In my last post, I discussed how you can Maximize Your Reach by adding audio in addition to print and ebooks formats in order to cover all the ways that your audience may want to consume your content. In this post, I'll discuss picking a platform.
This was actually a pretty easy decision for me. As in so many areas of independent publishing, Amazon is the leader through their Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). Amazon owns Audible and has more than 90% of audiobook market, so the reach is great. And from an indy publisher point of view, using an Amazon platform offers desirable benefits in terms of links with the print and ebook versions. For example, here is the Amazon product detail page for The Sense of Death showing all three format options—print, ebook, and audio:
In addition to displaying all the formats together, you can see that Amazon also gives customers who click on the Audible option easy access to the reviews posted by readers of other formats.
Another cool feature of using ACX / Audible / Amazon is Whispersync:
Whispersync is a program that allows readers who enjoy both ebooks and audiobooks to sync up their reading experience when they purchase both versions. These readers get a significant discount on the audiobook when they buy the Kindle edition first or they already own it. The discount can be over 80 percent when they want to buy both.
The jury is out over whether Whispersync is a positive or negative feature for authors. On the positive side, you’ll likely sell more copies of your audiobooks and fans can get immersed deeper into your world. On the negative side, 40 percent (or 20 percent on a Royalty Share deal) of $1.99, isn’t all that exciting to see on your monthly royalty statement.
I’m definitely willing to sacrifice some royalty money to build a more engaged audience, so Whispersync was a draw for me.
ACX is such an overwhelming presence in the industry that it’s difficult to find information on alternatives, but here is an article by Jane Friedman on CD Baby:
I was quickly sold on using ACX—my next area of investigation was pricing and royalties. Stay tuned!