Author Topic: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?  (Read 810 times)  

Offline MajesticMonkey

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Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
« on: September 11, 2020, 04:22:43 am »
* I'm not in the us so can't sell directly on ACX
* Royalty will only be 32% with findawayvoices (instead f 40% on ACX)
* Estimated sales price for audiobook $10 based on 9300 words per finished hour. Net royalty to me $4.
* Make $5.5 and $6.5 from Kindle and "CreateSpace".
* Genre non fiction.

Make between 200 usd and 400 usd net per month from both existing editions (50/50 ebook/paperback).  It's a well established book for years now with good reviews (might be at the tail end of it's life cycle -- not sure... have thought that mistakenly before).

If you already publish Kindle and Paperback and add an Audiobook in the mix, does the pie get bigger or does it cannibalize sales from the two aforementioned existing editions?

How does the math work out in your opinion using an educated guess?

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    Offline PenNPaper

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #1 on: September 11, 2020, 05:30:08 am »
    I wouldn't, no. The monthly sales aren't enough to indicate an audiobook would be successful.

    Offline DmGuay

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #2 on: September 11, 2020, 05:57:05 am »
    Audiobooks do not cannibalize sales. They are for a completely different audience.

    There are so many factors.
    -Like, how much do you estimate an audiobook would cost to produce?
    -How will you promote it? (Promoting audio is a different animal.)
    -If you're in nonfiction, are you also earning money in some other way related to the topic of this book? Like courses, etc., and would the audiobook bring in clients?


    Overall, the consensus is audiobooks aren't worth it unless your book is selling steadily and really well.
     
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    Offline scottdouglas

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #3 on: September 11, 2020, 08:32:30 am »
    It's not going to help or hurt your sales--it will just give you an extra revenue stream. Audible is having very bad review times right now (mine has been in review for 6+ months).

    I don't think it's worth it if you are sharing the revenue with the voice talent; if you do it, pay your own production cost. You can find someone reasonable on Upwork (I wouldn't use Findaway's service to find talen...just to distribute; it seems more costly that way).

    I've had very good success with Chirp deals and BookBub audio ads; I made back my production cost in about two months and now it's just extra income. My book was shorter however (about 40k words) so it wasn't as much to produce as some books, and the topic is slightly more niche.

    The money you get will not be fantastic, but if you do it right, you should make it back at the very least. But there is still a risk there.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 09:31:48 am »
    Audio books do help sales BUT this title doesn't sell enough to warrant production costs. The key is to do new releases, not old books. Ebook visibility helps sell audio books.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 08:54:56 pm »
    You know, everyone always says that you shouldn't do audio until your sales are a certain level, and sometimes even with figures like a book should be selling 500 copies a month or something.

    I'm rarely ever within cooee of that for any of my books, and I ignored all the advice. I did audio for a couple of books of my best-selling series, but yeah, it was too expensive and I stopped.

    Then I did some royalty share. Bad idea. DON'T.

    At "recommended" $250+ PFH cost, you're never going to get your money back unless you sell lots, which you won't until you have more audio so it's like a chicken and egg situation.

    Clearly, I decided, the problem is production cost. Get it down to an acceptable level, like roughly the same as you pay for an edit, and then you have a chance. So I did. And the funny thing, the more audio I got, the better my audio started selling.

    Offline S. C.

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 10:03:05 pm »
    It depends...
    I would lean to saying no. Even if your book is good you need a good narrator because that's want listeners want. They want a good book performed by a pro. narrator - like a Hollywood level actor. Audio sells less overall than ebooks and it's more expensive to produce. No right off the bat to royalty share because then you can never take it wide and you can't make decisions independently because another person (the narrator) is invested with you.

    Maybe you can find a great narrator just starting out at $100 per finished hour. If you can't then the odds of you recouping your investment (and after that, actually making a profit), aren't that high.

    Audio and ebook are completely different audiences. But, if you aren't selling lots in ebook then consider that audio will likely be a fraction of that.


