- Have a Poor Cover
You CAN judge a book by its cover. If your book cover looks amateurish, royalty share narrators will not want to audition, because they don’t think the audiobook version will sell very many copies.
- Ask for a Royalty Split on a Book that Isn’t Selling
If you have only 3 reviews on Amazon and your sales rank is 2,395,763, than 20% of zero is still zero. Or, worse than zero for your narrator if it’s a 10 hour book that takes 50 or 60 hours to produce.
- Require Music or Sound Effects
Only the big publishers with big budgets include any sound effects in highly produced “audio dramas.” If you require any music, be prepared to pay extra for the rights and for an engineer or producer to add it.
- Ask for Both Male and Female Narrators
When you request “co-narrators,” you are either going to double your cost for a pay for production deal or ask two narrators to accept half the usual royalties. It really is accepted practice for audiobooks (traditionally and self-published) to have one voice do all the characters, whether male, female, animal, or alien.
- Ask for a 20 Minute Long Audition
You will probably know within the first 30 seconds whether a narrator is right for your book. A 5 minute long audition that includes a couple character voices will do.
- Require Multiple Accents
Having a British and French character should not be a problem for most experienced narrators. But, adding German, Russian, Irish and more international voices into your book will shrink your pool of narrators into a tiny pond. Especially with secondary characters, perfect accents should not be expected.
- Make the E-book Free on a Royalty Share Book
Who is going to pay for the audiobook if you are giving the e-book away? You should offer a pay for production deal.
- Have a Very Short Book
The term “book” is used here very loosely. $100 per finished hour “books” that are really 10-minute long articles end up paying less than $17 to the narrator. Books should be at least 10,000 words (over an hour) long to have an audio version.
- Have a Badly Edited Book
Lots of misspellings, words that don’t mean what you think they do, bad grammar, or having characters change names (continuity errors) will make a narrator regret having his or her name on your book.
- Not Communicate with Your Narrator
Your narrator and you are partners in the production of the audiobook. Don’t be a silent partner. Respond quickly to questions and requests. Stay engaged through the whole process.
*This blog is an excerpt from The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation by Richard Rieman