Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ask PZM: AudioBooks, Writers' Conferences, Screenwriting tips

Q: Do you recommend having audiobooks besides ebooks for self-published books?

This is an excellent question for which I do not have an answer as I personally have not yet tried creating audiobooks for any of my books or ebooks.


Yet I may be missing the boat.

In the Wall Street Journal print edition of July 22, 2016, the article “The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks” by Jennifer Maloney had the subhead: “Smartphones and multitasking have stoked an explosion in audiobooks. Publishers, spotting a juggernaut, are expanding their offerings and enlisting star narrators.”

The article begins:

“The digital revolution that flummoxed the music, movie and publishing industries has given rise to a surprising winner: the audiobook.


“Audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21% in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. The format fits neatly in the sweet spot of changing technology and changing behavior. Carrying around a pocket-size entertainment center stuffed with games, news, music, videos and books has conditioned people to seek out constant entertainment, whether walking to a meeting or sitting in a doctor’s office. For more multitasking book-lovers, audiobooks are the answer.”

What does this mean for self-publishing authors?

First, if star narrators are important to sales, can we afford to hire these narrators? Yes, there are freelance sites that have good rates for hiring audiobook narrators, but will these probably unknown narrators help us sell our audiobooks?

If we cannot afford star narrators, will we be able to get enough traction to make the effort of creating and promoting audiobooks worth our time and money?

And are audiobook sales up across all categories, or are there categories that do exceptionally well as audiobooks and categories that do exceptionally poorly as audiobooks?

Clearly each individual author needs to do specific research before making his or her own decisions about audiobooks, yet it is definitely an area on which we all should keep an eye.

If any of you reading this post have audiobooks for your own books, please share some of your experiences in the comments below.


Q. Is it important to attend writers’ conferences?

Another good question to which I do not have an answer now.

Years ago I attended several writers’ conferences, especially when I was the founding president of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and these conferences can be very motivating. They can also be a good way to learn about the current publishing industry and to meet agents who are acquiring new clients.

Yet nowadays, with so many online ways to learn about the publishing industry as well as to “meet” agents, perhaps these conferences are not that necessary to a writing career.

Of course, it also depends on your time and money resources. If you have the time and money to attend writers’ conferences, do you research on which conferences would be the best for your genre(s) and goals, then pack your suitcase.

If, though, you feel you have better places to spend your writing resources (time and money), do not beat yourself up for not attending writers’ conferences. (Only beat yourself up if you’re a writer and you’re not writing!)


Q. Any new tips for screenwriters?

I have been experimenting with paying for the opportunity to pitch both feature film screenplays and TV pilot scripts through the site Stage32.com and I have been frustrated with the restrictions, including the two-page written pitch limit. (There is usually an oral pitch paid option besides the written pitch paid option.)

Now I have found a new site – RoadmapWriters.com – that has a unique option for paying for pitches (although there is still the two-page written pitch limitation).

Instead of paying one fee for one submitted pitch, you can pay one fee for up to three submitted pitches. You submit the loglines, pitches, and scripts of all three. Then the person to whom you are pitching chooses from the loglines as to which two-page pitch to read. Then he or she can move on to read that script if interested.

I have done two of these 3-for-1 pitches so far and have been surprised that both people chose the pitch for TV pilot SOLOMON’S JUSTICE rather than one of my other pitches. This unintended feedback can be very valuable even though both people passed on reading the TV pilot script.

Yes, it takes a commitment of time and money to test some of these options, and the results will vary. But you can try these at home!



Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and her fiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction ebooks on Amazon can be read for free via Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

30 comments :

  1. That's very interesting news about audio books. I had no idea they were getting that popular. I have listened to a few books on long drives, but the background music and/or the narrators voice annoyed me. I am too used to reading. But if it turns out that I could find an audience through making an audio book of my writing, that would be awesome.

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    1. I hope you do, Tamara. That would be awesome.

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  2. Thank you. This confirms my feelings about the value of creating audio books. I hope I can create audio books in future, too. Wouldn't that be great?

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    1. That would be great, Yvette! Thanks for visiting.

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  3. An interesting post, Joylene. I don't listen to audio books (yet). I still love to hold a book in my hand :)

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    1. Audio books are a favourite pastime when my husband and I are on long trips. There's nothing like a hardcover book, but not so good if the driver needs entertainment. LOL. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. I've wondered about audio books, but I'd have to find someone who can speak with a good West Indian accent to read a couple of mine. As for writers conferences, I've been to a few, but they are expensive.

