I first met Julie C. Gilbert through the Christian Indie Black Friday sale of '15, where I almost purchased of her books, but ended up buying someone else's instead. I now have books 1 and 4 of her Devya's Children series, which looks pretty cool. She's a sweet lady.
Find her on the Interwebs:
Hearing Your Books Coming to Life through Audio
I think at one point or another most authors want to either see one of their books made into a movie or hear it brought to life on audiobook.
Pitfalls, Struggles, Stuff to Understand (The Real Deal):
1. It can cost money. Thus far, I’ve never had any of my audiobooks earn out what I invested in it to create it. That said, I’ve also made some conscious choices that affected this. Audible.com allows you to do Royalty Share or an amount PFH (per finished hour). Royalty share is awesome because you don’t have to invest any money up front. Basically, the narrator is assuming all the monetary risk for the project. You will split any earnings with them 50/50 (minus audible’s share, of course). Most of the really good narrators only work for pfh though because they realize what a tremendous amount of work goes into every single hour of audio.
2. What goes into creating an audiobook? I’ve only been on the publishing side, but I have worked very closely with all 4 of my narrators. They have to read the book, decide what voices to use for each character, record the chapters, edit the chapters, send the files to me, get feedback from me and implement it, and finally upload to ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). You can very easily be talking about 4 hours of work for a finished hour of audio. That’s why I tend to offer bonuses to every narrator I work with. I still can’t afford industry standards , which can be upwards of $225 pfh, but I try to be as fair as I can be.
3. There’s a time investment too. You need to listen to each audiofile that comes in from the narrator because ultimately you need to approve it for sale. If the file’s 15 minutes, it can take me 45 minutes to an hour because I tend to listen 3 times minimum. The first time, I listen with the manuscript in front of my face to see if there are any deviations from the text. Most are super minor and totally fine, but occasionally, something gets left out or added that makes a big difference. The second time, I listen while doing something else like email … to see if I can still follow along. The third time, I listen for enjoyment. Many times, there are a few listens with the manuscript just in case, but that’s just be being obsessive. Typically, once is enough. I give the narrators time stamps and a phrase as to what I think is awesome and what I think is a mistake and where I’m hearing something weird on my end. Narrator’s editing skills differ. I’ve worked with those who outsource the editing and those who do it okay and those who are spot on amazing with editing. (Check out Awakening if you want an example of absolutely amazing editing and effects.)
4. Finding the right narrator can take some time and effort. I listen through sample audioclips from people who meet the criteria for what I’m looking for ie. Male/female, engaging style, British accent, etc. Then, I individually email them the project I’d like them to audition for. If I email 10 or so, I will get about half that to send in an audition. At that point, it’s just a matter of agonizing over which one is my favorite and offering them a contract.
What does Audible do to help?
It’s mostly on you to get sales, but Audible gives you free codes to boost sales whenever you release something new. These codes are good on any book, so be careful in how you give them out. I’ve taken to gifting the book directly. I used to just trust people, but it’s safest to give them your books specifically. There is a grand total of 1 advertising site I know of that does paid adverts for audiobooks. Maybe someday the other ebook newsletters will hop on board, but for now, you’re going to have to get creative about getting those codes out there. You can also earn $50 bounties if you’re very proactive and get people to buy your audiobook first when they subscribe to Audible.
You may want to check out the audio samples. Every narrator brings something unique to the table. They’re all very hard working people, and I enjoy the process of working with them to create something new out of some of the previously published stories.
Heartfelt Cases 1: The Collins Case narrated by Kristin Condon
Heartfelt Cases 2: The Kiverson Case narrated by Kristin Condon
Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts: Helping Mr. Blairington and Other Misadventures narrated by Kristin Condon
Devya’s Children 1: Ashlynn’s Dreams narrated by Kristin Condon
Devya’s Children 2: Nadia’s Tears narrated by Kristin Condon
Devya’s Children 3: Malia’s Miracles narrated by Julie Hinton
The Dark Side of Science narrated by Brian Troxell (Note: this is a prequel to Ashlynn’s Dreams and makes a whole lot more sense after you’ve heard that.)
Redeemer Chronicles 1: Awakening narrated by Caitlin Jacques
Was it worth it?
Absolutely. I’ve gotten the unique opportunity to invest in some stellar actors/actresses. Their performances definitely add a new dimension to the stories. It’s also nice to have the stories in as many formats as possible. You never know when somebody’s laid up or is blind or just loves listening while they go about their daily lives.
If you happen to like audiobooks and want to check out any of the above for free, hop on my mailing list then email me and I’ll get you an audible gift of the story of your choice. (This is subject to availability of codes. Since there’s typically not a high demand, I should be able to accommodate everybody, but no guarantees.)
By the way, I’m starting Audiobook Author and Reader Edge programs. There’s a giant gap between indie authors and readers. It’s very common to put in all the effort and then hear crickets when you try to sell it. I’d like to begin bridging that gap by working with other authors. More details here.
Thanks for reading!
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Email and Links:
Devyaschildren @ gmail.com