Since someone asked and I figured I should get around to doing this, let’s talk audiobooks.
Btw -there’s not much to discuss in paperbacks – I have sold a few copies here and there, and it’s been enough profit wise to cover the cost of creating the hard copy editions thus far. Which is great, since I can then rake in profits in the future as they (slowly) sell. But it’s like… 9 copies. So, nothing to be said.
Alright, simple numbers here as of Sep 30, 2020. That far back to coincide with the ebook information and also because reporting is slow and I’m doing this on 11/25:
A Gamer’s Wish (released 07 Jun 2018): 905
A Squire’s Wish (15 Jan 2019): 421
A Jinn’s Wish: (29 April 2020) 85
The vast majority of these sales come from ACX. A Jinn’s Wish is stuck in exclusivity with ACX until April 21 at which point I’m taking it wide.
Total income from audiobooks for this period is $5539.16 or20% of my total income for the entire series. I earn roughly $4 per audiobook sold. A Jinn’s Wish being exclusive is $4.13 for each book, with wide ‘sales’ ranging from a lot less (individual listens in libraries) or higher (sales to libraries for example earn around $11 net).
So, overall… not a lot of income.
Audiobooks are expensive to make. In general, you can expect between $200-350 per finished hour for each audiobook. In my case, these audiobooks cost a total of $4,255.20.
That amount is roughly equal, with books 2 & 3 slightly more expensive due to length and a slight increase in my narrator cost.
This was a specific choice to use a less known, newer narrator. I knew even when I started A Gamer’s Wish audiobook that I wouldn’t be doing that well on it, so I needed to make sure to keep my cost down.
Of course, there’s the negative that he doesn’t bring his own fans so that’s always a tradeoff.
Overall, the series as a whole earned out. That is, I’ve made ($5539-$4255=)US$1,283.96.
That’s pretty decent overall. However, you can see that book 1 & 2 are the reason I’ve earned out (book 1 specifically) while book 3 has earned around $351 in revenue, meaning I’m over $900 in debt or so.
Of course, again, releasing book 3 in audio does push up sales in book 1 and 2, so it’s not fair to analyse book 3 by itself. Still, if we were looking at book 3 itself, that’s a pretty horrible result.
So, obviously, read-through rates are incredibly bad. There’s like 10% or so of book 1 readers picking up book 3. I’m not entirely sure why, it’s quite possible because the books are less than 10 hours long (around 6-7), we’re just not getting a lot of pickup on Audible since the series isn’t a ‘huge’ draw. It didn’t help that it took ACX months after we finished production to release it, making the gap even longer.
Once we get out of exclusivity, we’ll be testing sales and pricing in a variety of new, wide locations which hopefully will goose reads for book 3.
Net profitability is good, though total ROI isn’t great (30% or so total). Still, better than putting it in a savings account….
Longevity wise, the drop off in sales is significant (especially in Audible). I’m seeing sales go from $200 a month down to $50 (for September). As things progress, I expect it’ll balance out around there ($40-50), with wide sales being around 30-40% of my income and ACX being the rest. Not really great longevity.
Potential Future Actions
It used to be that you could bundle books 1-3, put it into an omnibus edition and cross the Audible magic ’15 hour’ threshold and earn a lot. However, due to the exchange fiasco (google #Audiblegate), this is NOT viable. In short, readers return books 1-3 and then buy the omnibus, giving themselves 2 free credits (or 3 if they suddenly decide meh on picking up the omnibus). And this isn’t a theoretical position – my recent Omnibus release for books 4-6 of the Adventures on Brad saw me go into negative sales territory due to this issue.
I might create an omnibus edition for Hidden Wishes AFTER Jan 7. With their new change of rules, even if readers do return books 1-3, I won’t be charged and that’ll mean I can earn a net increase.
I’ll also be looking at putting everything wide when we can, where we can adjust pricing ourselves and offer a better deal than what Audible offers. Again, hopefully goosing up sales of the third book.
But overall, audiobooks is a nice return, but nothing to write home about. Still, I earn another $50-100 a month from audiobook sales, so it’s not bad since my cost have been earned back.
As always, bigger backlist, the more viable sales become.
That’s really it for Audiobook sales. Not much more to discuss for now. Do feel free to ask questions.
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