Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger- Dave Farland on Audio Books

David Farland/Wolvertin
Dave Farland
Extra Extra!

I've been looking into turning my book into an audiobook because so many people have approached me at
 signings and asked when it will be in audiobook form. (I also listen to my fair share of audio-books) They assure me that they will gladly buy it because they just don't have time to read anymore. 

Have you looked into getting an audiobook made? Wow! Those services are expensive and you're not even guaranteed a great reader.  They can run you around 20 grand. Yep! Take that deep breath.

So, when Dave Farland asked for volunteers to host him this month I was so excited to have him address this very issue. If you don't know about Dave. Go visit his site. He's awesome.

Here's what he had to say..oh, and if you leave him a question today, he will answer you, so be sure to click the box that will send you his response when you ask a question in the comment form.

Breaking into Audio Books by Dave Farland

As an indie author, how do you break into audiobooks?
Ah, that’s an easy one!  Most indie authors are afraid of what it might cost to hire a celebrity actor to read a book.  Really, folks, there are other ways.  A few years ago, I had some readers ask if I would ever be willing to podcast my own novel.  I’d never thought of it.  I’m not an actor.  But I did a little informal survey over the next few weeks, and found that 55% of the people who asked about audiobooks said that they would prefer to hear the author read it in his or her own voice.
Of course they would!  I’d love to hear Tolkien read Lord of the Rings to me.  I’d much rather hear it from him than from the finest actor.  In fact, I’d love to listen to both, one after another. 
The point here is that you can do it yourself.  You can either get your own recording equipment or find someone to do it for you.  If you have a local college nearby, find someone who is already working in sound for films.  You can probably hire them to use their own equipment and even mix it for you, taking out your “um’s” and “ah’s.”
Don’t be afraid.  Take an acting class or two if you feel that you must.  As you record, just make sure that you read it the way that you wrote it—with the names spoken the way you want, the stresses put in the sentences the way that you imagined it, and so on.  If you don’t get it right the first time, you can do multiple takes of the same line.  It’s really not that hard, or that scary.
If you really feel that it would be better with a professional actor, just look around.  I have a friend whose voice would be wonderful for broadcast work.  I knew an actor years ago, a fellow in a motorcycle gang, whose “look” would only let him play crazed villains in movies.  He was a big old monster of a fellow, with an enormous beard, and biceps the size of beer kegs.  But he was a sweet guy, and his voice was amazing.  Many times, great voice actors just don’t have the face needed to be popular stars.  So you can often get them to work for you inexpensively or even free, so that they can boost their own resumes as they go seeking other voice-over work.
Your audiobook doesn’t have to be expensive to produce.  You can edit in sound effects if you like.  With my latest book, we had a professional composer create a full soundtrack for it, which is a first for me, but you don’t need all of that.
Once you’ve made your recording, you can post it to the internet from your own website, and even sell it on places like iTunes.  You might even submit it to professional audiobook publishers like (Please see the various vendors for their own rules on how to submit.)
David Farland’s latest novel, Nightingale, tells the story of a young man who is abandoned at birth, and raised in foster care.  At the age of sixteen he is thrown out of his house, and meets an extraordinary teacher, a woman who recognizes that he is a “Nightingale,” a creature not quite human.  The novel is available in audio format, enhanced novel, e-book, and hardcover.  Check it out, along with the soundtrack, at
Do you have any questions for Dave? You have his undivided attention. Just leave your question in the comments and he'll answer you.
I wouldn't dare do my own audiobook, but I sure know a lot of high school drama whizzes and college production about you? Would you be the voice of your book?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indie Publishing Secret #24 When Do I Get Paid?

Indie Publishing Secret #24- Payment

Last week we talked about how much we earn as authors, now it's time to discuss when we get paid.

Publishers pay quarterly. That means you will get a check every three months when your book sells.

If you indie-publish you will be at the mercy of the places you sell your books. For example, Createspace pays monthly after the books sells. That means that books you sell in February will show up in your bank account at the end of April and only if your total is more than $20.00.

By the way, it is important that you let them pay you electronically. Checks require higher totals sold and take a lot more time.

You will get paid for your ebook with Amazon 60 days following the end of the calendar month when the applicable sale occured. That means that if you sold a book in January, you would get paid in April for that book if your total is more than $10.00.

Barnes and Noble pays the same way Amazon does.

Smashwords pays quarterly and you receive the check 40 days after that period ends. If you sell books in Jan/Feb/and March, you will be paid at the end of April and March may not be included. Confusing, huh! Your total must be more than $10.00.

You may put your book in consignment stores. You will be paid if they sell.

