You’re published! Your book, or “baby,” is for sale to the masses. You know from your fellow authors that the next step is an audiobook version. You begin to look for a narrator to produce your book, but, when you look at the costs, narrators are quoting rates upward of $400 per finished hour (PFH). Do you look for a cheaper narrator? Should you offer a lower price to a narrator? You may think it’s time to panic, but don’t. With a few creative steps, you can retain and finance a quality narration of your audiobook.
Before discussing funding, let’s examine the logic behind that $400. PFH rate. What does it cost the narrator to produce your book? While you have a deep connection with your project, your narrator and/or producer are in business to help you and to feed his or her family. This is not to say that your book is not an excellent project, but also think of your producers. Your production team makes a heavy investment into each title voiced and produced.
Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) notes that it takes the average narrator at least two hours to read one hour of a book. But that is just the beginning. It takes two to three additional hours to proof read, edit, mix, and master one complete hour of an audiobook. So while rates ranging from $300-$400 PFH may seem high, with all the work involved in developing your “baby” into a quality audiobook, the average PFH voice production rates makes fiscal sense.
Now that you see the rationale behind the voiceover rates, let’s look at a few ways to fund your book project.
Online Grants. Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, a service of the Foundation Center, is a subscription-based program that allows you to search for funding sources based upon topic, interest, and other criteria. Subscriptions are available for a variety of time periods depending upon your need.
Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing, as defined by Merriam-Webster.com, is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. GoFundMe.com and IndieGoGo.com are two popular personal online fundraising websites. Crowdsourcing is a great way to reach out to those who have read or know of your work and would support efforts toward your audiobook production.
Deferred Payments. Consider negating a deal with your audiobook producer to take deferred payments. You can develop a contract and set up regularly scheduled payments through PayPal or another source that allows you to pay your vendor in increments. Be sure to pay the audiobook producer timely. Everyone knows everybody on the web.
Charge Cards. While not my first suggestion, if you have cash advance capability or can pay your audiobook producer directly by credit card, this could be a good way to cover the PFH rate.
Generous Royalty Shares. Most producers like to have royalty shares in their recording deals. This way, you can pay for your project over time if you can also budget an initial PFH rate for the development of your project.
Borrow from Friends and Family. Sometimes, you just have to ask. Friends and family may give or loan you the money necessary for the audiobook. Your supporters jointly may provide all the funds you need.
Support from Your Clubs. Ask for support from your civic group, organizations, clubs, and church especially if the subject of your book is relevant to your group’s purpose and goals.
Other Funding Idea Sources. The American Express Open Forum article, 10 Alternative Ways to Raise Cash Fast for Your Business, notes a couple of funding ideas that could work for your audiobook project.
- Microloans. Microloans are a specific category of small loan—usually under $50,000—usually are easier and simpler that traditional loans. The Small Business Administration has a microloan program, which uses 150 approved microlenders.
- Loans From Online Loan Sites. You may be able to arrange for a small loan from your bank or you can reach out to a web-based financial institution. A growing number of sites have simplified processes for submitting and applying for a loan, some with expedited processing.
Once you’ve secured your funding, reach our to the most qualified voice actor/producer to develop your audiobook. You’ve put too much time into your project, so it’s no time for bargain shopping. A good, quality narrator will give you great service at a fair price. Remember, he or she also has a business reputation and wants to do a good job. It’s better to budget for the best narrator for your project than to have a product you’re not happy with and have to start the process all over again. This is your baby (or one of your babies). Treat your little one with the best care so it will be a finely produced audiobook of which you can be proud.