Let’s face it: we’re on the move. We’re a fast-paced society, no matter if you live in a city center, the suburbs, or a small town with a single stoplight. Our to-do lists get longer, the days get shorter, and sometimes it’s tough to sneak in a good book for a little R&R. That’s part of why we love e-books, right? We can download a bunch of them to our handheld reader and carry them anywhere – the train, the airplane, even the beach. Convenience is key.
But what about audio books? If you’re an avid reader, are you also an avid listener? Audio files are even easier to carry than e-book files, given the size of an iPod these days. Put it in your pocket. Clip it to your belt. Even better, you can listen to a book almost anywhere you go, hands-free, which gives it a distinct advantage over traditional print books or e-book readers. You can commute and answer emails while you listen to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy banter in the ballroom. You can clean the house while you listen to Alex Cross decipher clues. You can drive and enjoy, type and enjoy, clip coupons, run on the treadmill…you get the idea. And, of course, audio books are a wonderful option for those who are visually impaired.
So audio books are a great option for readers. But what about authors?
Well, if you haven’t considered producing your book in audio format, and you own the audio rights to it, you really should. Audio books are a terrific addition to any author’s arsenal of goods, because they can garner your sales from people you might not reach with print or e-books. The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that you must own your audio rights. Two of the small presses I write for take audio rights in the author’s contract; the third does not. If you are in the process of signing a contract, consider negotiating those audio rights, or talk to your agent about the pros and cons. Any time you as the author can retain rights to sell to another company directly, you will make more money from those rights. Of course, if you are self-published, you can go ahead and contract your audio rights with an audio production company directly.
So how and where do you go about finding an audio book production company, if you do own the rights? If you do a simple Internet search, you’ll turn up many possibilities, with a wide range of costs to the author. Here are two possibilities I’ll mention only because I have first-hand knowledge of them:
Audio Lark: Their self-stated goal is “to provide romance readers with a new medium to enjoy their favorite authors and stories, and has seen a steadily-growing following since its inception. With the advent of multi-functional devices that are capable holding both ebooks and audiobooks, more readers are discovering the functionality of the audio format. In a world where multitasking is king, audiobooks liven long commutes, ease the tedium of chores, and offer respite for tired eyes.”
Audio Lark is actively taking submissions from published authors who retain their audio rights. They also offer production/ distribution services for which the author pays (these royalty rates are higher). I’ve published two of my novels with Audio Lark and can speak highly for their professionalism throughout the process.
ACX: A newly established arm of Audible, this company stated in the May 2011 Publisher’s Weekly that it “looks to solve that problem [a lack of audio books] by a three-prong acquisition approach. In the most traditional method, an independent audiobook producer can bid on the rights listed on the ACX site and put the project together on its own, including creating physical audiobooks as well as digital audiobooks and selling them wherever they want. The other approach involves the creative talent, most likely the narrator, buying the rights and creating the audiobook on their own. The third method is for the talent and the rights holders to work together to develop the audiobook. In any case…Audible is only serving as a distributor with the rights remaining with the owners.”
I have a writing colleague who just contracted her book with an independent narrator through ACX and is so far happy with the initial arrangements, the production schedule, and the projected cost-sharing. I’ll include updates on her experiences in my next two blog posts.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to consider whether the company can offer distribution as well as production. Getting your audio book in front of a wide audience is key, and there are some major Internet retailers you’ll want to target (Audible, iTunes, Amazon). Will the production company you choose offer your book for sale as well? Or is distribution up to you? Of course, as with any product, the more you promote, the more you will sell. However, it’s tough to go wrong with audio books in today’s market. Why not consider exploring them as a possibility? I have three more romance novels coming out as audio books this summer/fall, and I’m thrilled for those release dates!
Next month, I’ll share my experiences in the audio production process and talk about what’s similar to the editing and release processes of a print/e-book and what’s different. In the third part of this blog series, I’ll feature an interview with Jennifer Feddersen, owner of Audio Lark, so you can get a peek at the world of audio books from an insider’s perspective.
Join me in August and September!
Ashton Kirk, youngest daughter of a prestigious senator, fiancée of a hotshot attorney, and fresh Harvard graduate, is headed for a promising law career when scandal breaks apart her family. Suddenly, she finds herself newly single and ashamed of her name. To escape, she rents an apartment in the sleepy town of Paradise, New Hampshire, where no one knows who she is.
Ashton hopes for solitude, but all bets are off when Eddie West, the town's most eligible bachelor, moves in downstairs. The brawny auto mechanic loves his women and his cars shiny, sleek, and fast, and when he meets his new housemate, he wastes no time getting friendly. While Eddie is looking for a no–strings romance, though, he gets more than he bargained for in Ash, who sees through his bravado to the pain of a loss too fresh to mention.
Can two people from different worlds find common ground, a place to fall in love and build a future together? Or will Ashton's past and Eddie's scars keep them apart just as the summer heat brings them together? Is it possible to find your soul mate in the place you least expect to?
Buy Link: http://www.audiolark.com/books/lost-in-paradise/
Allie was born and raised in a tiny community in upstate New York, which probably explains her fascination with the magic of small town life. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Rochester in New York and a M.A. in English Literature from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since 1997, she has enjoyed life in the northern NYC suburbs, where she lives with her husband and teaches English and Education to high school students. In her spare time, she and her husband love to travel. She is also a runner, a musician and an animal–lover.
Allie writes sensual contemporary romance for Samhain Publishing. She reads in all genres and loves chatting with other readers and writers about any topic under the sun. You can find her around the Web, at writers' conferences, giving workshops, swapping stories, and generally chatting about romance writing. Allie loves stories set in small towns and is a firm believer in the power of love and the emotions that connect us all!
*Edited by Teresa Crumpton*