If you’ve published with a traditional publisher many times, there may not be an audiobook version of your masterpiece. Here’s why.
Many traditional publishers don’t produce audio in-house. Rather, they license it. They have a short list of audiobook publishers they work with who buy audio rights from them. The unfortunate result of this is that your book may never get into audio if you work with a traditional publisher.
Publishers will demand audio rights from you, but there’s no guarantee they will exploit them. If one of the few audiobook publishers they license to (and there are only a few, about 10 or so) doesn’t pick up audio rights, those rights will remain fallow.
If that happens, here’s what you should do: talk to your publisher. Go to them and let them know that you’d like your book to be in audio. This will trigger a couple of potential scenarios.
Scenario One: The publisher will probably get in touch with the audio publishers they work with and ask them to take another look at the book. In some cases, the audio publisher will purchase the rights from the publisher and presto, voila—your book will be on its way to being an audiobook. Congrats all around.
Every Other Scenario: Things generally aren’t that simple. . The audiobook publisher will not be interested unless the book is selling pretty well at the time they look at it. Most audiobook publishers are focused on front-list. Like traditional print publishers, they’re looking for that next big breakout book—the one that’s going to sell tens of thousands or even millions of copies. That’s publishing! Books that have been out and have moderate sales are not all that interesting, unfortunately.
Once the audio publishers pass, which they most likely will if they didn’t buy the right before the book released, your publisher will most likely get back in touch with you with, “we tried” and “sorry nobody wants them!”
At that point, you need to press your publisher. If they aren’t exploiting audio rights and they can’t license them, it’s likely that your book will never be in audio unless you do something! It’s time to ask the publisher for those rights back! In reality, many publishers will give them to you if you ask. It’s simple and only requires a short addendum to the contract.
Once you have audio rights back, it’s time to get your book in audio! Here’s how.
Most authors who want to turn their book into an audiobook have no idea where to start. Some will approach audiobook publishers to see if they want the rights. This is typically a waste of time. If you’re not a well known author with a large platform or a book that is selling right now, audiobook publishers will not be interested. In some cases, they’ve just been approached by the publisher asking if they’d like the rights (since you’ve followed our advice above)! Getting to the publisher of an audiobook publishing house is challenging. They have gatekeepers whose primary job is to protect them from getting calls and emails from authors. This approach is most likely a dead end.
Another option is going to places like ACX to get the book produced. At ACX, you can find narrators who will share in the cost of creating your audiobook, or you can pay for the production of the audiobook outright. That said, ACX is a difficult place to navigate. Most of the top narrators are busy and are not narrating on ACX. This means that many of the narrators available there are either new, just breaking in, or are folks who are trying to break out of ACX to get gigs with tractional publishers and/or audiobook publishers. If you want the best talent, ACX may not be the best place to look.
You can self-produce your own audiobook. This is possible, but not without a fair amount of work to get set up. Explaining how to self-produce an audiobook is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s possible for someone who is willing to invest time, energy, and some money to get the experience and gear that are required.
You can hire any old studio. This is not always best. Most studios don’t specialize in audiobooks. They are set up to record music, which is a very different setup than what you’d need to record an audiobook. If you use a studio that doesn’t specialize in audiobooks, you may not get a product that meets industry standards. After all, audiobook f narration requires ultra quiet spaces, low noise floors, specialized microphones and a “deader” environment than most music studios have. A typical booth used to record audiobooks is not very live. There are very few reflections in the room, which is good for recording voices, but not so great for instruments and vocal singing tracks. Bottom line is that music studios specialize in music and audiobook studios specialize in audiobooks—makes sense, right?
The best option is to work with a studio that has audiobook experience. These folks will have directors, audiobook editors, and audiobook proofers who work on audiobooks 7 days a week. They’re experts at what they do.
The best option, in my opinion, is to work with a full-service audiobook production company like ours, Verity. First, we have access to the best audiobook talent in the business. Second, we’re experts at casting audiobooks. Third, we have directors that work with authors directly to make sure your book sounds the way you always imagined it could.
We have the process down and know how to consistency create great audiobook productions. Contact us for a no obligation quote at Verity.
Verity specializes in audiobook productions that are of the highest quality that don’t break the bank. We’re used to working with authors on a budget and although we don’t ever skimp on quality—we only do high end, pristine recordings with experienced audiobook narrators—we can hit a price for your production that is affordable.