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    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 11:37:08 pm »
    There are roughly two types of narrators for hire:

    - Ones calling themselves "professional" charging "industry standard" rates hoping to snag trad deals. Sometimes these peeps narrate for their day jobs, and sometimes they're starting out, but you couldn't tell the difference just by looking at the rates. Sometimes they're highly experienced and sometimes much less so.

    - Ones charging what the market can bear and snagging as much work as possible. Sometimes these are experienced peeps, sometimes not. Often (but not always) they have other income. The experienced ones can be very good. Some others are terrible.

    There is a third class of narrator: the celebrity, "name" narrator who has their own following. These peeps are not often up for hire because they're booked constantly. Their rates are crazy and you can't easily book them because they're very busy.

    When you start in audio, the first two are the ones we can get. In general, they don't have a huge following and even if they do, what good is that going to be if they narrate across all genres (as most of them like to do)

    So then for us, choosing becomes like choosing a cover designer. We can see (or hear) the result, the style, tone of voice etc. and whether we go with an expensive one or a cheaper one makes no difference to sales.

    There is an audience that follows narrators, but there is a much larger audience that just wants someone with a pleasant and clear voice to read the book to them competently.

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #8 on: September 13, 2020, 12:05:11 am »
    I've been surprised that many name narrators charge about the same as nameless narrators. It really depends. Some charge much more. Some are comparable.

    With audio, I wouldn't spend any money you can't afford to lose. You will probably make it back eventually, but it could take many years. Success as an ebook doesn't necessarily mean success as an audiobook. My audio is less than 5% of my income, and I have almost all my books in audio. (And sell well in ebook format).

    Online Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #9 on: September 13, 2020, 04:05:30 am »
    Jumping on this thread, do many people use the royalty share option when starting out with audio, or do most people save up and pay for it outright?

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 04:09:23 am »
    Jumping on this thread, do many people use the royalty share option when starting out with audio, or do most people save up and pay for it outright?

    Don't. Just don't. It's a bad idea.

    Online Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 04:11:29 am »
    Don't. Just don't. It's a bad idea.

    End up losing out in the long run then, I'm assuming? I'll bear that in mind then, if and when I venture into audio.

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 04:31:59 am »
    End up losing out in the long run then, I'm assuming? I'll bear that in mind then, if and when I venture into audio.

    You lose your freedom to do with the book as you want. You're tied to Audible, and Audible is a *terrible* company to work with. You could buy out the narrator, but the narrator has to agree to that, and sometimes they don't. And sometimes they fall off the planet and you're stuck. Just don't. Pay for production, do it yourself, whatever. Don't do royalty share.

    Online Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #13 on: September 13, 2020, 04:36:47 am »
    You lose your freedom to do with the book as you want. You're tied to Audible, and Audible is a *terrible* company to work with. You could buy out the narrator, but the narrator has to agree to that, and sometimes they don't. And sometimes they fall off the planet and you're stuck. Just don't. Pay for production, do it yourself, whatever. Don't do royalty share.

    Thanks Patty.

    Online Carol (was Dara)

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #14 on: September 13, 2020, 03:15:01 pm »
    I don't know a lot about the nonfiction market, but it looks to me like your ebook/print sales are too low to justify the expense of producing an audio book. I've got 15 audio books (fiction in various genres) going back about eight years and they're only a small fraction of my ebook sales. If I hadn't kept production costs low, I'd still be in the red on most of them all these years later. Admittedly, I made a lot of non-optimal decisions about which books to put into audio and when to release them, and I did little marketing. Even so...

    On royalty share, I'm not a fan for a lot of reasons but the biggest is that it ties your hands on future decisions about your book. Better to wait and save up until your ebooks are selling enough to justify hiring a narrator at an hourly rate.

    Offline Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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    Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
    « Reply #15 on: September 13, 2020, 05:37:22 pm »
    Most of my audiobooks are on ACX (including my three short non-fiction) and I chose royalty share for all of them.  I did audio to make my books more accessible to everyone.  It's fun to listen to the stories come to life, and I've met some wonderful narrators.  Some I couldn't afford (LOL) but I've stayed friends on social media.

    It depends on why you're making audiobooks.  If it's purely for a revenue stream, then you've already had a lot of advice.  Best of luck whatever you decide!  :)

    Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
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