I have a small break waiting for the last corrections to come in on two audiobooks, so I’m going to get started on my Audiobook Journey.

LESSON #1 – List One Book At A Time

Why is this the first lesson? Because this is the very first mistake I made.

To begin at the very VERY beginning, I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed and came across an ad from Amazon announcing that they had been in partnership with Audible and had worked out a way for authors to break into the audiobook market for FREE. No Money. I like those words! FREE will always get my attention.

I knew that audiobooks were an expensive proposition. I had learned how to set up both Kindle and Createspace books because I was in no position to pay someone to do them for me. And now Amazon was telling me I could get into audiobooks for free as well? Audiobooks?! I was in!

I followed the link and started reading. The plan entailed agreeing to share royalties with the reader for a term of 7 years. Share royalties? If it would prevent me from having to make an extravagant financial outlay, I’d gladly settle for a royalty of 1/4 of the list price. (ACX, the Amazon/Audible company) takes half off the top.)

I didn’t jump in right away. No, I read everything they had, watched the “do-it-yourself” videos, listened to the producers’ samples (‘producers’ is a fancy name for ‘readers’) and about 3 days later I jumped in. I’m not one to dither around.

So – and now we get to Point #1 – I claimed All Three of my books. In my reading and browsing, I had seen books that had been up for months, waiting for readers. How long might I have to wait, I wondered.

Then something amazing happened. I all of a sudden started getting readers. Incredible readers. Voices that nailed me to my chair in amazement. Where did these voices come from? I checked them out on the site, and they all had prices after their names of $200-400/per finished hour. How did they find my books?

That’s when I learned about STIPENDS, and how I learned Point #1. I knew stipends had something to do with money and my first reaction was panic. I couldn’t afford to pay a Stipend! I thought this was free! Turns out, I don’t pay the stipend, Audible does. According to their Legal Documents section:

The Stipend is paid by Audible to producers . . .ACX employs an algorithm to determine which titles are eligible for a production Stipend. The algorithm looks at factors including past print and eBook sales of a title, recent sales velocity, user reviews, date of first publication, genre, and estimated running time (on ACX, longer is better) to determine eligibility. Only titles that are posted and accepting auditions are considered for inclusion in the Stipend program.

In other words, you can put your books out, your whole library if you want, but if you get picked by the algorithm for a stipend, you then have only 60 days to get the book recorded and finished in order for the reader to claim their stipend money. They get it, you don’t. But trust me, they deserve it!

First one book, then the other two, got picked by the algorithm. 3 BOOKS AT THE SAME TIME. All three had money at stake for the readers that depended on my getting them done on time. The hours you spend on one book are time another reader is waiting for you to get back to them so they can start making any corrections. For the past 2 months I have been listening to my books be read until my eyes went buggy following along word by word in the document. I have a rare disease (see an earlier post) that causes episodes of paralysis, and I even triggered several of those from the strain.

So unless you seriously think you can handle listening to and monitoring several books at one time – and trust me, it’s not as fun as it sounds – put up One Book At A Time.

(original blog date 8/20/2015)

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