Friday, April 14, 2017

Audiobooks ... It's Complicated

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Just like health care turned out to be complicated, selling audiobooks turns out to be complicated, too.

I admit it; I'm cheap and audiobooks aren't. That's why I ask for audiobooks as holiday presents. This week, I finally got around to listening to a couple I got for Christmas. One was okay, and the other was absurdly ridiculous. Laugh aloud ridiculous.  It's Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny by Garrison Keillor. I was never a huge fan of his Lake Wobegon, although I've read a few of them and did enjoy them, but it was A Christmas Blizzard (and the story bears almost no resemblance to the Amazon audio description--who was smoking what when that got uploaded?) that made me seek out another of Keillor's audiobooks.  Mr. Keillor read them himself, and in the case of Guy Noir, has a couple of other people help with the narration. It's marvelous!

But, as usual, I digress.

A lot of people LOVE audiobooks, but (as mentioned above) they aren't cheap. That's why when I went whole hog into the audiobook business, I figured I could cut my price and sell more--making up the loss of income in bulk sales. No such luck. Turns out the author--no matter who s/he sells the audio rights to, has no say in pricing. One of my readers in England was lamenting the fact that he can't even GET my cozies in the UK. Guess what? We have no say on where the audiobooks are distributed, either.

That's why I'm sort of the perfect candidate for audiobooks. When I like something, I read or listen to it over and over again. (It's like visiting an old friend. And did I mention I've listened to A Christmas Blizzard so many times I've partially worn out disk 2?) So when I (or someone I love) do pony up the dough to buy an audiobook, I know I'm going to get my (or their) money's worth out of it.

Anyway, it turns out that last year I paid 20% more to have 3 audiobooks recorded than I made selling all 14 of my titles. One of my titles has only sold 3 copies.  (The other 5 that "account for sales" are actually ones I gave away for reviews. Not everyone who gets a free audiobook to review ever actually does that, either. Rather disheartening, really.)

If you love but can't afford audiobooks, ask your library to order them. I've also heard readers say they listen to them via  Hoopla.

So ... those are the audiobook facts as I know them.

Are you an audiobook listener?

P.S.  There are two great Facebook pages to learn about (mostly) mystery audiobooks.  They are:

Incredible Indie Authors Audio Page           Mystery Audiobooks Lovers

I hope you'll sign up to follow both of these pages.