My distributor pays monthly, but there is a lag time of 3 months from when the book was invoiced. That means that at the end of each month a new books go out, they send me an invoice. Three months later I get paid on that invoice. 

It's tricky.

That is why you need to have a back-up of money to tide you over. If you print 1000 and all thousand go out that first month, you still have to wait almost 4 months to get paid.

You will need more money to print more books and you can't rely on that income. Be prepared to pay for several printings before you get paid.

You could, of course, put it all out there and print more than 1000 at a time. You will save per book, but they may take time to move or never move. Not to discourage you, but first time authors usually don't move 2,000 books. With that said, my book has already moved 2500 in less than 4 months. It is possible.

You have to determine the amount of risk you are comfortable with. Also, with debut indie authors, the curve tends to go up slowly at first then explodes around the year to two year mark. That's a long time to wait to be paid.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Indie Publishing Secrets Revealed #23 - Tracking Sales

Indie Publishing Secrets Revealed #23- How to track print/ebook sales

It's easy to check with your distributor to find out how many books they've sent to stores, but how do you track how many are selling in those stores and how do you track your e-sales?

Ebook tracking

Smashwords sales-go to your dashboard to get a quick look for books sold and how many total downloads free and paid. Just subtract the sold total from the total downloads and you have how many you gave for free,too.

To get more specific information, click on sales and payment information on the right sidebar. If you scroll down you will be able to see where exactly your sales came from unless you hit a quarterly reporting period. If there is no information listed when you scroll down, just click on the quarterly earnings mapping report at the top of the page. It will give you a quarterly report and show very specifically where your sales came from.

Kindle sales

Go to your KDP author site and click on reports at the top of the page. You can generate 3 different sales reports from there: prior month, previous 6 weeks or month to month. Just click on one and the details will pop up before your eyes. 

Also, using Author Central, available free to all KDP authors, you can see your ranking and a graph of your sales. It also shows your ranking. See below for more information on Amazon Central. The ebook information on this site is updated hourly.

Print sales

Createspace tracks your sales on their site. Just log into your book and go to sales.

If you have a distributor other than Createspace, you can go to Author Central.

It is a free service that KDP offers all its authors.

Once you sign up, you not only put in a profile, you can put in signings and a blog and twitter link. Most importantly, it puts you in touch with Nielson Book Scan that shows, with up to 75% accuracy, your print book sales in 100 different regions throughout the U.S. It is quite remarkable to see the data. It graphs it as well as showing you sales by geography. It does not purport to catch all sales, but enough to show you significant things. This data is updated every Friday.

Click on this link to read more about Amazon and its effect on publishers and authors. Quite remarkable. Amazon seems unstoppable.  NY Times article

Next week I'll clue you in on how you get paid from all these sites and how often. It's not what you think....

Happy tracking sales!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Indie Publishing Secrets revealed #22 Where's the Money?

Indie Publishing Secrets revealed   Where's the Money?

Typical scenario for a published book with a traditional publisher

Cost of you book in stores-Retail    $13.99

The bookstore pays 60%(typically) for your book. You pay your publisher and agent from that amount. $8.39

Your publisher takes 65% of that for advertising, distributing and printing. $5.45 (65%)

Your agent takes 15% for selling your book to the publisher-I'm not sure if that 15% is taken from the $8.39 or the $2.94. So, I've color coded them.

What's left for you?     $2.50 (30%) or $1.68 (20%)

You pay Uncle Sam about 1/3 of that    $1.13/1.67 (13%,20%) profit

If your experience with traditional publishing was different than this, I'd love to hear about it. Please comment.

Indie Publishing

Cost of your book in retail stores       $13.99

Bookstores pay 60% of retail for your book     that leaves $8.39
Your distributor takes 25% of that 60%           They earn $2.10.  That leaves $6.29

Subtract the cost to print your book                  $1.25(15%)-$3.50 (42%) for a 350 page book depending
                                                                        on how many you print.

What you get                                                    $3.04 (36%) to $4.79 (57%) if you do all free advertising
                                                                         Good luck with that

Uncle Sam takes about 1/3                               $2.12 (25%)-3.16 (38%)

POD (Print on Demand) Publisher I will use Createspace as the example

                                 Cost of your book         $13.99
                                                                     You get $6.24 from sales at Createspace
                                                                                   $3.44 from sales on Amazon
                                                                                   $.64 from all other .coms
                                              Your book is not in stores


Smashwords takes about 19%. That is about $.18 per dollar your book sells for
If you let Smashwords distribute to Barnes and Noble, Diesel, Kobe and others, you end up with 60%. That means that if you sell your book for $2.99 you'll get $1.81. (KDP)
If you price your book between $2 and $9.98, you will earn 65%
If you price your book less than $1.99 or over $9.99, you will earn 35%.

