The heart of Oregon spring was just unfolding. I remember the goats on the farm adjacent to the sound studio, nibbling on new growth, tails brushing back and forth.
Production on the audiobook version of my recently published speculative fiction short story, The Measurable Blood began back in May. Production wrapped in late August. Sum and total, a four and a half month process, quite a long time, filled with some avoidable delays, more than a few perfectionist lament and other gaffes which were the product of my inexperience.
Here are a few pros and some cons to self-producing an audiobook.
Walking into the studio, with actors, engineers and a script version of your story is an empowering feeling. We as writers are rarely able to walk out of that proverbial closet with work boldly in hand.
Producing an audiobook may be your rare opportunity. Don’t miss out on that.
CON: The Spiral of Pre-Production
Casting. Finding an affordable, yet reputable studio can be an uncertain ordeal. Most writers don’t come equipped with these tools up front, so if you’re going into audiobook production, be sure of your team ahead of time. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.
PRO: The Chance to Tinker
Once that actor takes your script into the booth, they’re going to bring something new to the story. Regardless of how affirmed you are, this will happen.
You’re a director now, and the opportunity to work with new meanings is exciting – especially when dealing with horror, speculative fiction.
CON: Expenses Go Off-Budget
I didn’t make a budget going in (except that I didn’t want to go too deep in) but here is a brief audit of my expenses. I spent $100 for one day with a professional actor; three hours in the studio were $90; once I’d rough edited the work, the studio polish was $145.
$335 for a 40-minute audiobook? Some of these expenses could have been lessened but others were necessary and couldn’t be sacrificed. Know your outlay.
This doesn’t count a marketing budget, stay tuned for that.
PRO: Audible’s Bounty
I’ll confess, this production was ultimately a business venture. Money is something I’d like to make (at the very least, recoup). Audible offers a very cool bounty program through which they offer a producer $50 if their book is the first purchased by a new subscriber. When I looked at that, I thought that the $335 mentioned above might wash out sooner than later.
PRO/CON: Lack Of Pricing Control
When I sent my audiobook to ACX, I had an idea where I wanted to be on price. I wanted to hit that $1.50-$2.50 sweet spot. When they posted material, they priced at $3.95 which seems fair. This number wasn’t out of my range of expectations, but I didn’t have control of it.
PRO: Maximizing Exposure
Audiobooks are a huge industry right now. Their sales are increasing at a higher rate than other publishing sectors. Even considering that, Audible and iTunes are in no way the overstocked pond that Amazon is right now. Stand out while you can.
After four months and a long-awaited release of The Measurable Blood, I’ve come out wiser. The fact that I’ve got anywhere from one to three new audiobook projects in mind shows that my enthusiasm for productions wasn’t diminished, my confidence in making back my investment is strong, and belief that this increases my profile is bold.
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To purchase The Measureable Blood