|A sample of the square cover of my audiobooks|
Nothing much to say this week, so I’ll just take this opportunity to update you, dear reader, on how my various projects are going.
At the beginning of May (2022) I started offering all my ebooks on the Google Play Store as audiobooks as well. As part of a beta program, Google offered to convert the ebooks I was selling through Google into audiobooks, for free. I took them up on their offer. It has proved to be a pretty darn good move on my part.
Though I only have 12 ratings so far on my audiobooks, the average is 4.4, which tells me that the audio component of the audiobooks has not been a hindrance to their enjoyment. Which is great. The fact that the stories are auto-narrated by Google’s AI technology, not a person, does not seem to be an issue. Seeing that all my books are first person narrations, having one fairly expressive voice read the book would seem to be the natural way to do it anyway. I’m not a audiobook “reader”, but I have sampled some, and have heard narrators reading different characters using different voices, and found it to be distracting, and in one case, rather goofy. So, all in all, I think that, at least for my books, the auto-narration works. Plus, Google has said that it will only improve over time. So, as I said, I’m quite happy.
The other bright spot in adding audiobooks to the mix has increased my sales significantly. To date I’ve sold (for free) 1,880 audiobooks in a little over two months. And last month (June), my combined ebook and audiobook sales from all my sales venues came in at 2,071 books. To put that number in context, that is around 25% of my best annual sales – in just one month. Now, I expect these numbers will trail off. They always do. But I believe that this experiment demonstrates that it pays to innovate when you see an opportunity.
I should note that my business model is designed to get my books into the hands of readers, not to make money -- while not spending money to do so. To that end, I produce and sell all my books for free, when possible. While compared to popular indie authors, my numbers may not be all that impressive, I've sold something like 53,000 books without any marketing effort or losing any money doing so.
My next experiment is submitting my newest novel, The Road to Eura, to the SF publisher Gollancz during a rare open submissions window. I am also querying agents to see if they would like to represent it and sell it to other traditional publishers. It’s a long term project – I’m querying only four agents a month – and I am keeping my expectations well in hand.
The last bit of news is that I’m hoping to be able to offer a new Nine Star Nebula Mystery/Adventure story, The Aerie of a Pirate Prince, sometime early this fall. I’m nearly 20,000 words into the story and I suspect that it will clock in as a novella rather than a full novel, so I’m likely more than halfway done with it. It features Rafe D’Mere, along with his crow companion Kee, in another reluctant run-in with a pirate prince. Stay tuned.