Yes you can. Short books and audiobooks are the in thing right now. Lots of Indies are working with ACX to have their books made into audio to sell with Amazon’s Audible. You can either pay a narrator and keep all your royalties, or you can opt to share the audiobook’s royalties with the narrator, in which case you pay nothing upfront. Unfortunately this service isn’t available to authors anywhere other than the United States and the United Kingdom. I would definitely use this service if it was available to me, and if any of you scribblers haven’t yet explored the possibilities of audio, it looks to be well worth the effort to have a look.
I have seen a few authors who refuse to have any part of Audible, because of their seven year exclusive distribution rights and insistence on the use of DRM though, so not everyone thinks that this is a great opportunity. Either way, the good thing to know when your book is published with Amazon KDP Select, is that while you may only distribute the digital eBook through them, this doesn’t apply to paper books or audiobooks, both of which you can sell and distribute anywhere you like. Only the eBook has to be Amazon exclusive, and even though the audio book is also digital, it’s not part of the deal. So if you can’t use ACX because of where you live, or if you don’t want to for some other reason, you could be losing potential readers – or listeners as the case may be – without having your book available in all possible formats. All is not lost though.
If you’re brave enough, you could narrate your own books. You could use an online service, such as Podiobooks who actually assist you through the whole process for free, as well as offering paid services, or you can go it totally alone, using free software such as Audacity. Another really fabulous freebie in the Indie author’s toolbox. In fact, I suggest downloading it purely for the fun of playing with it. It’s incredibly easy to use, and as with Calibre, there are loads of helpful tutorials available. It is recommended that you buy a decent USB microphone, but to begin with you’re going to need a lot of practice, so using your laptop to record will be good enough until you’re ready to begin reading your actual book.
As well as using it to make audiobooks, it’s perfect for creating your own podcasts. I’ve been preparing a few of my own, ready to share in a few weeks time when I release my next book. So scribblers, download it and see how you like the world of audio, and the possibility of a totally new format for your stories to reach the world. Once it’s installed simply hit the red record button and say something. Play around with it and look at their tutorials and forums. If you have any short stories or flash fiction lurking on your computer, they would be ideal to use to practise, and your readers will get to hear your words in your own gorgeous voice.