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SPQ 055: Audiobooks: More Subscribers or More Revenue?

Written by Steve Scott on March 11, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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audiobooks subscribers and revenue

The Question

Michal Stawicki asks: Do your audiobooks actually add revenue to your business, or do you just use them to get more subscribers? How much money in Kindle sales do you need to make to make it worth investing in audiobook creation?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

Michal is an active Amazon author and a good example of someone who is trying to build a solid business. One of his recent books is “Trickle Down Mindset.”

Steve talked about audiobooks in episode 43 of Self-Publishing Questions. He talked about why he publishes audiobooks and explained some of the techniques he uses.

When it comes to audiobook creation, Steve uses the “five daily sales” rule. If a Kindle book sells about five copies per day, he is willing to invest in creating an audio version of the book. It’s not worth it to him to invest time and money creating an audio version of a book that only sells one or two copies per day.

Generally, Steve finds shorter books do better than long books when they are in audio format. He recommends creating audiobooks that are 25,000 words or fewer. You can sell a shorter book for $5.95 or $6.95 on Audible.com, but the longer books go for around $14.95. It seems like the more expensive books are a harder sell.

The cost of an audiobook really depends on the size of the book. Steve finds it can cost anywhere from $400 to $900, with short books costing less money to produce. Steve uses Archangel Ink for all of his audio needs.

Steve uses audiobooks to generate revenue and increase the size of his email list. The profit potential of an audiobook is excellent, making audiobooks an excellent side income for any book-based business owner. Steve’s books generate as much as 10 to 15 percent of his monthly revenue.

In the past year, Steve generated $33,000 from ACX and $3,000 from Brilliance Audio. This averages out to about $3,000 per month, which is a nice amount of extra income. Audiobooks also help Steve grow his brand and make more people aware of his books.

Steve also uses audiobooks to attract new subscribers to his email list and build up his street team. Each audiobook contains a free offer, just like all of his Kindle books. He also includes a clip telling listeners to go check out the show notes. When people check out the show notes, they can get a free PDF copy of the book if they personally email Steve.

If listeners take time to email you personally, their messages are generally complimentary. This gives you an opportunity to write back and ask for a review of the book. This helps you build your street team, which is a group of people who help promote your content.

Steve recommends creating an audio version of your top-selling book. You can go to ACX and pay someone to do the audio for you, or you can set up a revenue split. With a revenue split, someone does the audio for free, but then you have to pay that person a portion of your royalties.

Resources and Links

Michal Stawicki: Learn more about Michal Stawicki’s Kindle books

Episode 43: Steve discusses his strategy for creating audiobooks

Archangel Ink: Steve’s recommend resource for audiobook creation

  • Thanks a lot for a comprehensive answer! Your ninja tactic is awesome.

  • Great tips Steve! It just occurred to me that I could give free bonuses inside audio books as well. Thanks!

    • Jyotsna, how are you planning to sell audiobooks? I mean via which platform?

      • Hey I just noticed this question which I replied to you over Facebook. As I said, I’m publishing the audio books via Audible. People like us who live outside the US and UK can apply for a US address on reship.com.

    • Good idea. I do have a free bonus offer inside all of my Kindle books and audio books. Definitely helps grow the brand. 🙂

  • Hey Steve, wonder podcast. Good question Michal. ACX is only available for people in the US and UK. Do you have any idea what service people from other countries can use? I was thinking about creating CD’s using createspace since I have found no other option.. Will that work as well? What are your thoughts?

    • Harsh — Don’t really have a good answer (for now.) The margins are good, but they’re not life changing. I think Amazon will eventually move to other countries… for now, it almost might be better to focus on your next books and building up your brand. Maybe in the next year Audible will come to your area?

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