If you’ve ever thought of turning your book into an audiobook, here are a couple of reasons why I’m a fan of the practice:
1. There’s less competition in iTunes and at Podiobooks, so it’s easier to “be found.”
I’m not going to lie: creating a high-quality audio version of your book will either take a lot of time or a good chunk of money. I’d dabbled with podcasting and knew I didn’t want to spend the required time on narration and editing (I’ve heard it can take a new narrator ten hours of work for everyone one hour of finished audio that comes out). I decided to hire the folks at Darkfire Productions to handle my books. They are a small and fairly affordable outfit, but they still had a number of voice talents to select from. They suggested Starla Huchton, and I thought, yup, that’s my Amaranthe (Amaranthe is the heroine and main point of view character in my Emperor’s Edge books). And she does a good job with my male aristocratic dandy, Maldynado, too!
In addition to narration and editing, DP handles the file uploading for me, as well as the contracts with Audible. Some indies may wish to keep more control over these things, but I’ve found it great not to have to worry about them.
For authors on a tighter budget, or for those who simply enjoy the thought of narrating their own books (Nathan Lowell did his whole series this way and built up a huge fan base before he ever released his first ebook), you can check out Podcasting for Dummies or another “getting started” book. Everything that’s true for podcasting will apply for audiobooks. You can get a decent equipment setup for a couple hundred dollars, and then it’s just a matter of finding time and a quiet place in the house (I’ve heard of numerous podcasters who record from the closet!).
2. You reach an audience who might otherwise never have heard of you
The world is full of people who don’t have a lot of time to read but who do spend numerous hours a week commuting to their job, working with their hands, exercising at the gym, or perhaps even walking the dog. Those are activities that are tough to do while holding a book but that are perfectly suited for listening to something in the background. I know because I’m one of those people. I listen to 5-10 podcast episodes a week, and I’m usually listening to an audiobook too. When I think back over recent books I’ve finished, four out of five of them have been in audio form.
These busy people might not spend a lot of time digging through Amazon for new books (and when they do, they’re more likely to stumble across bestsellers, not obscure new indie authors in a very crowded marketplace), but they may love your story, if they simply have a chance to find it. As audio fans, they might browse at Podiobooks or iTunes (sites with, as we mentioned, fewer options in any given genre) and find your work if its there.