Tuesday, February 27, 2018

SMFS Member Guest Post: Producing an audiobook: It is worth it for short stories? by Judy Penz Sheluk

Please welcome back SMFS member Judy Penz Sheluk back today. Her topic in this guest post is short stories and audiobooks.

Producing an audiobook: It is worth it for short stories? by Judy Penz Sheluk

Last year, I took the plunge and decided to release both my mystery novels in audiobook format using ACX as the publishing platform. SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC was published in July 2017, followed by THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE in November 2017. While I’m not quite ready to buy a new car, my investment was simply one of time: I’d already written the books, I owned the audiobook rights, and I opted for a royalty share with the narrator/publisher (the lovely thing about that is ACX takes care of the payment side of things for both sides AND they pay monthly).

While full-length novels seemed to make sense for audiobooks, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be worth investing the time into LIVE FREE OR TRI, my self-published collection of three short mystery stories, originally released in January 2016 on Amazon. After all, what did I have to lose beyond a few hours of my time?

Following the ACX protocol (you can read all about it on my blog, links below, or go directly to ACX.com), I put a callout for narrators. Fortunately for me, Kate Tyler submitted a great audition, and, after checking her other audiobooks, I contracted her for the work. She didn’t disappoint (you can hear a sample on Audible.com), but at just under one hour of listening time, versus the 6 to 8 hours of my previous books, would the book actually sell?

The short answer is yes; in fact, in a month LIVE FREE OR TRI has already outsold THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, and is rapidly closing in on SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC. It seems folks actually want short and mysterious, and some are even willing to review it, with almost all 5/5/5-star ratings (audiobooks are rated 1-5 on Story, Narration, and Overall) on Audible, as well as a handful of ratings on Goodreads.

Will I get rich selling audiobooks, short, long or otherwise? Unlikely. But I’m getting my stories into the hands (or ears) of new readers and listeners, all without any monetary out-of-pocket expense. That, to me, is a definite win. If you own the audiobook rights to your story, I urge you to try it. After all, what have you got to lose?

Producing an audiobook, Part I

Producing an audiobook, Part II

Audible Page

New to Audible? Here's a link to a free download of LIVE FREE OR TRI: http://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B0799XWG96

Judy Penz Sheluk ©2018 

An Amazon international bestselling author, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE and A HOLE IN ONE) and The Marketville Mysteries (SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC). Her short crime fiction appears is included in several collections, including LIVE FREE OR TRI.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario.

Find Judy on her website/blog at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews and showcases the works of other authors and blogs about the writing life. 


Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thanks for posting this Kevin. I'm happy to answer any questions from the SMFS community.

Susan Oleksiw said...

This is an excellent outline of how you went about it, pros and cons. I've been leery of getting involved in this because I just couldn't figure out how to get started, so your post is very useful. Thanks for sharing this.

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Hi Susan, check out my blog links, and there will be a final post on this on Thursday on marketing audiobooks. Sign up for my blog by email so you don't miss it (SSP!). I'm glad it is helpful. I thought I should share what I have learned.

Suzanne said...

I agree with Susan. Your post provides great starter information. Thank you.

Judy, you mentioned that your novels as audiobooks provided 6 to 8 hours of listening time. What's the corresponding word counts on these novels?

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Hi Suzanne, my short story collection clocks in a 59 minutes.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Just wondering if this situation had any impact on you at this point, Judy? https://isobelstarling.wixsite.com/books/single-post/2018/02/28/AUDIBLE-ROMANCE-PROGRAM-A-Disastrous-start

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

No, they have only got this for Romance and my books are Mystery. But I've bookmarked that post in the event that Audible offers something similar for Mystery,

Kevin R. Tipple said...

With the way Amazon blurs the genres, I wondered if it was affecting you in some way. From their perspective, no doubt they think it works so I would expect them to make the forays into other genres.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Some followup news: Audible is Paying Inexplicable Bonuses to Authors in Audible Romance at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/03/10/audible-is-paying-inexplicable-bonuses-to-authors-in-audible-romance/