Can you Make and Sell an Audiobook if your Book is on KDP Select?

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.

Microphone

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16 thoughts on “Can you Make and Sell an Audiobook if your Book is on KDP Select?”

  1. Thanks so much, Jo. I must try the software although with my accent not sure now I’m good for either the Spanish or the English version. The audiobook will have a different ISBN too (so I guess from that perspective, like happens with paper, is a different product). It might be worth contacting ACX directly about other markets. When I first got my audiobook done by a narrator they did not accept anybody who wasn’t in the States. I contacted them (as I had no way of getting major distribution for the audio) and they contacted me when they included the UK. I thought if the narrator was in the UK or the US that would suffice but not sure if it would allow an author from somewhere else to create a project. I have two other projects on the go but so far no offers… And good luck with the postcast and next book… (keep me posted!)

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  2. I recently narrated an audio book for a writer in Australia whose publishing house is in Canada (I’m a Brit living in the US). I don’t know how they got around this problem but I’m glad that they did, as this is one of my best-selling titles.

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    1. Oh… I also wanted to add – DON’T worry about not liking the sound of your own voice! Everyone who starts recording usually has a fit when they hear it as it never sounds like they think it does. When you become a narrator you hear it so much that it quickly becomes the most normal thing in the world and you grow to like it. 🙂

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  3. It makes perfect sense for Amazon to maximize its revenue stream, by tapping twice into the earnings of digital authors. It already double-dips on paperbacks.

    I’m a rabid DIY person, but few of the self-recordings I’ve heard are good. Most people need acting, voice and diction, and/or singing lessons, to achieve the requisite breath control for a decent performance. If that kind of training isn’t possible, joining a local theatrical troupe, singing with a church choir, and lots of reading aloud will help. It will take at least three months of consistent daily work, before there’s enough improvement to justify investing in that microphone.

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  4. One of the best audio producers is Tantor: https://tantor.com/contacts. Where one lives is not an issue. I have two titles with ACX on the royalty-split. Audibles have to be promoted and reviewed just like any other book. Few promo sites are set up to promote audible. Thus, it takes thinking outside the box to get an audible book visible to listeners. I engaged an administrator of a site to put together a beta test for a Listen and Review presentation. I gathered ten authors with
    audible books to submit books. The presentation is set for June 27th on Choosy Bookworm. Authors have FREE download codes to send to listen and reviewers. We won’t know if the beta test will show positive results–or not. Reviews are posted on ACX and Tantor sites. FYI: When submitting a title to ACX, it is important to mention how one plans to promote the Audible, since the narrator is working on a split royalty. It also helps if the title submitted has a substantial number of reviews ranked 4.5/5.0 or above. Hope this helps.
    Jackie Weger
    Finding Home

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  5. I’m in the process of writing a short book for would-be narrators and authors but it’ll be a while before it’s out. It will also cover narrating on a tight budget and how to handle Audacity easily for the non-technically minded. Best inexpensive USB microphone is the Blue Snowball, Costs about $50. I’m happy to answer any questions that I can to help if anyone has any questions.

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  6. Very grateful for this info but I must tell you, Audacity is an a-kicker. It’s confusing and difficult to figure out, I tried it. I think the idea and opportunity is a good one for actors, authors but if it has to be studio quality, how is that going to happen? Not everyone can pay for engineers to mix their audio, unfortunately. I hope I can self audio my work, I know how much punch to put in it for readers to love but engineering? I am not sure about all that at this point. Good luck and success to all!

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    1. I would never consider voicing my own audio edition of one of my titles. I don’t have the voice training. It is not just a microphone one needs, but a sound proofed room or closet, otherwise every sound in the background will end up on that audio. The books have to be edited for voice/audible. The actors are trained to do that. I would not have clue. Best to you in what ever you decide.

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