If Your Book Were an Audio Book…

Would You Sell More Copies?

Book development, including choosing its format or formats,  is vital for selling a book. About one-fourth of my new guide, Marketing Your Book to Libraries, covers how to create a book that has the best chance of selling well to libraries.

Libraries are the largest book market in the US today. They spend billions of dollars on books each year. And that includes audio books. Audio books are quite popular with public librarians and children’s librarians.

This is why today’s guest interview is with John Mahoney. Here are some facts about John’s background and businesses.

  • Owner/Producer RavenPheat Productions, LLC.  Recording studio was established in1998.
  • In 2000 began producing Audio Books (Raven Audio Books)
  • History: 1968-1976, Musician and Recording Artist.  1977-1997, Industrial marketing and business management. 
  • Motto: Placing Respect, Integrity, Honesty & Quality Above All Else

Will an audio book sell more copies of your book? If it is the right kind of book and your audio book is well-produced, it certainly could!

According to John, the audio book market totals about one billion dollars. The market is split fairly evenly between media books (CDs mostly and some cassettes), and downloadable audio books. For more statistics as well as a copy of the 2010 Audio Publisher’s Association consumer survey see the statistics page on John’s site after you are done reading this interview with him.

Interview with John Mahoney of Raven Audio Books

John Mahoney

(1) Why shouldn’t an author do their own audiobook recording?

JM  Do Not record your book in your home. It will sound like your recorded your book in your home. Unless, you have a nice sound proof room/booth and the high end software and mic to accomplish all the recording, audio editing, mixing and mastering. And, give yourself about a year’s learning curve to get efficient in audio recording.  If you’re going to put your book “out there” in audio, please make sure it sounds like a pro product. After all, the audio book represents, you.

(2) Should an author read their own book? How does one find a professional reader?

JM  If an author has a great professional voice, can read extremely well and has some experience as a recording narrator or done voice over work, then the author should be the person to read/record the book. If not, let the pros do it.  The recording studio should have a database of voice talent to choose from.  If not, find another studio.  Studios that produce audio books must be on the lookout all the time for new voice talent.  Voice talent availability can be fluid.

The listener wants to be and must be engaged, entertained or wants to learn something. The voice talent must have the talent to do this. The voice talent is the main key to the great audio book. The voice talent is a character (or multiple characters) and must cause the listener to produce a “movie” in their mind. Especially with fiction but true with nonfiction also.

(3) About how much does it cost to create an audio book and what does an author get for that?

JM  The cost of recording the book into the Masters, depends on the length of the book, how many voices to be used and extras like music and sound effects. For example, I would change $1300 to record a 50,000 word book, plus a pro voice talent $400. $1700 total. Which includes: recording, audio editing, original royalty free music/sound for an intro/outro & between chapters, mixing, mastering and conversion of all chapters to MP3 format. The author or publisher should receive 2 sets of master CDs and the MP3 files.

Yes there are studios that will charge lots more than I to do the same work. Be careful and do the proper investigations. Take your time.

(4) For your nonfiction audio books are there any methods for indexing the subjects of the book? Bookmarking? Going back to something you’ve already heard? 

JM  I do not know of any methods of audio indexing.  I’ve never been asked this before.  What I do with any audio book is divide the book up into 15 – 20 tracks.  Why?  Because that is the typical amount of time we humans can focus these days, and it’s the typical driving time to and from the workplace.  The insert/booklet that gets printed with the audio book can give more details about each track/chapter.

(5) When an author turns an illustrated book, e.g., a children’s book, into an audio book, does the text have to be augmented to make up for the pictures not being there? Or do you use sound in place of pictures?

JM  Music and sound is a wonderful replacement and is composed no matter what.  Some authors maintain the illustrations in a booklet form and add a sleeve in the book’s cover for the audio book.  This way the child can listen and view the pictures.

NKH  Please tell us how Raven Audio Books work with authors. 

Raven Audio Books Recording Studio works with all authors & publishers (except those that promote hate or violence).  We simply meet, or meet over the phone, and discuss the details of the project. These days most of the books that I produce are out of state and country.  Because of the incredible versatility of the internet, there are no more boundaries.  To learn more, contact John Mahoney, 623 215 8654, Glendale, Arizona, USA , http://www.ravenaudiobooks.com.

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Tired of waiting for your royalties? Disappointed in your book sales? Feel like your publisher isn’t doing their job? What if I handed you a step-by-step plan to sell hundreds of additional copies of your book right now? Check this out.


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