Need Your Advice

ABatch

Journeyed there and back again
#1
So, I need your advice...if you're willing. A company in the U.K. is interested in making an audio version of my (first) book, but their question is whether it should be made into two books because of its 140K+ length, or it should be somewhat abridged. Surely some of you have done this or have purchased one over 140K. Also, if you dare and have READ my book, what MIGHT you trim if you HAD to? What is your advice?
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Is there a downside to making it 2 books? (I am guessing people would then have to pay for 2 seperate books for "1" book). I know I consider myself somewhat of a purist and would never want to hear an abridged version of a story. I want the authors content from start to finish.

Wish I could help more but there is one mans opinion.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#3
Malazan has been made into audiobooks.
ASOIAF is in audiobooks.

I see nothing wrong in making long audiobooks. I read It by Stephen King recently. Over 40 hours I think.

I see a lot wrong in splitting books. They do that all the time for editions in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, which is one of the reasons I don't want to read them. You have to pay double for one book.
They have split Malazan like this as well as Brandon Sanderson bigger books.

If you have the chance to choose I would recommend against abridged anything.
I never bought an abridged version of a book. Abridged versions are ok imo if they are an adaptation of an original work, like a radio drama or something. But put yourself in reader's position, would you buy abridged version of ASOIAF? or Malazan.
People who buy epic fantasy and bigger books are really experienced fantasy readers. There's nothing about 140k book that scares us.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#5
how long is your series?

I am more daunted by a 10 book series than a 5, even if it's the same size by pages.

Is there a natural or easily manipulated stopping point?

This could end up with a cliffhanger, or a climax that gets resolved than gets unresolved into a new conflict in the next chapter (now could be epilogue or in book two) et cetera. if it will require a lot of reworking to get the split to fit that is a big old point in favor AGAINST.

edit: if it is a stand alone. I am more likely to read a stand alone, than book one, regardless of how many come after

edit: that said, I am not a typical reader.
 
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kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#6
I was going to say what Alucard said. All the 1000+ page books are one recorded book. This company sounds screwy and trying to get more cash from you?
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#8
I also agree with @Alucard , @Jakyro , @kenubrion and @Khartun .

Your book isn't all that long. I really don't see a reason to have it abridged or cut into two books.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
I also concur. I read it quite quickly, seems churlish splitting it in half. 20 hour plus audiobooks are the norm in our genre, so not sure why yours should differ.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#10
Maybe the authors here will share the audio book producers they use successfully and inexpensively. That must be quite an expenditure.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#11
There were some good points made above, I may repeat some of them while maybe adding something extra, who knows...

1. You have more power in those negotiations than the publisher, because of how self-publishing, trad publishing and audiobook publishing co-relate. They need your work more than you need them. You can publish your audiobook in Amazon and Audible through Amazon's audiobook creation network called ACX. It would either cost you between 25-100$ per 10k words narrated or it would be completely free. ACX is a newtork where authors and narrators meet to enter into an audiobook creation agreements, where the narrator produces the whole of the audiobook and directly uploads it to Audible, who are then setting up a price of their choosing. This shouldn't concern you, since it's how Audible works anyway.

What concerns you is how much you pay to the narrator. If you pay in advance - you get to hold to your audiobook rights and keep 100% of you Audible incomes. If you convince someone to narrate your book for free, you split the consecutive audiobook royalties with that person. Only for the narrated book, and only its audio version done by said narrator. 50/50 is the most common arrangement.

Whether someone would actually agree to narrate your book for free depends from how good your book actually is, whether or not you are making sales, how much sales/reviews you are currently accumulating through KDP, etc. Basically if you can convince the guy or the gal that the 15 hours they'd spend on your book's narration are gonna result into decent enough long-term passive incomes for them, they'd do it.

Some more things you should probably be aware of:
1. In general, and in fantasy in particular, the longer your audiobook is, the better. It's the fun-per-dollar-spent ratio. Almost no one purchases audiobooks directly - everybody is using monthly credits. One credit usually costs 15$, and might smetimes get as low as 10$ or 5$ with Audible promotions. But it's usually 15$. Your 140k book would probably translate into a 15 hours long audiobook, give or take an hour. This, for epic fantasy, it quite low. Considering how most epic fantasy books are usually in the 20-30 hours marks, and things like Wheel of Time, aSoIaF, MBotF and Kingkiller Chronicles are in the 35-50 hours mark, you'd already be swimming upstream when it comes to convincing people to spend their 15$ credit for two-three times less hours of awesomeness. Frankly said, splitting an 15 hour epic fantasy book into two, or abridging it for the sake of making it smaller, would probably kill its chances of success completely. Because those guys won't spend a buck promoting a 7h long fantasy work from an unknown fantasy author( compared to trad-publishing, of course). That's not how people are making money from Audible. You need to have a compelling cover, blurb, decent narrator and long enough story, so that whenever your book shows into the featured lists alongside things like Way of Kings( almost 50 hours) and Oathbringer( 56 hours) people won't think "This self-pubbed book sounds awesome, but I'd get 8 times more awesome moments from Oathbringer". So splitting an audiobook is a terrible idea.

Those guys probably have someone cheap producing audiobooks for pennies or they'd just do what you should be doing - hire someone from ACX for profit-splitting deal, but by going through them you'd probably end up earing 10-20% per audiobook sale instead of 50%.

2. Abridging the thing is also a terrible idea. Unless you are doing an alternative medium, like a BBC dramatization or Graphic Audio adaptation, people want to have the same content as those who are paying for the e-book. And they will find out if that's not the case, mind you.

3. Don't sell them just one book when you have more than one finished. Mnay very cool fantasy series have been left to hang by companies like Tantor audio. They'd buy a promising but not well=known fantasy series and test the water. If it doesn't work with the first book, they'd just drop it. And no one would every pick up a series to which they don't own the rights of the first book, even if you manage to pick their interest.

4. Choosing a decent narrator is a must, no matter of the nature of the payment arrangement. A narrator who is the right fit for the story could bring you more sales by word of mouth, a narrator who is either terrible at his craft or terrible fit for your story would do the opposite. A company that wants to split your work into 50 pieces would most likely not be concerned about this fact at all.

5. Unless they are offering you a decent advance or at least 50% of the audiobook incomes, they're screwing you, because they'd be transfering their risk of failure towards you and your book, which means they'd have zero incentive of doing justice to your story or makreting it effectively. If they strategy is signing with 100 authors instead of 10, splitting their books, instead of producing them right, churning out cheap audiobooks, instead of picking the right people for each story, that might work well for them, because at a certain point even a crappy strategy could be profitable if you have enough ducks in the race, but that won't do anything for the individual authors who sign with them, would it?

My final point is this: if they have close to non-existent risk signing with you, they're trying to take advantage of you. You want to be careful about such companies, because they make money by signing everyone they can, counting on chance sales, and not on proven marketing strategies for lifting up books and earning by providing value for the individual authors. If they don't have much bacon in the race, they won't run.

Good luck, whatever you end up doing! :)

EDIT: A self-published author who I know for a fact to have gone the royalty-splitting way with his narrator is Chris Fox. Listen to one of his audiobooks if you want to get the idea of the quality you can expect from such a thing. I don't read SF, so I don't know if his narrator is decent or not, but it could a nice starting point for your research into the matter.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#12
I just don't understand how an abridged version could even happen. You don't have 2 page descriptions of scenery or repetitive info-dumps... what exactly do they want to cut?

Tell them you'll let them take out the Tom Bombadil part!