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Indie Audio

The next new frontier: Audiobooks Independent audiobook publishing in 2015 is still like the Wild West. There is a gold rush and nobody is quite sure how it’s going to pan out. I jumped in with both feet, because I wanted to be part of the excitement I missed out on with the golden days ebook publishing, which passed me by two years ago. The big push in 2012 introduced the world to new voices like Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey. Now the eBook market is so crowded even Hugh Howey has wondered if his books would be found amongst the noise (as a reader of his fantastic book, Wool, I think he would).But the audiobook market is still new enough that there is a little room for an Indie to get some shelf space. I loved the experience, I just wish I knew a few things before I started, like how the process worked, how much to pay an audiobook artist and most importantly how to sell it. In this installment I will discuss how much to pay an audiobook artist.First, I turned to Google to start my search. I was directed to many studio sites for places that will gladly record your audiobook for a fee of around $400 per finished hour or more. Some places and artists offer $100 per finished hour, but that is a bargain price. I chose to produce with It’s an Amazon based company which helps match authors to audiobook producers. I popped over to ACX one day not planning to make any decisions but just to poke around. I had to put my book information in to get a good look, but I didn’t mind because I had not locked into anything by just posting my rights. The first thing I noticed was pay ranges. There are several listed and I had no idea what they should be. They started as low as $0-$50 and as high as thousands per finished hour. I did not know what was correct. I put in $0 - $50 initially, but then after more Googling I learned that was a pretty Scrooge-like move.So here’s what the pay-ranges say about you:$0 - $50 – Range typically reserved for new artists, they are doing you a favor at these rates, at the lower end of this scale even Scrooge would be calling you a penny pincher. $50- $100 – At this rate Scrooge thinks your right on target. You might catch an up and coming star in need of some more experience so this range is not out of the question. $200 per finished hour seems to be roughly the going rate for high end production, however there are a few bargains and the sure fire studio productions cost upwards of $1000 per finished hour of product. Those high end studio productions are likely to be a sure thing, but sales, not so much. On top of these choices there was also a royalty share option, which is really gambling for any voice artist. They have to hope you will sell enough books to make it worth several hours of their time. If as an artist you don’t sell books they make nothing for all of their hard work. As a writer I am used to hours of unpaid labor, but I wouldn’t wish that on anybody else.In the end I was given a third exciting choice. My book was chosen for a stipend by ACX. With a stipend Amazon/ACX pays $100 per finished hour of work on your behalf using a “Stipend.” The stipend, according to the website is, “ACX employs an algorithm to determine which titles are eligible for a production Stipend. The algorithm looks at factors including past print and eBook sales of a title, recent sales velocity, user reviews, date of first publication, genre, and estimated running time (on ACX, longer is better) to determine eligibility.”This stipend helped me attract the voice talents of Liz Thompson “AKA Suzy Lexington” a well-trained voice actress who has been in many national campaigns and voiced several audiobooks including those for Harlequin.

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