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Writing and Publishing

Should You Produce Audiobooks?

Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment of the publishing industry. And the demand for audiobooks will remain strong. Younger generations love audio, a habit they will retain as they grow older. Therefore, audiobooks are something we should consider.

But audiobooks are also expensive to produce, much more so than e-books and print books. So before jumping on the audiobook bandwagon, authors should proceed with care. It can be a huge investment that takes a long time to produce a return, if at all.

Some successful indie authors have worked out revenue-share agreements with book narrators, where the narrator doesn’t charge anything upfront and agrees to split sales revenue, often 50-50. But narrators only make these revenue-share agreements with authors who have a history of selling books. Therefore, this option is unavailable to many writers.

This means if we want to have an audiobook, we need to pay the production costs ourselves. This price can be several hundred dollars per finished hour of audio. And though the author will keep 100 percent of the book sales, they also take on all the financial risk.

But technology stands poised to revolutionize audiobook production. Already, tools exist that can produce a near-perfect text-to-speech rendition of a book. But currently, major book retailers prohibit the sale of these automated productions. I’m confident this will change.

Even more exciting is the future possibility of a computer being able to cost-effectively sample our voice and then produce a narrated book that sounds like us. I don’t know how soon this change will happen, but it will occur.

Personally, I’d love to have all my books in audio, but it’s not a good business decision for me right now. But that will change, and when it does, I’ll produce audio versions of all my books.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

ISBNs and Indie-Published Books

Do you wonder about getting ISBNs for your indie-published books? It’s not too important to have an ISBN for e-books. I’ve heard of several successful indie authors who see no point in it.

However, having an ISBN does make a book seem more professional and part of mainstream book publishing. But aside from the image it conveys, I’m not aware of any tangible advantage for e-books.

You don’t need ISBNs for print books either, but I think they’re important. They facilitate ordering and tracking. Though bookstores typically don’t want to deal with self-published authors (unless you are local or have a connection with the manager), they will need the book to have an ISBN to order it and track it in their system.

In the United States, buy ISBNs from Bowker.

Note that you need one ISBN for each format your book is in hardcover, paperback, e-book, audiobook, and so forth. If an organization will provide an ISBN as part of its services, look carefully at what you may give up when you use their ISBN.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Consider the Future of Book Publishing

What do the days ahead hold for those of us who publish books?  What is the future of book publishing?

Given the rapid changes the industry is undergoing, we anticipate a different tomorrow, but just how much different will it be? Will today’s roles even exist in a decade or two?

Predicting the future or even anticipating what might lie ahead in the years to come is a difficult task. Although the details are unclear, three general outcomes remain assured:

Consumers of Content

Barring a cataclysmic apocalypse with survivors reduced to a subsistence life, there will always be people who will desire and consume content. Generically called art, entertainment, or education, this content could take many forms, including print, audio, video, multimedia, or interactive, but regardless of the formats, consumers will want content.

Producers of Content

As long as an audience exists, content producers will be in demand. Writers will supply content: writing, creating, inventing, and envisioning. In a way, writers will become artists, producing art for their patrons. Their art may take many forms, beyond merely the writing out of their words.

Facilitators of Content

Idealism suggests that future content producers will directly connect with content consumers. While this may happen in limited situations, middlemen will facilitate the transaction in many cases and facilitate the creation in most instances. The transaction facilitators will mass-produce and distribute the content.

Therefore content facilitators will provide today’s agents, editors, graphic designers, and publicists with tomorrow’s work, aiding tomorrow’s writers with their content.

The future of book publishing will be much different. However, as long as we can adapt, there will always be opportunities for today’s writers, editors, designers, agents, and publishers. The future is indeed bright—for those willing to see it.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

What is the Future of Book Publishing?

Will book publishing follow the path of the music and movie industries?

When people look at the future of book publishing they often draw parallels to music and video. In many ways this is instructive, but not in all cases. What does the future hold for digital books?

Digital Music and Video

Look at the history of music. With music, there were 78-rpm records, cassettes, 8 tracks, vinyl records, CD, and iTunes/iPods.

Next, consider the progression of the video. With video, there were Beta tapes, VHS tapes, video disks, DVD, and Blue Ray.

Digital Books

Music and video both show a user progression of format and consumption to the digital realm. One might conclude, therefore, that printed word will give way to the digital world that print books will cede to digital books, be it e-books or audio.

I don’t see that happening, at least not completely.

To say that e-readers will completely replace printed books is like saying iTunes will replace concerts or Blu-Ray will replace theater. It’s not going to happen.

E-Readers

True, e-readers may one day dominate the reading public’s preference, but just as there will always be demand for concerts and theater, so too for the printed word. The key for authors and publishers is to embrace both options, not pick sides.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

3 Types of Self-Publishing

Explore the 3 Types of Self-Publishing: Print, E-books, & Audio

Self-publishing once vilified as an exercise in vanity, is now accepted as a viable option by most everyone—except perhaps those who earn a living in traditional publishing. Consider the three self-publishing options.

Three Self-Publishing Options

There are three segments to self-publishing: e-publishing (for Kindle and other e-readers), POD (print-on-demand), and audiobooks. Some POD vendors will also produce an e-book version, allowing for one-stop-shopping.

Of the three, POD may be more satisfying to the author. POD gives them something tangible to touch, see, and show. Whereas e-pub may be more profitable, having no printing, storing, or shipping costs.

Audiobooks reside in the middle. They have a higher production cost than e-books but also enjoying the ease of digital distribution. Ideally, the self-published author should consider all three. But start with e-books, followed by print books, and wrapping up with audiobooks.

When it comes to profit per unit sold, both print and e-books surpass traditional publishing, whose royalties are much smaller in comparison. Of course, traditional publishers have a more extensive reach, greater connections, and bookstore distribution, so the lower payment per book is often more than offset with a much higher sales volume.

Whatever route an author takes, there are pluses and minuses to each. Therefore, the key is to become educated, know your strengths, weaknesses, and available time. Then find the best match for your situation, personality, and goals.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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