top of page

FAQ: Audiobooks

I get a lot of messages asking me about why a certain book isn’t in audio yet or when it will be in audio, so I thought I’d write a blog about my journey in audio so far and why it might take a while for my entire (large) back catalog to be in audio.

I had no plans to make audiobooks back when I first started publishing. I had a day job (still do) that took up much of my time, and my wife was too busy running the business and putting out new books. When an audiobook agent reached out to me asking to represent me, I thought that would be a good compromise because we wouldn’t have to learn the whole sub-industry, and the agent would do most of the work. Months later, we had no takers, which felt odd because I’d seen other authors in my genre getting picked up, and I wondered if maybe she had too many clients or if something was just wrong with my books. I asked her, and she confirmed that there were no takers but that she’d been pushing, so I decided to end my contract with her so that I’d be able to pursue audio on my own when I was ready.

Literally the next day (and that’s not hyperbole), I heard from Tantor. I have no idea why it worked out that way, but they wanted to produce ALL THE LOVE SONGS. Something to keep in mind here is that when you get a company like Tantor, they produce it from start to finish for you. There’s very little control for the author, and they don’t even tell you when the audiobook will be released. I’ve heard this from other authors as well, and I have my suspicions as to how this all works, but I haven’t confirmed them, so I won’t speak to them here. ALL THE LOVE SONGS was released, and I had a book in audio. I thought that would be my only for a while, but they reached out and asked for REALITY CHECK next - which was an odd choice, I thought, since I now had a lot of other books out and available for them to choose from. I agreed and asked if they wanted ALWAYS MORE, since that was the beginning of a series, and I’d hoped they’d want to pick up all of them. They said yes to ALWAYS MORE as well. Later, they also got NO AFTER YOU, but they weren’t interested in picking up any more of my books.

I don’t know why for sure, but I can guess that, like everything else, the sales just weren’t there for them, which I understand. Here’s what you should know, if you don’t, about companies like Tantor: production companies will often issue you a small advance of around $500 as their standard, and they will then take a large portion of your royalties (and I mean LARGE). Audiobooks are not all that profitable. I consider them more passive income than anything, and they take a while - if ever - to make any real money. This is largely due to everyone taking their cut. With an advance, you won’t get paid anything else until you’ve “pa