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    1. I've been to a retreat, which was wonderful, but, yes, very expensive. Thanks, Bish.

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  5. Don't really know the answer. BUT I am a reader. I have listen to audio books for years. NO Star do not matter, but voice and deliver does matter. There are many a STAR reader I did not buy cause did not like the way they sounded. It is all about sound, voice and the person talent to make the story cover alive. I think the STAR is lie because love audios and I know why I like listening and what makes me listen,

    However with Amazon having bought out Audible and now you can get lots of audio cheap, when you own the ebook too. I think people are buying more but the pay off is lower unless your books takes off.

    My opinion you need to be established and have a following before investing as Indie that means time and effort because there is a lot and money.

    However if you get a good deal or luck out where it does not really cost you, grab the opportunity. I've read dozen of articles lately saying audio sells have increased and the readers are buying them.

    I think a lot of that is due to Amazon offering e-book owners HUGE discounts on some audibles. I know I have bought a lot more, especially when I can get them for 1.99 or 2.99 because I own the ebook. Even ones I'm not sure about yet because I have not read the ebook if its a huge discount often grab audio anyway.

    Sometimes the audible is better than ebook. I mean sometimes I cannot get into the ebook of new author but I also have audio and because its done well it makes the ebook decent and I can listen, so the story is better read aloud. I know that is odd and I am not sure why it was harder to read through it but it does happen for me that way sometimes.

    Just an opinion, lol.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. You're so right, Juneta, voice means everything. If the sound isn't pleasing to the ear, it's difficult to sit through. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate you sharing. It's sorta like watching a good movie that has horrible background music. And yet, I've watched a mediocre movie because the theme music was awesome.

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  6. Sorry for the typos and typo with wrong words such as cover instead what I meant "come alive".

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    1. Just goes to show, I didn't notice. Great comment, Juneta.

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  7. I'm very happy my publisher is creating audio versions of my books now, especially if it's a booming market.
    Never been to a writer's conference. Like you said, so many ways to get good information online.

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  8. Hi Joylene,

    Thought it about time I visited your site. Here I am at like almost one thirty in the morning. Time zones, eh!

    That Phyllis is a fountain of handy information. Penny is going to narrate an audio version of her book, "My First Bark-The Life of a Superstar Puppy!"

    I'm outta' here....

    Gary

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Gary. Hope your sleep patterns improve. Best to you and Penny.

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  9. I'm really just getting used to the audio book idea. But here's what I like and don't like about them: First, when I'm really eye-weary, an audio book allows me a way to continue reading with those red-streaked orbs closed. I love that I can switch between my Kindle and my iPhone and they keep track of my place.

    The downside is that I find I remember more of the details when I read and don't listen. Maybe it's that I'm such a visual learner.

    Anyway that's my take on question #1. For #2 I'd say, I much prefer meeting in small groups. Big conferences are never comfortable for me. I really have to work at enjoying them.

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    1. Ah, good point. I think I'm better at remembering if I read too. But the thought of friends and family being able to listen to my book because they find reading difficult makes me very interested in audio copies. Thanks, Lee.

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  10. Excellent interview! I'm such a fast reader, audiobooks are too slow for me, but I do hear of more and more people listening to them.

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    1. It's certainly something we authors might keep in mind. Thanks, Christine.

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  11. Thanks so much for the info, Phyllis. Although I still prefer reading versus listening, audiobooks have come in handy when my husband and I travel. Appreciate you taking the time and sharing this with us.

    Joylene, thanks so much for hosting. Appreciate your willingness to share good info. Have a great weekend! :)

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  12. This is a jot of great info. I'm really grateful that you're curious enough to try things out and give us the inside view. I'm not that brave so I really appreciate your opinion. Have a great week!

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  13. We're starting to covert some of our titles to audio. Yours will be one of them!

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  14. Thanks so much for the info, Phyllis. I love listening while doing other work.

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  15. Excellent post. I love the audiobooks as I enjoy listening.

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  16. Timely topic for me as I consider tackling publishing an audio book. I know they have been a life saver for me after eye surgery. It's almost like listening to a play on the radio. Love them. Thanks for your thoughts on these topics.

    JQ Rose

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