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Saturday, October 26, 2013

When Your Book Talks Back

Ebook, Print and Audio covers for Rose
If you don’t know already, the audiobook format is gaining in popularity. Why? Because more people are able to access ACX, Audible’s author-friendly version for indie books and books for which authors own their audio rights. Now authors can take charge of the audiobook process, producing their own product through Audible downloads.
Every day more and more people have devices capable of storing and playing back downloaded audio. Many of those devices are Apple products for those owners of the fab-favorite iPhone and other products like the iTouch, Nano, iPad and iPad mini. But even if you aren’t an Apple owner, Audible books can be downloaded to your computer and listened to there or transferred to an MP3 player. For Kindle Fire HD and HDX owners, many audiobooks are also available in Whisper Sync, meaning the audiobook is synced with the e-book and you can listen to it or stop and read exactly where the audiobook stopped.
When I wrote with a partner as Terry Campbell, we once has an audiobook produced through contract with a company called Books-in-Motion. However, we had no control over the narrator or production process. The book was okay, but if we’d been able to direct the narrator, it would have been far better.
Just the beginning of this month, I dipped my toe in the ACX water and have six books in varying stages of becoming reality. So far, I have found it amazingly simple. I was very fortunate that a wonderful narrator stepped forward and auditioned for my inspirational nonfiction book, In the Stillness. However, I found it was better for me to contact narrators for the rest and get those whom I thought were appropriate in tone and versatility of character voices to narrate the material.
Right now I have three books being produced by three separate narrators. The work has been phenomenal and I am excited. The gentleman producing Rose has an amazing voice and is also a well-established radio personality and voice-over teacher. The woman who is doing the nonfiction book has a great previous history with narration and is a singer and also works with a gospel band.  I entered the market at the right time. If you are a writer, don’t hesitate while good narrators are still less difficult to find using the 50/50 royalty option. I understand it is harder now than it was. Take the tiger by the tail.
Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction and also inspirational nonfiction. Nothing Ever Happens in Briny Bay, a compilation of the Briny Bay novellas, was released in print by Turquoise Morning Press during July. She just started a new mystery series, “As the River Runs” with the first book, The Widow James to debut from Black Opal Books in the next few months, For more about Bobbye, visit her at,  and


Sandy said...

Bobbye, I think you're right about audio, and you need the right narrator. I have one book in audio, but I haven't noticed it doing all that well. I don't know if it's because of the narrator, or the subject matter.

Thank you for this interesting post.

Cara Marsi said...

Interesting, Bobbye. A friend had one of her books made into audio with the help of Amazon through ACX. She chose her narrator and he's very good. It was unbelievably easy to download Audible to my computer and my iPhone. I can also sync it with my Kindle so I can read along with the narration if I want. It's all very cool. Best of luck to you.

Melissa Keir said...

I've looked into this and been scared about the whole process. You make it sound easy. I was also nervous about finding someone who would agree with the 50/50 royalty option.

The right narrator makes it all the more interesting. I heard a book that had a male narrator and he did okay with the female lines but I couldn't let go in my mind of him reading her parts. Maybe I'm still too stuck in the movie mode.

jean hart stewart said...

Can you do this with a book pubbed by a known publisher? Sounds interesting, but is it only for self-pubbed books?

Bobbye Terry said...

Thanks for all the comments. Melissa, if the right man narrates it, you can envision the woman saying it. Jean, if you didn't give your publisher the audio rights, you can do this. If you gave them to him/her and they have not be used, you may be able to get the publisher to revert your rights back to you. One of my publishers has done this and another has offered to. Of course, in most cases they own the art work, so you will have to start from scratch. The audio cover has to be 2500 pixels square, so no matter what, a new cover has to be configured.

As for finding a narrator for royalty share, they're out there. You just have to search out and ask unless by some miracle you can get a stipend from ACX. They will give the narrator up front an hourly rate but they still get their 50/50 share. Only books with really good sales and your evidence of a large social media audience to your sites will assure that happens.

Suzanne Rock said...

Hi Bobbye! Great post. The whole process can be rather intimidating, but it's well worth it. I'm so glad you're taking the plunge! I put three of my "Ecstasy Spa" books in audio and it was a great experience. I'm working with someone to do the other three. It's time consuming, and can be expensive if you don't do the royalty share, but I agree that more and more people are turning to audio. It think that the market is going to get bigger in the years to come. :)

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