Independent Author’s Toolbag: Publishing an Audiobook pt 2

This post is about the review processes and the work required to get it to the ‘finished’ stage.  Read the previous post here for information about getting the process started.

Any self-published author can tell you: self-publishing is hard.  It’s not just getting the novel ready, it is also doing the edits, getting the cover set, and even typesetting.  Then there’s the requirements for epubs, which makes it a severe pain for any images you have (such as maps or diagrams), inserting bookmarks and smartlinks… it is an additional quantity of time which most traditional authors don’t need to worry about.

Self publishing an audiobook is like that, only worse in a way.  First off, you have to do all the same stuff as above.  You need a cover, you need to prepare, edit and arrange the text.  After you select a narrator, you then have to discuss pronounciations, listen to the first fifteen minutes, and then, after they finish, you have to review the entire thing.  This is not as much fun as you might first imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a sense of wonder when you hear the voices of your characters take life.  I can only imagine the feeling of excitement to have a book made into a movie (done well, at least).  Still, when you have to listen to twelve hours or so of narration, focused to hear errors, mistakes, and areas to make corrections… it’s work.  That’s twelve hours where I can’t write.  I have to be focused enough to listen for any issues.  I personally suck at multitasking, so during that time, I really can’t do much else besides listen.

Twelve hours doesn’t seem like much, until you factor in working a full time job.  I barely have time to write… finding time to review an audiobook is tough.  Then on top of that, I’ve got to find time to review the second version.  That said, the audiobook still won’t be perfect.  I’ll almost certainly miss a few things, in twelve hours of audio.  Also, some of the limitations are just that my novel has a huge cast of characters, set in a far future with aliens, people raised speaking strange dialects, and lots of odd names.  It won’t be perfect, not to what I pictured it, anyway.  But it will, hopefully, be good enough.

My whining about the hard work aside, producing an audiobook is a serious investment of time and money.  You can save money by narrating it yourself, but then you simply increase the time investment. My advice, be sure you have a market before you invest all this into it.  As far as hard data on earnings, I’ll give my analysis of that when I get enough data on that.  Of course, I have to finish the second review and have it go live first.

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