Thursday, June 21, 2012

Audiobooks

One of my fondest memories of my time in legacy publishing was visiting Brilliance Audio in Michigan and playing a character on my first audiobook, Whiskey Sour.

I love audiobooks. And I've always maintained the belief that their popularity was directly proportional to their price--it isn't unusual for audiobooks for be twice the hardcover price of a book. This high barrier to entry has meant a lot of folks who would enjoy audiobooks (while travelling, commuting, exercising, on vacation, etc.) haven't ever purchased one. For many, audiobooks are a library checkout (or a rental--there used to be audiobook rental stores). That's a shame, because, like paper and ebooks, I think audiobooks are worth owning.

When I began self-publishing, Brilliance bought 13 of my ebook titles--an unprecedented move and a strong show of faith in my brand. These titles have done well, but even though they were less expensive than my previous titles, I felt the prices were a bit prohibitive.

I recently released my second Timecaster novel, Timecaster Supersymmetry, with the help of my agent acting as an estributor (more on that in a future blog post, but in a nutshell they did everything I needed them to and I'm pleased.) One of the things I spoke with Brilliance about was releasing Supersymmetry as a download for under five bucks.

They went one step better.

Right now, on audible.com, every Joe Konrath Brilliance Audiobook title is $4.95. http://www.audible.com/mt/konrath

Want to try an audiobook but thought they were too pricey? Now is the time to buy one.

I also encourage readers to buy the ebook version of Timecaster Supersymmetry for $3.99. This book was a true labor of love for me, written completely from the heart and without keeping anything reigned in. I had no legacy editor to tell me, "You can't do that." The result is a science-fiction thriller that I am 100% positive no publishing house would ever release in its current uncut form. Sex, violence, bad jokes, dinosaurs, talking fruit, the multiverse, robots, tons of inside jokes and parodies, insane plot twists, several major WTF moments, and a future Jack Daniels fighting zombies. It is seriously crazy, and was so much fun to write I had to see a surgeon to remove the smile on my face when I finished it.

Timecaster hasn't found its audience yet. Penguin gave it a crappy cover and priced the ebook too high ($7.99), among other mistakes. Supersymmetry is so unlike anything else anyone has ever written it is almost unclassifiable, which will no doubt limit early sales. But ebooks are forever, and forever is a long time to find an audience. Maybe it will take years, and that's okay. I have years. And hopefully I'll have the rights back to Timecaster by then (I have world rights and am releasing it soon on Amazon.co.uk among other places) so I can price it to sell.

Please spread the word on the audiobooks, and on Supersymmetry. I'd love to see a future where all audiobook downloads are priced comparably to ebooks, and where authors are free to truly unleash their creativity on readers without having to kow-tow to the narrow-minded sales-driven biases of legacy publishers.