I’ve signed the contracts for my five TWRP titles to become audio books. My publisher has also signed the contracts, making us partners with Amazon in this audio book adventure. There’s a little more for me to do. I need to fill out a Spec Sheet–details like do I prefer a male or female to voice my book and choosing a short passage from each book for the narrator to read as a demo. The demo(s) will then be sent to me so I can get a feel of whether the recording artist is a good fit. After I agree to the narrator, that’s it on my end until the book is recorded. Amazon handles all of those details.
The excerpts I send are important; they should convey not only the tone of the book, but also give an idea of genre and plot. Audible has a staff of recording artists and the artists choose which books they’ll narrate based on these snippets. TWRP has many authors, and lots of us want to do this deal. So the narrators will have plenty of choices. The Spec Sheets are a little like an audition for me and my work. It’s important I get them right and not rush. I do tend to rush paperwork that relates to my books; I always feel if I’m not writing fiction (or the blog) it’s more business than pleasure. And I’ve never been a fan of the business end of writing.
My TWRP books, except Blue Heaven, which is under exclusive contract to Kindle books, are available widely on the internet. They’re all on Smashwords and Nook and every other e-reader retail outlet. But the audios will only be available on Amazon. This is because TWRP and Amazon have done a deal together that makes it very lovely for TWRP authors. TWRP is a small boutique publisher and they are almost entirely about e-books. Yes, they have print editions, but they do these mainly as a courtesy to their authors, and have no print distribution. TWRP authors hand-sell their print editions at conferences, book festivals, and brick and mortar bookstores.
About the money, I pay nothing for this new perk. I receive royalties that are in line with what I’m paid for e-books. Another question some authors ask is “Can I narrate my own books?” and the answer is maybe, if you have a home recording studio. In my view, this work is best left to the professionals. The last thing I will do before my books become available in audio is to listen to each of the entire books, I’m thinking of it as an ear edit, and it’s my job to note any mistakes so that the book will be perfect for paying customers.
Eventually my publisher would like to pursue audio books for other venues but that’s down the line a bit. I understand from all the recent discussion on our author chat board that recording audio books is a very pricey deal. If an indie author wants to do this, it would cost them anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Which is why the Amazon contract is a sweet deal.