journey into the world of audio books and I want to take a little time and share that with you. (You can read my post about the importance of audio books here.)
First off, I use ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) which is part of Audible. When my books are ready to be sold they become available on Audible, Amazon (Whisper-sync), and iTunes. The process is quite simple really. I’m going to break it down into steps for you.
Ready? Let’s go.
- Create an account on ACX. There isn’t really anything hard or difficult about this as it’s pretty self explanatory.
- List your book. You will have to give information such as the approximate number of words so that everyone has an idea of how long the story is going to take to read.
- Decide who should read it. If you are not going to record your book yourself, you will also need to decide if there is a certain type of voice you would like to read your work. Do you want them to have an accent? Male or Female? Young or older? From a certain part of the country? You choose all of that or you can leave some or all of it blank if you don’t care.
- Choose Payment method. Are you going to pay upfront for this book to be done? (I’ve done that with one of my books so far.) Or are you willing to do Royalty Split. (I’ve done this with the rest of my books.) Royalty Split means that for every audio book sold, you get half of the royalties and your producer (the reader) gets half.
- Next list any special instructions for your reader if you have any. Do you have an unusual name that needs to be pronounced in a certain way? Do you want the reader to know that a certain person talks really quickly or very slowly? Feel free to list or mention anything a reader might want to know upfront.
- Provide a sample of your book for auditions. Don’t make it too long, but also don’t make it too short as you want to get a feel of the reader. If there is a slightly challenging part, you might consider using that, or maybe just the start of your book.
- List it. When you are sure everything is ready, you click the button to have it listed on ACX.
- Then you wait. Sometimes I’ve gotten an audition within days of listing my book, other times it’s been months. Now ACX has it set up so you will have to resubmit your book after a certain number of days (but don’t worry, all the things you listed before will be saved and you just have to relist it by clicking a few buttons).
- Check the audition. Okay, you have an audition! Yay! After you have stopped jumping up and down in excitement (yes, I’m talking about you), sit down and listen to it. Does the voice seem to fit your story? Do they read too fast or too slow? Are they changing things? (I’ve had someone audition who wanted to change things as he read just because they came naturally to him. Like adding a cliche I had left out on purpose.) If you are NOT satisfied with the audition, simply send a polite message to them telling the reader you don’t think their voice is quite right. If you are pretty sure that is your reader, but would like to hear more, everyone I’ve contacted was willing to read a few other short samples to give me a better feel.
- Write a contract. You have your reader. He/she is perfect for your story. Now it’s time to make the contract. I always ask my reader when they think they’ll be able to have the book done, and then give a little wiggle room because, hey, life happens. Even to the best of us. 🙂
- Send the manuscript. Once the contract is signed, sealed and delivered, you’ve gotten the manuscript to the producer/reader, you wait. Again. The first 15 minutes of the book will be uploaded first for you to listen to and check. Then the rest of the book. (Make sure you are reading along in your book while you listen so you can catch any mistakes.)
- Final listen, check, approve. And now the producer has finished recording, you’ve listened to the last chapter, and are ready to call it good. You will need a cover for your audio before you can click the “approve” button. Now all you have to do is wait for ACX to do their part which usually takes between 1-2 weeks. Then it’ll be available! You’ll get 25 codes for free copies of your audio book to share with others, do giveaways and use for promotion.
And that is a very bare facts look into the world of audio publishing. I love hearing my books come alive in the speech of a talented reader. I didn’t mention that you can also go through ACX’x LONG list of readers and “try” to choose one for your book. I say “try” because it was too overwhelming when I attempted to do it. 🙂 I decided to opt for the auditions.
Are you ready to get your book on audio now? Do you enjoy listening to audio books? What would keep you from making use of this publishing market? If you have any questions, let me know. I’d be happy to at least try to answer them for you.