When I was at the Alderney Literary Festival (did I mention that?!) I said during my talk that I would love to have Sam made into audiobooks, but that I had made enquiries about Audible a couple of years ago, and it was way too expensive for me. Afterwards someone came up to me and said that they knew of a new system, and – what can I say? It’s miraculous.
The service is called ACX – Audiobook Creation Exchange – and it’s part of Amazon. Basically you advertise the fact that you have a book that you would like audio-ed, and narrators and producers rush to audition for you. If you’re CJ Sansom or JK Rowling. (Is that where I’m going wrong? Should I be SP Grossey?) Of course, if you’re a nobody like me you have to chase them instead, but that’s fascinating anyway. You set various filters to find the sort of voice you want – I went for male, mature (not old), UK, London, warm – and listen to their snippets. And as soon as I heard one particular voice, I thought, that’s Sam. I contacted the narrator – he works for himself, so no producer in the mix – and offered my project. He liked the look of the book – obviously, if you’re going to spend hours reading something, it has to be something that interests you – and agreed to do an audition. This afternoon I received his recording of the first chapter of “Fatal Forgery”, and it was spine-chilling to hear my own words read aloud to me. And it sounded really, really professional – you know, like a proper book. Long story short, he’s going to read the whole of “Fatal Forgery”, and has promised that he’s feeling hale and hearty and envisages being able to read all seven Sams.
What about the money, I hear you asking. Well, ACX offers two basic arrangements: a 50/50 profit split between author and narrator, or a per-hour charge paid by author to narrator. I offered the former, partly because I don’t want to pay a lot of money upfront for an untested idea (I have no feel for how much pent-up demand there is for audio-Sam) and partly because I think a narrator whose income depends on the sales of the audiobook will be much more involved in promotion. And when it’s done, ACX puts it up on Amazon, Audible and iTunes – it’s an exclusive arrangement, so I can’t put it anywhere else, but I figure that they’re the big three anyway.
So that’s my latest project – apart from writing “Plank 4”, of course. Which is going well, thank you for asking.