From Indie Ebooks to Audio Books: New “Sounds,” New Narrators and New Ideas

TGIF, WG2E-Land!

In our Indie Epublishing World, it’s all about been there done that, or I think I’ll try this or perhaps that, or nope that one doesn’t seem to be working, or ohhh yeahhh that one is definitely working, or better yet, gosh I love the “sound” of that so okay let’s see how that could work in my multi-media empire.

Basically, we all make a ton of big decisions, right?!

And, we are building multi-media empires, not just filling cyber shelves with our Ebooks.

Now that we have the opportunity to take our books from Indie Ebooks to Audio Books via Audible’s ACX, we’ve got even more fabulous decisions to make! :-)

I began my Audio Book Journey with my Bootscootin’ Books back in February 2012. You can read all about my experiences in several posts I’ve published here on The WG2E. Start here (the links to all of the additional posts are included in this one):

In December 2012, I was thrilled to participate in a fabulous Blog Talk Radio Show, hosted by Bestselling Author and Bestselling Audio Book Author Elaine Raco Chase and the President of ACX/VP of Audible, Jason Ojalvo. Grab a beverage and settle in for this terrific show! You’ll learn a ton about the Audio Book and Audible ACX world – from narrators, authors and ACX!

(Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 8 PM EST)…My spot starts around the 1-hour, 12-minute mark:

Listen to internet radio with Triangle Variety Radio on Blog Talk Radio

That show got me to thinking about what I wanted out of my future Audio Book projects…

After listening to a variety of Audio Books, I decided what I really liked a lot were those books using both male and female narrators. I have a strong theater background, so maybe it was that instinct that drove me. But whatever the reason, my gut told me to pursue this type of “sound” next.

So, when I posted my next two series for auditions on Audible ACX – The Cozy Cash Mysteries and The Stuck with a Series, I mentioned I was looking for a male/female duo or even an ensemble-style cast.

***Note: This time, I also went with the paid per finished hour (pfh) approach. That means I’m paying my narrators so much per finished hour for each book versus the royalty-split option I did before. In my case, I’m paying between $200-$250 per hour. The narrators split that, however they decide to, between them. And wow did that method of payment attract fabulous narrators to choose from and a whole bunch of ‘em too. I had a hard time getting narrators using the royalty-split option.

Wait till you hear my new narrators…

Jeffrey Kafer will be producing my Stuck with a Series Books (which will be released in early February 2013).

Professional Award-winning audiobook narrator/producer of 60+ titles spanning thrillers, mysteries, drama, comedy and non-fiction

Jeffrey, along with a very talented female narrator as well, will read this series with Jeffrey doing the chapters from the male point of view (POV) and his co-narrator taking the chapters in the female POV.

Marshall Davis of Davis Sound, LLC will be recording my Cozy Cash Mysteries.

Professional and affordable studio recording for audio books an voice-overs

Davis Sound is an audio recording business set up to cover a wide and complementary range of services. Within these services is audio recording, editing, and mastering provided in our ProTools based 24-track studio. This audio recording capability is used for music, audio books, book trailers, voice-overs, or other similar applications that can be used for promotion.

Davis Sound also provides information and highlights music of various artists associated with Davis Sound, including links to sites where their music can be purchased and downloaded. In time, more musicians that work with Davis Sound will be added.

What’s really cool about what Marshall and his actors are doing is that they are actually going to act out the books. Meaning, that whenever both of my male and female characters are in a scene, that’s the way they will read them. The male actor takes the male characters and lines, and the female handles all of the female characters and lines.

So, there you have it!

Going from Indie Ebooks to Audio Books means New “Sounds,” New Narrators and New Ideas!!!

Happy Listening!!! :-)

Share with us your Ebook to Audio Book Experiences…we’d luuuvv to hear about them…

The Best of Multi-Media Empire Building Wishes — D. D. Scott

D. D. Scott is an Amazon and Barnes and Noble Top 100 Bestselling Romantic Comedy and Humorous Mystery Author. She’s also a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy and Indie Epublishing, the Co-Founder of The WG2E- The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, and the Founder of The RG2E – The Reader’s Guide to E-publishing.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books, her Online Classes and Live Workshops, plus juicy tidbits too from her new cyber home…D. D. Scott-ville.

