Friday, September 19, 2014
#16. Audio books, books on tape. Audible, ACX.
It seems like I couldn’t escape this topic from three of the conferences I attended: RWA, Penned Con and RT Booklovers Convention. Folks are calling audio books the new black, which is the latest trend that is helping indie authors earn, I’m told 5 times more $$ than eBooks. One author said her audio sales made up 25% of her monthly income. Plus, ACX has a bounty program, which basically pays a $50 bonus per new readers who sign up for ACX club membership as a result of wanting to download your book. If you sign exclusively with ACX, which distributes to Amazon and iTunes, your monthly royalty is 40%. Otherwise, your royalty would be 25% to sell it elsewhere.
Here are some notes from RWA. Self-publishing authors are using ACX and Audicle.com ( I think thery are the same thing). The current stats show listeners are downloading 18 audio books a year. KDP has a program called Whispersync for Voice-ready, which means if your eBook is also an audio book, readers can seamlessly switch between eReader and audio books without skipping a beat, page or chapter to finish your novel. Neat!
According to authors on the panel, you don’t want anybody narrating your masterpiece. As a matter of fact, most voice-over talents are particular about the projects they take on. If you aren’t selling well on Amazon, the narrator may not want to invest the time in a project that “isn’t going anywhere”. They also want to advance their careers. You also are not limited to the pool on ACX. You can reach out to actors and ask to hear their audition tape. If they aren’t on ACX, they can apply. You create a profile, which will include an excerpt of what you want them to read. For a sample audition script, one author suggested picking a conversation between a man and woman, a critical scene and listen how the narrator differentiates the characters. Make sure the narrator has the personality of your characters, is a storyteller and can pronoun the names correctly, even your name.
You can do a 50/50 split with the narrator (from everyone I’ve spoken with this isn’t recommended), but you wouldn’t be out of any $$, but it supposedly limits your chances of finding somewhere to audition. If you’re willing to pay the flat fee—a lot of authors go this route at first, you might get more bites. There was mention of Audible paying an additional $400 pre-finished hour for the 50/50 option—but you better check on the details. Narrators will line up to record your story based on YOUR ratings on Amazon—I noticed it was based on your print rankings, not eBook.
Okay, so how much $$ are we talking about per finished hour (90,000 word novel takes about 10 hours). Typical hourly rate is based on 9300 words to one finished hour. You determine how much you are willing to play. It could vary from $100-$300, especially if you use union actors. Lastly, there was discussion of how to market them. One author had a website page that listed her audio books page with sound clips. She said that helped sales, because it gave people an opportunity to test and sample the audiobooks. Oh yeah, you can also run a contest where you could give-away 25 free download with a code, and the best part is you still get paid royalty on that.
So, I decided to test the market and I went on ACX.com, and did the whole profile thing. I picked a novella, which had shorter word count. I offered to pay $100-$200 an hour and picked an excerpt with three people in the scene. I offered $100 to $200 an hour to see if I would get any bites. The profile calculated it would take the narrator (they call it producer), 3.5 hours to finish THE KEEPSAKE (34,000 novella)I hope this post has been a blessing. Feel free to share.
Monday, September 15, 2014
#15. This is a switch. Can you imagine agents/publishers chasing after you to offer you a book deal? This really does happen. If you have never heard of international bestselling author Bella Andre, my first question is, where have you been? Before I met this indie author at RWA, I read about her success. She brings in $20,000 a month—no exaggeration. This woman is so bad that she had licensed the rights to a publisher to her print books while retaining her eBook rights, which garner hundreds of reviews. “Wow.”
Another super star (my description only, she would deny it) is NYT bestselling author Colleen Hoover who I met this past weekend at Penned Con. She did the exact same thing with one of her eBooks, licensing her rights on a print book. My mouth dropped and my eyes blurred when I saw several of her books with 1,000 plus reviews. Really? I thought only James Patterson and a handful of others hit the 1,000 and 2,000 reviews mark. I’m still trying to get to one-hundred on one of my eleven novels and twelve novellas. Okay, what is their secret? Write a good book, build a street team and promote. Colleen told me when she was an indie author; she is now a hybrid (traditionally published and self-published), the publishers came after her because her eBooks were doing so well, which basically meant, she had a fan base that posted reviews. These two are proof indie authors can be a force to reckon with.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
#14. A big draw for me is the research folder where I have placed info needed about my character’s occupation, lifestyle, etc. There is also an option that will help you set writing goals. I wouldn’t suggest trying this program in the middle of a project. But I think this might work for me. I’ll continue to add scenes and dialogue, then next week, I’ll begin to write. Let’s see if I can make my deadline!
I hope this post has been a blessing.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
#13. Street Teams
Hello all. Every author needs a support system. For me, I started the Guilty captains when my Jamieson Legacy novels were released. At the time, I had nine women from across the county who volunteered to take an active role to help advance my writing career. Fast forward two years later, one woman remains my sidekick: Mia Harris, or Mia Daniel on FB. She really is an author’s best friend. I asked her what she thought was the most important thing for a street team, and here was her response for the author:
Get the word out without expense.
Get people involved.
Get involved on social media
What I learned from a workshop at RWA. Mobilize your street team with:
1. Chapter Reveals—give them a tease
2. Contest—offer weekly prizes
3. Build anticipation, give direct links to all retails that offer pre-orders
4. Eliminate friction among the group
5. Give incentives for positive actions
6. Super fans will convince their friends to read your books
7. Smashwords has coupons for you to use for pre-order receipts
8. List your street team under the acknowledgement section in your books
9. Give your street team a list with a deadline to complete the tasks
10. In the end, many people on your street team aren’t there for the give-a-ways. They support you because of what you write***
I’m guilty of #9. In the past, the only thing I asked of my Guilty captains was to post a review when my book was released and to help pass out postcards. Last weekend, I asked members of my FB steam team to post, with the Amazon link, their favorite book that I had written. Of course not everyone did, but it was fun to see which book each reader enjoyed. I would thank them and then share their link on my wall with a shout out to them. One strange thing happened. A friend of one reader replied that Christian fiction wasn’t her cup of tea and why should she read Guilty of Love. I replied, posted the synopsis. The woman agreed to give me a try. How cool was that? I had performed #6 from the above list without realizing it.
I hope this tip has been a blessing to you. Believe it or not, I’m attending another conference—if the Lord wills—this week. I’ll have notes from there.