As an author providing audio books, my experience with Audible and other eretailers has been like having my product kidnapped. Increasingly tragic, I receive phone calls about its existence, but virtually never see it again. While there are plenty of people who subscribe to Audible, and they provide a genuine service, my new releases will not be part of their platform any longer.
My primary reason for this blog post is to introduce you to an alternative to Audible and list the reasons why authors and their fans will LOVE it! Before we get too far along, I’m required to disclose that there are affiliate links in this article, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking it. It doesn’t increase the cost of your purchase. Now with that out of the way, let’s get to it!
An Alternative to Audible
Soundwise promotes itself as the “Audible that authors have always wanted” and it’s true! It’s a platform where an author can sell audio books, but also do so much more. Let’s dive into why audio book lovers (including me) should be excited about this alternative to Audible.
Why Will Fans Love It?
Simple, Secure Transactions
Payments through Soundwise are processed securely, just like any other retailer through web and mobile devices. Their payment processor is Stripe, one of the most well-known payment solutions for online transactions. Enough said.
Listeners will immediately receive their purchase on their account via web or mobile app. They can also speed up or fast forward content and seamlessly pick up where they left off from one device to another. Customers also can listen online or download their purchase and listen offline.
Interaction with Content Creators
If a listener wants to leave a comment, a review, or appreciation, they can do so for everyone to see. This is like an Amazon review, with two caveats: the content creator can respond to listener comments!
The listener can also become a subscriber and sign up to the author’s mailing list. Authors, did you read that right? Soundwise not only tells you who your fans are, they allow them to subscribe! It will then notify them when new content (both free and paid) is available. This is the only alternative to Audible that makes sense for authors, and this isn’t the only reason. I’ll explain in a moment.
Even though the audio book is an experience by itself, the creator may have additional content the listener can enjoy along with their purchase *(for example PDFs). For instance, in my last audiobook release, Waiting in the Night, I included an additional podcast discussing the history of the book and what I changed to make it a tremendous success.
Like Audible and any alternative to Audible, listeners can sample a portion of a paid product for free. This way you can hear the voice behind the audio book and determine if it’s to your liking. This decision is up to the content creator if they want to include a free chapter(s). I always include the first chapter free with mine.
Why Do I Love this Alternative to Audible as an Author?
Complete Control Over My Content
I have complete control over every aspect of my product.
First, I can control price. This will probably be an interesting point to readers. Audible doesn’t let the author control the price of their own audio books. They set it for you. Pretty crazy, right? With this alternative to Audible, I don’t have to worry about that any longer. I can set the price of my product.
Another thing that is definitely lacking with Audible is the ability to give fan discounts. That problem doesn’t exist any longer either. With this alternative to Audible, I can create discount codes on the fly. The Moonlight Community (my fan base) can certainly expect a new discount for audio books from now on. I see endless possibilities with this platform.
I also have complete control over my landing page, which I’ve separated as another point because of its importance.
High-Level Customer Interaction
Amazon and most alternatives to Audible only notify you when a sale takes place on their platforms (and sometimes several days after the purchase, but I digress). What they don’t provide is a simple way for readers who like your work to keep track of you or even tell you who they are. Basically, the author is left with “mysterious shadows” buying their books, nameless and faceless entities that have come through the wall and found your product enticing enough to purchase. Okay, that’s a little far-fetched, but that’s what it feels like.
Instead, Amazon & Audible rely on authors to continually spend more money on their ad platform to garner sales. Authors work around this to some degree with e-books. If a reader likes your work, then the author can leave an invitation to join their mailing list in the back of their book. This is a common practice, but with audio, it doesn’t work out so well.
This barrier doesn’t exist with this alternative to Audible. Customers and first-time listeners alike can subscribe to the author’s mailing list. Plus, they can leave a review of the audio book and the author can respond to the customer in the same forum. In other words, they can have a conversation and build community.
An author must have the ability to build a fan base. Without one, they are doomed. Soundwise not only understands this, but supports the author in this endeavor.
Audible holds onto an audio book’s rights for seven years. Talk about a huge detriment to an author’s career, especially when they don’t know how many books they’ll have out or where they’ll be that far down the road.
Audible says that the author can “go wide” with their audio books, and technically this is true. However, many authors find that to gain better percentages of sales, they will lock themselves into the seven-year deal. I went into this commitment with my eyes open, because it was the best deal at the time, but not anymore. I have much better options through this alternative to Audible.
A Better Financial Deal for Everyone
Good audio book narrators are expensive, but definitely worth it. (Writing a quality book is expensive too; I’ll go over my writing process in an upcoming blog.) Audible does give some leverage to authors and narrators, including split royalty deals and no-money-down narrations (which in the end are much more costly). However, I didn’t do Audible’s split-royalty payment deal with the narrator on my previous release, The Last Word. I always pay full price up front.
Narrators are worthy of their wages just as much as authors. No matter how an author works the deal though, Audible is the winner, not the author. They take anywhere from 60% – 75% of the sales proceeds. Even scarier, they can change this percentage any time they like. Meanwhile, the author is continually spending money on their ads platform to gain exposure among a sea of options. No thanks.
Soundwise has several plans an author can choose from and these plans affect the percentage of profits they take, but by comparison it is minuscule or nonexistent! The basic subscription model they offer charges only 5% of the audiobook price compared to Audible’s 60% – 75%. If the author signs up for mid-level subscription model, Soundwise charges nothing. That’s right, the author keeps 100% of the audiobook price. What author in their right mind wouldn’t put all of their audiobooks on Soundwise?
Authors Don’t Compete with Other Authors on Their Sales Page
On other audio platforms, authors continue to lose sales on their own landing pages due to something else that catches the customer’s eye. This is intrusive to an author’s space and a detriment to their success. An author’s landing page on Soundwise is solely theirs. They won’t have to compete with other authors for sales. Only their content is on their sales page. Some may say this isn’t a huge problem on other retail platforms and I agree, to an extent. If an author is doing their job correctly by having a stunning cover, an enticing blurb, and a well-edited engaging first several pages of the “look inside” section (not to mention the rest of the book), then they shouldn’t have much to worry about.
However, the other side of that coin is to create engagement on the platform, authors must spend money advertising. If an author spends money advertising to potential buyers, then shouldn’t they be the only ones to benefit from the money they spend? It’s a fair question.
If you’re an author wanting a great platform for your audio books and you’re interested in Soundwise, use this link to check it out. One quick note, this is an affiliate link; it helps keep me supplied with soda.
Thanks for listening to me ramble about my audio book adventures. It has definitely been an experience.