Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Author Audio Books: How to Self Publish Audio Books

by | Apr 24, 2018 | Writing Advice & More | 0 comments

Do you love audio books — and thrillers? Yep, I also self publish audio books, including my nonfiction and my thrillers.

And, that’s MY voice reading the story. How (and why) am I the one reading the book? And for authors out there, how can you do it? Read on!

audio books

What kind of “voice” does a German Shepherd have? You’ll have to listen to find out!

AUTHOR AUDIO BOOKS: A SOUND INVESTMENT

This is an updated post that was first pub’d several years ago. But after taking time off to actually WRITE new books, I’m once again back in the closet recording the new ones. I’m also preparing to launch some writing and publishing courses, and this topic may be one of those covered.

Do you listen to audio books? I’ve previously had discussions with some of my colleagues. Not all are happy with the voice artists chosen for their books. *sigh* That’s one reason I decided to take on the challenge myself. If you’re a reader, do you also listen to books? Why? Why not?

If you’re an author, do you pursue audio publishing? While it’s still a fraction of print or Ebook publishing, it’s a viable and growing platform and one I think you shouldn’t ignore. Many publishers have the means to exploit audio rights, and that can add sales to the author’s account and offer fans more ways to enjoy their favorite books. You might want to consult with your agent or editor, though, about getting the chance to approve the voice over artist to be sure you’re on the same “listening” page.

audio books

My recording studio…a walk in closet in my office with sound foam on walls and ceiling, mic stand, and place to set up the laptop with ProTools software, etc.

Self Publishing Audio Books with ACX.com

When your publisher doesn’t purchase audio rights, or you decide to self-publish, Amazon makes it easy to exploit those audio rights yourself. They have a self-publishing platform called ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). Your book must already be available on the Amazon site to self-publish with ACX which makes it available on Audible.com and iTunes.

At ACX, you can advertise for a voice over artist, audition talent and choose the right person to bring your book to life. Options include paying the talent up front, arranging to pay by sharing future royalties, or other “hybrid” contractual arrangements. It’s pricy to get it done but your royalties and potential income are typically much higher than with other platforms because Audible sets the price (usually pretty high), and for an exclusive contract you garner about 50 percent royalty.

UPDATED: that royalty has since gone down somewhat but is still a significant percentage of 20-40 percent. See details here. 

audio books

“Cat got your tongue?”

FUNDING HELP FOR PRODUCING AUDIO BOOKS

Sometimes ACX will help you with a stipend of sorts to pay for the production cost, particularly when the book is popular and they want it out there for their clients. You also decide what contract to sign with ACX…an exclusive for a finite amount of time in which case your royalties are a bit higher, or nonexclusive so you can also publish on other audio platforms.

So far, I have FOUR titles out via ACX/Audible, and until recently, the nonfiction has sold better than the fiction. That changed, after my recent BookBub advertisement when LOST AND FOUND sales went through the roof (and I made the Ebook free). More than 800 folks bought the discounted audible book when they got the Ebook (that’s a deal routinely offered) and now all four books continue to be purchased. You can see all four books at this link.

The individual Amazon pages for each book also include a link to the audio version. And the iBookstore also offers them in iTunes.


KittenAudio CompetCatAudio CompetDogAudio

DO YOU HAVE THE SKILL TO VOICE AUDIO BOOKS?

In In another life I’m a stage actor, and have done voice over work myself. So I know why it’s so pricy to hire getting a book published as an audio file. It takes a BOATLOAD of time! Yes, I voiced and published all four of these books via ACX but I had to put the rest of my books audio recordings on temporary hold to get the next thrillers written

Now that there are three fiction books in the September Day thriller series, I’m again recording. Most recently, I released HIDE AND SEEK, and will follow that with voicing SHOW AND TELL. Otherwise, I fear that I may forget what voice I used for the various characters…and that’s jarring to have ’em sound different between books, don’t you think?

WHAT’S THE COST TO PRODUCE AUDIO BOOKS?

Say that your book, in a straight nonstop read, takes 10 hours…and nobody can read for 10 hours straight…what would you charge to spend 10 hours recording someone’s book? First you must read it to become familiar, THEN you record it–with good equipment, of course. Then you edit the audio to take out all those lip smacks, swallows, tummy rumbles, overhead airplanes, thunder, the furnace turning on and off…you get the picture.

To hire a VO artist, it’s not unusual for the fee to run $250/finished hour. So if it takes 20 hours to record, edit and master, you’re talking about $5000. And yes, that’s why I decided to do it myself, and invest the funds in a one-time outlay for hardware and software I could use for multiple books.