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  1. Jeanne says:

    Sounds so cool…..hope to be “listening” soon!

  2. David Slegg says:

    I think Jeffrey is awesome!

    To hear a professional reading something you’ve typed out with your own fingers is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t sleep the first night I heard it. So cool!

    Thank you so much for making that possible. I’ve been so blessed that you gave me the opportunity to pair up with you on the STUCK WITH A Series.

    I’m happy to announce that we’re 25 pages into the next (4th) book of the STUCK WITH A Series and chipping away at it.

    Wishing you all happy writing and happy e-reading!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      That’s one of the things I talked to Audible ACX’s President about during our radio show, David. There’s simply nothing like hearing your book come alive by narration for that first time. I’m glad you enjoyed it and are enjoying the process too. :-)

      The 4th Book in our Stuck with a Series – STUCK WITH A SLUT – is also gonna be superfab fun! This time, Nicky Blane (our Castle gone-country) is going to be solving the murder of one of the best girls working for a Chicago madam.

  3. Liz Matis says:

    Hi DD!

    Because of those first posts on audio I hooked up with your first narrator Christine Padovan to turn Playing For Keep into audio. I agree with David that it’s awesome to hear your words spoken by a professional narrator.

    I was thrilled when Playing For Keeps sat in between Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips on the Audible Chick-Lit BestSeller list. The reviews I get are a hoot to read (like: Great humor and great sex too! (My vibrator almost burnt out from overuse ;-) ) )

    Love By Design will be released any day now and my narrator is Nicole Colburn who did a fabulous job with my hero’s Aussie accent.

    I’ve only sent 2 books to audio and a third I’m about to put up but so far I haven’t had trouble finding the royalty split share.

    Can’t wait to hear how these new producers work for you. As always thanks for giving us the scoop!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Liz — U Go, Girl!!!

      Luuuvvv those reviews!!! LOL!!!

      The talent pool to pick from at Audible’s ACX is just terrific!!! They really are attracting the best in the biz!!!

      You’ll want to listen to the show I did with Jason – ACX’s President. You’ll hear a lot of the things they’re doing to attract and keep fabulous narrators.

  4. PJ Sharon says:

    Thanks again for another great post, D.D. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’m not sure how the YA market is doing with audio books. I’ll need to do some research, but I’d love to make Heaven Is For Heroes available as an audio. Many of my readers are adults who enjoy reading YA, so it could definitely work. I’d have to go with the split fee for sure and it might be tricky getting a narrator that sounds like a seventeen year old girl. I’ll check into it for sure.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      I don’t think, from the fabulous samples I’ve heard, a 17 y.o. voice will be tough for these pros at all! You’ll be blown away by their talent and ranges, PJ!

      Go for it, Girl!!!

  5. Hi DD,

    Thanks for a great post. I was just ‘lightly thinking’ about doing audio a few days ago – I’m at the zero-research point, but intriqued.

    As a reader, I got into audio books in a big way a few years ago when I had to commute to work an hour each way five days a week. It really does make the books ‘come to life’ for the listener/reader in a new way, and boy did it make the ride more enjoyable!

    As usual, you and WG2E are opening my eyes in a great way with each post. Thanks for shaing your know-how and your time!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Sure thing, Sheri! We’re thrilled to share in your Epublishing Journey!

      One fabulous new technology treat for Audio Books and Ereading is the new Kindle Fire sync features which allow you to listen to an Audio Book (which you can often pick up for $1.99 if you already own the Ebook from Amazon too – it’s a special Audible and Amazon have teamed up for) and then have the Ebook version sync to the furthest point you’ve reached in Audio format and vice versa. So, literally, pun intended, you can get out of your car or off the subway, arrive in your home, get a glass of wine, open the Ebook and pick up where you left off in the car or on the subway using the Audio file. How cool is that?!

