Is your audiobook worth a credit? In other words: $14.99?
Which are better for authors to sell: short books or long books?
I’m not going to dig into genre-specific commentary here but mainly talk about two different distribution systems that we need to at least acknowledge.
The subscription model, in general terms, means that the consumer pays a regular fee, usually on a monthly basis, and more often than not, has access to the entire library of media. The most well-known example in the video and film industry is Netflix.
For authors, this means that there is a perceived value difference in a short book and a long book. If each listener is paying $10 or $15 per month for an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of audiobooks, then the eight-hour book is going to seem like a better value than the two-hour book.
Granted, we are purely talking about quantity here, length of the book, number of words, count of hours. If an Audible subscriber is a huge fan of a certain author in this month that the author has a short story out, chances are the listener will use their one credit for that author.
But in the worst case scenario, if your short fiction book is up against their favorite authors 12-hour saga, it would be a losing bet to think they would use their credit on your book.
Let’s have a look at the à la carte option.
A La Carte
Although less common than the subscription model, the A La Carte option does exist in the audiobook world.
In this model, a $3.99 novella might sell really well compared to a $24.99 epic drama. But again, I’m talking mostly hear about quantity and dollars and numbers. I’m of the opinion that if a reader or listener wants your book they’re usually happy to pay for it.
Where this model gets interesting is in your marketing strategy. I’ve had readers of my own books balk at the idea of having to pay $15 per month for a subscription they didn’t really want. Although they really wanted my book, they were either turned off, didn’t completely understand the subscription model, wondered about how hard it would be to cancel after a month, also questioned whether or not their book would still be in there defunct Audible account after they counseled, and we already have enough questions for doubt and a non-purchase.
However, if we can send a link to a service that offers à la carte audiobooks for a one-time payment and they also provide an easy to use app or service then we simply need to have this option in our basket of offerings.
Of course, the best strategy is to have your eggs in both baskets, available to the subscribers and the one-off purchasers. Keep in mind the often-mentioned ACX exclusive contract which means your audiobook is only available through ACX.
Another strategy could also be to produce both short and long books and test the results in the two distribution channel types.