Findaway Voices is a new self-publishing platform for audiobooks that is launching on July 18th 2017. The main premise of this new service is to connect authors with narrators and once the title is completed they are distributed into 170 different countries and various subscription services, libraries and audiobook retailers.
There are not many options to create an audiobook these days. The Audiobook Creation Exchange by Audible is the most popular, but they are only available to authors living in Canada, US and United Kingdom. Authors Republic is another viable business, but they do not have much of a footprint and the platform is rarely promoted.
Findaway has developed their platform to work directly with authors. An author with an existing e-book can register with Findaway and tell them a little about their title. Findaway will need to know what the genre is and what type of narrator the author is looking for. This can be anything from “a female witch with a British accent” or “a male who speaks french and does impressions.” Findaway will then take your book and have five different narrators send them samples and a financial quote. The samples range in production values from a home setup to a proper studio. Once a narrator is selected the author will make a small deposit via credit card or Paypal and then the remaining balance once the product is completed.
Unlike other companies operating in the self-publishing space for audiobooks, Findaway is working directly with the authors. There is no marketplace where you browse narrators and send them a message. Findaway is basically a concierge service for audiobook production, they take care of everything.
The most compelling reason to publish your audiobook with Findaway is their network of partners. They are the largest audiobook distributor in the world. They deal with Apple iTunes, Audible, Audiobooks.com, Baker & Taylor, Nook Audiobooks, Overdrive, Scribd, Tunein and dozens of others. Once an audiobook is opted into all of these platforms a dashboard will inform the author whenever a sale is made. Some of the sales are produced in real time, while others have their own reporting schedule. Royalties are dependant on the company who is selling the book, there really isn’t an industry standard.
Obviously Findaway Voices was developed to focus on self-published and indie authors, but they have also will appeal towards boutique and smaller publishing houses who want to create audiobooks of their frontlist and backlist titles. In cases like this, Findaway gives them a dedicated account manager who will make the process easy and affordable and take care of the rest. I seriously doubt anyone looking to digitize 140 titles at once will have time to vet all of the narrators and find the best ones, Findaway will do this for them.
I think Findaway Voices will be really good for narrators. There is a manual approval process and since they just unveiled this new system, they will be looking for capable people. If you have acting, radio or podcasting experience and have content you can send them so they can checkout your voice, this will likely get you approved. They will also help advise students who are taking voice or acting lessons on how they can improve and get involved in narrating audiobooks, along with recommendations of equipment they will need to do DIY. This includes a mixing board, sound card, condenser microphone and accessories.
You can self-publish directly with Findaway Voices or you can do it via Draft2digital, who has partnered with Findaway. There are many indie authors that already do business with Draft2digital, so it makes sense to keep them on the platform and do audio content.
Findaway Voices will be a key differentiator in getting more audio content into libraries and retailers. Their distribution system is unmatched in the industry and they have a ton of experience working with major publishers. This is the first time they are dealing with indie authors and there will be a learning curve for them, which is why they are not heavily publicizing their official launch. They want to grow organically and constantly refine their system based on the needs of the community and their partners. I think indie authors who want to get an audiobook made, Findaway Voices will be more financially lucrative than Amazon ACX.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.