By Mark Coker, Smashwords

Smashwords authors and publishers can now create and distribute audiobooks.

This opportunity is enabled by our new partnership with Findaway Voices, a leading independent producer and distributor of audiobooks.

Our partnership gives authors and publishers greater control over audiobook pricing, rights, and distribution, and all without exclusivity or lockups.

Visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to get started today.

Overview of the Audiobook Market
Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the book industry. Sales for 2017 were up about 20% over the prior year.

Audiobooks are exciting because they free up more hours in the day for consumers to enjoy books. Unlike printed words on paper or screens which require the reader’s undivided attention, audiobooks can be enjoyed while the listener performs other tasks, such as driving their car, cooking a meal or taking a walk.

How Audiobook Production Works
Starting today, you’ll notice audiobook creation prompts integrated into multiple stages of the Smashwords publishing workflow.

To turn your current ebooks into audiobooks, visit your Smashwords Dashboard and click “Create Audiobooks”.

Once you review and acknowledge the program details, you can instantly deliver your chosen ebook(s) and metadata into the Findaway Voices platform with a single click, at which point you’ll choose a password for your Findaway Voices account.

The first step in the audiobook production process is selecting a professional narrator.

You’ll answer a short questionnaire at Findaway Voices about your audiobook’s desired emotional tone; the accent, dialect or gender preference for the narrator; the voice style; the heat level of the book; and information about the book’s main characters.

The Findaway Voices casting team will then use this information to recommend a curated list of between six and ten professional voice actors for your consideration.

Recommendations will include audio samples and hourly rates for each narrator. From this list, authors can request audition samples where narrators submit sample readings of the author’s book.

There is no cost or obligation during the audition process.

Production begins after you select your narrator and sign off on the production contract. You will pay production fees directly to Findaway Voices.

To assist with your budgeting, here are some rough guidelines on cost: Each hour of recorded content comprises roughly 9,000 words, which means a 26,000-word novella might run about three hours and a 100,000-word book would run about 11 hours. Narrators typically charge between $150 and $400 per finished hour.

Global Audiobook Distribution
When production completes, you will control all rights to your audiobook. You’ll also have the option to distribute your audiobook to Findaway Voices’ global network of over 20 sales outlets including Apple iTunes, Audible, Scribd, Kobo, OverDrive and Google Play.

If you already have professionally produced audiobooks for some or all of your titles, you can still visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to transmit each title’s metadata to Findaway Voices, and then afterward you’ll upload the audiobook files to Findaway Voices for distribution.

No Exclusivity or Lockups
There’s no exclusivity or lockup period. You have full control over your choice of distribution outlets.

You can remove your book from Findaway Voices’ distribution network at any time, and you can sell your audiobook anywhere you please.

You set the price. The various outlets operate under different sales models (single-copy sales, subscription listens, pay-per-use, etc.), which means the calculation for royalty rates will differ from one channel to the next.

Visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to get started today!

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