Audio Books

Audio books are they worth it? Here is my perspective.
I entered the audio book fray after my paperback, Seasons of the Soul, was on the market for a couple of months. Thinking, the blind and those traveling would want them I decided to purchase a small quantity to sell at events. What a mistake.
I assumed organizations, such as the blind, would buy them for their clients. However, I found out they want you to donate them. These non-profits are on limited budgets so the ready-market I thought existed was not there.
Second, I thought those traveling would enjoy them as they made their way to their destinations. I was wrong there, also. Not enough people going long places I guess or perhaps they listen to their radios or ipods. Whatever the reasons. I seldom sell audio books at craft or art fairs. The price is higher at $14.99 compared to my paperback $9.95 or my e-book $5.99. This is a hinderance, of course. But I believe it is more than that, people would rather read a book whether it is e-book or paperback versions.
Audio books cost more because there is more involved in the process. You or someone else must read it and a professional needs to synchronize it onto a compact disk and download formats. I did not read mine but each story is well done. When my oldest autistic son hung onto my husband, causing him to almost drown in a hotel swimming pool. The audio storyteller made you relive that harrowing day.
However, even when I pitch this personal account to potential customers they often choose the paperback. Thus, I will not do an audio for my next book, Sustaining Love: A Time Remembered (an early-twentieth-century romance with a planned release date of Feb. 2012.)
What will I do with the audio books I have on hand? When an event or chamber of commerce activity calls for a raffle, I give a CD.
It is not a total loss because the book reaches an audience, builds name recognition and a platform for my next book. Besides it is better than the CDs collecting dust. Tell me about your experience. Does it differ with mine? Were you contemplating doing an audio book and if you were did my story change your plans?

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10 thoughts on “Audio Books

  1. I’m still working on getting mine in paperback! LOL. I really hadn’t planned on doing an audio, simply because it usually involves a lot of expense. But I love listening to audiobooks to and from work. I think part of the problem is that audiobooks are so expensive that it’s cost prohibitive for a lot of people. I usually check my audiobooks out at the library. And I usually read ebooks rather than paperbacks.

  2. I would never listen to audiobooks unless I went blind, and I don’t expect that the kind of books I prefer to read would ever be available in audio. There’s a market out there, but I doubt it’s one that comparatively unknown authors can tap into effectively. Audio books seem to be limited mostly to best-sellers and nonfiction such as inspirational and how-to.

  3. Janet,

    I have had people tell me they wish my books were on audio, not many, but a few, so there must be a market. One lady told me she never reads, just listens. But after reading about your experience, I think I will wait on audio books and stick with paperback and ebooks, at least for now. Perhaps the market will expand further in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    LA Hilden

    • Does she have a Kindle? I listen to 90% of the books I buy on Kindle with their text-to-speech feature. I have no idea if other eReaders have this option, but I think if she got a Kindle, her problem would be solved and she could read a lot of other books that way. I love audio. :D

      • No, she doesn’t have a Kindle, I do, but I never use the text to speech option. I agree that is a great way to listen to a novel without paying the audio book price, I shall suggest the Kindle option to people. Thanks.

  4. I just wanted to share my experiences with Podiobooks, a website that provides free audio books to listeners (with emphasis on donations, most of the money going to the author). These “audio books” are uploaded to a server of theirs, and people subscribe to books that interest them, and then as the author (or whoever creates the episodes) completes episodes (typically 20 to 40 minutes in length), they are uploaded, and then the subscribers can listen to them (download or listen to right on the site).

    My experience with Podiobooks was a positive one, for the most part. They are very easy to work with, but the one caveat I found is that I spent a lot (and I do mean a lot) of time preparing the episodes. My fiancee did the reading and I did the editing, and to make voices sound different, I spent a lot of time digitally manipulating dialogue to make the characters sound unique. Could it have been better? Absolutely. Was it crap? I don’t think so, but depending on the equipment you have you may or may not get a better final result. I bought a condenser microphone, which (my own fault for not researching it better) picked up every extraneous sound, plus there was always an electronic hum, I assume because of some sort of electronic interference, either due to my laptop or something else, maybe even the USB connection from my laptop to the microphone. I had to use software to “clean” the sound up. Anyway, before I ramble on too much, I really enjoyed aspects of this process but I don’t know that I would do it again, because it was so time consuming (taking me away from writing). I’m sure other authors are more efficient than I was, and do not take as long with creating their episodes. All told, I ended up with 13 episodes. My intention with doing this, as I am a new author, was to build a fan base if at all possible. And, truthfully, I don’t know if I accomplished that or not, as I hoped I may get more sales on the ebook version of “Surviving The Theseus”, but this didn’t really happen. To date, there are just over 8000 downloads, which includes all the episodes combined. A plus side to this whole process was that, even though I had a professional editor, I caught several grammatical errors while following the read through by my fiancee.

    • Wow. I know there’s a lot of work involved in podcasting a book. I tried it late 2010 and failed miserably. I try not to think about that period in my life.

  5. My neighbor is an over the road trucker. He listens to audio books all the time. He keeps asking when I’m going to put my books into audio but I have to agree with some of the others. Too much money and time tied up in it. I think Diesel does a lot of the audio books and I know they target the over the road truckers. Which genre sells? That’s the big question.

  6. I’ll give my take on the whole thing, for what it’s worth. Kindles comes with a text-to-speech feature, so as long as ‘text-to-speech’ in enabled on a book, I can listen to it in audio form. Sure, the voice is robotic, but you do get used to it, and soon, you get lost in the book and forget you’re even listening to it. This means that I can buy a book from $0.99 to $9.99 and listen to it in audio while having an ebook version at my fingertips. I don’t see what’s any better than that.

    I’ve tried doing what Randy did and podcasting my book, but it failed because I was horrible at it. Then I looked into getting a professional audio made, discovered how expensive it was, and ditched that idea fast. If people have a hard time buying my books at $2.99, what makes me think they’ll pay $14.99 or however much it is for an audio format when they have the text-to-speech feature on their Kindle or other eReader (assuming other eReaders have them) at their fingertips?

    That’s the beauty of my Kindle. I listen to almost everything. I rarely read an ebook, and chances are, if a Kindle book doesn’t let me listen to it, I won’t buy it. I think technology has made traditional audio books a poor choice for the author.

    Just my two cents.

    Great post, by the way!

  7. I’ve wondered how the audio book went for those who tried it, so was especially interested to read this.

    I’ve never purchased an audio book in my life. I don’t do well being read to. I can follow for a couple of paragraphs, but then I lose it and don’t pay attention any more. Even when people read me an article from a magazine/newspaper/web. My dad has a couple audio books he’s listened to in the car when he came down to visit us (six hour trip), but I prefer music for traveling, myself :)

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