I go through about 30 full books per year (2 or more audiobooks per month (24+ pear year) + another 6 or so books in print per year), even as a slow reader that underlines and takes notes on every page. How? Audiobooks! I have been hooked on audiobooks since 2007 when I first began. If you are reading this page right now it is likely because you are an author, an editor, or a publisher, and I contacted you requesting that you make your book(s) available on Audible (my preferred format). In the past, I have successfully helped authors, editors and publishers get audio versions of their books available. Assuming the publisher is willing to do it, it is a fairly simple process. So this page is intended to help you as an author or publisher to get setup!
How audiobook customers like me behave: When audiobook customers like me cannot find a book that we are looking for on audio format we do one of two things:
- We add it to our much smaller queue of print books and prioritize it according to interest level, or
- We disregard the book altogether. Don’t let this happen to your book!
My suggested solution for you: Making your book available for “readers” (listeners) using smartphones can be done easily through Audible (owned by Amazon) and iTunes. In order to do this for audio CD format, you can contact companies like Blackstone Audio or Random House Audio. Whether you are an author, an editor, or a publisher, you can do this in 3 easy ways:
- Audible’s wonderful ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) website allows you to listen to voice samples and choose a narrator of your liking. Once the book has been recorded, it will automatically be sold on Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes!!! You can get started… Authors click here. Publishers click here. Just follow the very simple directions.
- For audio CD format: Contact Blackstone Audio and Random House Audio. (These two publishers are among the largest for audio CD format).
Intellectual Properties: In many cases the publisher of the print book only owns the rights to the print edition. Therefore the author would, by default, own the rights to other editions (audio, for example). In this case, the author can hire a narrator using ACX or another service or narrate him/herself. According to ACX’s Authors’ page, granting Audible exclusive distribution rights allows you to earn royalties of 40%.If the publisher owns the rights to all formats (including audio), I recommend that authors contact the publisher about releasing an audio version. There is potentially money to be made, so appeal to your publisher’s business interests. Regarding costs, the rights holder can either pay Audible a flat fee to produce the audiobook, or royalties can be shared. Click here for full details.
Suitability of certain books for audio format: If your book has charts, graphs, tables, photos, etc. you may believe that your book is not well-suited for audio format. But, this isn’t necessarily the case. The reason is that Audible allows you to provide an accompanying reference guide that goes with the audiobook. To give you an example, here is a link to the accompanying reference guide for Daniel Kahneman’s audiobook Thinking Fast and Slow. In the recording of the audiobook the narrator can just say “See the chart in figure one of the accompanying reference guide,” and listeners will know what to do!
What readers can do: Readers wanting to request that a book be made available on audio can submit a request to Audible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and to iTunes through Apple’s “Make Request for the iTunes Store” page.
A “Thank you” letter from an author: Here below is one letter from an author that I contacted about making his book available on Audible. The author describes his painless experience:
I want to let you know that Audible now has [book name withheld] for sale as an audiobook, and it will be available on Amazon.com and iTunes within a few days. I really appreciate your cluing me in to Audible. The process was quick and painless; the Audible people have clearly given a lot of thought to business process engineering, and the system seems to draw a lot of interest from would-be narrators — 11 people auditioned for me by reading a short text in the space of 24 hours.
As for future books, [book name withheld] is the only one of my books to which I hold the audio rights (which explains why no audiobook was released when [book name withheld] was first published in 2006). In the other cases, the print publisher has purchased all rights, including audio, and gets to decide how to use them.
Again, thank you so much for prodding me to do this.
[Author’s name withheld]
As for publishers: From time to time I email publishers of books in print and almost always receive equally-energetic responses. Publishers want to make money, and making books available on audio is one way to help them do it.
See also: Why audiobooks can make your whole life better