I have a cousin who loves reading my stories. Every time I bring a shipment of print books to South Africa, her order’s one of the first placed for a copy. Of everything available. Recently, I received a Whatsapp from her that got me thinking. Her message read:
I’M READING “THE OTHER YOU” TO MY FRIEND WHO IS LOSING HER SIGHT. SHE HAS SUCH PRAISE FOR YOUR WRITING. SHE SAYS SHE CAN SEE THE SUNSETS AND SCENERY AND FEEL THE EMOTIONS OF THE CHARACTERS. I’M REALLY ENJOYING THIS SECOND TIME AROUND ON THIS BOOK. READING ALOUD MAKES QUITE AN IMPACT. THANK YOU MARION FOR SHARING YOUR TALENT. GOD BLESS.
For quite some time now, it’s been at the back of my mind to investigate going audible. But there’s always another book to write, always another deadline to meet, and there just didn’t seem time to venture off in another direction. Besides, it had to be a costly exercise, which I likely couldn’t afford. And even less so with our weak currency in South Africa. But when I got my cousin’s message, I realised I needed to give publishing my books in this format some thought. AND, in my investigating, I read two words that were magic to my ears… Royalty share. So a few days ago, I took the time to look into this and promptly got discouraged. It appeared I couldn’t publish through ACX (Amazon’s audible arm) because I don’t live in the USA, Canada, UK, or Ireland. ACX was my only option for royalty share but because I live in South Africa, I couldn’t do it.
I went from webpage to webpage and the myriad of options to produce a book on a “per finished hour” fee basis. I got even more discouraged. I tried local options. Sigh, they were as unaffordable as using an overseas production company. I was at my wits end so I emailed ACX telling them I had everything they required—an ITIN number, an American bank account, and I now also had a postal address in the States (one of my author friends had told me how to do this…*thanks, Autumn*). I had to have all these things things (besides the postal address) to be able to publish on Amazon anyway, and as ACX is part of Amazon it just didn’t make sense that I could publish in eBook and print, but not audible.
Just before I got a response from ACX, I noticed some small print in one corner of their webpage that said something to the effect that if I had the US Tax number, bank account, and address, I could still sign up with ACX even if I didn’t live in the “magic” countries. All I had to do was tick the box stating I lived in the US.
In no time at all, I had my own ACX account, I’d uploaded a sample for narration, had listened to various voices, narrowed those down three women with the British voice I was seeking, and emailed them. On top of that, my book was available for auditions from other narrators. A few hours later, I got a response from one of my shortlisted ladies saying she’d love to work with me. The next day I had her sample narration back and absolutely loved what she’d done. Her spoken word simply brought my story to life. I promptly signed her up, and a few days ago received the first 15 minutes back from her for approval. If all goes according to plan, the audiobook will be complete by the end of October and for sale early November.
I chose A Match for Magnolia as my first audiobook. It’s Book One in my Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters series which is set in England, and I have plans to turn each of the books into stories my readers can just close their eyes and listen to, or play while commuting if they so wish. My narrator, Lin Gallagher, is doing a sterling job, and I couldn’t be happier with the way going audible is turning out. I also plan to spend more time appealing not only to readers’ sense of hearing, but their visual senses, too, by doing more book trailers. Attached are three of the five sample pieces Lin narrated for A Match for Magnolia. And you can watch my new book trailer for The Other You on YouTube (just click the hyperlink on the title).
So what about you? Do you love audiobooks? Hate them? Never tried them? And what about book trailers—would they influence your reading choices?