An unplanned BREAKING NEWS type post for anyone looking at audiobook production.
Two days ago, I got a notification from Findaway Voices that they have started a new program for hybrid royalty sharing.
For those who don’t know, Findaway Voices is an audiobook production and distribution platform. Prior to this announcement, their program was strictly pay-in-full. Meaning, once your audiobook was completed, part of the author’s approval process was paying the full amount of production costs before the audiobook could be distributed. It was (and still is) a pricey proposition which not many authors can afford.
But it’s important to look at what you actually get for that price: Full and unlimited ownership of all rights.
That means, once you pay for your audiobook, you can do whatever you want with it. You can use Findaway Voices to distribute your audiobook to their partner stores and libraries, or to do it yourself. You can also do both: distribute through Findaway Voices and sell it yourself on the side. No restrictions. You set the price. You call the shots. You get what you pay for.
Now, they have a program they call Voice Share and you can click the link to read the announcement. The basic gist of it is this:
You get the option of paying in full at the conclusion of your production, or using Voice Share. If you use Voice Share, you pay only 50% of the full production cost and agree to have a share of your royalties go to your narrator. Narrators have to sign up for this program, and authors have to prove some past sales trends to qualify.
Once the agreement is made, the book is distributed to all the same Findaway Voices partners with the only restriction being that the author cannot publish it on his/her own elsewhere. If, somewhere down the line, the author decides they want to stop sharing royalties, there is a buy out option to pay 2 times the original payment (for a total of 1.5 times the full production cost) and they can reclaim their full rights. Narrators get to keep any royalties earned up to that date.
It’s still a pricey proposition, I will say that right off the bat. But it’s an option, and I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about it. Now, let’s compare with a direct competitor, shall we?
||iTunes, Audible, Amazon,
Google Play, Scribd, Bibliotheca,
Audiobooks, Chirp, Walmart,
Hibooks, Hoopla, Storytel,
Rakuten (Kobo), Overdrive, Playster,
Nook Audio, Audiobooks NZ, Baker & Taylor,
Beek, Downpour, EBSCO, eStories,
Follett, Hummingbird, InstaRead,
Libro.fm, MLOL, Nextory,
3 Leaf Group, 24 Symbols,
Odilo, PermaBound, Wheelers
|Amazon, Audible, iTunes
|Author/Publisher Sets Retail Price*
|Standard Royalty Rate
|Royalty Share Options
Royalty Share Plus
|Royalty Share Upfront Cost
||50% total production cost
||0 (Royalty Share)
Negotiable PFH rate (Royalty Share Plus)
|Royalty Share Rate to Author
|Royalty Share Restrictions
||Distribution exclusive through FW to all partners
||Distribution exclusive through ACX to all partners
||7 years, automatically renewed in 1 year increments
||At end of contract term
||2 x original payment (100% production cost)
*Findaway Voices allows authors/publishers to set the retail price for their audiobook and it can be changed at any time. This pricing does not carry over to retail partners who set prices automatically based on audiobook length, such as Audible, and those who pay out of a royalty pool, such as Scribd. When publishing through ACX, authors/publishers have no control over the retail price at any of its retail partners.
Certainly puts things into perspective, no?
With this move, Findaway Voices will appeal to authors/publishers who like a little flexibility in payment options. The terms of their hybrid royalty share program are a great deal friendlier to authors than those of ACX, and with a worldwide distribution network and their partnership with Smashwords, they are in an excellent position to level the playing field a little bit and loosen Amazon’s monopolistic hold on the book industry. Little by little, in 7-year increments. (ACX launched in 2011, some of those early projects have their contracts fulfilled, and Findaway Voices does give you the option of uploading a completed audiobook *hint hint*)
And now I return to my August #AuthorTips.