Johannes Gutenberg introduced his printing press to the world in 1439. The device, with its ability to move the type, started a social revolution, and I have no doubt, the morning after the announcement, Mister Gutenberg found himself besieged by authors wanting to get their books printed.
Getting Our Work Out There
Getting our works, our visions, and our efforts before the reading public has always been the biggest challenge to a writer. Move forward several hundred years to 2017, examine the printing landscape and discover the new social revolution occurring. We’ve entered the world of not printing books. The downloadable, transportable, adaptable audiobook has invaded.
Consider these statistics gleaned from a WSJ article written July 21, 2016:
- Audiobooks sales increased 121% in 2016 over 2015 (USA and Canada)
- Downloads of audiobooks increased by 38% over that same timeframe
- As of the date of the article, Audible, the largest producer of audiobooks, stated its subscribers would listen to over 2 billion hours of narration in 2016.
Grab it and Run
My case for why authors need to grab onto this phenomenon and hang on for dear life has been made. Classics are being converted. I have listened to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, as well as Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. I also “read” my scriptures with sound buds in my ears.
All of us search for more readers, or in this case, listeners. I started converting my books to audio midsummer last year. Six of my eight novels have been completed and are available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. I plead guilty of trying to enlarge my fan base. Along my route to more sales, I stumbled on the fact that working with other talented, motivated, gifted artists was fun. I recommend converting your books for the enjoyment of working with the producers, if you cannot find any other reason.
A final thought
Last August 2016, I attended a writing symposium for the Western Writers of America in Dodge City. One of the presentations considered audiobooks and the author turned her discussion into an infomercial for the company that converted her books. No problem with that, I respect loyalty. I spoke to her after her hour.
The conversation was thus, more or less:
“You enjoyed working with company (located in Seattle),” I asked.
“I’d never go anywhere else. They were great, and they charged me a very reasonable amount.”
“They charged you,” I desired clarification.
“Not much, but what I liked best was that they had six narrators they could have used for my book. I think the one they chose was perfect.”
“Wait a minute,” I said, “they only had six narrators, and they chose the one that produced your book. What if you hadn’t liked the job?”
With that look that reminded me I was but a child in the audiobook world, she said, “You’ll learn. The company I used is one of the best in the field. I heartily recommend them to you.”
I thanked her, and left feeling a bit of pity for her. The company I use does not charge me a dime, allows me to negotiate my own contracts (within reason) with the producer I select, and supports me with the marketing.
I won’t stoop so low as the writer in Dodge, and brag about who I use by name, but if you have questions about converting to audiobooks, and you want a biased, (there, I said it) opinion, contact me.
By Guest Blogger -Kwen D. Griffeth
Kwen D. Griffeth is a member of the Springfield Writers’ Guild, Springfield Missouri. He has eight books to his credit – now all in audio format as well as digital and print, available at Amazon.com. See more at kwendgriffeth.com