As part of my initial book promotion, I’m picking the low-hanging fruit that all self-published authors lean on: family and friends. I’ve even gotten the word out at work, which I was initially reluctant to do. I try to keep a fairly distinct boundary between my work and personal life. However, in this case I figured what the heck, and copped to having written a novel. I figured that it might sell a few more copies, and that Jackrabbit was straightforward enough that any co-workers who read it wouldn’t end up thinking I was any weirder than they’d already sussed out.
One interesting thing that happened was that several of them asked me if I was planning to create an audio version of the book. My initial (internal) response was “Christ, no! I’ve already spent enough time and money getting out the print/eBook version!” Then I thought that I might as well look into what would be involved in actually getting an audiobook version produced. I found a service called ACX that essentially functions as an audiobook Reedsy, and allows authors to audition and hire voice talent (“producers”) to create audiobooks from their print books.
It seemed like the going rate for a finished product was ~$225/hour. I did a back of the envelope calculation, and figured that it would run me over $2,800 to get a finished version. Whew! At this point, I’m trying to make money with this thing, not spend more.
Then I thought I could do it myself. I’ve got a pretty decent voice and some alright audio equipment that I’ve used for a political podcast I used to/sometimes still run. Then I remembered that the reason why I don’t really do the podcast anymore is that producing the episodes was a monster time-suck and also very frustrating. My wife always knew when I was working on an episode by the screamed profanities coming from the basement.
So my verdict on creating an audiobook ended up being, “Christ, no! I’ve already spent enough time and money getting out the print/eBook version!”
Then I started thinking about the people who had asked me about the audiobook. They seemed genuinely interested in knowing what I had written, but entirely unwilling to actually read in order to satisfy their curiosity. I work in a profession that attracts many talented people who are also a little OCD and monomaniacal with respect to their jobs. Also, a lot of them have their own side hustles going and not a lot of extra time to just seat and read a book.
I thought that this is sad. I mean, you do whatever floats your boat, of course. But I have to read, even just a few pages, every day. Usually it’s more than that, and I usually have at least two or three books going at any given time. The thought that someone would be too busy to be able to read text/printed words stuck be as being a little sad, and a little emblematic of the dysfunctional times in which we live. (I hope you noticed how I didn’t end that sentence with a preposition.)