  6. I currently have 3 books in audio production, and I LOVE this idea of the male/female narration. I’d thought about it a few times, but never quite moved beyond that. It might be something to consider as I’m searching for a narrator for my Italy series. (a search that seems to be on-going) I started with a mix…2 books in the Stipend program so the narrators get paid up front by Amazon and then royalty share with me, and then the others are the paid per finished hour (PFH). I do believe I’ll keep it at the PFH from now on.

    Thanks again for all the great advice here!

    • D.D. Scott says:

      And don’t be afraid, Stacey, to ask a narrator who perhaps you adore but one that isn’t connected with a duo or an ensemble-style cast studio. I discovered that when I asked several narrators if they’d consider working as a team for a male/female duo that they were game if I could point them to a possible co-narrator.

      I ended up using Jeffrey and Davis Sound who already both do that, but I’m definitely keeping the solo artists on my short list for future projects because they’ve nailed a certain “voice” I’m after for a particular character.

      I hear ya on the Stipend Program too! I hadn’t heard of that until my radio show with ACX’s President. That was something many narrators called into the show to ask Jason if Audible ACX and Amazon would be continuing. Jason announced on the show that night for the first time that they were not only keeping it but expanding it. I’m still not sure I get what it does, but I am looking into it. How did you choose that option? I didn’t see it listed when I contracted with ACX.

      • Liz Matis says:

        With Love By Design, ACX offered it about 3 days after I posted it on their own but I have heard of authors requesting it.

        • D.D. Scott says:

          Cool! I’m going to have to call my ACX Rep, Nicole, about that…

          Thanks for the scoop, Liz!

          • It was mentioned in the online class I took (info below–thanks for letting me post) and I’d heard about it on a writer’s loop, too. I emailed ACX through their Contact Us, said I’d like these specific titles in, and they wrote me back a few days later saying they’d been entered.

  7. D.D., I have info for an online audio class for this weekend…would you mind if I posted it? I’m not teaching it, but I did take it a few months ago and think the instructor has great info.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Have at it, Stacey, and thanks sooo much for sharing with us!!!

        Register at

        Audio books are a collaboration between writer and narrator. So this class is open to both and designed to go over the pros and cons of the Audio Biz. Covered is the practical business items on how to get your book produced for no money up front, and get your narrator paid. How to go out and get the jobs and what authors should look for from their voice talent.

        Price $25

        Saturday Jan. 26th – 12pm EST

        Email Pacomediagroup @ if you have any questions.

  8. Alison Pensy says:

    Hi D.D. As far as I’m aware you don’t get to pick the stipend option, Amazon picks you. I wasn’t even aware of anything until I started getting loads of auditions for my YA books and wondered why all of a sudden I was getting so much interest, the books had been listed for months. (I hadn’t received an email or anything).

    When one of the narrators mentioned the stipend I was like ‘what stipend? I can’t afford a stipend.” So I did some digging and read the offer on Audible. Apparently they chose a selection of books they thought would be big sellers and they were going to stump up a stipend of $150 pfh to get them into production. I quickly put my romance novel up just in case and within two days they sent me an email this time to tell me they had included that book too. Now all my books are in production. I chose one narrator for my YA series and another, with a totally different voice, for my romance.

    I have to say it was beyond flattering to have a company like Amazon put their faith in my work with cold hard dollars. All of my books will be finished by the end of February because Amazon impose a time limit on the narrators to claim their stipend.

    It’s definitely a win/win. I get my books produced in just a couple of months and the narrator gets a good ‘down payment’ on their work incase the books don’t sell that well. They also get the 50/50 split.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Hmmm…great scoop, Alison, and thanks bunches for sharing it!!! I had no idea that’s how the program worked!

