We are living in the beauitful age of options and authors have a mind-blogging buffet before them. Today we have Jennifer Fedderson of AudioLark Audio Books to tell you more about your options in the world of bringing your books to your readers in a totally different format. Welcome Jennifer!
Listen Up: Romance Audio Books increase Author Profits!
If your romance novel isn’t sold in audio book format, you’re missing out on a great way to increase your earnings! With the advent of digital audio books and the proliferation of mp3-playing devices, more and more customers are discovering the joys of listening to their favorite novels while they drive, cook, clean, exercise and more.
My name is Jennifer Feddersen, and I opened AudioLark Audio Books in the fall of 2010. Since then, we’ve produced and published over 175 romance audio books in a variety of genres including contemporary, historical, paranormal and many others. Today Cindy Procter-King, the author of Where She Belongs, and RE Chambliss, the narrator who brought Cindy’s novel to life, will help me tell you what to expect when your novel is transformed into an audio book. I’ll also talk about what you can expect with regards to contracts, royalties and audio book earnings.
One of my favorite parts about publishing audio books is combing through submissions to pick out our next lineup. Currently AudioLark accepts submissions year round, but we have two “reading periods” during the spring and fall. Our next reading period starts May 1st. Submissions received before May 1 will be replied to by June 1, 2012. The books we take on at this time will release in January – June, 2013.
Here’s Cindy Procter-King’s take on what it’s like for an author to work with AudioLark:
As an author, I’ve always been interested in getting my books into audio. The problem is, most traditional publishing contracts ask for the audio rights, and then your hands are tied. Whether the publisher pursues audio versions of their print titles is up to them, not the author.
Fortunately, the publisher of my first two books, Amber Quill Press, did not take audio rights. Neither does Five Star/Cengage, the library-edition hardcover publisher that published my 2007 Golden Heart finalist, Where She Belongs, in December 2011.
When AudioLark opened, I jumped at the chance to submit my first two books, which had already been in ebook and print for a few years. Publishing the audio versions gave them new life—and new sales! Head Over Heels, the first audio book I published with AudioLark, became an Audible ChickLit bestseller last summer, and I can still find it in the ChickLit bestsellers for Audible from time to time.
Once AudioLark contracts your book, you submit a pronunciation guide (Word doc or email) for the narrator. AudioLark chooses the narrator or provides a couple of examples of narrators for the author to choose from, depending on the needs of the book. I step out of the process until the narrator is finished reading the book, at which point AudioLark provides me with MP3 proofing files. Because I’m now proofing the book (listening for errors), I listen to the audio files on my computer using headphones and with the PDF of the book on my computer screen so my eyes can read along. When I notice an error that I want corrected or that the narrator has left a production note in the narration, I mark it down much in the way you would with a print publisher and send the list to AudioLark. The corrections are done, and then comes the great fun—waiting for and then experiencing release day!
I’ve had a very positive experience with AudioLark and look forward to working with them on more books. I would thoroughly recommend working to get your titles into audio. It’s another sales venue. People who might never buy your print or ebook might choose to buy the audio version, and what writer doesn’t want more sales?
My other favorite part of publishing audio books is working with narrators to create the final product. There is nothing as wonderful as listening to a voice actress whose voice and acting style truly complements a novel.
Here’s RE Chambliss talking about her experience in narrating audio books for AudioLark:
When I narrate a book for Audiolark I read the book three times. The first read-through helps me assess what kind of story it is and what kind of people the main characters are. I also look up any words I’m don’t know how to pronounce. I mark up my print-out of the book with all of the pronunciations as well as notes to myself about accents and character traits.
The second time I read the book is during the recording process. I record at home in a little recording studio in my closet. As I read, I try to immerse myself in the story. This is my absolute favorite part of the process. I love trying to bring a story to life with my voice. Whenever I flub a line, I tell the audio editor, “I’m going to do that again,” and then rerecord. The editor will clip the bad take out, leaving the good one.
Then I read the book a third time as I proof my audio. I sit with the print-out in front of me and listen to the whole book while I check it against the text. Any mistakes that I didn’t notice during the recording process, I mark down on my print-out so that I can re-record them correctly. After I’ve re-recorded all the mistakes, I splice the correct versions into the audio files of each chapter and send them to the editor.
The audio editor and the author both check the recording and let me know about anything that needs to be redone. I rerecord those lines and send them to the editor who splices them into the final audio files.
I feel so privileged to narrate audio books for Audiolark and hope that both the authors and the listeners enjoy the final product!
Now let’s talk about financial details. What can you expect from audio book earnings? Like traditional book earnings, actual numbers run the gamut. Some audio books sell a fraction of their ebook or print numbers. Other audio books out-sell their print sales. We’ve found that our best-selling genres are contemporary romance, chick lit, and romantic suspense. Audible, the number 1 retail outlet for audio books (owned by Amazon and partnered with iTunes), is advertising hard to increase the general public’s awareness of audio books. This is a great time to get your books into listeners’ hands.
AudioLark now works with Audible under a sliding-scale contract. The more sales a title generates, the bigger royalty percentage we earn, topping out at 90% of net revenues. We charge authors NO fees or upfront costs to publish their audio books, and we now pay authors 50% of the royalties we receive.
Are you interested in getting your romance novel into audio? AudioLark wants to hear from you! Contact Jennifer@audiolark.com or visit our submission guidelines at www.audiolark.com for more information!
Do you have books that are in audio format? Do you listen to books in audio format as a rule or is it the exception?
M/M romamce author, Harper Fox, answers a couple of my most pressing questions about her technique for emotion, characters and settings.
Jennifer is giving away a copy of WHERE SHE BELONGS to one lucky commenter!
Owner and Acquisitions Editor of AudioLark Audio Books, Jennifer Feddersen has produced and published more than 175 audio books since 2010. Specializing in romance audio books, she is also interested in many other genres, including contemporary fiction, mystery, suspense and young adult. When not coaxing authors and voice actresses to meet their deadlines, she’s happiest when bringing order to the chaos that is an unedited voice recording. She splits her time between northern British Coulumbia and the Adirondacks. www.audiolark.com 
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