In this weeks interview I talk to Mark Tufo about going far beyond books. We chat about what other opportunities an author can take advantage of to make more money from their writing. We look at bundles, audiobooks, movies, translations… and more.
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How to Create an Audiobook (and other extra book products!)
firstname.lastname@example.org – He is happy to help out if you have a question
Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) – The easiest way to create an audiobook if you are based in the US or UK.
It took Mark four books before it really took off and he realized he could make it a full time income. This was about a year after he started. Waiting another 6 months and then left his job.
Great way for authors to share audiences. Readers can get 500,000 words with his latest box set (you can find that here) for just $3.99. Great way to get readers interested in your work, especially if it is part of a series as it can lead readers to buy the next book in the series.
Got into it through his mentor Armand Rosamilia. Got in touch with the other authors in the bundle and became friends with them. He is even now writing a book with one of the other authors involved in the bundle.
Given the price, it’s not making a bunch of money, but it is good for the readers. It’s more about promotion. All of the money from the sales goes into a pot which will hopefully pay for all the authors to attend the World Horror Convention next year!
Amazon were just about to open up in Mexico and he wanted to get his foot in the door.
Did the first three into Spanish but wants to make the money back on them before doing the rest of the series.
It is possible to split the cost of the translation with someone for a revenue share, but Mark chose not to. It cost him $4,000 per book at 105,000 words.
To find a translator just started looking around on Facebook and found a translator.
Fans got in touch saying they would like to see Zombie Fallout merchandise, cups, t-shirts etc. So Mark and his wife decided to do this. They use Zazzle.com which allows the products to be made on demand so it’s no risk.
90% of the products that they ship are not actually sold but given away in contests – great for promotion. These contests regularly double the number of people viewing Mark’s author page on Amazon. Usually nothing to do with books, but just random questions thrown out there.
Very simple to make the merchandise – just uses the book covers and social media covers.
As with the bundle, this isn’t really about money, it’s just great promotion.
Has had the series optioned by a studio (a fans cousin connected him to Hollywood!) – Mark hopes that it will be turned into a mini-series, but understands this is still ‘light years’ away.
He didn’t want his book to be turned into some monstrosity so had a lawyer write a kill-switch into the contract (which the studio signed) giving Mark a surprising amount of control. Lisa Grace talked about how it is much more common to sign away all creative control – have a listen to her episode to find out more.
Creating an Audiobook
Was approached by an audiobook company who have done the majority of his books. They gave him an advance and then give him a percentage.
He had 500 reviews for Zombie Fallout in three years in book form. But in just three months got 1000 reviews for his audiobook! Mark was completely blown away by the numbers. Creating an audiobook has been one of Mark’s most profitable ventures.
Switched to ACX for the new book even though he had had a great experience with Tantor. With ACX he didn’t have to share the money with anyone.
Mark pays to create the audiobook upfront – he saw the financial success with his first book and just knew it was the right move to risk the capital. The books are very profitable.
“I had a giant stack of rejection letters, it was probably a ream of paper!”
“I don’t know if we could get to a whole percentage point” – on the return on translated books.
“Thank God for my wife or all these books would still be sitting on my hard drive”
“Audiobooks? Who the heck listens to audiobooks!?” (All Marks books are now in audio).
Tip for new writers:
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