Audio Book talk
Life as an author/publisher is crazy. Let's be honest. You write a book, great job. But the euphoria of this accomplishment wears off when you realize that you still have a bazillion steps between you and publishing. Editing, proofreading, revision, beta, editor, agent query, rejection, more querying, more rejection, small press, boutique publishers, independent publishing. Phew, I'm out of breath. You navigate that maze and your book is published. Congrats! Big pat on the back. No, seriously, pat yourself on the back, because if you made it that far, you've accomplished more than a lot of other people. But then you're at a book signing one day and someone asks "is your book on audio book? Cause I only listen to audio books while I drive". Then the whole cycle starts all over again. Well, not from the beginning, because this time you at least have a finished project to start with.
Simply put, what do you need to get a good audio book adaptation of your work?
1: A good manuscript. Sounds corny, but it's true. How good is the book? And, not every genre adapts that well to audio. Look over your project and determine if it is right for the medium.
2: The right voice. This is the "duh" step. The right narrator can make or break an audio book project from the get go. Just like a good/bad cover art can turn your print book into a winner. Don't settle on an audio book narrator just because they show your project a little interest. ACX is great, but there are a lot of people operating out of their basement and very little set up to manage the overall quality of the project.
3: The studio matters. Where is the product going to be recorded? What kind of equipment are they using? We have a pro studio with a sound booth, but some people just set up a mic at their office desk and record it there. Ask lots of questions like: what level of post production can I expect from you? Can I check the final product for quality before it is uploaded for distribution? Most importantly, what does my project mean to the narrator and the studio? Is their passion, or is this just another pay check. Be comfortable with who you are going to work with before you give the final go ahead. A good audio book attracts customers to multiple mediums, boosting print and eBook sales. While a bad audio book can turn people off altogether. Be wary. Get involved, especially if the studio is local. Ask to attend the first recording session. Infuse some of your passion into the people adapting your work. It can't hurt.
4: The right marketing. Take some time to find out what marketing tips work. Promo websites, social media, paid review services, and cover quotes can all work in varying degrees. Use trial and error. Try connecting with people that review like or similar titles fairly.
5: Digital exclusive versus hard copy. It's cool to sell fancy jewel cases full of shiny cd's at author events, but ask yourself: will my event sales justify the personal expense, plus the loss to other, more lucrative markets. Consider offering download codes for Audible or iTunes instead. Just like eBooks, digital media versions come at a lower cost/higher reward trade. Besides, most people listen to audio books on devices these days. Viva tech revolución!