In episode 6, Melissa welcomes Michael Pogach to the show to talk about audiobooks. Listen in...EPISODE 6 - Audiobooks.
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m your host, Melissa Koberlein. I’m an author and professor of publishing. If you’re just tuning in for the first time, let me tell you about the show. Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice. Each week, I invite a guest host to join me for a hot topic in publishing or a book review.
This week I was joined by Michael Pogach. Michael is the author of the dystopian thriller Rafael Ward series: THE SPIDER IN THE LAUREL (a 2018 Kindle Book Award finalist) and THE LONG OBLIVION, as well as the chapbook Zero to Sixty, and a number of short stories. His work has been called “refreshing” and “gritty and graphic.” He has spoken, and conducted workshops, on the writing craft at Arcadia University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, The Doylestown Bookshop, the AWP Conference & Bookfair, and more.
When not mooching free WiFi from Starbucks, Michael teaches literature and creative writing in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.
Mike and I talked about our weeks, and I mentioned that we are colleagues at Northampton Community College. Mike teaches creative writing! He's a boss.
We then moved on to the topic of the week. Here's the Q&A from the podcast:
Can you talk about why you wanted to create an audiobook for The Spider in the Laurel?
I actually didn't even think about it until I got my first contract for the print and ebook versions of the novel. And there was this section asking if I wanted to give up my audio rights. I did some research and decided to keep those rights. Then I actually heard (maybe saw?) a commercial with Neil Gaiman promoting ACX, which is Audible's production company.
What was the process?
ACX works kind of like online dating for audiobook authors/narrators. You make a profile and put up a sample chapter of your book. Narrators can search for you and record samples, or you can contact them based on their profiles and ask them if they would be interested in recording a sample of your book.
How did you find a narrator for your book?
I scrolled a lot of narrator profiles and sent requests to a dozen or so. And 3 or 4 found me and offered samples. In the end, my narrator, Terry Self, just nailed the attitude of my sample chapter. And we both seem to be on the same page as far as tone and voice.
How long did the process take?
The full audiobook was recorded in about 4-5 months (I told him not to rush; I wasn't in a hurry), but there was a minor issue with one of the character voices, so we decided to do spot re-recordings of chapters. That took another 3 or so months. Terry is currently working on recording his second novel for me. We're about 3 months in, and I'm hoping to have it complete around New Years.
What’s the cost of this kind of publication?
You can negotiate with your narrator to either pay them up front an hourly fee based on Audible's estimate of how long your audiobook will be (which seems to be pretty accurate). Or you can choose to split royalties with your narrator. If you make an Amazon exclusive contract (7 years, for sale on Amazon only, no CDs or physical product), you get 40% royalties and split that half-half with your narrator. My first audiobook costs $25, so if a customer pays full price, I get $5 per copy sold.
Favorite part about independently publishing an audiobook? Least favorite?
I love the direct collaboration and control. If I gave up my audio rights to my publisher, I would be totally out of the loop, and would only see/hear the final product. Also, my royalties would be lower if I gave up my audio rights. This way I get to have both traditional (small/indie) publishing and self-publishing experiences/control for my novels.
Least favorite is I would really like to be able to get CDs or something of my audiobooks, and I'm not a huge fan of a 7-year contract, but so far these are minor gripes.
Do you recommend it?
Absolutely. I don't want to sound like a spokesperson, but working with ACX has been really straightforward and simple. And they pay regularly, each month that you have at least ($10 or $20 - I forget which) in royalties accrued.
I finished up the episode with a Tip of the Week: If you haven’t already, start a mailing list. This will be invaluable for you to keep in touch with fans of your work
I thanked Mike for coming on the show. This is where you can find him:
On my next podcast, freelance editor, Jeni Chapelle will be joining me to dish about the editing process. I will also have another Tip of the Week.
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So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for listening!
Indie Chicks out.