Guest Post by Charlie Pulsipher.
Charlie Pulsipher is a were-hamster and lemur enthusiast who lives in Saint George, Utah with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy or some mix of the two. He creates miniature cardboard sculptures. He plans on surviving the inevitable zombie-apocalypse that will surely start when dust bunnies rise up against their vacuum cleaner masters.
Find him online at charliepulsipher.com.
He spends his time away from the keyboard and the scalpel (for cardboard) hiking and camping stunning Southern Utah.
He neglects his twitter account. @charliepulse
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (yes, that’s real)
Don’t be fooled by his shy, humble exterior. He does bite and his velociraptor impression is quite scary. It’s probably the coolest thing about him.
Also, pick up his books sooner than later. The dust bunnies are looking quite indignant.
Many of you may be toying with the idea of audiobooks. I’m here to help tip you into action.
Why Do Audiobooks?
Reach Nonreaders – There are a group of people out there who only listen to books. They don’t think they have time to sit down with a physical book, but they still love stories. About one in ten people listen to audiobooks. That’s a huge audience.
Reach Voracious Readers – People who consume a lot of books do so in multiple ways. I read hardback, paperback, ebooks, and I listen to audiobooks. The biggest readers may find you in one place and not the other.
Be Easier to Find – An audiobook is another searchable link to you and your work. Make yourself as accessible as possible.
Boost Other Sales – People who love your audiobook are more likely to pick up your book in print. Many people use ebooks and audiobooks as a test to see if they really want to invest in an author.
Up Professionalism – There’s nothing like mentioning your books are available as audiobooks to see people’s expressions change. There is a professionalism in having your books available in multiple formats. They may still buy it in print, but knowing you put in the effort to make an audiobook may have been what tipped them into the purchase.
Bonus: It’s Not Terribly Expensive – The shared royalty route through ACX is getting harder to do, but it is still there. That means it is free to begin with. You can also find narrators willing to work with you and your budget if you decide to pay them straight out for their time.
Tips to Do It Right
Get a Great Narrator – This is a time to be picky. You don’t want to jump on the first person to send you a sample. You have to really like their voice, the way they read, their accents, and their emotional responses to the words you typed out. ACX lets you search for narrators and pitch them yourself too. Take advantage of that.
I started on ACX and liked, but didn’t love the initial pitches I received. I almost pulled the trigger with one anyway but held back out of financial fears. I’m glad I did. I met my narrator on Facebook later after commenting on a post about audiobooks. I found out he lived in my area and arranged to meet him. He was on ACX, but I wouldn’t have found him without digging and being picky.
Stay Close to Said Narrator – You want to be in contact with your narrator through the entire process to make sure the voices, pronunciations, and emotions are correct and appropriate. You can email, text, or use a walkie-talkie app like we did. My narrator would send me a quick message asking for clarification and then he could hear me say the names of people, places, and magical items correctly. It worked out very well.
You’ll do the same thing while reviewing their work. I would send my narrator things that didn’t sound right, wrong words (which happens when you read out loud sometimes), and any other suggestions that came to mind.
Take Advantage of the Edits – Your narrator will uncover more problems in your book than you would think existed after all your polishing. Start your production of your audiobook before releasing all the other formats if possible. If they are already out, mop them up as soon as your narrator finishes sending you all the flaws and mistakes. Don’t feel bad about those mistakes. There really isn’t a better way to catch typos and mistakes than reading a book out loud, especially when it’s done by someone other than you. Fix them and move on.
Have Fun! – You and your narrator should enjoy this process. Don’t stress too much. You want the voice to come through as natural. Your narrator should sound like he or she is enjoying the story. This means you need to easy to work with. This doesn’t mean you can’t be firm when something needs to change or be redone, but it does mean you are tactful, professional, and easy going most of the time. Enjoy it.
Market it Well – Your audiobooks are going to need their own marketing. They reach a slightly different audience. This is where I can’t give the best advice. I’ve had some luck with Facebook ads, but I tend not to market myself as well as I should. If you have any ideas or suggestions about marketing, please share them in comments for everyone’s benefit.
Bonus: ACX is Your Friend – ACX makes audiobooks fairly painless. They have forums, FAQs, and a ton of resources available to make the entire process easy. They help you market by providing you with codes to get reviews. They answer questions quickly. Lean on them through it all.