When my college roomie, Barb, and I took a long road trip in her crazy aunt's monstrous old car (can't remember the model except it was big and burnt orange), she insisted that I read aloud Colleen McCoullough's long and steamy The Thornbirds to her over hundreds of miles. The books is basically about a super foxy priest in the Australian outback and a little girl who grows up with the hots for him and then they break a bunch of commandments and express their tormented forbidden love for several hundred angsty overwrought pages. In other words -- fantastic!
The upside to reading aloud on a long drive is that we were vastly entertained. The downside is that I had a headache for most of the trip. (Generally I am a headache on trips, but that's neither here nor there.) That's one reason I love audiobooks -- all the entertainment, none of the headaches. But they were way too expensive for me to buy.
When I had books published, I really hoped they'd be made into audiobooks. My publisher owned the rights and here's what they did with them: nothing, nada zilch, zero. I wasn't alone. Most audiobook rights languish and are forgotten. It's too much trouble for traditional publishers to do anything with them unless they're really big sellers.
Audible had formed ACX, a program that allowed authors to made and distribute audiobooks either by recording themselves, or by hiring a narrator. Neil Gaiman was using the service and praising it.
I signed up on ACX, uploaded my audition samples, and in a very short time, professional narrators were contacting me about my projects.
My publisher owned the rights to my cover art, but Patricia steered me to illustrator Christian Nacorda, an art instructor. I incessantly bother him to change this and tweak that and, no doubt, he'll be having nightmares for decades to come.
my audio books are already for sale on Audible and Amazon. I'm earning money on them at a terrific royalty rate! Better yet, they're being enjoyed by story lovers in a non-headache-inducing way.
So, authors, if you gave up your audio rights to publishers and they're just sitting around, ask for them back. Keep asking. Be annoying. Be insistent. If you own your audio rights, head on over to ACX and learn how you can create audiobooks. Don't be put off by the cheezy graphics on the site -- they're a very professional and very helpful team. Be sure to check out their numerous promotions.
I'm still making two more books at ACX, and I'll be writing a post of do's and don'ts for your audiobooks soon! If you like my character Nancy, be sure to listen to the sample of The Bride of Casa Dracula, because it's a funny scene between Milagro and Nancy, and Patricia does an inspired Nancy.
Listen to a sample and buy Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula 1)
Listen to a sample and buy Midnight Brunch (Casa Dracula 2)
Listen to a sample and buy The Bride of Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula 3)
Read Neil Gaiman's "Audiobooks: a Cautionary Tale."
All I know is that there could be lots and lots of audiobooks out there that aren’t. For years it didn’t matter that the rights were held by people because nobody could do anything anyway. But we’re not in that world anymore.Read Jeff Bennington's "Amazon's Answer to Indie Audio Publishing."
GRATUITOUS VIDEOS OF THE DAY
My theme is just new videos set to songs by women.