You’re book or “baby” is ready for publication. 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 you’re stunned by rates quotes upward of $400 per finished hour (PFH). Do you look for a cheaper narrator? Should you offer a lower price? 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? You have a deep connection with your project. Those on your production team are in business to help you and to feed their families. The production team members may have different reasons, but the combined goal is the success of your book.
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 proofread, edit, mix, and master one complete hour of an audiobook. Quoted narration rates can range from $200-$400 PFH, which may seem like a lot. With the work needed to develop your “baby” into an audiobook, paying a reasonable rate makes fiscal sense for a quality finished product.
Now that you see the rationale behind production costs let’s look at a few ways to fund your book project.
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 topics, interests, and other criteria. Subscriptions are available for a variety of periods depending upon your needs.
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.
Consider negotiating a deal with your audiobook producer to take partial 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.
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.
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.
Help 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 Groups
Ask for assistance 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 than 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 out 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 excellent 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 production at the onset. Your book 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.