BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): Go with audio too ... or be left behind.
WARNING: This is written in a deliberately flippant manner because those of you who get it may be encouraged by it, and those of you who are still resisting might challenge some of your long-held assumptions. My aim is NOT (oh yeah, you'll see lots of caps) to upset but to empower through candor. This also includes fruity language. If you're not in the right mind space to be called to the carpet on some of the things you think, I'd recommend not reading it until you are. If you DON'T feel encouraged by the end of this; I'll fear I've lost you forever as an audio-convert.
***Note: Yes, audiobooks are expensive to produce, but you CAN do it yourself, so let's move on from that argument, shall we? Use of fine print is deliberate to make this feel more important because too many authors seem to automatically believe they "cannot do" audio.***
How's That For an Inflammatory Headline?
Sure, you CAN journey along your writing path only publishing ebooks and paperbacks/hardcovers, avoiding audio at all costs. But why would you?
Yes, the obvious answer is that you wouldn't get into audio because you dislike money. I don't understand that, but I guess if you have, like, a medical condition against money, then I can sympathize and try to understand.
But for everyone else; here's Paul's opinion (I love talking about myself in the 3rd person): You BETTER be working toward getting your books into audio or at the VERY least, thinking about HOW you can.
I've talked about the financial aspect too many times to count. Margins are FAR superior in audio than ANY other medium you'll publish in. That makes getting into audio a no-brainer.
BUT, I Have a NEW Reason to Get You Going
Your story might suck in print but be excellent in audio.
Allow me to present Patrick Ruthfoss' "Name of the Wind."
I picked it up because eeeeeeeeeeveryone who loved epic fantasy was talking about it. I happen to loooooove epic fantasy.
So I spent $10 and some gas & time getting myself over to Barnes and Noble's to pick it up as soon as the itch to read fantasy began.
And then I struggled.
I mean, I freeeeeakin' struggled to get through the first 100 pages (the book is approximately 4,138 pages long--hyperbole).
It was, for better need of an insult, a slog.
Boring. Slow. Uninteresting characters. Meandering plot.
I gave up and never went back to it.
Audible to the Rescue
Uuuuuuuuntil my monthly Audible credits came up and "Name of the Wind" was one of my recommended reads.
I had a 6-hour round trip into the mountains to visit with my daughter on a life-and-mental-health-break and about an hour into the first 3-hour leg, I decided to give good old Pat a second chance.
Syncing my Kindle to the car, I started "Name of the Wind" for the 2nd time--but this time in audio.
And for those last 2 hours of the first leg, and all 3 hours of the return leg, I listened to that book.
I was enraptured. Enthralled. Captivated.
I was sold on the story and the characters.
It WORKS in audio where it failed to capture me on the page! (Read this sentence until you understand on a creative level why this is soooooo important.)
The WORLD is your marketplace. Don't ever forget that.
Those of you who have lived in non-English speaking countries know this. If you've never had that experience, you might not have thought about this; but it's a crap-ton easier to grasp meaning when you HEAR words than to READ them when it's a foreign language.
Billions of smartphones around the world. The latest population figures have us tipping 7.7 BILLION people on the planet. The markets in the East and Africa are poised to explode with new marketplace customers--the overwhelming majority who are NOT native-English speakers, but who CAN read/listen to English.
Oooops, I'm slipping back to the financial aspect of this. How about this: of all those people who picked up your book and were GOOD HUMANS who did so by paying for it, and, sigh, I guess I'll include those who waited until they could get it for free, how many of them treated your story as I did good old Pat's "Name of the Wind?" How many readers (and potential future buyers) are you leaving on the table because __________________ (blank provided for Yours Truly to facilitate any excuse-making about why you "can't" do audio)?
What are you waiting for?
Originally Published: October 2019
Paul Sating is an author, podcaster, and crappy blogger. His newest release, a legend/lore-based thriller-suspense is titled RIP. Hear his new fiction podcast, Audio Fiction with Paul Sating wherever you get your podcasts. His podcast for writers, aspiring or otherwise, is called Horrible Writing and is pretty epic.