You can see to it that an audiobook is made from your book. But where do you start?
Unfortunately, paying professionals to make an audiobook is expensive, maybe $5,000 to $10,000, too much for indie publishers. But Amazon subsidiary ACX offers a royalty-sharing arrangement that’s doable.
All you have to do is convince one of ACX’s reader-producers to take a risk on your book. You sell him or her on the book, its merits, its platform, and they may decide to produce it for free. Then you split your share of the book proceeds with them. You get 20 percent of sales price, they get 20 percent, and ACX, the distributor, gets 60 percent.
Unfortunately, these terms apply only if you make an exclusive deal with ACX to distribute the audiobook. It will go to Amazon and other outlets, so it’s not exclusive to Amazon. Without that exclusive deal, you’ll get just 12.5 percent royalties, and the producer gets 12.5 percent. You may have trouble convincing a producer to back a project with those terms.
What else do you need to know?
* You can’t initiate the process to create an audiobook until your book is available for sale on Amazon. This unfortunately makes it impossible to launch the book and the audiobook at the same time.
* You can ask prospective producers to “audition” for your project, recording a small portion of it of your choice. A tip: choose a portion that’s difficult to portray in an audiobook, such as a conversation among three people. Also, ask for producers whose gender is the same as that of your protagonist.
* You can aim to make your audiobook usable with Kindle’s Whispersync, in which Kindle readers can listen to the audio for a while, pick up reading with the Kindle for a while, and go back to the audio, all without losing their place. For this synchronization to work, you need to stop tinkering with your manuscript and identify a final version that you will make into an audiobook. You also need to forego any between-chapter musical interludes.