Monthly Archives: April 2022

Audio Books

Audiobooks are quite a trend these days. I just read a newsletter on the subject put out by B&N.

It is revealing that they now have more than 300,000 audiobook titles on offer at a retail price of around $12.00. They see it as a huge new market for authors and they could be correct on this.

You can reach people who either don’t have the time or would prefer to fill those boring moments like when you are doing housework or the laundry, or are going on a road trip with the family.

How do you make an audiobook?

A popular audiobook creator is Findaway Voices who will offer a choice of narrator at a cost of $25.00 / 1000 words, so if your book is 75 000 words that would set you back $1900.00. (estimated). That’s quite hefty.

I always like to work out a good estimate of how many book sales it would take to recover my potential investment and in this case, it would amount to around 400 books at the current royalty rate. That is quite a lot in view of the other up-front costs in producing a physical or an e-book which also have to be recovered.

My new partners ePublishify offer a complete package (includes a physical book, an e-book and an audiobook) for only $650.00 (estimate). This amounts to a very good deal.  You may also buy a promotion package for $350.00 and that should set you up properly.

These continuous changes are inevitable due to the times we live in, however, the gradual erosion of a reading culture is very sad. Treasured memories of reading to our kids or being stuck into a good book way past bedtime seem to have gone altogether. We have been reduced to tweets and sound bites and short video clips. We have lost a lot. Our grandchildren will grow up without the magic of Charles Dickens or even the illustrative genius of Arthur Rackham.

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Should you consider publishing an e-book rather than a proper paper book?

It is worthwhile to have a look at this form of book because it is so prevalent these days.

Firstly an e-book is not the same as a printed book. The content is often much shorter with subheadings and active links to websites and supporting research. The word count can be as little as 30 000 words whereas a printed book usually requires 75 000 to 100 000 words.

Books with diagrams and illustrations are not suitable as e-books because they are ‘flowable’ documents. In other words, they shrink to fit a cell phone in which case diagrams become too small to see.

An e-book has a lower cost to produce and can thus be sold cheaper. Development costs remain the same, but there are no print and shipping costs involved. For the purchaser, it can be very satisfying to get instant delivery rather than having to wait for some days to get your book.

Other big differences are:

  • You do not ever own a Kindle or epub edition. You only have the right to read it.
  • If your device comes to the end of its life you will lose your e-books unless you buy a new device.
  • eBooks cannot be re-sold since you never own it
  • Work books are not suitable as e-books.

e-Books do require a certain expertise to get a professional result. Too often have I seen badly made e-books which present with large spaces between the paragraphs and even whole pages missing. In my experience the best guide to getting it right can be found in Smashwords Guide to creating .epub files. If you have written the content in MS Word it will end up with a lot of hidden junk coding which screws up your final result when converting to .epub or .mobi. Mark Coker’s Guide to cleaning out this hidden code is simply the best.

e-Books can be used as a kind of précis and introduction to your main work and could be sold to people who want just a taste of what you offer for a small sum of money.  In that way, it is a form of advertising with its own small income stream and none of the costs. That is kind of a sweet deal for everyone.

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The Best Selling Author

A successful book signing event.

This is a status that every author wants to achieve, however, it is not that easy and requires significant effort and marketing skills to achieve.

Robert Kiyasaki stayed with a friend in Singapore while he attended a conference there. The friend happened to be offering a sales course at the time.

The next day, after his presentation, a participant asked:

 “How can I become a best-selling author?”

Robert Kiyasaki replied:

“ Why don’t you sign up for a sales course.”

“ Don’t be ridiculous” answered the author “I am a writer, not a sales person.”

“ Did you notice” replied Kiyasaki “ It always states ‘best-selling author’, not ‘best writing author?”

The short answer is that a book will only do well if the author supports it and is a good marketer (or has engaged a good marketing team).

There have been a couple of cases in recent years of books that were in fact not that good, but were supported by aggressive marketing campaigns and as a result, achieved number one status on Best-Selling lists.

This is what happens when the book market gets flooded with mediocre titles. The good titles have to have proper marketing behind them otherwise they just don’t get seen.

Most traditional and independent publishers have marketing packages to which an author may subscribe (at a cost). However this can become expensive so you have to have the finance to back your book.

Another option is to Do It Yourself, but this requires some skill and quite a lot of time. A good example of this approach is Nadine May who spends a lot of time every day posting on all major platforms including Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Facebook.

A publisher’s obligation is to publish, obviously. This includes all the hundreds of tasks that ensure wide availability for your title through distribution networks around the world, plus mechanisms to ensure that your book is found at the bookshop counter. It also includes all the business side of things: collecting the money, paying royalties and so on.

An author’s obligation is to support their book (in other words to become s best-selling author.

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