By Jenny Hilborne
Author of mysteries and thrillers
Two years ago, at the LA Times Festival Of Books, I got my first request for my book in Audio. The request came from a non-sighted reader, and I was sad I couldn't help her. Back then, I'd never even considered audio. I promised her I'd make them available...and then, as I often do, I procrastinated. Actually, I just didn't know enough about it, or how popular an audio book would be.
Move ahead two years, and the request for audio books seems to be on the rise. The question comes up at almost every book signing I attend, including the 11th Annual Duarte Festival Of Authors last Saturday. This time, most of us had at least one title available in audio.
As my booth buddy and I were discussing the trend, he happened to have a sample of his audio book with him, and he set it to play at our table. The narration was fab and brought his book to life. It got attention from readers who were passing by. As I was listening, it struck me as a fun idea to have an audio sample playing in the background at book signings. Not so loud it drowns out any conversation or interferes with other authors - just enough for a reader at that particular author's booth to get a nice sample. Much more enticing than a pen or a bag of candy (although those freebies never fail to draw people to a booth). It was just very cool listening to a sample of the book you were about to buy.
Most of the readers who asked us about audio like it for the convenience. They listen when they commute or work out at the gym. A lot of them weren't aware of the significant discount Amazon makes available to those who have already purchased the eBook. For example, the regular price set by Amazon for Madness and Murder audio book is $17.46, reduced to only $1.99 with the purchase of the Kindle eBook. With Whispersync for Voice, it's easy to switch between reading and listening, once the reader buys the Kindle EBook and adds the narration. Bargain.
I've started downloading audio myself. While it's not for everyone, I love hearing a narrator's interpretation of mood and character and letting them set the tone for the story. The energy of a good narrator brings the book alive. I felt that way when I listened to the audio samples of my own book as it was produced. I've gone back and listened to audio on a few other author's books that I enjoyed. Kind of like watching the movie after reading the book, only better because nothing gets left out.
What's your experience with audio?
Readers: do you enjoy hearing a narrator depict the mood and tone of a story, or do you prefer to create your own relationship with the book and the characters?
I'm excited that, with some luck and timing, the audio for my second book should be available this month! As you pointed out, there is a growing market for audio books and I'm excited to have a title available.ReplyDelete
As a reader, I prefer to hold the words in my hands when I can. The only time I truly want an audio book is when on road trips. (And dang, we're on our way home from Aspen and it would have been perfect!)
A few years ago, I listened to audio tapes in the car when I was learning French, but I had never considered hearing story that way. Since I've been downloading them, I find i really like it, and as I rarely have time to get everything done that I need to, it's a great way to multitask. I've also added audio books to my NYJB reviews.Delete
I love listening to audio books when I drive long distances. It makes the time go much more quickly, and I find I get less annoyed at traffic problems.ReplyDelete
Interesting! Thanks for this, Jenny!ReplyDelete
Just wondering... When you said, "the regular price set by Amazon for Madness and Murder audio book is $17.46, reduced to only $1.99 with the purchase of the Kindle eBook." Did you mean the Kindle book is reduced to $1.99, or the $17.46 is reduced to $1.99?
Also, and I've asked this before - I wonder what the market would be for audio books for nonfiction, specifically craft-of-writing books like I write? I suspect that kind of book wouldn't sell well as an audiobook...
To clarify, it is the audio book price of $17.46 that is reduced to $1.99 when the reader already has the Kindle eBook. Makes it really cheap to buy audio. Other than for a point of reference, I think non-fiction could work just as well on audio. I learned French from audio a few years ago (sadly, I soon forgot it, but that's due to lack of use and my crappy memory).Delete
Wow! That's an awesome deal! I hope Amazon makes it clear for the readers that they can get such a great deal when they buy both, which is also an excellent idea so you can follow along in your house, etc., then just pick up where you left off next time you're driving! I love some of these new techie developments! (Now, if I could just keep up with all of them!)Delete
I know, it is a fab deal. I was telling readers at the book festival last week and they weren't aware. I'm trying to help promote the fact it is such a great deal. I love the fact it's so easy to switch between ebook and audio. Very cool.Delete
Jodie, there is definitely a market for non-fiction audiobooks. A book like yours should do well. I know that Stephen King's self-narrated book "On Writing" is a constant seller. I've got several non-fic books slated for production in the next several months and figure Audible wouldn't be paying cash to make them if they didn't think they'd sell.Delete
An added bonus too is that if you market it well via blogs and conferences yours should do quite decently.
Basil, absolutely no way I'm in the same league as Stephen King (!), but I'm definitely encouraged to know listeners are also buying nonfiction books, too! Thanks for letting me know that. :-)Delete
As both an author and an audiobook producer, my own as well as others, I can definitely speak to the fact that audiobook popularity has soared in the past couple of years. A listener of one of my titles described it as "A movie in my head."ReplyDelete
I have been an audiobook fan since the 80s when I had a long commute to work and listened to them on cassettes. At that time though the blind were the primary focus of marketing. Not so these days. Once they hit the MP3 format a few years back they suddenly became even easier to listen to, and the market has grown exponentially since about 2006, especially with the opening of Amazon's ACX.com where indie writers can get their stuff out as well.
Another really cool feature of Whispersync at Audible is that you can have your Kindle play the audiobook as you read along, a great tool both for richer entertainment and even for folks with reading disabilities.
Oh did I mention, I really love audiobooks!
And another 'Oh!'Delete
Thanks Jodie for pointing me to this blog, looks like another place I need to hang out at! ;-)
I agree, Basil. Audio is definitely gaining fans. For me, it really brings a book alive.Delete
Basil has kindly agreed to guest-post for us on Oct. 26-27, with lots more info on audio recording, costs, methods, sales, etc. Looking forward to giving you the mic, Basil! :-)ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to learning more about audio from Basil's upcoming post. I've had a number of authors ask me about audio production so they'll benefit from his info.Delete
Thank you, Jenny. I "read" my books on audio almost exclusively. I don't have time for real reading. I spend so much time in my car and an hour walking every day...lots of listening time.ReplyDelete
I love it!
In fact, right now I'm listening to a great book titled, Madness and Murder, by Jenny Hilborne. You may have heard of it!
hee hee, glad you're enjoying listening to my book T. Hugs.Delete
A bit late on this conversation. I, too, enjoy audiobooks on long trips, while I'm walking (good for getting started with exercise) - but only if they're well read. Sometimes I get impatient even with good narrators. I'm too busy talking to myself to listen. :)ReplyDelete
But this is definitely an area I want to explore more - and see what Whispersync is all about. Thanks.
Thanks for commenting, David. I also listen while working out - makes the exercise so much more enjoyable.ReplyDelete