Hey, folks. I’ve had a lot of people sliding into my messages recently asking about audiobooks, so I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about them.
Q: There is no set schedule for audiobooks. Why?
A: These things are wretchedly expensive and are very slow to earn back. I can only produce them when prior audiobooks earn enough money to cover those expenses.At current, audiobooks earn me enough to contract them once every two months. I am not going to bankrupt myself or spend beyond my means to make audiobooks. I do them because I want to be accessible, not because I make money off them.
As such, please be patient. They’re expensive and do not earn me profit at this point in time. One day, they might earn me profit… but right now? I’m bleeding money on them.
I know a lot of you like audiobooks, but that’s just how it is. (Each one of these things can cost up to $5k to produce, and that’s excluding the base costs to write the book; this is just the audiobook production, proofing, cover art adjustments, etc.)
Q: Why isn’t there a kickstarter for audiobooks?
A: I have enough trouble getting people to spend $15 on an audiobook. Most either can’t or won’t pay $25+ for an audiobook. They’re just too expensive, and I will not be doing a CD run or anything like that. Distribution is also a nightmare.
In short, I would take even more losses if I tried a kickstarter for these audiobooks.
Q: Why aren’t more of your books on audible?
A: The only three books that are audible are only there because of a traditional publication contract I cannot revoke for quite a few more years. If I could remove them from audible, I would.
As it is, Audible continues to illegally sell my books and refuses to even acknowledge emails asking for why they’re selling copies of audiobooks that had been removed from distribution a year ago. (It’s infuriating.)
Q: Why aren’t you selling on audible?
A: Amazon has many predatory practices that make audiobook sales a losing proposition for me, including their policy to allow people to listen to audiobooks and return them “because they didn’t like it.” It’s like going to a restaurant, eating everything on the plate, and then claiming you hated the food and you should be given everything you ate for free.
Considering how expensive audiobooks are to produce, this policy was lethal to my wallet, and there were months where books would earn me nothing despite people having listened to the entire product. And they would do this for every book.
It’s disheartening, and the best choice for me was to leave audible.
Anyway, you can get my books for cheaper on chirp, author’s direct, and so on. I choose the price on those vendors. Amazon does not. (Oh, yes. Amazon dictated how much I could sell my audiobooks for, which was a major annoyance.)
Q: When will (insert book title) come to audio?
A: I don’t know, and honestly, considering the cost of audiobooks and how much money I’m losing on them, I expect the process of bringing things into audiobook to slow down to no more than 3 or 4 a year. It’s expensive, it’s stressful, and it takes a great deal of time and effort away from writing new books.
Eventually, things will come to audiobook, but I am in no hurry to bleed my wallet dry, and it really depends on how much the older audiobooks bring in. Once they’ve earned back enough to pay for the next audiobook, I book in the next audiobook.
Please don’t ask me to go into debt over audiobooks. It’s exhausting. I appreciate how much you enjoy the audiobooks, but they’re truly very expensive, and the money is a significant barrier.
I’ve asked if people would be willing to pay $x per audiobook, and the majority replied no. As such, it’s being done this way, and that’s that.
I need to maintain my financial stability, and audiobooks are always the first thing to be slowed down or halted because it is a no-profit situation for me.
I do them because I want people to be able to listen. They’re thousands of dollars of investment each, and I carry that burden directly and solely, often for six months before the audiobook is released. It is a very long and tedious process.
Q: Why don’t you launch audiobooks the same time you launch the ebooks?
A: Money and time. I am not holding a new release back and losing even more money to launch the audiobook edition and the ebook edition.
Please understand I do the audiobooks as a courtesy. It was never meant to be a strong part of my business. It loses me a lot of money. I just like being accessible. But the quest for accessibility does mean I have to budget the money carefully.
So, I ask you to please just be happy when audiobooks release. They’re hugely stressful on me, they are a major source of debt, but I do it because people like it.
If accessibility for the vision impaired and those who struggle to read wasn’t a factor and so important, I wouldn’t be doing them at all. (I can’t even listen to audiobooks as a general rule because I struggle with anxiety from dramatized story telling. I can’t do radio dramas, listening to movies, etc, either. Not without medication.)
Will I continue to produce audiobooks? Yes. I just can’t promise their rate of production due to how expensive they are.
No, Silent Stalker has not been booked yet for production. I have too many other books in the queue right now. Once I have a few of the things on my plate off my plate, it’ll get booked in.
I hope you all have a good day.
I love your audio books. I listen to them daily and am so excited for the next releases whenever that may be. I have lost count of how many times I have listened to the ones I own.
Thank you for the explanation. There is no way you should need to go so far into debt just to satisfy our appetite for audio books. I love them, and will wait as long as it takes, without complaint. Thank you for releasing your backlist on Chirp, they are turning out to be an excellent option to Audible.
