Thursday, January 16, 2014

Audio Books: The Next Publishing Wave

by Jean Henry Mead

Are audio books taking over the market, crowding out ebooks and print editions? If my latest royalty statements are any indication, my assumption is correct. A writer friend mentioned that his ebook sales had been cut in half during the past few months, as have mine, but that his audio books are selling well. 

I had submitted some of my own novels to an audio company, with negative results, so I  decided to follow my friend's lead by applying to ACX.To my surprise, my first novel, Escape, was not only accepted but featured in the company's newsletter, and I received quite a few requests to record it from freelance narrators. Written after ten years of research about Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch, it's been my best selling book since 1999, with three publishers. Award-winning Kevin Foley narrated the book. And his singing adds to the novel's humor.

I followed Escape with my second Wyoming historical novel, this time a mystery.  No Escape, the Sweetwater Tragedy, was written after more than 20 years of sporadic research. It's the true story of an innocent young woman and her husband hanged by greedy cattlemen. I included a  fictional young Missouri woman determined to homestead on her own, a composite of some 200,000 actual single women homesteaders. Dennis Redfield, a southern California actor, did a terrific job of narrating the book, which is now available at Amazon, and iTunes with three of my other books.

Westerners: Candid and Historic Interviews contains some of the fascinating people I've had the pleasure of interviewing over the years. Among them Louis L'Amour, country singer Chris LeDoux, attorney Gerry Spence, Lucile Wright, early aviatrix and friend of Amelia Earhart; infamous grandsons of Buffalo Bill Cody and Presidents Benjamin and William Henry Harrison. They left their own imprints on society, among many others interviewed during my years as a news reporter and freelance photojournalist in California and Wyoming,  Narrator Paul McSorly deftly brings the interviews to life.

Mystery of Spider Mountain was written for middle grade readers and features the adventures of the Hamilton Kids. It's a semi-autobiographical story of my childhood in the Hollywood hills. Chelsea Ward does a great job narrating the novel for 9-12 year-olds and will also narrate the following book in the series, Ghost of Crimson Dawn. 

More of my books are currently in the process of narration and it's been fun listening to them as they're recorded as well as working with the narrators. From now on I'll keep my sentences shorter and narrations in mind as I write future books. All the books are currently on sale at: where you can listen to them by clicking on the small green circles under each one.


Carola Dunn said...

I'm getting more and more people asking about the Daisy mysteries in audio. Blackstone did 4 several years ago (the first 3 plus the one that was current at the time). Recently they bought another 4, and I've heard from readers?listeners that two of them are now out. Haven't received copies yet.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I think most audio buyers are mainly busy people who like to listen to books as they work, or those who drive long distances. In any event, sales for audios are increasing and I'm pleased with how well my narrators have brought my own fictional characters to life.

Shiela Stewart said...

I would love to have my books turned into audio, but unless my publisher is willing to do it I don't see it happening. Just too costly for me.

My hubby listens to audio books and I've checked out a few that interest me. Yours just made my list. :)

Jackie King said...

Very interesting post, Jean. I've had readers ask if my books were in audio. Reading this article makes me curious about looking into this.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Shiela. I think most audio books at are currently reprints. And it doesn't cost the author anything if the narrator agrees to split the sales royalties 50-50.

Jean Henry Mead said...

You should look into it, Jackie. My own sales and other writers I've talked to say their audio sales are better than their ebooks and print editions.