      That said, I wonder if the changes Jason referred to in the program meant they opened it up to pfh projects too (besides the 50/50 splits)?! The auditions have just flown in for both my Cozy Cash Mysteries and my Stuck with a Series books – I actually had a hard time finding time to listen to ‘em all and then choosing who I felt was best!!! LOL!!!

      • D.D. Scott says:

        I even got Hollywood-based studios who auditioned!

      • Alison Pensy says:

        I haven’t listened to your radio show yet, but will do so a bit later on. I’m really interested to hear it. This all happened so quickly for me, it was a bit of a whirlwind. But I think that Audio books are about to take off big time, especially with the ability of indies to take part more easily and I think Amazon are going to find ways to encourage its growth because they probably want to be able to list as many audios as ebooks.

        Audible are always doing offers now, and if you have a subscription they offer deals that are even better, which encourages more and more people to buy them. I downloaded several books over Christmas that were on offer (without a subscription). Big name books too for around $5.99. I love to listen to audio books when I’m cooking.

        I was intrigued with what you said about being able to buy the audio linked to the ebook. Going to have to look into that.

        • D.D. Scott says:

          From what Jason explained, Alison, the special offer audio book prices only show up on the Amazon Book Page you’re looking at for a particular book, if you already own the Ebook. How smart and techno cool is that?!

          For example, I buy copies of each of my Ebooks. So, when I look at my own Ebooks’ pages on Amazon, in the section that shows all of the formats that book comes in, I get the special price for the Audio Books that match them.

          I also subscribe to Audible…it’s $14.95 per month, and I use the credit I get each month (you usually get one credit per month, which buys almost any Audio Book they have) to treat one of my readers to my Audio Books. So, yep, I Gift my Audio Books too that way!!!

  9. So exciting! Thanks for promoting The Author’s Corner show on acx & with you, DD! I love having dual narrators..I do believe Special Delivery was the first indie audio book to do it – and it was just named by as one of the top 10 (it was #4 and the only indie audio) reviewed romances of 2012! Bella Czar group of award-winning duo Destiny Landon & Lee James also did Dare the Devil and a book trailer for that as well… they created original music and have movie soundtrack sound effects that just have blown people/reviewers away. I was stunned to see how many 5 star reviews there were on GoodReads.

    They are now doing Double Occupancy – and I’m holding my breath as that book as been on the top 50 books to read after 50 shades of Grey for 29 weeks…with sexy Lee’s voice and Destiny…I can just imagine… Special Delivery has been on the erotic bestseller’s audio list since it debuted in August!!!

    I love audio books… not everyone does like dual narrators… but Ive been very fortunate to find some fantastic DJ’s and ex-soap opera actresses to voice the others. One Way or Another was one of audible’s top reviewed romances for Oct. 2012 and kudos for the fabulous narrator!

  10. I just started the Audible process with both of my books, Carpe DiEmily and Into You. I’ve got my narrator all lined up (50/50 royalty share), and am scheduled for production for March (she’s got a backlog). I can’t wait! I’ll keep y’all posted on what I learn and how it feels to have my books finally on audio. As usual, I wouldn’t have taken the step without this valuable site!

  11. Miriam Joy says:

    I’ve never been a huge listener of audio books, probably because I prefer to read at my own speed (fast), but if it has a male narrator and a female narrator, I’d definitely prefer two readers! Mark has been talking about how we’ll do an audiobook of St Mallory’s Forever, because the narrators are teenage girls. We’ll have to find some willing young voice actors — though Charley is pretty into drama herself, and I’ve always fancied it, so maybe we’ll be able to practice and do it ourselves? Though we’ll have to find someone for the other character, Xuan. :D

  12. I love audiobooks and I know a lot of people who love to read but go with audiobooks because they just don’t have the time to sit down and focus exclusively on a book. Yaay for you, D.D., for making your work available to an audience who otherwise might not get to see it!

    Here is my question: how do you know how many hours long your audiobook might be? I’d love to do an audiobook version of the book I’m getting ready to publish, but a few hours can make a BIG difference budget-wise.