Audiobook First Month

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I've been chronicling the process of turning my book, The Asset, into an audiobook during my ACX Audiobook Case Study. The Asset audiobook has been out for one month, so it's a good time for an update.

Audiobook marketing is a lot tougher than book marketing. There just aren't many places that are dedicated to promoting/showcasing audiobooks. There aren't any Book Bub, Pixel of Ink, ENT type-sites focused on Audiobooks. Ditto on the blogger front.  You just don't have bloggers dedicated to reviewing or blogging about audiobooks, so the promotional avenues are quite limited in comparison to promoting books and ebooks. That said, without any promotional push I sold 40 audiobooks out of the gate in December.

Unfortunately my first review was a bad one, so I've seen a steep drop off in sales. Bad reviews are part of this business, it just sucks the first and so far only review was a bad one. I'll need to focus on finding audiobook reviewers to build up my reviews.

On the promotional front, I've teamed up with four other thriller authors with audiobooks for an audiobook giveaway. I blogged about that here. Hopefully that will muster some more traction and reviews.

Payment

I received my first payment from Audible.com this week. It was for $230. Not a bad royalty payment off of 40 sales.

The straight break down of the payment amount and units sold means I earned an average royalty per unit of $5.76 which is not 50% of my audiobook $19.95 retail price. The audiobook sells for $17.46 on Amazon and iTunes but the payment doesn't jive figures-wise either. I suspect it has everything to do with the Audible membership credits so very few folks are actually paying retail.

The Audible.com royalty payment was great, but the provided report was a joke:

Audible Audiobook Payment Report

The Audible Royalty Payment "Report"

My understanding from other authors is that Audible does provide a detailed and itemized payment report, but that they send it by snail mail, yeah, weird. But I'm glad to hear they do have a report because the "payment voucher" you see above doesn't have any detail about the royalty payment and the ACX website generated reports don't provide much more information (aside from how many units sold).

Unlike with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing as authors, we have zero control over pricing. ACX/Audible determines the price. That is one of the problems as to why there is little support from bloggers and webmaster's over developing audiobook centric sites. There isn't a monetary incentive to promote.

Audible Affiliate Program Problems

Audible.com does have an affiliate program, but getting accepted into it is a pain. I've discussed this with others and they've had the same negative experience with Audible's affiliate program.  It's a shame, but unlike Amazon that runs their affiliate program in-house, Audible (which is an Amazon company) outsourced their affiliate program to a third-party affiliate network operated by Commission Junction. But it gets even more murky, the actual management of the Audible affiliate program is managed by yet another third party company called House of Kaizen, and they're terrible. Bounced emails, poor follow up, and just very obtuse when it comes to joining Audible's affiliate program.

They rejected my application so I had to track down their affiliate manager (at House of Kaizen not Audible) and I've been exchanging emails with a House of Kaizen's employee, but it's like talking to a brick wall, so I'm done with all that. I just won't promote Audible as an affiliate (I'll just focus on my audiobook). My terrible experience with the Audible affiliate program was a true insight as to why there are so few promotional opportunities for audiobooks.

Break Even

Despite those promotional/marketing setbacks and frustrations, as an author, I still believe strongly in the audiobook market. Hell, I got 40 sales without any promotion, and my first royalty payment from Audible.com was very nice. I would need to sell 110 ebooks priced at $2.99 to match the Audible royalty from just 40 sales. I love that.

The expense in producing the audiobook is a large investment. I'm projecting 6-8 months just to break even, but audiobooks seem to be at the cusp of being the next big thing in self publishing. I don't regret getting into the audiobook business nor do I regret paying for the audiobook production cost up front versus going down the royalty-split option with the narrator.

Stay tuned for more updates on my audiobook throughout 2014.

Check out my "Big Audiobook Giveaway" for a promotional idea you can use to market your audiobook.

 

You should follow me on Twitter here.

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