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Old 08-07-2012, 09:58 PM   #1
anamardoll
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Audio Book?

An open question for the indie writers on the board: how many of you have audio book editions of your book?

I have one, which I commissioned for a $500 flat fee, which worked out to a cost-per-word count that seemed reasonable to me. However, it will take at least 100 copies sold at Audible before it pays back, and given that I've sold 30 copies of the $2.99 eBook, I'm not holding my breath.

I really enjoy having an audio book edition, but I'm not sure it's a profitable endeavor. Does anyone else have experience with this, indie-wise?
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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I've done my own audiobooks and also had others do them for me, and really they've been a non-seller for me. So I haven't bothered doing them anymore. At the present time only ebooks are selling. People don't seem to want anything else for the moment.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:16 AM   #3
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12 to 15 years ago, I tried audio.
I tried to do a good job with family help and a computer for some voice adaption.
Then I did some books with me just reading the book with inflection and drama thrown in occasionally.

The sales results were lackluster.
I don't think my books have the kind of readers that pay for that adaptation.

I recommend the eReaders that have the voice readers built in for people with vision problems or that want to listen to the book as they drive or are passengers on a plane or vehicle.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #4
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I recommend the eReaders that have the voice readers built in for people with vision problems or that want to listen to the book as they drive or are passengers on a plane or vehicle.
I suggest you stop recommending that.

Even the best text-to-speech gets old and boring fast, if not out-right painful.

A well-narrated audiobook, on the other hand, is a treat to listen too.
And as a car commuter, it's just about the only way I can consume books most of the time.

The market is unquestionably smaller than the ebook market, and audiobooks tend to be expensive compared to ebooks, but Audible did not stay in business all these years, and get sold to Amazon for 3/4 of a zillion dollars, because people don't want audiobooks.

Note, however, a good narrator and decent production skill is CRITICAL.
"Read by the author" is only a positive thing if the author happens to be a great narrator, too.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Yeah,

I agree with ApK. When I run, I prefer to listen to books and the single monotone of a computer or even slight inflected of most books is horrible. Same is true for long car drives.

Currently I am listening to a pod cast of Gunsmoke (old time radio show) instead of a book, but it is the same principle.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:01 AM   #6
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Well, I hear you, but still I wonder what sells and what doesn't sell audio wise. I am not ready to hire James Earl Jones yet.

I am a pretty severe self critic, and I listened to other people who heard our presentations and whereas we weren't on the great side, the work was judged competent.

I don't know what I will do in the future. It seems logical to think that there must be market there but how do we tap into it without spending all the profit?

When I was younger before I wrote so much, I used to make cassette tapes of study notes of technical subjects, on project scopes, objectives, designs and details, on languages for foreign work, on topographical and cultural data for trips and listen to them as I drove or flew. Now days I play back what I am writing and make notes on a pad. Anyway, maybe I am too used to a kind of dry narrative and am missing something with the audio books.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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Ya know, if they had somewhere that did audiobooks for indie authors that were good quality and a reasonable price, and then sold them in the same way that Smashwords did, then I might give it another try.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
anamardoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
Ya know, if they had somewhere that did audiobooks for indie authors that were good quality and a reasonable price, and then sold them in the same way that Smashwords did, then I might give it another try.
Indie authors can upload to Audible via ACX. (Also goes out to Amazon and iTunes.)

You can hire indie narrators through ACX or find them on your own through LibriVox or Podiobook forums.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
Indie authors can upload to Audible via ACX. (Also goes out to Amazon and iTunes.)

You can hire indie narrators through ACX or find them on your own through LibriVox or Podiobook forums.
I listened to a LibriVox book recently, and while it wasn't bad (especially for free!) the quality of each section could be highly variable. Some sections were noisey and low volume, some were loud, but even just the change of voices was fairly distracting. So even if all the narrators were equally good, and all the pieces were the same level, the mere fact of there being different people doing each section makes their stuff less than ideal...but still better than some 'professional' audiobooks I've encountered.

The LibriVox effect is that of several people taking turns reading a book to you.
That's fine, but when a talented person 'performs' a book -- and I mean an unabridged reading, not a dramatization--you can get immersed in the idea that you're really hearing the characters say the dialog, or in the particular voice of the book's narrator.

Of course, the potential downside is that you hear that performer's interpretation, and not the interpretation that your own imagination would have cast on the words on the page, but I'm personally OK with that.

ApK

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Old 08-10-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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I think Ana meant that some Librivox volunteers will work for hire, so you can find one you like and hire them to record your book. Only one person for the whole book, and you can use their Librivox recordings as a type of audition.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:25 PM   #11
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Even the best text-to-speech gets old and boring fast, if not out-right painful.
Now, I deeply respect Stephen Hawking, as he is an amazing man...but I find the text-to speech function on my K3G-keyboard a lot like having Mr. Hawking reading to me. (Especially poor for romance novels, prolly ok for science textbooks...)

Agreed. A good audiobook is a fantastic treat.

I'd only suggest commissioning an audio book production after an e-book has been quite successful. Only my 2c worth....
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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I think Ana meant that some Librivox volunteers will work for hire, so you can find one you like and hire them to record your book. Only one person for the whole book, and you can use their Librivox recordings as a type of audition.
Correct.

Finding an audio narrator is like finding a cover artist. You have to do your research.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Now, I deeply respect Stephen Hawking, as he is an amazing man...but I find the text-to speech function on my K3G-keyboard a lot like having Mr. Hawking reading to me. (Especially poor for romance novels, prolly ok for science textbooks...)

Agreed. A good audiobook is a fantastic treat.

I'd only suggest commissioning an audio book production after an e-book has been quite successful. Only my 2c worth....
I appreciate the "Hawking" reference. That had not occurred to me. Very perceptive.
On the other hand none of us can afford the audio production talents of say an Alan Parsons.

Anyway with that I will share some opinions and rules of thumb I have heard.

Sci Fi audio - NOT. (And the Da Vinci Code is not Sci Fi. so that
would be ok. This doesn't include the old (very large (size) classics) that are considered as milestones or benchmarks.
Fantasy - Harry Potter types can do well. Probably have been engraved on marble slabs.
Most NY Times Best Sellers Fiction. The folks that pay the most attention to that usually have money and lots of time.
The NY Times Best Sellers Non Fiction like political books may be primarily skimmed for conversation titbits, though sometimes they will be listened to on the train to work.

The following is general for fiction without regard to the book or the genre just based on popularity (copies sold) -
100 Thousand copies - maybe
500 Thousand copies -probably
1 Million copies or more - yes

Murder/mystery - little old ladies or little French guys solving crimes while on vacation in interesting and entertaining places -definitely.
Spy Thriller - if popular and very involved - yes
War fiction (current) - maybe. Again may be primarily skimmed.
War fiction (period, historical, semi-fictional, all fictional, etc.) it varies but is a good bet

Something on Charlie Rose or in a magazine- a "probable" to a strong yes.

There are others but those are some snapshots
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:48 AM   #14
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I've listened to Lonesome Dove narrated by Lee Horsley several times. His drawl is perfect for the book. It's my favorite audiobook by far. I also enjoy the Bujold books on Audible. I can't remember the narrator but he is also a good match.

I'm another one who can't stand to listen to TTS, though. Way too expressionless.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:58 AM   #15
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I'm tempted to try Podiobooks but I don't know if it would be worth it. I get the impression that you can narrate it yourself for free. To be honest I don't know if anyone would be interested in listening to me mumble through my book for 10 hours! It might be fun to give it a go though.
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