Authors: Keep Your Eyes (and Ears) on the Audiobooks—and a Giveaway! @TheMysteryLadie

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net
Website: http://mysterylady.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

In 2004, my first book, A Small Case of Murder, came out. That wasn’t so long ago. Believe me!—not when you compare it to when the dinosaurs were lazily grazing in Yellowstone National Park.

Anyway, back to what we want to talk about …

At that time, one of my friends instantly asked when my book would be available in audio. My eyes glazed over and I stammered out, “Eventually.”

This friend only listened to her books on audiocassette. She had a long commute to work and that was when she would listen to her books. She would go through a couple books a week.

Not long after that, I discovered that another friend only did audiobooks. She suffered from extremely bad eyesight. While she wasn’t legally blind, her eyesight was so poor that the only way she could enjoy a book was if it was available in audio.

Mind you, this was before the age of digital downloads. Audiobooks were available on cassette or compact discs back then. I considered myself lucky when a traditional audiobook publisher picked up my first three books to be produced in audio (compact disc and eventually digital download)—until I started receiving my royalty checks. I was lucky if I made over two hundred dollars a year! I would take a few copies of the compact discs to book events—only to have them gather dust. Eventually, I tossed them into the back of my closet, where they still rest.

Flash forward.

Audio Publishers Association Survey: Nearly $1 Billion in 2018 US Sales

“In its annual audiobook sales survey for 2018 released today (July 16). the US-based Audio Publishers Association has announced that audiobook revenue in 2018 grew by 24.5 percent and totaled US$940 million. These figures represent a 27.3-percent increase in unit sales.”

For authors, this means we have an entirely new and growing pool of readers to introduce to our books.

I believe that the audiobook market is where the e-book market was about ten years ago. When my books first came out in e-book, it was a big deal for me to sell any. Now, the lion’s book of my books sales are in e-book, but I have been seeing a gradual increase in sales in audiobooks. Currently, I make more in monthly royalties for my audiobook sales than I do for my print books. Note, that is after splitting my royalties with the producers!

A few years ago, Amazon suggested I make my books available through their company ACX (https://www.acx.com/help/about-acx/200484860 ). Audible, the leading seller of audiobooks, falls under Amazon’s massive umbrella.

In the same way that I independently publish my ebooks through KDP, I essentially self-publish my books in audiobook format—thus, keeping all of my rights. Over the years, I had seen on my royalty statements how many thousands of dollars my audio publisher had been making annually on the sales of my books. So, producing my books in audio myself was quite appealing to me. However, knowing back then that the market was slow, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money into the venture. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest any money at all.

With ACX, authors have a choice of options for having their books produced:

1.      Share your royalties with the narrator/audio producer. This costs the author nothing, because the audio producer invests the time and expense into producing the book. In exchange, the author agrees to split their royalties for the book’s sales fifty-fifty with the producer. If the book ends up being a flop, then the producer loses out on their investment in the project. However, if the book ends up making thousands of dollars a month in audiobook sales, then the author could end up wondering about what could have been.

2.      Hire an audio producer to produce your book. This option means the author hires the narrator/producer on contract (and pay!) to produce the book. With this option, the author gets to keep all of the royalties for their audio sales. So, if your book makes a million bucks in royalties, it’s all yours! The downside of this option is that you have to pay out a lot of money up front—money that it could take a while to earn back. We are talking thousands of dollars. A friend of mine found a narrator she liked, who refused to work for shared royalties. He would only work on contract with the cost starting at $5000.

3.      Narrate and Produce the Book Yourself. This is not as easy as it sounds. The author has to make sure there is no background noise and the final product does have to pass ACX’s quality control regulations. As the author, I have proofed some of my audio books, thinking they were perfect—only to have ACX pick up a flaw that I had not noticed. Once I read an interview with John Grisham in which he said one of his biggest regrets was narrating one of his books for audio. He thought the end product was awful. As with anything—I prefer to leave it up to the pros.

I opted to share the royalties and let the producers take the financial risk.

Since my books have been coming out in Audible, I have found that I personally enjoy audiobooks more and more. Many book enthusiasts, like myself, will read books in both e-book and audio. (For just a few bucks more, readers can include the audio version of a book with their ebook purchase.) I love to read in bed in the evening. After spending the entire day working on my laptop, my eyes will be tired. So, I’ll switch to the audio version of whatever book I am currently reading to listen to a great book until I fall asleep. With Whispersync, my tablet will pick up my ebook in audio where I have left off in reading.

I’m not the only one. More and more readers (and book reviewers!) are making the switch to audiobooks as APA’s sales figures prove! I know more than one book reviewer who started reading my books in print, then switched to ebook, who are now only reviewing audiobooks.

If you’re an independent author and you haven’t explored this market, then I highly recommend you take a hard look at it. If your books are already in audiobook, then consider booking an audiobook virtual book tour with iRead Book Tours (http://www.ireadbooktours.com/ ). There’s a growing list of audiobook bloggers in search of great audiobooks.

Here’s the way I look at it: Book lovers are book lovers. We come in all different shapes and forms. That means they enjoy their reading in all formats: e-book, print, and audiobooks. Even if fans of one format are a smaller number than another—they are still your fans and deserve the reading experience they enjoy the most! As an author, you’d be negligent to not make your books available in audio!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To enter the drawing for an audiobook
promo code for Ice by Lauren Carr, just
leave a comment telling us when is your
favorite time to listen to audiobooks. In the
bathtub? Commuting? Doing housework?
The winning name will be drawn on
Monday evening, October 21st.