DID YOU KNOW....? Vol. 1
This week we're reposting the fabulous Karen White's very first Did You Know...? Vol. 1, which was originally featured in our handy dandy RN Newsletter in April 2018. This post includes tons of helpful insights about publishing in audio that we thought were worth re-sharing. Check it out below!
by Karen White
Vol. 1: A Primer on Publishing in Audio
For the author just dipping a toe into the Audiobook Pubbing Pool:
If you’re looking into the cost of publishing your book as an audiobook, you’ll probably encounter the term “per finished hour” - “PFH” for short. Producers of audiobooks, narrators, editors and proofers are all paid for their services in this way. In practice, the producer will quote you a rate. Your total cost will equal that rate multiplied by the length, in time, of the finished product. (After a little research, we learned that the industry has worked this way since 1975 when Books-on-Tape started the tradition to keep recording costs manageable.)
So how does this affect you, the author and potential audiobook publisher? How do you figure out your budget with this PFH rate? Luckily there’s a handy formula to translate your word count into approximate finished hours. You simply take your word count and divide it by 9,300 to get a very general idea of your book’s PFH. For example: 80,000 words ÷ 9,300 = 8.6 hours.
To calculate your cost, if a producer gives you a rate of say, $475 PFH, that means your book will cost 8.6 x $475 = $4,085. Remember, this is an estimation: a skilled narrator will artfully perform your book, adjusting pacing as the story requires, so things may speed up and slow down in the studio. With that in mind, you should budget several hundred dollars more, just in case.
Next time, we’ll talk about all the different elements that go into producing your book.
For the author who is already doing laps in the Audiobook Waters:
Audible has done a great job of branding itself. We’ve found that many consumers think all audiobooks come from and can be found only at Audible. It’s become the Kleenex of the audiobook world. Similarly, Audible’s self-production arm, ACX is the best-known spot among authors for audiobook casting, production and distribution.
However, there are other options for getting your book produced and into your fans’ listening devices.
Today, we’ll talk about distributors.
Say your audiobook sales have been pretty good so far, but you’ve heard that libraries are a great place for potential listeners to discover books (via Overdrive or hoopla), or regulars have said that they want to buy your books in a way that benefits their local indie bookstore (Libro.fm or Kobo), or fans have said they’d love to be able to listen on their Nook, or via their Scribd or Bookmate subscription. Or you want to sell audiobooks yourself via a service like hummingbird.
There are a few digital distributors that will allow you to sell your books wherever listeners are looking for them. Author’s Republic and Big Happy Family are two popular options. With either, you can distribute via Audible separately or you can distribute through their service unilaterally.
Via Author’s Republic or Big Happy Family, your audiobook can find its way into listeners’ ears via a multitude of platforms rather than just one. Even though your non-exclusive Audible royalty rate will be lower, it’s possible that wider distribution would make up the difference.
Join us next week for a brand spanking new blog post from Noah Michael Levine. See you then!