As June Is Audiobook Month (#JIAM) we started Part One of this series on making an audiobook with a look at the recent huge expansion in this sector of the publishing industry – double-digit growth over the last nine years. There’s never been a better time for authors to reach out to new audiences by bringing their work to audio.
In Part Two, we look at the thorny question of audiobook rights – and who owns them.
Do You Own the Audio Rights to Your Own Work?
If you’re an author, your first reaction to this question might well be “Well, of course I do!” But don’t just assume that’s the case. If you are self-published, then there is every chance that you do own these rights. But if your book is traditionally published, you may, without even realising it, have unwittingly assigned your audio rights to your publisher.
Because audio rights are a hot product, most publishers now keep those rights – but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t guarantee that an audiobook production will be made. Production can be expensive, and publishers are often working to tight budgets and have to make some difficult decisions – so clearly not every published book will make it into audio.
If you’re an author whose work is published in the traditional way, you will probably have to do some digging to find whether the audio rights for your work lie with your print publisher. If they do, you’ll need to find out if those rights are automatically returned to you if an audiobook is not made within a specific period.
So if your latest opus is about to make it into print, ask your publisher if they have any plans to bring the book to audio – and if they don’t intend to exercise those rights, you may be able to have those audio rights revert to you. Be aware that there may be a period of several years before rights revert to the author, and the audio option might be triggered several years after the print copy. However, there are many authors who have been successful in reclaiming audio rights and who have gone on to create successful audiobook productions independently.
A rights reversion offers you a range of options that allow you to oversee the process of creating an audiobook. But where do you go from there? In Part Three of this series, we’ll look at your options for making an audio version of your book – for example, working with an audio production company, or hiring a narrator and managing the recording yourself.
If you’re interested to find out more about how Raconteurs Audio works with authors and rights holders to produce an audiobook, please get in touch – we’d love to talk!
About Helen Lloyd
Helen has been blogging for many years – about acting, audiobooks and other related stuff. She is a founder member of Raconteurs Audio, and as well as being an award winning audiobook narrator and producer, she is a narrator coach and mentor helping numerous narrators to hone their skills and advance their narration journey.