Audiobook Success Story, or, “Who Listens to Audiobooks?”

ACX Success Story: Bella Andre
Posted on September 26, 2013 by ACXsj
Source: ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange)

Here at ACX, we love stories from authors who have found both creative and financial success through audiobook creation. Inspired by a chat with fellow ACX author and New York Times bestseller Bob Mayer, Bella Andre has used ACX to achieve both.

Read on for Bella’s advice on building a strong rights portfolio and the importance of finding just the right narrator.

Tell us about your current audiobook project.

Kissing Under The Mistletoe is the 10th book in my New York Times bestselling series about The Sullivans. It is an emotional, fun and sexy contemporary romance and one Sullivan fans have been eagerly anticipating. I had a lot of fun going back in time to tell the love story of the parents of the first eight San Francisco Sullivan siblings.

How did you decide to produce an audiobook version of your title?

I was on a publishing conference panel with NYT bestseller Bob Mayer discussing our experiences with indie publishing when Bob leaned over the other people on the panel and asked me, “Have you started putting your ebooks out as audiobook with ACX yet?” My first thought was “Who listens to audiobooks?”

I had a lack of awareness and education about the market. But later that day, Bob told me how great the market is; how you can take work you’ve already done and mine it for another revenue stream. As soon as I got home from the conference I started auditioning narrators for The Look of Love (The Sullivans #1).

What advice do you have for other authors who are considering having their titles produced as audiobooks?

It’s really a process.

Step one is to take advantage of whatever audio rights you currently have, either from titles you’ve had traditionally published or that you’ve self-published.

Once you’ve actually made a few audiobooks with the rights that you have, and you see how well they’ve done, step two is making sure that you keep those rights going forward if you sign a new deal.

For me, step three came after I had the first three books from my “Sullivan” series made into audio. At that point I realized that I needed to go back over my old publishing contracts.

I wanted to see if any of my audio rights had reverted to me. Some had, and I immediately whipped out those letters and sent them, certified, to get those rights back. It was a great day when the letters came from the publisher back granting me the rights back!

Then I looked into getting the rights back for my titles that didn’t have an automatic reversion clause in my contract. You won’t always get them back, but it’s definitely worth trying to get the rights back. Nobody ever died from writing a letter or an email or making a phone call and having someone say no to them.

Going forward, I don’t even want to sell audio rights in foreign languages. That’s step four.

We recently did a German deal for the first three “Sullivan” books, and we only gave them print rights, and I’m going to make audiobooks out of the German language versions.

What is the most interesting thing you learned about the audiobook production process?

I learned that the most important thing is to find a great narrator.

I auditioned several excellent narrators, but once I heard Eva Kaminsky’s audition, I knew that she would be perfect for my Sullivans. She has been absolutely wonderful to work with. Not only does she sound amazing, but she also makes fixes fast and is incredibly responsive to my emails about scheduling future projects and coordinating our calendars.

Tell us about your marketing efforts for this book, and your titles in general.

I have a great group of fans on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, and as soon as I have information on a new audiobook (release date, cover, order link, etc.) I immediately post it on my social media pages for them to get excited about. I also make sure the information and links are prominently displayed on my web site.

What industry figures or resources do you look to for marketing advice or success?

Every morning, I spend an hour or so staying abreast of the changes and innovations in publishing, ebooks and audiobooks.

I’m really, really excited about the growth in the audiobook audience, not just in the U.S., but around the world! For example, right now more Germans listen to audiobooks than read ebooks.

Learning something like that is so valuable!

What’s your next project, and when will we see it on ACX?

Love Me (Take Me series) and Game For Love (Bad Boys of Football series) will both be out on ACX by the end of the year.

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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