Sunday, November 26, 2017

AUDIO BOOKS ARE THE REAL THING!

This is one bandwagon all authors are going to want to climb on. The big news is that audio books have made more gains among readers/listeners in 2017, while eBook sales have continued to decline.
After doing the research, the numbers are solid. Audio books gained a roughly 28% increase, while eBooks saw a nearly 20% drop.

That matters, folks. It matters to authors who are trying to eek out some extra pocket change for food or living expenses or maybe taking a long weekend excursion. It matters to authors who are trying to get exposure in as many markets as they can to reach readers. And it matters to your readers, if you're an author, to make your books more easily available to all segments of society, including some who may have difficulty holding on to an eReader or actual book, someone who is blind, someone who has a religious regime of exercise and needs a book to listen to while running through the park, or someone who is addicted to books but can't read and drive to work at the same time and would love to listen to a book. Well, you get the picture. As an author who writes lesbian fiction, it's a very small niche. An edge in a limited readership is something well worth taking advantage of. It's a scramble trying to grab as many readers as possible.

Authors, you need your book, all your books, in audio book format. And this is where indies (and I use the word here to indicate authors choosing to publish their own works via Amazon or Lulu, etc.) shine over contracted authors. It's literally FREE...yes...FREE...to create a professional audio book. No, I don't mean go out and buy recording equipment and a soundproof room for yourself. It's called Audible. Via their audio book production site, ACX, you can become a big time audio book producer. You get to audition voice actors (my own choice of words for "narrator") and method of paying them. Yes, they want to get paid too. But you don't have to pay them hard cold cash out of your bank account. Find a voice actor that will accept the "Royalty" plan. That means once the audio book is listed and for sale on Audible and Amazon, your voice actor and you split the royalties earned on the audio book sales. Simple. BTW, some voice actors will only work for pay upfront, and they list their going rate per hour's work. My personal finances don't allow for such spending, so for all my lesbian Gothic Historical Romances currently available in audio (see below), I have always found the most amazing voice actors willing to work with the Royalty plan.


Another reward you get by jumping on the audio book bandwagon is the chance to work with some amazing and accomplished voice actors in the industry. Many are award winning in their fields. I had an extraordinary opportunity to work with one such woman, Cathy Conneff. SHADOWS OF THE HEART is my latest Gothic Historical Romance. It's my only book set in England during the 1820s.
Setting out to find an actress able to meet the British language requirements, plus a bit of French accent for another important character in the book, I was pleasantly surprised that Cathy Conneff had found me and my book, and already put in an audition. That audition won me over immediately. I knew she could bring my book to life.

Not only did she do that, but she made my book better. Yes, that's right. A professional voice actor can not only bring your book alive, but make it better. With Cathy Conneff, it wasn't just reading the characters on the page, she became the characters. She immersed herself in the settings, the atmosphere. She created a whole new experience. She was so good, I recommend all who've read SHADOWS OF THE HEART, please take a listen to the audio book. You will come away with a whole new experience of the story. She is that good.

If not for the audio book and Cathy's amazing reading, SHADOWS OF THE HEART, would be missing a whole new audience.


I also had the opportunity to work with another big name in audio narration. Karen Rose Richter has won numerous accolades in the voice acting field, and she narrated two of my Gothic Historical Romances, THE SECRET OF LIGHTHOUSE POINTE and CASTLE OF DARK SHADOWS. Again, in the hands of a professional, immersive voice actor, a book takes on a whole new life. Finding the right voice actor is a fun and exhilarating experience, and listening to someone else read and breathe life into your words is something all authors should not deprive themselves of. 

With sales of eReaders limping along, and the downward predictions for eBook sales, audio books appear to be taking the lead. As an indie author, I have seen more sales and generated more income from my audio book sales than eBook sales. I never thought I would see this happen. I'm currently creating more income from audio book sales. That may change. None of us have crystal balls (well some of us may, but they aren't sharing). The bottom line is that authors who are not opting to have their books produced into audio books are missing a big sales generator and an increasingly important tool in the author's tool kit. 

Audible and ACX are both connected to Amazon, but your audio books are also listed in iTunes. That's a winning combination. So go ahead and jump on the audio book bandwagon. It's picking up steam.

Please check out my Amazon Author page. You'll find links to all my books, audio books and lots visual media such as book trailers, to enjoy.