Today, Philtata Press is thrilled to host one of our longtime partners, Sarah Beth Goer. She’s going to reveal the ins and outs of audiobooks for indie authors.
Sarah is an audiobook narrator and producer who has worked extensively with business-minded indie authors as well as with major publishers, including Harper, Scholastic, Tantor, and Podium.
As a narrator, her notable audiobooks include THE DEVOURING GRAY – one of Barnes & Nobel’s 20 most anticipated YA debuts of 2019, 50 most anticipated YA fantasy novels of 2019, and 29 most anticipated LGBTQA+ YA books of 2019; and NIGHT MUSIC – Audiofile Magazine called Goer’s performance “dynamic,” and “noteworthy” as she “successfully capture[d] the raw emotions of first love muddled by racism and greed.” Sarah is a proud member of the APA, SAG-AFTRA, and AEA.
Sarah has also produced audiobooks for multiple bestselling authors, including Philtata Press’s own Ophelia Sexton and Marissa Brandt.
What To Do if You Don’t Want to Manage Your Own Audio, by Sarah Beth Goer
There’s a ton of info online regarding how indie authors can turn their books into audio. However, I don’t see as much advice around about what to do if you’re an author who doesn’t want to manage the process yourself.
I’m about to dive into a bunch of details, but first here’s the TL;DR version:
- You can sell your rights to a publisher or you can hire a producer.
- Publishers pay for production & share royalties; producers typically work for a one-time fee & the author keeps all royalties
- When you’re evaluating your options, make sure you know what the numbers mean. If you’re earning a percentage of royalties, make sure you understand – percent of what?
All right. Detail time.
Let’s talk about publishers first. These are folks who buy your audio rights and then publish the audio for you. Most people believe there are two major advantages to working with a publisher:
1) It’s easy/effortless/doesn’t take any time.
2) You don’t have to take on any financial risk yourself, since the publisher will not only pay for production but also give you an advance.
#2 is undeniably true. Therefore, for authors who do not want to take the financial risk of paying for production, I highly recommend working with a publisher.
#1 is also true…but if you’re in a position where you know you’d make more money by paying upfront for audio and keeping your royalties, you might also consider alternatives. For example, you can hire an audiobook producer.
A producer is someone who, for a fee, takes care of everything for you. Casting, scheduling and managing the production, solving problems that arise, etc. You hand over your manuscript, and your producer gets the job done. There are plenty of folks out there who do this. As previously mentioned, producers, unlike publishers, generally work on a for-hire basis, so you get to keep all your royalties.
Ok. So, would you be better off financially with a publisher, or a producer?
Continue on to Part 2, where Sarah discusses this question and offers indie authors some tips when considering audiobook production.