I really enjoyed Silent Stalker. The reveal on Pepper’s dad was awesome. The man we loved to hate, turned out not be the villain after all.
Just bless you for thinking about audio when it is such a pain in the posterior for you.
Thank you from a grateful listener xx
Also, your narrators are excellent!!
As a semi driver who drives for an average of 10 hrs a day, 6 days a week, I relay heavily on audio. I have 500+ audio books and 5,000+ ebooks (lack of space in a semi is no joke). Don’t worry, I will never get rid of my paper library it’s just in boxes right now ( have to maintain my dragon status). So, yes, I’m a little disappointed with reality, but that’s my problem. Thank you for explaining so I can understand. It makes the lack of your catalog in audio easier to take, yours and other authors as well. Thank you.
As a fellow truck driver I also await your books on audio but as I’m a patient lynx I have no problem waiting. While I bought everything that audible had when it was available & it’s in my library. The only books available are 3 royal states books thank you for keeping my trips fun
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
My audiobooks are available on Chirp, Author’s Direct, and other networks, just not audible. If you want my audiobooks, you’ll have to buy on different platforms.
Thanks for making your audiobooks available on Chirp!
Sarah E. Koski
You absolutely should not have to go into debt to make your art accessible.
I am a problem solver by nature. So I am just going to throw a couple ideas out there. Maybe they’re relevant, and maybe they’re not. I am in no way saying you should do this thing or that thing. Just sort of brainstorming.
I can’t help but think that if people are bugging you about audiobooks, that they should put their money where their mouth is and help bear some of the cost burden. If your community wants an audiobook to go on sale more quickly, they should help raise some of the money for it. (Perhaps I should say WE because I include myself as a part of your community.)
You’re very upfront about your costs and lack of a profit margin on the audiobooks, which I greatly appreciate. If it costs 5K, challenge them to raise 5K + whatever taxes and fees you have to pay. If your community raises the money, it gets produced and it goes on sale for them to buy through Chirp or wherever else. Key word: BUY.
Is gofundme a good alternative to Kickstarter for you? There’s no incentives to manage (a plus in my mind). I vaguely remember there being a huge downside to that site, and can’t remember the specifics.
Some of the streamers I follow on Twitch use Stream Elements to track donations made through PayPal and credit card payments toward various goals, like new equipment, covering travel expenses, vet bills, etc. It makes me wonder if there is a more general version of that through PayPal suitable for you to use.
Also, semi-related question is there a way through Patreon to give one time bonuses/payments to you? I’m still new to Patreon, and if there’s a way to do that, I haven’t found it yet.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
No, the problem with kickstarter and ALL crowdfunding platforms is delivery. Delivering audiobooks is expensive due to file size and how the files are formatted.
that plus people just do not want to buy audiobooks. I’ve been victim of the audible “buy, read/enjoy, and return” on same credit… and I’m charged everytime that happened. (Which was why I left audible.)
Just for my two cents the question is not about the frequency or number of the audiobooks but planning. Right now in order to figure out if you have a new audiobook I need to go into the iTunes Store and check if there’s a new audiobook. There are no schedules or announcements given when a new one is out and so I find myself flying a bit blind when I would otherwise purchase them on the day they come out.
By no means should you feel compelled to go into debt but is there maybe a chance you could add new audiobook releases (or soon releases) to the webpage or the blog somehow just so we know when we get to purchase a new one rather than chancing into the information on our own. It doesn’t even matter to me if you change the date when it’s coming out, just knowing what’s coming out next would be appreciated.
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
There is literally no way to schedule this. I work by when people get stuff to me. This is a long multi-month process, and I often have to wait months for the narrator to even start. I can’t do this, sorry. It’s just not possible. I can’t give you any dates because I don’t know when things will be finished. I can’t even guess within a 30-90 day venture.
Audiobooks are not a solid part of my career and I do them as a courtesy, and I simply refuse to stress myself to death playing the guessing game with them. There are so many moving parts in making one of these that I can’t schedule them. I just can’t. Sorry. You’ll have to follow the blog, because I announce on the blog when they are released and provide links.
It can take anywhere between 1 to 30 days for the vendors to upload the submitted files, so there are delays posting for that reason. I can’t post until THEY post, and they don’t post on a set schedule, either.
Unlike a traditional publisher, I can’t ask the vendors to do set releases really. (Unless I hold the audiobook back for 3+ months on purpose.)
Thank you so much for going through with making your books accessible to people like me. I use audiobooks as anxiety relief and so far it’s been the only thing to help. Is audiobooks.com still OK for you? The other vendors listed don’t support my location.