Bringing a “Mostly Dead” Book Back to Life in Audio … by Richard Rieman

As Billy Crystal’s character said in Princess Bride, “mostly dead is slightly alive.” You can breathe new life into your older books by giving them a voice.

There is revolutionary growth in audiobooks. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) reports audiobook sales are up over 38% in 2016, and Audible listening is up 35%, The cost to produce an audiobook has fallen to less than $3,000 – sometimes much less. If you use Amazon’s ACX.com, you have an option to share royalties with a narrator/producer without any other upfront costs.

In some cases, such as “The Martian,” audiobook versions are registering three or four times the sales number of the original work. They are, in effect, replacing the text version as the primary version of the book.

Why a book released years ago should be relaunched as an audiobook:

  • Treat your audiobook launch as a completely new way to reach your audience
    This is your new baby being born. Announce it with the same enthusiasm as any proud book launch parent.
  • Audiobook listeners are a new audience for your book
    The explosive growth in listening on smartphones and in “connected cars” is steadily increasing the number of audiobook buyers, especially over subscription services from Audible and iTunes.
  • More money from existing content
    Your manuscript will only need a few minor changes (refer to “listening” instead of “reading”) to create a new royalty payment income stream.
  • There are fewer books in audio in each genre
    In each genre – especially Young Adult, Romance/Erotica, and Mystery/Suspense, there are far fewer audiobook titles, making it easier for fans to find your book.
  • New reviews call attention to all versions of your book
    You can get reviews of your audiobook through services such as AudiobookBoom.com and reviews by genre, such as AudiobookReviewer.com.
  • New promotional opportunities
    You can create YouTube video trailers using audio excerpts from your book
  • Amazon’s Whispersync feature can help you sell Kindle ebook versions
    Kindle and audiobook buyers often buy both versions at a discount so they can pick up where they left off in each version.
  • Hearing the words you wrote brought back to life can re-energize you to write again
    Whether you voice your own book or find a great narrator, you can find yourself motivated to bring life to your next book.

Audiobooks are a wonderful form of storytelling. You have an opportunity to take the words off the pages and give them a new voice, and a new life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Rieman of AudiobookRevolution.com brings both living and mostly dead books to life. Richard is an audiobook self-publishing consultant, a top Audible narrator, and in-studio producer of authors narrating their own titles. Richard is author of The Author’s Guide to Audiobook Creation, Gold Medal Winner of the 2016 Global eBook Award in Writing/Publishing.

You can learn more about Richard and his projects at his website Audiobook Revolution Productions. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and You Tube.

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5 thoughts on “Bringing a “Mostly Dead” Book Back to Life in Audio … by Richard Rieman

  1. I’m working though my books and adding audio versions. I got started before ACX changed its payout terms, which made those first 5 books much easier to produce. Last year, I published 3 new books, and this year, I’m focusing more on audio because it’s a way to put out “new” content and keep your name out there without having to write another book. Finding the right market, however, is still a challenge for me. My fan base seems firmly entrenched in reading, not listening.

  2. With an hour long commute to the day job, I’m a big fan of audiobooks.

    For self-published authors, the option is there to get your book into audio form. But what about books published with traditional or small press publishers? How do they go about getting an audiobook made if it’s not in the original contract?

    • Jason – If you’re self-published (say, through Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace or IngramSpark), you have the audio rights.

      If you do not have audio rights, and the current rights holder has not produced an audiobook of your work, you may want to start the rights reversion process, requesting them to be reverted to your name alone.

      The following is an example of an audiobook rights reversion clause you can request be inserted in your book publishing contract (or added as an addendum):

      “If the Publisher does not either exercise or license audio recording rights to any Work within 60 days from the date of the Publisher’s initial publication of such Work, the Author may request in writing that the Publisher revert to the Author such rights, and the Publisher shall revert such rights to such Work within 30 days of stated request in writing.”

      Hope that helps.

      Richard

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