Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Smashwords Enters Audiobook Market with Findaway Voices

Smashword Partners with Findaway Voices for Audiobook Production and Distribution
Smashwords today entered the audiobook market via a partnership with Findaway Voices.

Over 100,000 Smashwords authors and publishers now have convenient access to audiobook production and distribution services.  The agreement gives authors and publishers greater control over audiobook pricing, rights, and distribution, and all without exclusivity or lockups.

Effective immediately, you'll notice audiobook creation options integrated into multiple stages of the Smashwords publishing workflow.  The new feature is visible in the Smashwords Dashboard, and also accessible at https://smashwords.com/audiobook.

Start Your Audiobook Production Today

With a single click, you can instantly deliver your ebook and metadata into the Findaway Voices platform, at which point you’ll choose a password for your Findaway Voices account and begin the audio production process.

Your first step is selecting a professional narrator.  You'll answer a short questionnaire at Findaway Voices about your audiobook’s desired emotional tone; the accent, dialect or gender preference for your narrator; the voice style; the heat level of the book; and information about the book’s main characters.

The Findaway Voices casting team will then use this information to recommend a curated list of six to ten professional voice actors for your consideration.  Recommendations will include audio samples and hourly rates for each narrator.  From this list, you can request audition samples where narrators submit sample readings of your book.

There is no cost or obligation during the audition process.

Production begins after you select your narrator and sign off on the production contract.  You will pay production fees directly to Findaway Voices.

To assist your budgeting, here are some rough guidelines:  Fees are based on the number of hours and minutes of the finished production.  Each hour of recorded content comprises roughly 9,000 words, which means a 26,000-word novella might run about three hours and a 100,000-word book would run about 11 hours.  Narrators typically charge between $150 and $400 per finished hour.

Global Audiobook Distribution

When production completes, you'll control all rights to the audiobook.  You'll also have the option to distribute your audiobook to Findaway Voices’ global network of over 20 sales outlets including Apple iTunes, Audible, Scribd, OverDrive and Google Play.

Findaway Voices will pay you directly.

If you already have a professionally produced audiobook, you can visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to transmit your title's metadata to Findaway Voices, and then you'll see the option to upload your audiobook files to Findaway Voices for distribution.

No Exclusivity or Lockups

There’s no exclusivity or lockup period.  You'll enjoy full control over your choice of distribution outlets.

You can remove your book from Findaway Voices’ distribution network at any time, and can also sell your audiobook anywhere else you please.

You set the price for single copy sales.  The various outlets operate under different sales models (single-copy sales, subscription listens, pay-per-use, etc.), which means the calculation for royalty rates will differ from one channel and sales model to the next. 

When Authors and Publishers Gain Control, Readers Win

When authors and publishers gain greater control over pricing and distribution, new opportunities arise to serve readers.

Audible, the dominant audiobook subscription service, provides subscribers one download credit per month with its $14.95 monthly subscription.  This credit system incentivizes value-conscious subscribers to download longer and more expensive books.

This credit system has the unintended effect of creating a void in the audiobook market for shorter or lower-cost audiobooks.

Thanks to our partnership with Findaway Voices, it’s now more economically feasible for authors and publishers to invest in audiobook production for shorter books, or books that might carry lower prices.

I think this could be a boon for authors, publishers and consumers alike who want to enjoy lower-cost audiobooks, whether we’re talking novellas, shorter non-fiction, free series starters, or erotica.

Why Audiobooks are Exciting

Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment of the publishing market today.

I’ve long been a fan of audiobooks because they free up more hours in the day to enjoy books.  Unlike printed words on paper or screens which require the reader’s undivided attention to read, audiobooks can be enjoyed while the listener performs other tasks, such as when they’re driving their car, cooking a meal or taking a walk.

For the last few years, audiobooks have been the fastest growing segment of the book industry.   Sales for 2017 were up about 20% over the prior year.

Get Started Today

Smashwords authors and publishers can launch audiobook production today by visiting their Smashwords Dashboard or going direct to https://smashwords.com/audiobook.

If you’re not yet publishing with Smashwords, visit our How to Publish and Distribute Ebooks with Smashwords page to learn out our free book publishing and distribution services.  The moment you upload your ebook to Smashwords, you’ll see the option to launch audiobook production.

Happy listening everyone!

32 comments:

Angela Smith said...

Thanks for keeping us Authors as well as the consumers, informed on great opportunities!

Mark Coker said...

You're welcome, Angela!

Dante D'Anthony said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6E-xI85Mz0&t=4s We've already got ours started for the Pandoran Age Chronicles.

Anonymous said...

Mark, Thanks for the info. Sounds like a great opportunity. T. C. Maloney

Dr. King said...

If I remember right, amazon partner for audio books has an option wherein an author can get into an agreement where no initial upfront cost is involved, but there will only be royalty sharing. I don't see that with Findaway voices.

Can Samshwords do something to convince Findaway to offer such facility?

Dr. King

Robin R said...

I see "You'll also have the option to distribute your audiobook to Findaway Voices’ global network of over 20 sales outlets including Apple iTunes, Audible, Scribd, OverDrive and Google Play." So Smashwords does not distribute the audio book; okay, fine. But is Findaway going to charge for that?

Mark Coker said...

@DRKing, Findaway doesn't have such an option. They're aware some authors would prefer that.

#Robin R, Findaway doesn't charge upfront distribution fees, but they will take a commission on sales as do all distributors. The payout percentages for audiobooks are generally much lower than the 60-80% most ebook authors earn. That's because most audiobook retailers pay ridiculously low percentages. The general formula is that Findaway pays you 80% of what the retailers & library channels pay them, so their cut is 20% net and you get 80% net. Because the payout will vary dramatically based on the terms they have with each outlet, you'll be able to pick and choose which outlets you want them to distribute to. Also worth noting that by taking advantage of our integration, they waive setup fees and pay the same royalty rates as if you're working with them directly (because once you sign up and we deliver your book and metadata to them, you are working with them directly).

