Posted by: Debrah Martin | January 27, 2017

Audiobooks -are you listening?

Audiobooks – the oldest and most modern way to get your book’s message out?headphones

Yes, I did mean to write that. I remember listening to my first audiobook nearly twenty years ago, on a long drive down to the south of France on a family holiday. It was a cassette then. CDs didn’t exist and who had even thought of MP3s? The result was the same though – a long journey made not just bearable, but positively enjoyable – and me hooked on whichever book I was listening to at the time, as eager for the next section of the book as the autoroute!

Today, technology has moved on and we watch movies on phones, take photos on iPads and walk around with earphones plugged into us like we’ve grown them as essential elements or our twenty-first century  physiology. We listen to music, we listen to each other on Facetime , why not walk around listening to a book too? Our busy lives encompass so much time when we are in transit or in training or simply in limbo, the opportunity to fill it with an audio book must be one of the most attractive up and coming trends for authors since Kindle.

amazon-audible-logoSo here I am, on Audible, looking at three of my books – soon to be four, and wondering, where from here?  An interactive books sounds fun, building on a gaming platform, but before my imagination leaps ahead of my ability, can I tell you – for anyone new to the possibility of putting your book onto audio – how it works.

I chose ACX to produce my books. There are other platforms, and obviously they have their own selling machines, but ACX is the audiobook production arm of Amazon. Every audiobook you create on ACX will be made available on,, and iTunes, and if you grant Audible exclusive distribution rights, then you’ll earn royalties of 40%.  have you seen the price of audiobooks? None of your 99c/99p free offers. They generally run to $20/ £14 or so. Good enough for me!

sackful-of-moneyBut having opted for ACX, then the games begin! First of all, having uploaded your ‘project’ you have to decide whether to invite narrators to audition to produce the book for a fee, or for a share of the royalties. I have made it seem easy until now, but this is where reality kicks in. Producing an audiobook is expensive. For each hour of completed audiobook, there may be up to ten times that spent in the production of it. That could cost a wacking $225 per hour if your voice-over artist  is a member of the SAG-AFTRA union, because as a member, they can accept no less than that. Imagine what that means when your completed audiobook is likely to run to ten or more hours of completed narration!

The alternative is to offer a royalty share if a producer – a narrator – is interested in making this a joint project with you. I was so incredibly lucky to pair up with Rob Groves when I put my projects out for audition on a royalty share basis. He was juts coming into audiobook narration at the time – although I’m sure I will have to twist his arm for airtime in the future because of the awesomely excellent completed article he has delivered for all three of the Patchwork books, and will do again, shortly for Chained Melodies.

big-tickIf you are lucky enough to agree a royalty share production arrangement with a voice-over artist, the process then continues into listening to and agreeing their audition piece – a fifteen minute sample – and then onto listening to the whole book as it is produced, chapter by chapter, agreeing edits and changes as you go. Once the narration is complete  and you have an audiobook cover uploaded, ACX will review the whole project to ensure it passes their quality controls and if it does, then release it onto Amazon etc. Your audiobook is complete – now what do you do with it? Read the next blog post about it and find out!

You can find the whole Patchwork trilogy on Audible here:



Patchwork Man

Patchwork People

Patchwork Pieces

And don’t miss the opportunity to get them free by signing up to Audible’s free trial!



My website (and where you can see the type of books I write) is:

A free copy of Patchwork Man (digital) can be downloaded via this sign up link

Find me on Facebook here:

And on Twitter here

My UK based writing and self-publishing courses can be found here: Courses and Resources

Or just say hello here:



  1. While my first choice for reading is actually READING I have started listening to a lot of audio books. I run every day; OK I don’t run, I jog, well I really just walk, but “running gives me time each day to listen to books, and the audio books motivate me to get outside. It is the best of both worlds. I loved listening to “The Patchwork Man” series by audio. You found an excellent narrator, and believe me, not everyone reads well out loud. I can’t wait for your next audio book

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