A writer’s perspective: how have audiobooks changed my publishing business?

A writer’s perspective: how have audiobooks changed my publishing business?

A guest post by Rachel Amphlett.

Note: The following is a guest post from Rachel Amphlett, a fantastic author of crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series. If you enjoy this post, check out the rest of her work at rachelamphlett.com.

In mid-2017, after seeing sales increase in my Detective Kay Hunter police procedural series of crime thrillers, I decided to take the plunge and have the novels recorded as audiobooks.

There was a growing excitement within the indie publishing community about how audiobooks were going to be the next breakthrough for us, and I wanted to be involved at the start of that.

Previously, it was near impossible to market audiobooks once you had the finished product in your hands.Limited retail outlets, closed access to existing platforms (depending on where in the world you lived), and contracts that locked you in for years at a time with little reward were all that was available.By May 2017, I was already working with Audio Factory in the UK to have the audiobooks produced — I was impressed with their professionalism, the ease at which production schedules were set, and the quality of narration I was hearing in the samples provided as we moved through the process.

I’d first heard about Findaway Voices in June 2017. Readers were racing through the Kay Hunter series in both eBook and paperback formats, so I reckoned I stood a fair chance of reaching more crime fiction fans if I offered the stories in audiobook format — if I could find a distributor that shared my vision of reaching as many readers as possible — worldwide.

I wrote to Findaway Voices, provided some information about my series and told them about the fantastic time I was having working with Audio Factory. Would they be interested in helping me distribute the finished product?

Within days, I had a new account set up and as soon as the files for the first three audiobooks in the Detective Kay Hunter series were ready, I loaded them up onto the dashboard.

The process is incredibly easy and very fast, and within a matter of weeks I was selling audiobooks through retail and library partners such as Playster, Audiobooks.com, Downpour, iTunes, Audible, Scribd, 3M and Overdrive.

More importantly, Findaway Voices is continually working to open more doors to indie authors, with the recent news that three new retailers will be selling our audiobooks: Google Play, Otto, and Instaread. I’m sure more announcements like this are on the way.

So, in summary, how have audiobooks changed my publishing business?

  • I’ve gained a way to reach readers who have limited income by offering audiobooks through libraries and subscription services;
  • I’m seeing new advertising opportunities and am growing an active reviewers’ mailing list specifically targeting audiobooks to increase exposure for each new release;
  • I’m releasing the audiobook format as the same time as the eBook and paperback formats in future — this means writing well ahead of publication date to allow for professional editing and proofreading, but the payoff is that I reach more readers at the critical launch point, and not some months later; and
  • I’m earning more affiliate income, as many audiobook retailers that Findaway Voices works with are happy to work with authors who can offer this format and market it across their website and social media platform.

Audiobooks have definitely changed my publishing business, and I foresee these overtaking paperback sales over the coming calendar year.