Rob Archangel is a co-founder of Archangel Ink, an independent publishing services company.
Rob has done the production, mixing and editing of audiobooks for clients and bestselling author Matt Stone. In this show, Rob shares how audiobooks can help you increase your income from your books by 10% or more, and how the future is only getting better for audiobook authors. You’ll also learn step-by-step how to find a production company to produce your audiobooks for you. For those of you who just want to do it yourself, you’ll find some great tips and strategies on how to make the whole process easier as well.
Rob started working with his partner Matt Stone in 2012. He was really interested in what Matt had to say about health and wellness. After Rob reached out to start a conversation with Matt, Matt invited Rob to join his team. Rob started researching self-publishing and convinced Matt he could go that route. (Prior to putting his books up on Amazon, Matt was simply selling copies of his books directly from his website.)
After successfully entering the ebook market with his material, Matt and Rob expanded formats. They began selling print-on-demand versions of Matt’s work in 2013, and broke into the audiobook market after that.
The audiobook market has been very good to them.
After their initial success with Matt’s work, Rob and Matt decided to start a publishing company to help authors navigate self-publishing. They offer services for producing ebooks, print on demand, and audiobooks.
Who Is Matt Stone?
Matt Stone went to school for creative writing and found that he preferred creative nonfiction. After he graduated college, Matt decided to write in the health and wellness field because it was a passion of his. Before publishing his books on Amazon, he built a following by being a renegade in the health and wellness space.
A Look at the Business after Expanding Distribution
Their Kindle books have been selling steadily enough that Rob and Matt decided to switch to KDP Select and sell exclusively on Amazon.
Amazon is the big player in the publishing world, so the economics and the ease of publishing exclusively through Amazon just make sense.
The sales of Matt’s books have dramatically increased since they made the switch from wide distribution to exclusive distribution through KDP Select. That accounts for all sales channels, including print on demand and audiobooks.
The Audiobook Explosion
If you are a self-published author, you can produce three versions of your book to sell to the public. Each version of your book is an income stream that you can earn royalties from.
Listed in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest, they are:
1. The ebook
This is the easiest form of your book to create. It also has the highest profit margin. All you have to do is create a properly formatted Word document and upload it to Amazon to create an ebook. You also need a properly formatted image for your cover.
2. The paperback
This version of your book is slightly more difficult to produce, and has a smaller profit margin. Formatting a file for print on demand is slightly more complicated, and hiring help is more expensive because of the higher degree of difficulty.
3. The audiobook
The audiobook is the most expensive form of your book you can produce. It has the highest profit margin, though, because audiobooks cost the most for the customer. However, producing an audiobook of your indie work isn’t the right choice for everyone.
Generally speaking, audiobooks sell at a rate of 10% to 15% of your ebook sales, so if you’re making $1,000 a month on ebook sales, it’s not unreasonable to expect that you would make another $100-$150 per month on your audiobook sales.
Of course, an audiobook can explode in popularity and create more interest, driving traffic to the book itself. But you shouldn’t count on this in a business planning sense.
Once an audiobook is produced, it will be a passive income stream for as long as people are interested in the content of the book itself. Once you produce the file, you don’t ever have to touch it again. It will keep making you money month after month.
Another benefit of producing audiobooks right now is that you’re getting in on the ground floor of a new marketplace. Right now, in 2013, there might be 200,000 books in the health and wellness category on Amazon. In contrast, there might be 2,000 books in Audible‘s health and wellness category.
Getting in on the ground floor of a smaller market means that you have the possibility of gaining greater visibility because competition isn’t as fierce as it is on Amazon.
Plus, you’re getting a higher commission per sale of your audiobook, and once you produce the audiobook, it will give you passive income for years to come
All of this adds up to an opportunity you should seriously consider.
Making your books available on Audible opens you up to an entirely new market. There are people who consume books exclusively in audio format. There are also people who are more likely to consume your material if it’s available on audio.
“A lot of people get their reading done passively while doing other things throughout the day; they might be cooking or running errands. Getting to learn or hear stories simultaneously is a great opportunity.”
