Wednesday, April 25

Creating an #AudioBook

One of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, is busily working with ACX  to create audiobooks from already published books. The process goes like this: I fill out a form giving information about my book, such as the kind of voices required - someone with an English accent, or an American southern drawl. I include a short excerpt and my publisher submits the information to narrators at ACX. What we're looking for are narrators who are willing to work on a royalty share basis, which means that rather than getting paid upfront, they'll share any royalties an audiobook makes. It's a good deal for an author like me who really can't afford $200 - $300 USD per finished hour required to pay a narrator. Considering that a full-length novel can be twelve hours long, that's a bunch!

There are some drawbacks to royalty share, however. The most experienced and in-demand narrators don't work this way, so an author is limited for choice. Narrators decide whether or not they're interested in a story, and if they're not, they give it a pass. It may not be because they don't like the book; if it's a full-length novel they may not want to invest the amount of work it will take to record such a long book, especially since there is no guarantee of a good return on that investment.

If they decide they're interested, they'll audition by reading the short excerpt that was submitted. The
author listens to the audition and decide whether they want this narrator to be the person who brings their book to life. Once the author gives the go ahead, the book goes into production. When it's completed, the author "proofreads" the whole thing, listening for errors that take the reader out of the story, uncommonly long pauses, or any other type of mistake that impedes the flow of the story. It's a bit of a surreal experience to have the book you've written read back to you!

I got very lucky. I've had narrators audition for five of my six books with The Wild Rose Press, and they've all been very talented. I liked the narrator of my novella CHILL OUT so much that I asked him to narrate HOME FIRES, the only book that didn't get an audition. He has agreed to do that later this year. Right now, three books (novellas actually) are available for purchase: CHILL OUT, BURNING LOVE and FLAWLESS. Two other books, one a novella and the other a full-length novel, are in production.

I love listening to audiobooks and I'm excited to have these books available in another format. And here's what I've learned from this experience: as I'm
writing, I have to keep in mind how the audiobook version of the book will sound. For instance, if thoughts are in a character's head, I have to somehow make it clear that the dialogue is internal rather than spoken aloud. Sometimes words and phrases that I thought worked great in print didn't translate as well into audio. Or maybe it's just me being over-critical of my own work.

Despite a few glitches, the process has gone remarkably well and I'm very proud of the end product. I hope you'll check them out!

How do you feel about audiobooks? Are you a regular listener?


  1. Great post, Jana! I don't listen to audiobooks, and I'm not sure why. I've just never tried one - I don't have a long commute, when I'm cleaning I prefer music, when I'm crafting or sewing bebe's usually with me and chattering away about *something*. I want to try audio sometime...I'm just not sure when.

    1. It has to be something that fits your life. I almost stopped going to the gym before I discovered audiobooks because I was so bored. Having a book to listen to makes it something to look forward to. Almost. Cheers!

  2. I'm glad to have read this. I love audiobooks, although I hardly listen to them anymore (it was an in the car thing). I hope your releases to well!

    1. The people who know a lot about these things say that audiobooks are the fastest growing kind of book. I can totally get that. Have you seen how many people walk around with earbuds in their ears? I suppose some are listening to music but I'll bet there's a good number who are totally into books.