Dear Indie Author,
I have a request that might rub you the wrong way, but I'm going to go for it. Would you please release an audiobook version of your latest novel?
Maybe you don't see an audience out there for your novel in audiobook form. I get it. The format is relatively new in comparison to the history of the written word. However, this is a growing market that shouldn't be ignored. AuthorEarnings.com stated in their January 2015 Author Earnings Report that:
Amazon.com alone visibly sells over 560 million ebooks and 420 million print books a year in the U.S. When you include the 70 million audiobooks Amazon.com sells annually (split 60/40 between digital downloads and CD format), you get roughly a billion books of all formats that are being sold by Amazon.com each year.
Perhaps you are under the impression that the only people listening to audiobooks are using them as ambient distraction. After all, who hasn't heard a coworker whose commute would be insufferable if not for an audiobook. While I have to admit that I've used audiobooks to save myself from a boring afternoon or two, they have also provided me immense joy over the years. I often close my eyes and listen to an audiobook while soaking in the bath after a long day. I'll pop in my earbuds and enjoy a few chapters while walking the dog during a brief window of Seattle sunshine. Listening to an audiobook can be as private and sacred as snuggling up in bed with my kindle.
That said, I know it must seem like a lot to ask to get an audiobook made. Almost every week I see mainstream authors releasing audio versions of their most popular novels featuring big name actors. It probably feels a little daunting. However, I want to tell you that the opportunities for indie authors in this domain have never been more abundant.
Marketplaces like Amazon's Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) allow authors to solicit auditions from a pool of voice actors to perform their books for either an hourly rate per finished hour or royalty share. You can essentially get your book produced with no up-front fee. As an author you are in full control of the casting process. You can listen to as many auditions as you like before you find the perfect person to voice your story. Once the project is complete, ACX handles the QA process and publishes your audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and even iTunes.
This is a pie in the sky idea, but you might even consider narrating your novel yourself. If you have a clear speaking voice and the time to dedicate to recording, I'd encourage you to go for it. As a listener, it feels extra special to hear an author narrate their own work.
Over the past few months I've tracked my listening habits. It turns out that I listen to approximately one audiobook in a given week, which is about as quickly as I read traditional print. It's a different sensory experience, but one I hope you won't forget about.
I hope to see your novel in audiobook form soon!
Devoted reader and listener,