Oh, Say Can’t You . . . Hear . . .

. . . the ca-ching, ca-ching of audiobook$?

Maybe it’s something you’re considering?  I certainly have.  (Mind you, I can’t even get a couple of e-books converted into hard cover—been waiting for a year for it to be done, so never mind the challenge of audio, LOL.)

An audiobooks ad that ran regularly on TV—before “holiday cheer” commercials took over—had caught my attention and got me to thinking that audio could prove quite viable (never mind that I’d love to hear the private-eye gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency come to life).  But do I remember the name of that company?  Of course not.  As P.I. Linda would say: dang.

Back when, I listened to Sherlock Holmes stories on cassettes (remember those?) and had found it entertaining; it made driving, cleaning, ironing and cooking rather enjoyable.  In today’s fast-paced world, when sitting and reading isn’t always possible, listening while “doing” certainly is.

As an FYI, a complete reading of a book is referred to as “unabridged” while a condensed version—“abridgement” of the text—is called “abridged”.  (Always wondered about that.  Now, I know.)

Curiosity prompted me to do some quick research.  Here’s an impressive fact:  audiobooks sales are up 20% year after year.  Here’s a (sad) not-so-impressive fact: e-book sales are down approx 5%.  . . . Maybe another reason to go audio?

The reason for the hike in audiobook sales?  It’s the way we’ve started approaching the action of reading—or rather the mode of listening, which is often now via an iPod, MP3 player, cell phone or smartphone, or Kindle device, and the list goes/grows on.  The awesome thing is we can listen anywhere: at home, on public transit, at the gym, in the mall, walking the dog.

My e-books are on Smashwords and new news to me (I really need to find time to read more)—the company has partnered with Findaway Voices.  Smashwords authors like yours truly can use Findaway to produce and distribute audiobooks.  How cool/easy does that sound?

Another cool thing?  You can narrate your own books, if you like.  You’ll just need to ensure you have the right equipment (such as recording and editing), a quiet venue, and time (evidently it can take 30-40+ hours to complete an audiobook).  Doing it yourself would probably best suit non-fiction.  In terms of fiction, unless you possess some acting/voice skills, a professional narrator might be better because you’d almost certainly want distinct differences in your characters’ voices.

Another tantalizing tidbit: more and more retailers (like Google Play and Apple iTunes, to name just a couple) are getting into audiobooks.  . . . And audiobooks for kids?  Yup.  Happening.  Big time.

At present, the genres that appear to be most popular: classic literature, sci-fi, fantasy, history, science, and self-help.  (Maybe, hopefully, mysteries will move up the popularity ladder.)

Do that due diligence if you plan to go the audio route, such as weighing costs, because they can add up, and confirming company legitimacy and credibility (remember “buyer beware”).  This holds true for the distribution component, too.  Know what you’re getting [into].  Determine whether you want to go exclusive with one distributor or sign up with many.

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