Why Do You NEED To Make an Audiobook?
There are a lot of people who hate reading, but love listening to audiobooks and podcasts. These “non-readers” either can’t or won’t take the time to sit down and read a book. Perhaps they struggle with slow reading, dyslexia or their sight is impaired. Or they consume content faster than how much it costs to buy new books all the time. If you want to reach more people with your message or recommend your book to others, there had better be an audio version.
Audiobook sales growth has exploded in recent years due to the ability to download audiobooks from sites like Audible.com, iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and ChristianAudio.com, among many others, directly to people’s smartphones. Some people will never read your book, but they will listen to content while commuting or doing other tasks like driving, working out, or cooking. If you have an audiobook, not only will you make money selling the audio versions, giving your book an additional revenue stream, you’ll make additional money through the recommendations of people who listened to the audio version.
The audiobook market is unique and distinct from the print book market and the digital book world. I’ve been publishing Kindle books, and have one title released with a traditional publishing house, and I rub shoulders with other authors all the time and hear over and over that audio is its own market with SOME cross-over with ebook and print books, too.
Since some people only buy print books, while others only listen to audiobooks, you need your message or your story available in each market!
Why Hire A Narrator Like Me Directly Instead of Through ACX?
Hosted by Amazon’s Audible, Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) is an online marketplace that connects authors, narrators, and producers, and is basically the monopoly on audiobook retail. While ACX lets you produce your audiobook for free provided you split the revenue with the narrator, there are long-term disadvantages to this:
- You have to agree to a seven-year royalty split agreement with the narrator. That’s easy to agree to now if you’re short for cash and want to get your audiobook published sooner rather than later. But agreeing to this prevents you from being able to switch to another platform down the road if you decide you want to. Seven years can be a long time if you’re unhappy with this arrangement, and 7-year contracts are no guarantee of return on investment for anyone.
- ACX keeps 60% of the book’s sales and gives the author 40% if you’re agreeing to give ACX exclusive distribution, and 25% for non-exclusive if you want to sell your book outside of their distribution channels, such as on your own website, for example. It’s from this 40% of your sales that you are splitting with the narrator for the next seven years. So in other words, you will only make no more than 20% on each sale of your audiobook. For seven years.
- ACX has a monopoly on this, and in recent years they changed their royalty system without notice to authors and narrators. There’s no telling what could happen in the next 7 years — will they lower the royalties yet again? You’re literally taking your chances when you sign up for the monopoly’s rules and payouts.
- Since many narrators prioritize paid work, they could prioritize other projects ahead of yours since it’s for deferred payment, and it could take months for your book to be completed to your liking and available for sale. Simply put, if hiring a pro for RS, they could put you to the back of the line while working on paid work.
- And for a very self-serving reason: I’m a Canadian and the ACX program used to only be open to producers and narrators in the USA and UK. So I had to be creative and work outside these limitations when I began doing this professionally.
July 2019 Edit: ACX recently introduced the Royalty-Share Plus option, which is basically a hybrid deal consisting of paying the narrator some upfront fees and allowing them to do a royalty split with the author/right’s holder.
Again, it may be cheaper to get your audiobook recorded and listed online through ACX, but more often than not, it will wind up costing you more in the long run. Paying for the cost of audiobook production on the front end, though costlier at first, allows you to keep all the royalties for as long as you are selling the book and it works out to be cheaper in the long run. You will not owe anybody else a portion of your profits, allowing you to earn back your investment much faster.
Ultimately, you need to choose what is right for you, as hiring a narrator who charges Per Finished Hour (PFH) and doing a royalty share both have advantages as well as disadvantages.
If you have heard any samples of my work, such as the Fire On Your Head podcast or audiobooks I have narrated (see samples below) and you’ve decided you want to use my voice for your book’s narration, then let’s get started!
How The Cost Of Your Book is Determined
Factoring in how much time it takes me to record (between 1.5 x and 2 x the amount of time it takes just to read your book out loud), edit, and master it (about 6 x the time it takes to record it), my prices start at 3 cents per word, based on your book’s word count and the complexity of the project.
- 10,000 words: 10,000 x 0.03 = $300
- 20,000 words: 20,000 x 0.03 = $600
- 30,000 words: 30,000 x 0.03 = $900
- 40,000 words: 40,000 x 0.03 = $1200
- and so on…
Please note, as mentioned in the previous paragraph price estimates are rounded UP to the nearest 5000 words. For example, if your book is 26,000 words long you will be charged for 30,000 words.
- 17,240 words = Charged for 20,000 words ($600)
- 31,000 words = Charged for 35,000 words ($1050)
- 56,000 words = Charged for 60,000 words ($1800)
- and so on…
Please review the above pricing before contacting me and asking how much I will charge to produce a book of XXXXX number of words. My pickiness, the fact I’m busy and the volume of email requests I get will automatically make me ignore and delete your email if you do this.
Also, don’t contact me to ask me to lower my rate or cut you a deal. I will tell you the same thing as I’m stating here: NO.
Other Terms and Conditions
- I do not take future royalty as payment. This is a paid-for-work service. I am not interested in doing a royalty split/share due to the amount of time required to produce your audiobook. I’m only open to royalty-share at my discretion through ACX if the print and Kindle version of your title is clearly selling in such high volume that this would result in my payment very soon upon completing the project.
- The audiobook you would like me to narrate must already be on Amazon/Kindle as per ACX rules or it’s about to be, like in cases where you’re hiring me to produce the audiobook to launch at the same time as the print and digital versions. For exceptions to this, please give me details about your project when contacting me through the form below.
- I DO accept installments. For example, in the case of large projects I’m flexible, but please note you will not receive your mp3 files nor will I upload them to your Dropbox account, online storage, or ACX and publish your book for you, etc… until AFTER I’ve received all final payments or installments. No exceptions.
- The minimum upfront payment I require is $350. If your project is small or will cost less than that, I will require the entire payment upfront.
- –> I don’t do fiction at this point. <–
- I have rarely heard a voice-over artist narrate a book who was the opposite gender of the author, except for fiction works, but I’m open to it if female authors want me to be the voice that reads their book. Especially on a case-by-case basis where the gender doesn’t matter.
- Agreeing to narrate a project does NOT mean I necessarily endorse everything the author(s) say(s) in their book. Though I am selective and usually narrate projects I enjoy and believe in, it does not mean I necessarily agree with all of the author’s other views publicly stated elsewhere, either. I’m merely lending my physical voice to their book.
- Under no circumstance will I narrate erotica, or anything that condones and promotes illegal activity or racism.
- You must either be the copyright holder (author or publisher), or you’re legally able to produce the audiobook on their behalf. This means, for example, that I won’t record a textbook you have to study for an exam, EVEN IF you “swear you are not going to sell it”.
- For projects requiring a speedy turnaround, I charge an additional rush fee.
Link to my work on Audible
Click the image below to get a FREE audiobook with your 30-day trial of Audible.
Short Samples of My Work:
Also, for the time being, Eric Gilmour, an author I frequently collaborate with, has made his most recent work, Lovesick available as an audiobook only on YouTube for free. You can check out the entire 2-hour audiobook there and see if you would like to have me read and record your complete book into audio format.