As someone who loves turning the pages of a good old book, listening to an audiobook never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until a few months ago, when my mum put me in touch with one of her lovely colleagues, that I began to see things differently.
A growing audience
In his lovely message, mum’s colleague asked whether my book Where to Next? was available in audio format. His request wasn’t the product of personal preference or any perceived laziness in the slightest. The fact is, his declining vision now prevented him from reading.
Hearing from him broke my heart. Here was another example of discrimination I’d never even thought of, one that I was even contributing to. It led me to quickly realise that, alongside paperbacks and eBooks, audiobooks were yet another way to share incredible stories and ought to become a natural next step for all authors.
As it turns out, the audience of audiobooks is huge and has seen significant year on year growth: 20% in 2017 vs. 1.5% for print books, and -5.4% for e-books in the same period.
A different format
Keeping mum’s colleague in mind every step of the way, I decided to attempt recording my own audiobook. The journey ended up being very long and eventful.
To start with, I had to choose whether to narrate it myself or work with a professional. As my book is a memoir, I was keen to give it my own voice – French twang and all! How hard could it be?
After purchasing the basic equipment required – a microphone and a pop filter – and reading Rob Dirks’ super helpful blog post, I began reading through the 300+ pages of Where to Next? It took hours, days, weeks. I remember swearing out loud alone at home after reading out loud the same sentence for what felt like a million times.
The more mistakes I made, the longer the editing then took. Three weeks later, I submitted my chapters to Audible and received an initial rejection due to background noise and other obscure technical reasons. Disheartened, I put the project on hold for a while. This was far more difficult than I’d imagine it to be and self-doubt was creeping in… Who would want to listen to nine hours of my voice anyway? Not me, that’s for sure!!
An exciting opportunity
The less time I spent on it, the more I thought about my mum’s colleague and how unfair it was that a huge number of books – old and new – remained unavailable to him. Not only was it in my power to make a difference, however small, it was also a great opportunity for me – and other authors alike – to learn new skills and spread our message further and wider.
So, as soon as I began working full-time again, I found an audiobook editing professional on Fiverr – yup another legit job I’d never heard of before! With his help, I was able to submit to Audible all over again. After a fair bit of back and forth, Where to Next? is now one of the 10,000 or so new audiobooks to have been published on Audible this year alone!
I hope that it will entertain, amuse and perhaps even move mum’s colleague, as well as lots of other listeners too. Will one of them be you?
So… Where to Next?
If you’re a writer who’s considering the idea of recording an audiobook, think about my mum’s colleague or anyone you might know who’s in a similar situation, and do it for them. The process is long and can be tough – depending on your technical skills – but knowing that your work will be available to all readers and listeners alike makes it totally worth it!
If you’ve never tried audiobooks before and would like to start with Where to Next? you can enjoy a FREE Trial via one of these Amazon links – depending on where in the world you are: US, UK, France, or Germany. If you have, head to your country’s Amazon page and you’ll find it there.
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