The B and B man said...

You have to be pretty sure your novel is going to sell to risk $1,200 to $3,200 on upfront narrators fees. That sort of investment is more like vanity publishing for many of us. An Audio book will probably increase sales but it would have to boost my sales by 33,000% for me to get that money back in a year so sadly this isn't for me.

Mark Coker said...

@The B and B, yes. It's a big investment with no certainty of return. Unlike ebook publishing which can be completely free and DIY, audiobook production is expensive unless you develop the skills to create your own. The learning curve to achieve professional quality audio production is extremely steep. To mitigate risk and maximize odds of financial return, it's probably best to focus first on books where you've already proven a solid sales track record. And like I advise in my ebooks and podcast, never go in debt to make investments in your book (or in this case, audiobook), and never spend money you need to pay for your rent/mortgage/food.

Grace Draven said...

Hi Mark,

This is welcomed and exciting news. Since the Audible romance package debacle (of which I didn't sign up for, thank God!), I've been looking for alternatives to getting my audio books distributed to the various retailers without going through ACX and being subject to their 7-year rights grab, etc.

I checked out the Findaway site and also read through the audiobook agreement here. Smashwords is very clear on ebooks regarding payment schedule, etc., but I didn't see anything like that on Findaway itself regarding audio, nor here on Smashwords. My apologies if I overlooked something. Will the audiobook payout schedule coincide with the current schedule Smashwords has in place for ebooks?

Also, the write-up in Smashwords mentions this:

If you already have a professionally produced audiobook, you can visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to transmit your title's metadata to Findaway Voices, and then you'll see the option to upload your audiobook files to Findaway Voices for distribution."

This is a great option to have as I've already worked with two narrators in the past whom I wish to retain on several future titles, and they've agreed to work with me directly in getting the audio file produced. My question is, in the above statement it's mentioned I can upload the audo files to FV, but they aren't specific about what kind of files? Are they looking for MP3s, MB4s, or something else?

Many thanks for everything!

Tracy Falbe said...

Grace Draven, I've started poking around the Findaway interface. After you make your account, you can "create new audiobook." In that menu, you'll have the option to build it with your own audio. As far as I can tell, if I import a title directly from SW, I don't get that option. But I was able to delete the imported title and start from scratch within findaway. Findaway wants mp3 files. Also, the distribution agreement within Findaway gives specific information about payments schedules and royalty amounts from various sources. Hope this helps.

TN Solar said...

So I have two audio books that I narrated myself and uploaded on ACX but non-exclusive as I was thinking of also uploading via Authors Republic. Does anyone have a comparison of this service vers Authors Republic? Both of these services use exactly the same quality standards. I assume this service is the same?

Scott Semegran said...

I currently have one of my books in production with Findaway. Thanks for making this partnership happen, Mark.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/551123

Scott

Paul T said...

I'm an audio voice artist. This all looks very confusing. All my books have been voiced on ACX, which means I'm almost working for free. Can you help me?

Mark Coker said...

@Paul If you already created the quality audio files, then you can still take advantage of our integration with Findaway. Click to your Smashwords Dashboard, then click to the Audiobooks option, and follow the steps to deliver your ebook and metadata to Findaway. Then once your at Findaway, you'll see an option to bypass their audition process and upload the files directly to them. They'll ignore the ebook file, but the metadata will be immediately editable and usable to you as you set up the audiobook for distribution with Findaway.

Kante Luis said...

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hotmail123 said...

I currently have one of your books in production with Findaway. Thanks for the cooperation, Mark. it's nice !!
Mark's book :hotmail email

Richie Zarmajian said...

That's pretty cool! :) ~ Richie Zarmajian.

Scott Semegran said...

Hi all-

My audiobook, produced with the assistance of Findaway Voices, is now available on Audible, Apple, and more. Go here for links to your favorite audiobook retailer:

https://www.scottsemegran.com/audiobooks/boys.html

Go here to see a trailer for the audiobook:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjxAMORn7Gr/?taken-by=scott_semegran

Thank you and I hope you enjoy listening to my audiobook.

Scott

p.s.
More info about my audiobook

Boys: Stories about Bullies, Jobs, and Other Unpleasant Rites of Passage from Boyhood to Manhood by Scott Semegran

ISBN: 978-0999717370

Narrated by: J.R. Moorland, John Stempien, and Cody Roberts

Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins

Language: English

Publisher: Mutt Press

Category: Fiction / Short Stories / Humor / Coming of Age

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Check it out here: http://XXX.bsrpro.hop.clickbank.net

If you haven't met Tom Corson-Knowles yet, the author who created Bestseller Ranking Pro, I think you'll find his story inspiring.

Like most authors who have been in the game for years, the only signs of interest Tom got from publishers were rejection letters. After six years of trying to get a traditional publishing deal, he finally decided to self publish his first book on Kindle in February, 2012.

It was a life-changing decision.

Just twelve months after publishing that first book, he had his first $12,000+ month from Kindle ebook royalties alone!

You can learn how in this video. These strategies have also helped him and his clients become #1 Amazon bestselling authors.

If you're going to write, publish or promote a book this year, you need to see this:

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Unknown said...

I am somewhat a new author with Smashwords, however its good to know an author like myself, has no knowledge of creating audio books. It's good to know Smashwords has assistance for creating audio books.

Unknown said...

I am somewhat a new author with Smashwords, however its good to know an author like myself, has no knowledge of creating audio books. It's good to know Smashwords has assistance for creating audio books.

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