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The audio book revolution IS here

10 Nov

I promised I would check back in once we had been up and running with audio books for six months and here we are coming into November following another strong month of sales. This week sees us release our fiftieth audio book. Granted, within the list are around a dozen short stories, but most on the list are novels and one non-fiction title.

So how are the books performing in audio format?

Almost exclusively better than they have done in print. We had hoped our top titles would do well and they have. What has been a very pleasant surprise is that many titles that have struggled in print and ebook have sold well in audio. This is very interesting for us as we have a big back catalogue with mixed sales performance. For all the independent publishers that haven’t jumped on the audio train yet it’s a great time to do so.

The revolution I mention in the title of the article is the mechanism by which we have been able to launch so many titles in such a short period of time – the ACX marketplace. It enables narrators/producers to pick up projects from publishers on a revenue share basis. It’s a little trite to refer to ACX as the Uber of audio books but there are some very interesting parallels.

The biggest one is that like Uber drivers who fit in trips alongside their day job, narrators are able to use ACX as a filler in between paid projects and get a chance to add something quirky and interesting to their portfolio. We are very lucky to be publishing Sherlock Holmes books as many of the actors (lots of narrators are actors) have always wanted to play Holmes and this gives them the chance to bring their voice to The Great Detective.

I’ve been impressed by a few things about our narrators. The first is the range and versatility of the voices produced. I naively thought when we went into this that the majority of narrators would read the stories in the voice of Dr Watson and that would be it. The current record for one of our Holmes Stories (held by Richard Britannia narrating Sherlock Holmes The Golden Years) is more than 40 – yes, forty – different voices. Brilliant. The second has been the self-promotion that the narrators do. I shouldn’t have been surprised with that one as most actors are by definition not introverts. ACX makes it easy to promote by providing lots of reviewer codes.

So, if there are any existing audio fans out there that would like reviewer codes (probably enough to keep them going for life with the rate we are producing them) do get in touch via our Audio Reviewer signup – we have a few slots left.

For those that haven’t tried audio yet can I recommend ‘Sherlock Holmes and The Vatican Cameos’ from Rich Ryan narrated by Nigel Peever. It’s getting wonderful reviews for both the story and narration and received a nice endorsement from NY Times Bestselling author Lee Child [yes, that ‘Reacher’ Lee Child]. We’ve listed all our audiobooks onto our Pinterest Sherlock Holmes Audio Books Board.

The audio book revolution IS indeed here, and long may it continue.

By Steve Emecz

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