Saturday, August 31, 2019

Consider the Audiobook ~ by Terry Maggert

Consider the Audiobook.

Seriously. Consider it.

If you’re an author and you aren’t producing them, you should start. If you’re a reader with a life, and kids, and a job, and pets—or any combination of those things—then try an audiobook.


Here’s why:

Audiobooks are a truly mobile experience. We commute to work. We do any number of activities that would be improved with a story—for me, it’s running and travel, and the holy grail of boredom-- folding laundry. I also listen to audiobooks while cleaning the house, which leads to more enthusiastic application of floor cleaner if I really get into the story.

Simply stated, audiobooks serve purposes that I never could have imagined, and my life is richer for them.

I started listening to the venerable Books on Tape in 1999—remember then? Just before the world ended due to Y2K, and before our phones could do things like send customer complaints and share adequate cat pictures? Heady times, the 90s, but the seed of audiobooks was planted and yielding then, and now, it’s an industry growing at rates even I, an enthusiast, could not have imagined.

Audiobooks provide, for authors, an advantage in connecting with two kinds of readers: those who love your books, and those who don’t have time to read your books. The audio format is surging, and it’s due to how we consume books, not if. Book sales are strong—for indies, but still strong and many indies have correctly wagered on building their series as ebook, print, and audiobook.

Another wonderful side effect of the audiobook? Meeting characters you’ve loved for years, or in some cases like me with the Dragonriders of Pern, decades. Hearing the narrative come to life is nothing short of magic, and as a dedicated listener, I purchase all of the books in a series, because just like print, I will re-listen for the sheer joy of it.

Part of the educational process of becoming an indie author is understanding how to hire talent, produce audiobooks, and reach your market with a product that looks and sounds professional from beginning to end. My motto is simple—hire the best possible talent and damn the costs—because this is a version of my story that will exist in perpetuity.

Audiobooks are the long game. They sell for years, if not decades, and librarians love them because they aren’t damaged or destroyed with use.

Audiobooks are a third of my brand, and I want a performer who is more than just capable—I want a star. A talent. A voice that wraps you in the story and brings you along from page one to the last ringing sentence. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got- consequently, I, the author, can listen to my own audiobook and forget I wrote it. I’ll have moments of pure joy where I think, “Damn, this is good!” and it’s not me—it’s the actor’s performance that transports and elevates the reader.

People under the age of 35 love audiobooks, podcasts, and accessibility. Why not give them what they want?

I did.


As I write this on my private island with a herd of attack giraffes, I think you can see the wisdom of my decision. Audiobooks are here to stay, and to paraphrase noted 20th century philosopher Ferris Bueller, “you don’t want to miss it.”


Listen to Terry Maggert's podcast here. 

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