TOOLS FOR AUDIO BOOKS PRODUCTION

The audio software matters, and there are different types. I got the Pro Tools 10- Professional audio recording and music creation software along with the Universal Audio Apollo Twin because it interfaces so well with my Sibelius music writing software Granted, some of these I purchased while a teacher at a discount, and ACX also has “packages” that you can get at a lesser cost.  The correct mic package is very sensitive. Mine is similar to this but I got a much better deal!

There are also different mics and headphones, and depending on where you record, some will be a better fit than others. the ACX site has recommendations. I use the Sony Dynamic Professional Stereo headphones (on Amazon here), and I have two mics from Sweetwater. I use one of them for recording audiobooks, and the other for recording with video and webinars.

The final step is called “mastering” and basically smooths out and/or boosts the sound to improve the sound of the recording. That’s where the software comes in–it’s not just for recording but also for improving tone, etc. For a nonfiction book, an announcer voice works fine but for fiction, you’ll want a stage actor able to interpret characters and different voices, perhaps.

You ain’t lived until voicing everything from an autistic child to an old man and even a dog! And then, remember what the character in chapter one sounded like so you can repeat it in chapter 23. And duplicate those same voices in subsequent books when characters reappear.

LostFoundAudio

DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?

For every 10-hour-straight-read, multiply the time by at least 2-3…so thirty hours to record, edit and master the book. Yikes! With ACX you (the author) get to listen as the VO-artist uploads each chapter and check for bad pronunciations or accents or whatever, and request a do-over. Once you’ve approved the final version, and it’s sent to ACX to be published, their gurus also do a quality control listen a couple of times through, to be sure it sounds right and is true to the other published versions. If spot-on, it may be eligible to “sync” with some Ebook versions of the book. Most of the ACX titles are enrolled into the Audible book clubs…and authors get bonuses for sign ups there, too. For instance, the free book (below) is available if you’ve never before joined, and it’s a trial program so you don’t have to enroll, either.

audio of Hide And Seek thrillerOh, and you’ll notice the COVERS are square. Yes, you must re-design your book cover to fit the requirements of Audible/ACX, and they won’t let you simply add color “bars” on sides of the existing book to make it square.

MARKETING CHALLENGE

I’ve not been able to get ACX/Audible to provide me with review versions of the books. It’s not like print or Ebook versions that you can purchase multiple copies and distribute. Instead, you may “gift” listeners (at full purchase price), so that can get pricy. However, each time a new audio book is born, ACX will give the author/creator a certain number of free “codes” to give to prospective reviewers of the book.

So if you’re interested in a free audio of one of the above or future books, please sign up for my PET PEEVES newsletter because as the new ones go live, I’ll be giving away a few gift codes in the hopes you’ll be kind enough to share a review.

If this post was helpful and you think other readers/authors might be interested in audio books, please share!

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Categories:

Recent Posts

Safe Hot Weather Games for Pets: Keep Cats & Dogs Cool in Hot Weather

Yikes! It’s hot-hot-hot here in Texas. We’ve hit triple digits already. Shadow-Pup is NOT happy. He misses his ZOOMIES in the back garden, but I’m afraid to let him overdo too much. It’s time for hot weather games for pets and keeping cats and dogs cool in hot weather. This year, I’ve invested in more indoor fun for Karma-Kat and Shadow-pup, some with the help of pet products companies sharing neato-torpedo products. Here are some of my favorite pet hot weather games, including Tearribles, Purrini, and LifePro Dog Treatmill (giving some schtuff away!).

What kind of cat toys float your kitty’s boat?  Do your pets enjoy water fountains? Would your hot dog relish a cooling bed, or a wading pool? I offer some more hot weather games and tips in the ASK AMY video, below.

And for a flash from the past, enjoy the Magical-Dawg video of some water fun. I need to get that doggy tub out this year and see if Shadow might indulge.

How do your dogs deal with the weather? Please share your tips for keeping hot dogs cool customers!

Fearful Fido? Know the Signs of Dog Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (FAS)

June is Pet Anxiety Awareness Month. Do you have a fearful Fido? Do you need help with the fireworks and loud thunderstorms happening this time of year that makes dogs scared? It seems silly, but some dogs feel stress when their human wears a hat! I wanted to share some resources for recognizing and understanding signs of canine fear, anxiety, and stress.

While it’s normal for dogs to be cautious and not run head on into traffic, too much stress and anxiety isn’t healthy. Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) also affect the immune system, impacting both physical and emotional health.

Up to 20 percent of dogs will be born prone to introversion and fear. Proper socialization improves puppy confidence, but abuse or poor socialization can result in anxiety-ridden adults. Pain or illness also can cause anxiety so these dogs associate certain kinds of handling with discomfort. Ongoing anxiety, stress or fear may lead to fear aggression.

