My buddy Jeff is still playing around with size charts. I thought this one was pretty awesome. :D Also, Rah (my illustrator for Cowry Catchers) has been visiting me and art has happened. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you've probably seen me posting snap shots as they're finished. I'll put them all in a more organized place eventually.
In other news, I took the leap and uploaded "Sky Dance" to Audible via ACX. This is currently the only way for an indie author to get an audio book onto Audible.com or onto iTunes in the Audio Book category. It's the only easy way to make an audio book show up on Amazon, although there are some tricks to get around that.
ACX comes with a fairly steep price tag -- a 7-year contract in exchange for 50% royalties, exclusivity, and no control over the price. By comparison, Amazon's ebook self-publishing platform requires no prolonged contract, pays 70% royalties, requires no exclusivity, and gives me complete price-control.
However, for an audio story, the visibility of Audible.com and iTunes really can't be replicated any other way. I figured I'd try it with "Sky Dance" and see what I think. I took my time reading the contract and examining all the angles, and so far, there have been no surprises.
As of right now, "Sky Dance" is available in Audible.com and it is listed as a regular audio story on Amazon. It's also in the Audio Book category in iTunes. Pretty cool!
An author must ask specifically for text and audio editions of books on Amazon to be combined so that people can toggle between them and the reviews are combined. When I went to ask about "Sky Dance," I got brave and asked about "Chemistry" as well. Chemistry's audio version is an ebook with a link and password to download the audio. I was a little afraid that, if I called attention to my method of selling audio via KDP, Amazon would make me take it down. However, the Amazon representative happily combined both the versions of Sky Dance and the versions of Chemistry.
Thank you, Amazon! I am pleased to know that this is an option. Now, all of the reviews for the two versions of Chemistry are combined, and you can toggle between them. It does say "Kindle Edition" on both the audio and text versions of Chemistry, but that's fair. They are Kindle Editions. My audio version is clearly labeled and explained, and it doesn't seem to confuse people. I'll take it.
"Sky Dance," on the other hand, got the full "Audio Edition" label because it's delivered via ACX. I was afraid that you (my readers/listeners) pay more, while I made less, and this is kind of true, though not as bad as I feared. If you're a member of Audible, the story costs $4.86 - a little less than the $4.99 that I was charging (and I make $2.43 instead of $3.49). If you are not a member of Audible, it costs $6.08 on Amazon and $6.95 on iTunes - so a little more than I was charging, but not grossly more, and it's actually a little less if you're a member of Audible.
"Chemstry," meanwhile, is still being delivered the way I was doing it before. I am going to play with these formats and keep evaluating. I suspsect I will decide to release some things on ACX and some things via my link and password method. Entry-level material is particularly attractive to put on ACX (where new listeners are more likely to see it), whereas material that's mostly for current fans seems better-suited to the link and password method (where you pay less and I make more). Longer material also seems better-suited to ACX, while shorter material seems better-suited to link/password method. It's a balance between visibility and price/income.
I know that there are people who do not use credit cards or bank accounts online, but who will shop in iTunes with those pre-paid cards you can purchase at the grocery store. It's one of the only ways to easily buy MP3 audio books with cash. Now those people will begin to get access to some of my paid stories.
If you've read this far, I assume you're a huge fan (because numbers are boring). Thank you! The Gwain novelette "The Secret" is in production, and I hope to have it available around the end of this month/beginning of next month. I am on track to finish my continuity edit of Hunters Unlucky at the end of this month and send it out for the first round of beta editing + cover art. I have marked all the lines for Cowry Catchers Book 5 Audio, and I have cast all the parts. I have received nearly all the audio for the first episode (of 14), so I will be starting the audio track soon. Exciting!