Audiobook sales have seen double digit growth for eight straight years, topping over a billion dollars in the US alone in 2019. Here’s how to make this massive market work for YOU.
The rise of the digital era has resulted in a boom in audiobooks, and why not? People seek out audiobooks because they present an opportunity to disconnect and decompress, with 28% of Americans reporting they were online “almost constantly” just last year.
Yet fewer than 20% of nonfiction authors leverage their books into audiobooks! This despite the fact that the audiobook industry is growing at three times the rate of any other kind of publishing. As well, production costs have dropped 50% since 2009. But why? I looked into it, and discovered there were three main reasons.
- Authors had no idea that they could dramatically increase their audience, influence, and income with audiobooks.
- Authors didn’t know that they didn’t have to give away their royalties or that it was so easy to get a return on their investment.
- Worst of all, authors didn’t know their options for audiobook production or where to get started.
There has never been a better opportunity to enter the audiobook space. But going it alone is fraught with pitfalls. As a nonfiction audiobook publishing specialist, I see critical mistakes made—and bottom-line opportunities overlooked—time and again.
Production, distribution and marketing are all critical elements and having a partner to guide you through them all is the best way to guarantee that your audiobook is a success.
Here are three of the top questions we get asked about Audiobooks:
How can I use my audiobook during my book launch?
Audiobooks extend the life of your new book launch. Releasing your audiobook at the right time during your initial book release allows you to keep the momentum and excitement going.
Your audiobook content—that is, pieces of the audiobook itself—also can be used to promote your audiobook. Pieces of your audiobook can be turned into ‘audiograms,’ and/or a killer video book trailer to share on social media, through email, and on your website.
If you’re podcasting (as a host or guest) to promote your book and message, you can also use your audio content in your podcast interviews or show notes.
Just like your book, your audiobook is an evergreen marketing asset that can help you share your message with the world for years to come.
How much time does it take to produce one “finished” hour of an audiobook?
Producing an audiobook is not as simple as just recording a book being read.
For the sake of calculation, keep in mind that about 10,000 words of your book equals an hour of “finished” audio.
First, there is prep. Special features that you may have in your book, like charts, captions, exercises, sidebars, calls to action, etc. need to be “translated” into audio.
Next is raw recording. People can’t just read a book from start to finish—they make mistakes, have pauses, need to take breaks, and so on. Audiobook recording sessions are no more than 2-3 hours at a time due to vocal and energy fatigue. You want your audiobook to be consistent and engaging, drawing in the listener – so your performance (or your narrators’) is paramount.
Production itself involves a detailed editing process that includes removing extraneous noises, reducing breaths and any “ah”s or “um”s, ensuring the pacing sounds right, and making sure the audio itself conforms to the stringent technical standards imposed by ACX (the Audiobook Creation eXchange, Amazon’s audiobook platform). It’s also vital to check the recording against the text of the book to look for mistakes—the spoken word version of typos.
Corrections must be made for anything missing, misspoken or otherwise incorrect, and then those corrections must be sound engineered too.
This is a deliberate process for professionals. It is a snail pace process for amateurs so it’s important to know what you’re in for before you get started.
Could I launch a previously published title as an audiobook?
Yes! Your previously launched books can absolutely be relaunched as audiobook. This strategy gives you the ability to have an entirely new product launch (with a new income stream) without having to create ANY new content. Hallelujah!
Even better, if your previously published book wasn’t a bestseller and you want to give it another chance, releasing the audiobook version allows you to make that happen.
Excited yet? You can explore more with our full list of Frequently Asked Questions about Audiobooks for more information – enjoy!
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