Extreme fear interferes with learning, making it even more difficult to help dogs overcome the angst. Fearful dogs quickly recognize that escape behaviors or fear aggression makes the scary situation go away, so they learn to repeat these behaviors…

Chewy Once a Year Blue Box Event: Pet Products Savings for Your Special Pets

Y’all may notice something different about my blog–yes, it’s been spiffed up, thanks to a fantastic web designer! Seems the perfect time to celebrate with some great opportunities for your pets. Once a year, Chewy price drops all kinds of pet goodies in their Blue Box Event–good from June 21 through June 24, so don’t wait. Stock up on all the must-have dog products and cat essentials, as well as pocket pet supplies. Oh, you’ll find way too many bargains for me to list simply by going to this Blue Box Event link. But here are some of my favorites. Shadow-Pup and Karma-Kat put in their orders. Shhh, keep it a secret or your fur buddies may swipe the credit cards and have a fun time!

Get a $25 eCard Gift Card when you purchase $75 worth of select pet products favorites.

Up to 50% Off Select Toys During Chewy’s Blue Box Event.

Up to 50% Off Select Disney During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Up to 30% Off Once-a-Year Pet Parent Deals During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Learn about more savings…

Small In Show: Calling All Pocket (and other ) Pets!

Why do dogs and cats get all the love? Well… they deserve it, but so do the #SmallInShow contenders, as Rainn Wilson says. “Small pets are truly overlooked. Everyone goes straight to dogs and cats. But Kaytee is out to show that these little creatures have big personalities and are just as worthy to be part of your family. That’s something that was easy to get behind,” said Rainn Wilson.

No, I’m not compensated to share this. It just tickled me, and we all need some giggles these days. Back in the day, I loved my hamsters Whiskers, Snowball, and Cinnamon, and the first pet article I ever sold (for real live dollar$$$) detailed the story of my rescue parrot, Venus, a spectacle Amazon. Pocket pets deserve the love, too.

Besides, I miss attending Westminster, and certainly understand where Rainn comes from in his disappointment. Enjoy this fun MOCK-umentary from Kaytee. The company is launching its inaugural #SmallinShow Award Show, inviting pet parents of hamsters, bunnies, mice, birds and other small companions to share images and stories of their mini heroes across social media. The #SmallinShow Award Show will culminate with the crowning of three winners who will each receive a one-year supply of Kaytee products….

Work Goes To the Dogs & Cats: PSI’s Take Your Pet To Work Week!

Today, it’s PSI’s TAKE YOUR CAT TO WORK DAY! At my house, every week is Take Your Pet to Work Week. This year, it falls on June 20-24, with the CATS’ day on Monday, and the DOGS’ day on Friday. For many folks who continue to work at home, they experience the joy–and challenges–of work with furry companions 24/7.

Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999 to help promote pet adoptions, this week celebrates the 24th anniversary of the event. I’ve written about this nearly every year, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures in the blog.

This year, of course, we have a new dog, Shadow, helping us celebrate. And we’re still navigating a new “normal” after losing our beloved Bravo following his cancer diagnosis. You’ll see some pictures of Bravo with Karma and Shadow, below, as I can’t bear to remove them just yet…after all, he’s still one of my Furry Muses…

Heatstroke Dangers: Pet First Aid for Hot Weather Play & Travel

These hot summer days, Shadow loves to run and play outside, but the hot weather can lead to heatstroke dangers in dogs as well as people. This week, we topped the thermostat at 101 degrees, and it will continue to hover near three digits all week long. Fun in the sun can quickly turn to tragedy if pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent cat and dog heatstroke dangers. Pet heatstroke is common because cats and dogs can’t effectively keep cool in hot summer weather. It becomes especially dangerous during summer travel in cars. Here’s how to save your pets’ lives if they overheat…

How to Prepare for a Disaster: Pet Preparedness & Tips

With the latest hurricane on the way, it's time to revisit your pet disaster plan. You do have one, right? After Katrina and Harvey, everyone should understand the importance of disaster preparation. June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and in the fall, September...

Check the Chip: All About Pet Microchips

It's Check Your Pet Microchip Day on August 15! It's early to check but everyone needs a reminder. Your cats and dogs are microchipped, right? When he was (ahem) neutered, Shadow-Pup got his microchip. Both Bravo-Dawg and Karma-Kat already had microchips so that if...

Our Pet Memory Garden: Honoring Furry Muses

Those who follow this blog know about our rose garden tribulations. We live on 13 acres, with lots of area to landscape. It remains a work in progress, and I had several ideas for pet remembrance and plants to honor pets like my Bravo, Magic, Seren and others....

Visit Amy’s Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This