Are Audiobooks REAL Books?

audiobook 1

I am always surprised at how many of my blog entries start out as comments on somebody else’s blog.

Like today’s blog entry, for example.

I was reading a blog over at INDIES UNLIMITED that was written by Big Al, the fellow behind BIG AL’S BOOKS & PALS review site.

Okay, so the idea of submitting a book for review to a dude that calls himself BIG AL, is pretty freaking cool. Even cooler still is the fact that Big Al specializes in review indie books. None of the Big 6 (or is it 5 these days?) publishers get in through those doors. It’s just Joe Bob and the e-book that he put together between wrestling matches that qualifies for an appearance at Big Al’s review site.

I submitted something to Big Al a loooong time ago. I recollect that he gave me a good review and I was happy about it. I’ve poked around in my files to see which book it was and I just couldn’t seem to find any sign of his review – but I know it is in there somewhere.

I’m just poorly organized, is all.

Take for instance this introduction to this blog entry. I am taking nearly forever to get to the point, now aren’t I?

Well, let’s get that point right now.

This morning I read a blog entry by Big Al over at Indies Unlimited, that was titled EVERYBODY LISTEN UP: SMASHWORDS IS ENTERING THE AUDIOBOOKS MARKET! and I felt compelled to put in a comment and then the keyboard just sort of got away on me and it turned into a whole darned blog entry.

Like this one.


Dear Big Al:

You started out your blog entry talking about how you sometimes feel that audiobooks aren’t really real books. Now I read the whole thing and I realize that was just your starting paragraph and you don’t REALLY believe that but hey, it always helps to stir up readers if you start a blog entry with a little controversy and you actually love ALL sorts of books – but just the same it stirred me up enough to want to answer you.

So here goes.

I’m Canadian. Don’t hold it against me. Hey, we’ve got maple syrup, and our beer has attitude.

However, because I am Canadian it means that Audible wouldn’t talk to me for a lot of years. I kept on waiting for them to get over whatever it was that they had against Canadians. I realized that these things took time.

Then back in September last year – just a half a dozen months ago – Audible threw the doors open for us Canadians.

I guess that they finally got around to trying our beer.

So I jumped in feet first and I released over two dozen audiobooks through Audible.

I didn’t spend a dime doing it, either.

In that half a year or so, I have met and spoken to an awful lot of narrators and/or producers. Several of them spoke highly about Findaway – but they all stressed that if you go through Findaway or some of the other audiobook distributors – you are going to need a pocket full of money.

Well, I am cheap. So, even though Findaway has a better distribution network and offers a little better royalty rate, I remain loyal to Audible.

Audible is kind of like that rusted-up old beater that some folks drive, because they can’t afford a new car. After a while you come to love that rusted-up old beater. You grow fond of the smell of old car, and you like that you can spot it in a crowded parking lot simply by backtracking the footsteps of all of those would-be car thieves who have walked up to your beater and then shook their head hard enough to give themselves a case of whiplash before walking away in a mixture of pity and disgust.

I am not saying that Audible offers “clunker” service, you understand. What I am saying is that Audible is kind of a “turnkey” operation. Basically, once you sign up with Audible you are all-kinds-of-ready to get putting your audibooks out there. That is especially useful for somebody who has got more e-books than cash flow.

So let me rewrite that analogy.

Let’s just say that Audible is the Hyundai Accent for us poor cousin authors. With Audible you can climb right in and turn the key and drive away a brand new career in audiobooks without having to auction off your first, second and third-born children.

Hey, I’m not cheap. I am frugal. I’m from Nova Scotia, which means Scotland, which means that I can squeeze a nickel so hard that the Queen is going to blush.

Thanks to my Audible audiobooks, I see money in my bank account every morning. I’m not worried about how quickly I can pay off that arm-and-leg that Findaway or other such companies charge.

Let me see if I can wrap this up fast. I really ought to be writing right now, but every now and then my keyboard kind of grows a mind of its own and refuses to stop typing.

IF – you have a solid fan base and you make monthly four-to-six digit royalties with your e-books, then you ought to look into Findaway and other such high end audiobook companies. You will make your investment back and be able to distribute to a lot more options than I can.

BUT – if you are like me and you sometimes shop at thrift shops and you buy your cars from guys in sleazy leisure suits and sunglasses and maybe you live in a second-hand shed in behind a foreclosed trailer park, then maybe you might be better off settling with a quick-and-dirty royalty share deal at Audible.

So – should you EVER pay cash up front for a narrator?

Yes you should, if you want to hire top ranked narrators. A royalty share offer is a heck of a gamble for a narrator, who usually winds up swallowing the production costs. In a royalty share deal the narrator is gambling that you are going to sell enough audiobooks to turn a profit. So, a lot of the quality narrators ONLY accept pay-for-production money up front deals.

And make no mistake about it. Some of these narrators have followings of their own. Just having their name attached to your audiobook can guarantee you better exposure and the potential of more sales. So I am losing out – BIG TIME – in my decision to only stick with royalty share deals, but I’ve got bills to pay and that is just the way it is.

Maybe you can do things differently.

Either way – audiobooks are a huge freaking market and any writer worth his salt and pepper really ought to start thinking about taking advantage of them. They are indeed “real books” (I know that you were just kidding, Big Al, because I used to say the same thing), and more important than that, there are an awful lot of folks out there who have grown accustomed to listening to their stories instead of reading them. Whatever you want to call those folks – readers or listeners – there is a whole entire shit storm of those folks out there and whether they read or listen they are ALL freaking potential customers.

So, if a writer wants to hear a little more of those silver carousels of money jingling in his pocket, you really ought to get your work into audiobook format. So don’t put it off any longer. Start getting your books into audiobook format. If old goomer such as myself can figure out how, you folks will have no problem at all.

Just remember – hardcover, paperback, e-book or audiobook – they are ALL books!!!

Anything that gets the word out is a good thing!

Yours in Storytelling,

Steve Vernon


NOW – if you got all the way down to here you might really want to check out some of my audiobooks. You can do that over at Audible or you can pick some of them up through Kindle. If you’d like a couple of recommendations I can suggest that you pick up THE FOREVER LONG ROAD OF OLAN WALKER on Audible for only $3.95 or you can grab through Kindle, whichever you prefer. The audiobook is narrated by ADAM GOLD, a really talented audiobook narrator who does a wicked Morgan Freeman imitation, although his ONION KNIGHT is even better than that. I’d recommend hiring him if you are looking for some quality audiobook production. He is a full time actor and stuntman as well as an audiobook narrator, so he is a little hard to pin down but you can also find him on Twitter.


If you want something a little chewier then you ought to take a look at my Northern Ontario redneck noir novella, HAMMURABI ROAD on Audible for only $6.95 or else you can grab it through Kindle. The narration is supplied by Robert Thaler, a real pro. If you are looking to hire Thaler check him out at his website , catch him at Audible or even just follow him on Twitter! Either way, just take a look at all of those freaking reviews for HAMMURABI ROAD just on Audible alone. Loads of 4 and 5 stars, with only one single 1 star that proves that you can’t please everybody all of the time.

Hammurabi Road new

Now, some of you might be wondering just how I manage to pick up all of those awesome audiobook reviews. Well just follow my blog along and in another week or two I will tell all about it.

2 responses to “Are Audiobooks REAL Books?

  1. Pingback: Morning Coffee - 2 April 2018 | The Digital Reader

  2. Pingback: Are Audiobooks REAL Books? – Wordpreneur • How to Make Money Writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s