Happy earning

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Indie Publishing Secrets #21 At Your Book Signings

Wonder what to do at your book signings?

Here's a list of 25 things to bring or do.

First off...

I've discovered there are different types of signings.

The first is one at a place where people come just for you.  An example of this would be my book launch at Barnes and Noble.  People came just to see me. I wasn't "selling" my book. I'd already done that.

The other is where you don't know anyone and are trolling for an audience. Costco is an example of this or perhaps a store away from your stomping grounds. Here, you have to "sell" your book.

For the first type of launch or book signing, you would advertise in your neighborhood, schools, and libraries as well as on all your social networking sites and all your friends and family would come and hopefully they would bring their friends.

 For the second, you only have your social networking sites and really, you are at the mercy of the traffic at the site you are signing at.

Two very different scenarios.

I'm going to tell you about the second type today.

1. Bring something to give to people as they pass to get interest.

You can print bookmarks, posters, cards, anything you can think of at Uprinting or other sites. Watch the cost. I chose double-sided cards because they only cost me about 1 cent each. Bookmarks will cost you about 7. (Thanks Heather!) One of my friends, Tristi, prints a recipe and information on half-sheets of paper on her laser printer for only 1/2 cent each.

2. Have cool posters made.
a.Costco is by far the cheapest option here if you are handy with Photoshop or another picture manipulation program. It will cost you about 5 bucks. You'll need a foam board and some spray on fixative. Total, it will cost around $11 bucks.
b. If not, go to or some other commercial site that creates posters and with their help, you can create something amazing. This will be around $25 once you add the foam board and fixative. Really, you need at least two posters. One for the entrance to the store and one to set next to your table where you are signing.
c. If you have extra money to spend, go ahead and have a print shop create an amazing, huge roll up poster for about $150.00 (it comes with a stand and all).
Pick your poison-but you need this.

3.You will need at least one book stand to prop your book up.

4.You will need a few field easels (if you don't do the big print shop hanging poster) to put your posters on. You do not want them on your table.

6.You need a fun, bright table cloth

7.You need a cute holder of some sort for your cards, bookmarks or posters or whatever.

8. Get dolled up. Look nice. You probably won't believe this, especially if you know me, but a mom came by my table and told me I must be doing something right because her 3-4 year old daughter asked her if I was Barbie. Yeah, wrap your head around that one.

9. Bring a permanent, real smile. Feel it from within. Enjoy meeting people and making friends. Don't let your whole goal be to sell to each person. Make connections. They will be back.

10.Bring a few awesome pens. I like pilot pens.

11.Wear comfortable shoes. I bring two pair. One cute and fashionable and one practical and comfy. I stand almost the whole time.

12. Bring water bottles. I bring 3 and I drink them all and refill them and drink them again.

13. Bring gum, but watch it. Don't chew openly. It's nice to have something to keep your mouth from getting dry.

14. Smoothies are an awesome option for food while signing. You won't get stuff in your teeth and you'll get a fun pick me up.

15. Bring a small mirror to check your looks, especially if you are sniffling from a cold or the cold.

16. Bring a jacket/sweater. Some stores are downright cold.

17. My cute friend, Tristi, likes to have a stuffed animal on the table to interest the kids. I've heard of people giving out suckers.

18. Bring a notebook. You need a spot to jot down ideas as you go.

19.  My other cute friend, Nichole Giles, gave me the tip to bring a pad of small post-it notes for people to spell their name for you. It's easy to mess up when you are talking to people at the same time you are signing.

20. Bring a calendar to jot down your sales and so that you can tell people when you'll be there again....or other places you will be.

21. Bring a sign-up sheet for a newsletter you send out at most 4 times a year.

22. Get psyched out. Get out there and make new friends. Be genuine and honest.

23. Be friendly with the staff. Talk to them and get to know them.

24. Come prepared with a one-liner to say to people as you hand them the card/bookmark, etc. I say one of two things.
a. Award-winning romantic suspense novel
b. The latest romantic suspense novel

25. Come prepared with a longer spiel to give about your book. People will say, "So, what's your book about." or "Tell me about your book." Have something ready. Short and sweet. Here's mine,  This is a story of a group of teens that go on a school trip to Washington, D.C. and witness a murder and how it changes their lives. More often than not, the next question is, "Is it clean?" I say, "Yep. No swearing and no sex." Be ready for that if you write Y.A.  You'll also be asked about how you got your idea,how long it took you to write, how you got published and if you've been successful.
(BTW, your answer to that one is
always yes.)

There's the list. I hope this helps you. The most important thing is your attitude. Be happy and others will be attracted to you.

Happy signing!