– Rob Archangel
What Books Fit Best in the Audiobook Market?
The books that convert best into the audiobook market are the books that have a narrative structure. They don’t have to necessarily be fiction books. But they need an intro, a body, and a conclusion. They need a narrative flow.
Material that relies heavily on visuals (such as cookbooks with a lot of pictures) don’t work well in audio format. Anything that requires a visual element is going to be harder to translate into an audio format.
If you have a book with a lot of charts and graphs, or pictures that you think are important, one solution is to have a special website, or a page on your website, that contains all of those charts and graphs.
You can create a link that’s good only for listeners of that audiobook and say, “Go to my website where you can look at all of the charts and graphs.”
This is also a great way to drive traffic to your website.
Interactive Books Are the Way of the Future
In the past, ebooks used to just be text. As technology has advanced, more pictures and more detailed pictures have become available for ebook distribution. Additionally, we’re seeing the beginning of “enhanced ebooks” that allow you to embed video into your ebook.
It’s especially important for nonfiction authors to teach their audience in as many ways as possible.
Adding more ways for your audience to consume your information is adding value to the marketplace because you’re meeting your audience where they learn best. And the more value you add to the marketplace, the more you will be rewarded by your audience.
Make Use of Audible‘s Affiliate Program
Depending on your audience and your reach on the internet, you can sign up for Audible‘s affiliate program, promote your book through the affiliate program, and make more money by selling Audible memberships than you might otherwise by selling copies of your book.
How Audible’s Affiliate Program Works in 2017
You can join Audible’s affiliate program by joining Amazon’s associate program. Amazon owns Audible.
There are currently three offers that can generate a commission for you through Audible’s affiliate program.
- When people sign up for an Audible free trial through your affiliate link on your website, you get $5.
- When people sign up for an Audible Gold Membership, which gives people one Audible credit a month good for book purchases and 30% off of every listed price on Audible, you get $10.
- When people buy an audiobook on Audible after navigating there through your affiliate link, you get $0.50
Advertise Audible on Your Podcast
If you’re approved, you set up a podcast or advertising link with Audible. For every one of your users who gets a free trial of Audible through that link, you get $15.
This offer works best if you suggest an audiobook that your listeners might like.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
https://archangelink.com/ – Rob and Matt’s publishing services company. They have a full suite of services available for authors who want to self-publish, including: custom cover design, ghostwriting, ebook formatting, manuscript editing, paperback production, and audiobook production.
http://180degreehealth.com/blog/ Matt Stone’s blog about health and wellness.
http://www.Audibletrial.com/information.aspx – apply here to advertise Audible on your podcast. For every user who gets a free trial through your podcast advertisement link, you get $15.
Learn more about ACX and how it works. — this link will take you directly to ACX and will help you figure out exactly what you need to do depending on who you are and how you fit into the audiobook production process. ACX is a fully integrated marketplace where you can find everything you need to produce and distribute your audiobook.
Software for Recording Audiobooks
Free Download of Audacity, A Free Digital Audio Editor
Audiobook Recording Equipment
Below are some useful links and resources mentioned in Rob’s eBook, How to Create an Audiobook for Audible: Advice for authors, recording and formatting info, and more for ACX, Audible, and iTunes
Audiobook Production Services
If you are interested in having Archangel Ink produce your audiobook, go to www.archangelink.com and fill out the Contact Us form.
Just mention that you are interested in their audiobook production services. If you are only interested in audiobook services, let them know (they also publish eBooks and print books as well).
Make sure to include the full word count of your manuscript, excluding any portions that will not be read (such as references) so that they can give you an accurate quote on your project.
Also, specifically mention “audiobook-ebook” on the Contact Us form to receive a 10% discount on any self-publishing services you get from Archangel Ink.
To learn more about the Publishing Profits Podcast show, join us at www.PublishingProfitsPodcast.com
To learn more about TCK Publishing, visit www.TCKPublishing.com
For more on audiobooks, read on!
- How to Write an Audiobook Script Like a Pro
- How to Create an Audiobook PDF Companion Document for ACX, iBooks, and More
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.