Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Joy of Audiobooks on ACX.com

MILK-BLOOD received some incredible reviews over the last few days, but in keeping with the insidious nature of reviews, I have a confession: Neither of these reviewers even read the book. Instead, both listened to it through Audible.com. Here's what they had to say.

"Full of intense, fully conceptualized characters. A story line that gives me goosebumps. Reality horror at its finest."

"A gripping mix of the horror show that is drug addiction and otherworldly horror that feels so natural your skin may crawl. It’s descriptive and gut- wrenching  This story is intense and bothered me on a level that most horror can’t reach."
Words like these make my blood boil until my heart explodes like a sixth grader's volcano project. None of this would be possible without making an audiobook. I know some writers who don't want to be bothered with audiobooks. Well... Do it. Do it. Get on ACX and make it happen.
Audio-books sell by themselves. They really do. They sell much better than paperbacks and pay more per unit sold. They are better for the environment, and they are a shit load of fun. Having your book read aloud by a narrator brings it to life for both you as author as well as for the reader. It adds dimension and substance.  Readers who would never touch an audiobook can still listen to a sample with one click on your amazon page. 
 There is no reason not to have an audio book version of your book.  If you have learned how to navigate KDP on amazon, you can do ACX.  Even if you have been traditionally published, your publisher may not own audio rights. (This happened with On the Lips of Children.) I have always gone with royalty share, where the narrator and author split royalties. This means making less but less investment and less risk. 
Here are some tips based on my experience, some of which will only make sense after you have started:
*When you load up your book on your acx page, make sure to search by the Kindle's ASIN and load up the digital version rather than the paperback. The kindle version probably has a better amazon rank than the paperback and is more attractive to narrators this way. Since it is narrators you are seeking, your pitch should be an explanation to them on why your book will sell. 
*Email ACX and ask for a 'narrator stipend', which is basically an extra fee per hour given to narrators to attract them. On the Lips of Children received a stipend, and thus I was able to hire narrator Bob Dunsworth who does Bud Light commercials and Transformer voices. With or without a stipend, there are plenty great narrators waiting to be hired, and I am happy with the narrators for all three of my audiobooks.
 
*When loading up samples for narrators to audition for the job, make sure to include a passage with dialogue. You want to get an idea of how much voice inflection narrators use when reading dialogue, for this varies. After you agree to a deal and they present the final version for your review, make sure you do listen to the entire book before approving for sale. There was some minor technical errors in both of mine (chapter number issues). 
*Lastly, after the audiobook goes live, ACX gives out free voucher downloads to both author and narrator. Dish these out generously and with joy.
 Interested in a free audio version of MILK-BLOOD? Below are codes for a free download of MILK-BLOOD on audio. Instructions on how to redeem also provided.
  1. 4N8ZJ3RUWW2WN
  2. 4UTWW29N8SRJH
  3. 56CUH6Q3HUPR8
  4. 5D38U5K4BPZP6
    1. Go to my book's page on Audible.com: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Milk-Blood-Audiobook/B00NJ0BDWW/   Add the audiobook to your cart.
    2. Create a new Audible.com account or log in.
    3. Enter the promo code and click "Redeem" on the cart page.
    4. To change the price from full price to $0.00, click the box next to "1 Credit" and click the "update" button to apply the credit to your purchase.
    5. Complete checkout, and start listening to the free copy of the book.

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