For some strange reason I decided to turn Kevin and the Seven Lions into an audio book. My thinking was that as a first grade teacher for years I would have a listening station in my room. Even in the older grades there are audio versions of stories for older kids. This year I listened to the audio version of Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg with my fifth graders during a lesson on visualization.
I have also read that when a book has an audio version listed with in Amazon it looks more professional.
Then there is the idea of different revenue streams, with one story I can sell it as a Kindle version, a paperback, and an audio version. One story, three different ways to sell it.
To get this done I went through ACX, which of course is an Amazon company. You post the project in ACX with a description of the project, a script for auditions, and post your budget. You can also share revenue with the audio book producer instead of putting up cash. I prefer not to do that, but sometimes it be the only possible option.
When I put up the audition script I got tons of, as in, 40 something, auditions to listen to. I’ll tell you, after coming home from the day job, it is quite something to have other people come and compete for your attention.
But listening through the auditions was enjoyable, but way more difficult then I expected. Many people were very qualified to read the book. Listening to other people read my work gave me chills. That alone was worth the trouble.
Getting the right vibe of the story was important to me. I realized quickly that since the story revolves around Kevin, a boy, that I was going to need a male voice. I didn’t realize that when I was setting up the project, but after the first couple of female voices tried out I realized I was going to need to go with a male voice. The story is about boy and all of the day dreams inside of his head. A male voice made more sense.
I choose Ron because in his audition he automatically got the pacing of the story, and that was awesome to see. And in some strange way his slight New York accent just brought another level of texture to the story.
Once I chose Ron to record the story, we agreed to a schedule of when the first 15 minutes of the story was due. In this case, that would have been the whole story, as it is only about 12 minutes. Once I got the first draft, I listened and then sent my notes back. He quickly finished it up and got the final audio back to me.
ACX then does a final quality check of their own before it can go on sale. And that takes several days to weeks. That is the part that is very different from the KDP experience. But once it does go on sale, it is for sale in three different places, Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
ACX though has recently lowered their royalty rate. Hugh Howey has a great post on the potential problem that may cause. In my opinion it is one of the few screw-ups on Amazon’s part.
But even with that, creating an audio book version is something to seriously consider as a way to promote your work.
Kevin and the Seven Lions is now a story written by guy in Virginia, illustrated by a woman in England, and narrated by a guy in New York.
I love the 21st century.