Any publisher will tell you that audiobooks are big business these days: the increase in digital audio is the only thing propping up digital revenues for most of the big publishers as ebook revenues continue to fall off a cliff.
But making an audiobook is expensive, and requires a skillset well beyond that of most indie authors and even many publishers. Until now the only option beyond the fully featured professional audiobook producer has been Amazon’s ACX, but as you’d expect from a player with that level of market dominance, the terms aren’t exactly favourable. Even if you opt to pay the full production cost of your audio file up front, Amazon will take 60% of the revenue – or 75% if you dare to sell it on any other platform other than Amazon-owned Audible.
So I’m watching the launch of Findaway Voices this week with interest. It’s basically a dating site for authors and narrators: you tell them the kind of person you want to give voice to your book, and they’ll recommend a selection of possible narrators at a selection of different price points. You choose the one you want, they create the audiobook, you pay the bill, you own the rights, and they distribute on your behalf across a range of channels with a range of royalty agreements in place. (I’m guessing that last bit isn’t quite as simple as they’d like it to be, but them’s the breaks in a market like this.)
As a rough guide, it looks like you could comfortaby get a 45,000-word book created as an audiobook for $1000. That’s GOT to be interesting.