Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Trials of Audio-booking

Turner Hahn
(Sigh) Yep, I'm going to do it. I'm going to put on my big-boy pants and step out into that scary world of converting the printed word of my novels into audio books. Convert them, and then toss them into that big ocean of  a babbling cacophony of voices and hope they swim to success and not drown in the depths of a million other books like mine.

But how do you do it? How do you convert your book into an audio book? Ah; that is the question, grasshopper! How do you do it?

I did a little research. There are as many audio book companies out there as there are indie publishers. And their numbers are growing. Most of them accept submissions IF you are willing to absorb some of the coin of the realm costs of having your book recorded by a narrator. And there are a TON of narrators out there, old and young, experienced and newbies, to choose from. Generally speaking, paying the narrator to come up with a polished reading of your novel costs between $100 to $400 dollars an hour. AN HOUR. And depending on how big your book is, page-wise, it'll take about 10-plus hours to get the book completed and ready to read.

You could fork out between $1000 to $4000 of your own hard-earned cash for a finished product. On the other hand, doing it this way usually gives you a 40% return on whatever profits might come along. (If you're like me; me being a piss-poor writer with NO money . . . I suggest you run right out there and find a second, third and fourth part-time job to earn enough to pay the bills)

Or, you can take the alternate path.

There are audio companies out there who will allow you to speculate. You can offer your darling creation up for bidding. You pay nothing up front. You put your script out on the audio book's web site and offer it up to the first narrator to come along who is willing to take a chance with you and your work. Most audio book companies have a stable of narrators.  Hundreds of them in most cases. You select 2-3 page clips out of your tome for these narrators to read. They, in turn, choose one of the pieces offered and record their voices as they read. They offer these recordings to you for you to listen. You decide which voice you like. You make an offer. If they accept--good; if not--try again.

Frank Morales
What it means to accept an offer is they (the narrator) is willing to split the profits with you on some kind of percentage basis. Usually a 50/50 agreement.  Now please note; you ARE NOT splitting the 40% you'd receive if you did the traditional path of paying for the finished copy up front. Nope. Nope. The audio company is taking a higher risk with you and your partner in this endeavor. So THEY are going to keep a higher percentage of the profits. If there are profits.

Amazon (of course!)  has an audio company called ACX. That's the one I'm working with. I've
offered up A TASTE OF OLD REVENGE, book two of the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales detective novels to convert into an audio book. I've found a narrator. A narrator who has a voice which, in my mind, sounds like the voice Turner Hahn might have (and that's critical. Finding the voice to fit your mental image of the character).

We're in the process of recording the book now. Chapter by chapter. And it is a process involving both narrator and writer. We're about five chapters into the book with a long way to go yet.

When its done, we'll
throw it out into that big pond and see if it sinks are swims. My fingers are crossed.