Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

What Starting the Audiobook Process Taught Me About the Market

7 min read

Up until this point, I have been missing a whole category of readers by not having my books in audiobook form

Audiobooks are a growing market that I thought was unattainable until recently.

I typically frequent Amazon for most of my book-related endeavors but have recently started spreading my wings.

By this, I mean exploring Google Books, Apple Books, Smashwords, Kobo Books, and Audiobooks. Because realistically if I stuck to strictly Amazon, I would only be reaching a section of my potential audience pool. So now it was time for me to start doing some research.

If I was going to try to create audiobooks for my current books, I needed to see the market and find out what options I had.

First, I wanted to see what the statistics were for the audiobook market.

Audiobooks take collaboration between the author and the narrator/producer.

According to EbookFriendly.com, “An average novel contains 80,000 words. It translates to about 9–10 hours of narration. The cost per finished hour ranges between $100 and $500. So, the cost of producing an audiobook of a 100,000-word novel narrated by a recognizable voice can easily exceed $5,000.”

When you look at the cost, I know my first thought was, how would I possibly afford that?

If I was going to venture into this part of the industry, I needed to know that I could have good margins. This meant searching ebooks in my genres, looking at price scale sites, and more. Because authors have a precious budget that needs to be spent wisely.

Here is a price comparison chart I found:

from EbookFriendly.com

Looking over this chart, I had to say I was impressed by the price margins compared to the text versions.

However, with that being said, look at the authors' names listed with each book. Yes, these margins are very good, but what about someone like me? Someone who is still striving to be known?

This was where I wanted to see more comparisons in regards to prices and platforms.

Here is another I found:

from GreatWorkLife.com

This chart gave me a little better look at the differences between the platforms such as Audible and Audiobooks.

Having something listed out like this made it a little easier to see the checks and balances.

In regards to statistics, the audiobook market is still growing. This is because people who drive, exercise, or listen to books instead of music are showing a need for audiobooks. And the demand has continued to grow.

According to GoodReader.com:

from GoodReader.com

Now that I had researched how great the market was, I needed to figure out how I would have this audiobook created.

There are some major audiobook creations services to consider, such as:

These were the main places to create an audiobook with your hand guiding the process, while other sites where places you pay for them to do it for you.

Knowing Amazon fairly well, I decided to go with ACX.com.

The process was fairly step-by-step, providing lots of readthrough information. You could also watch tutorials and see how the process worked before you were in it. But there was one perk that sold me.

ACX.com allows you to choose the option to share the royalties with the narrator/ producer to make up for the payment.

Looks like this:

from acx.com

Now, I know 20% doesn’t seem like a great percentage when you are talking about your share of each sale, but compared to the thousands of dollars it can take to produce a book, it’s quite a deal.

How did the process work?

First I went to start a project and up came a search bar to look for my existing titles.

Once I found the title I wanted, they already used my Amazon’s book description set up inside the bid. Then I needed to fill out what directions I wanted to provide for the narrator and what voice I was looking for (male/female, accent, region, personality). And lastly, I needed to market my ability to market the book (tell how many followers I had on social media, my accreditations and such).

I also needed to upload 2–3 pages of the book that they would read for their audition.

They also asked me for a word count for my book (which told them the hours my audiobook would be), the genre, and the target audience. It was helpful to see how long the playback of the book would be which then played in to the pricing. What I did find out about the pricing of an audiobook through ACX.com is that it’s by hours.

from ACX.com

After all of this was filled out, I was able to submit it for review.

What happened next?

After my submission was accepted, my bid went live on ACX.com.

For my book Anywhere Else, I received 3 bids by the end of the first day. For my second book The Backup Superhero, I received 8 bids in one day. And what was cool about it was, once I received a bid, I could listen to them right away.

Where am I at now?

As of right now, I need to choose a narrator for both Anywhere Else and The Backup Superhero.

There are many good narrators who applied but I need to follow my gut and pick who sounds right. Once I do this, I will use the Make An Offer option and if they accept, sign contracts to begin the process. And then it will be available on Amazon.

And as of right now, I’m not sure how long the Make An Offer process takes.

Making an audiobook hasn’t been as difficult as I imagined it would be.

As authors, we always need to strive to make it easy for readers to find us.

An audiobook wasn’t something I had previously considered, but now that I am, I feel like I will open up a whole new audience. So if you are ready to take the next step, you now know more about the process.

Take a leap and try a new market, you never know how it will pay off.