Smashwords has garnered at tremendous amount of media attention with the announcement that self-published authors can have audiobooks generated for them via Findaway Voices. This is not really newsworthy because all Smashwords does is redirect authors to the Findaway platform and Smashwords merely earns a commission for every author who pays Findaway to have an audiobook produced. Smashwords does not even have an audiobook section, they have one audiobook on their entire website, and its a preorder.
Findaway Voices is a relatively new self-publishing platform for audiobooks that launched on July 18th 2017. Voices merely 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.
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 need access to an authors ebook and after about a week will 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. The average audiobook will cost around $3,000.
Honestly Smashwords is a complete joke, their selection of ebooks is atrocious and their new audiobooks initiative is merely a money grab. Smashwords is literally the worst self-publishing solution on the internet with no quality and control. Anyone who partners with them ends up regretting it, such as Overdrive and the public library system.
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 CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.