Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The Freelance Leap: Audiobooks?

About six months ago, I finished up at a day job to see what I can make of a full year of writing full time. I’m keeping track of things during these blogs, which are reverting to their regular Friday slots. Previous installments are racked up here.

Dr Dre

*other makes of earpods are available

Before I start, if you want to know more about my next book release please sign up for my email newsletter. I’ll be telling the inner circle about it either later tonight or early tomorrow, and including some of Vincent Chong’s initial concept sketches for the cover. They’re very cool indeed.

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So, what’s this? A third freelance blog in a week? Don’t worry, this isn’t the new norm. Consider the previous two a mid-year review, while this is business as usual.

As I write this I have a second tab open, in which I’m finally exploring a third release option for each of my self-published novels. At the moment they’re available all over the world in paperback and as ebooks. I’d like to add audio to that list.

One of the benefits to publishing a novel independently is that you always retain the additional rights to your work, including audio rights, foreign translation rights, and more. Of course, that’s only useful if you actually do something with them. I’ve been slow in exploring the options for audiobooks. Partly that’s because I don’t listen to them myself, so don’t have any real sense of the product or the market for them, but there’s no denying their rise in popularity over the last decade.  They’ve gone beyond niche, and are now a market of their own.

There’s really only one cost effective way to produce an audiobook independently at the moment, and that’s to use Amazon’s ACX partnership service, which makes the book available on Amazon,, and iTunes. The first option they offer is to produce the audio entirely on your own and upload it. I’m a pretty good reader, with a good voice and (after several years as an actor in a previous existence) a reasonable knowledge of how to use it. At the moment though, I’m not sure I’m set up to produce a good, clean audio file to a professional standard. I’m also, to be frank, not prepared to put the time into doing that right now. As you can see at the bottom of this post, I’ve already got a probably over-ambitious list of things to do in the next few months.

That takes me to the second ACX option, which is to bring in a narrator/producer to do this for me. I can either pay them up front, or split the royalties with them 50/50. As I haven’t budgeted anything for this at all, and don’t yet know what to expect from releasing the book, I’m going with the latter.

Which means finding a narrator. ACX has an exchange for this, whereby I list the books and hope they catch a narrator’s eye. This is what I’m doing at the moment. Cuckoo, Thy Fearful Symmetry, and Craven Place are already listed, and I’m uploading an ‘audition script’ for The Flesh Market right now. After that… well, I will have to wait and see whether anybody spots them and wants to play.

If you happen to know anybody who has a sideline in narrating and producing audiobooks through ACX (or if that’s actually you), do tell them to check these books out on the ACX exchange.

For me, this is a completely untouched market, and so even very minimal success would be completely additional to the print and ebook activity that’s already happening, and therefore a win. For the time being, I’m listing the books and seeing whether an interested partner can be found for each. There’s no point putting a lot of work into planning what might happen, or how to promote audiobooks, until there’s a real chance that they’ll happen. Still, irons in the fire and all that. I’ll let you know what’s occurring.


As I described during the week, I have some massive goals to try to reach over the next six months. I’ll keep track of them here every Friday, in the spirit of transparency (and also so I don’t take my own eye off the ball). Active stuff, that I’m actually working on between now and next Friday, is in bold.

Self-Publishing Goals

  • Finish & Publish Summer Trilogy part 1: Manuscript complete, but needs a final once over. The completed cover by Vinny Chong is in hand and paid for.
  • Finish Summer Trilogy part 2: Longhand draft in progress, and this is my main writing project next week.
  • Finish Summer Trilogy part 3: Outlined.
  • Continue The 52: ‘Messages Sent And Received‘ was published on Monday, so this is back on track. I’m also halfway through writing ‘The Black Dog’, so am actually ahead on next Monday’s work.
  • Sell 5 Books A Day: Since my last post I’ve sold three books. During April to date then, my books per day average is 0.83 books. Quite some way to go on this, obviously.

Traditional Publishing Goals

  • Submit A New Short Story Per Fortnight: A bit of a cheat on this one, as I was already working with the editor of a forthcoming Obverse Books anthology on the final draft of a new story. That was submitted yesterday, and approved as I’ve been writing this blog, so I can tick this box. Obverse Books isn’t quite a professional market financially (they don’t currently pay professional rates per word, though they do pay, and always in good time), but I love reading and writing Obverse stuff. When I said the other day that I’d be concentrating on professional markets, with leeway given to things that are too cool not to submit to, this is the sort of of thing I meant. I now have two weeks to get the next submission written, edited, and submitted. I already know the book I’m aiming at, and roughly what the story is about, so now I just need to do the labour.
  • Finish the 25 Day Novel: There are six days left to do on this. Stay tuned. This is something I want out of the way this month.
  • Short Novel 1: Half-written in longhand first draft.
  • Short Novel 2: Quarter-written in typed first draft.
  • Anthology Novella: To be started.


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