Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Next Farilane Contest

The winner for the last Farilane giveaway has been notified (and they responded), so it's time to do another one!  For those that are curious, here's some data on the guesses:

  • 578 entries
  • Winner: Bryan W. from Maryland with a guess of 12,197
  • The actual number was 12,200 so Bryan was off by just 4
  • The next closest guess was just 28 away 

For this next contest the prizes will be the same as the last one. 

  • An audiobook of Farilane from
  • A custom Farilane 2-sided puzzle. The front has a design from the famed artist, Marc Simonetti, and the back has a solid blue color with a silver foil stamp with artwork from our daughter Sarah - this is the art that graces the front of the limited edition version of Farilane. 

Just like before, if you already have the audiobook of Farilane, no worries, you can give it to a friend and introduce them to the amazing narration of Tim Gerard Reynolds. And if you aren't an audiobook member, you can still win the audiobook - in other words, no membership is required.

Robin and I have been thrilled with the reception of Farilane so far, and we want to thank those who have already read the book and posted ratings and reviews. Here's some data on that:
  • 3,062 ratings posted on sites like Amazon, Audible, and Goodreads
  • The vast majority have been 5-star reviews: 82.8%
  • Only 1.3% have been 1 or 2-star reviews

It's this type of third-party validation that encourages others to try the book.  For this next contest, we'll (a) reward people who have already read the book, (b) find some reviews that we maybe haven't seen before, and (c) hope to get some new reviews out and about in the world.  

So, here's how it'll work. We want you to tell others about Farilane by posting a few words on sites such as Amazon, Audible, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. It doesn't have to be a glowing review, and it doesn't even have to be long. Just a few sentences saying what you liked (or didn't like) is the only requirement. If you want to increase your chance of winning, copy/paste your comments to multiple sites - each site will have an additional entry in the drawing.

On July 31st at midnight EST, we'll close the contest and pick the winner through a random number generator, so yeah, even someone who didn't love the book can still win - you might even change your mind after hearing Tim's amazing narration!

To enter, go to this link, copy/paste links to posts you have made about Farilane, and that's it!  We'll notify the winner on August 1st, and give them a few days to respond. If they don't "show up" by then, we'll pick another random winner.

Good luck, and thanks for reading Farilane!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Dominance of Audiobooks

 In yesterday's post, I mentioned how well epic fantasy indie authors are doing with their audiobooks. I also mentioned that audiobooks is "where the money's at" and that it has become the dominate format for consuming epic fantasy stories.  Today, I'm providing some insight into this claim.

I went through the 100 Bestselling Epic Fantasy Books on Amazon and did a little graphic showing what formats were selling the most.  Now, of course, this data is always changing, so this was just a "snapshot in time" - But I've watched this trend for a few years now and it has been remarkably similar.

Some things to note:

  • 7 of the top 10 are audiobooks
  • 59% of all books in the Top 100 are audio (almost twice as many as kindles)
  • Only 8 books out of the 100 are in a "non-digital" format
  • Only 1 hardcover is making the top 100 bestselling list
It's easy to see why audiobooks are dominating how we consume our stories. You can "read" while exercising, doing laundry, or driving and in today's multi-tasking world that's really attractive.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Indie authors dominating epic fantasy audiobooks

The indie author community has come such a long way in the 13 years since we started self-publishing in 2009.  What was once looked upon as something to be used only for those who couldn't be picked up by a traditional publisher is now in full swing with authors taking their careers in their own hands.

Anyone who knows anything about publishing today is aware of four things:

  1. Audiobooks are where the money is at. Just as ebooks once dominated sales, it's now audiobooks that rule. We see something like 50% of our income from audio, 30% from the ebook, and 20% from physical book sales.

  2. The big five (four) traditional publishers WILL NOT write a contract unless they can acquire all three formats: printed, ebook, and audio.

  3. Although publishers are requiring the audiobook rights they aren't adjusting their advances to reflect the value of this format. If I were to publish traditionally my likely advance for a new title would be half to one-third for all three rights that I can receive by selling JUST the audiobook rights directly to audio producers such as Audible Studios, Podium Publishing, or Recorded Books.

  4. When a publisher is involved the amount the author makes per sale goes down significantly. If they sell the audiobook as a subsidiary right, the author will split the income with the publisher 50/50. Essentially cutting their income in half. If the publisher produces it themselves then they usually pay 25% to the author and keep 75% for themselves. And since the publisher is receiving only a portion of the TOTAL income (the amount after Audible takes their cut), the income can be as low as 3.5% which is only 23% of the standard 15% when selling to Audible Studios directly.
Given that, it's no wonder that so many savvy authors have decided to forgo traditional publishing and sell their audio rights in a smarter way.  My wife has helped broker a number of audiobook deals directly with Audible Studios (something she does for free - as she doesn't mind picking up the phone to match-make an author with a partner).   

But as they say on Shark Tank 80% of a watermelon is better than 100% of a grape. The implication being that you should take the route that increases your overall sales the most.  Logic would dictate that going with a traditional publisher would produce higher overall sales.  And yet . . . 

Let's look at the top-selling Epic Fantasy titles.

Three authors are represented and each of them is independently published for their ebook and print copies, and they sold their audio rights directly to an audiobook producer rather than involving a big traditional publisher. So not only are they making more for each sale, but they are selling more than titles released by the biggest publishers in the world.

What point am I making? Am I saying that traditional publishers are evil and should never be used? No. I've published with four different traditional publishers and there were valid reasons for each contract I signed, and we both benefited from the relationship.  But times change and authors have to keep abreast of what's going on in the industry, so I'm trying to do what I can to educate others. As far as I'm concerned, the two most important entities when it comes to storytelling is the one who creates the tale (the authors) and the ones who consume the tale (the readers), and I think it's best for both of these parties when there are fewer middlemen in between the two.