Saturday, January 18, 2014

Are Audio Books Taking Over the Market?

Are audio books taking over the market, crowding out ebooks and print editions? If my latest royalty statements are any indication, my assumption is correct. A writer friend mentioned that his ebook sales had been cut in half during the past few months, as have mine, but that his audio books are selling well. 

I had submitted some of my own novels to an audio company, with negative results, so I  decided to follow my friend's lead by applying to Amazon.To my surprise, my first novel, Escape, was not only accepted but featured in the company's newsletter, and I received quite a few requests to record it from freelance narrators. Written after ten years of research about Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch, it's been my best selling book since 1999, with three publishers. Award-winning Kevin Foley narrated the book. And his singing adds to the novel's humor.

I followed Escape with my second Wyoming historical novel, this time a mystery.  No Escape, the Sweetwater Tragedy, was written after more than 20 years of sporadic research. It's the true story of an innocent young woman and her husband hanged by greedy cattlemen. I included a  fictional young Missouri woman determined to homestead on her own, a composite of some 200,000 actual single women homesteaders. Dennis Redfield, a southern California actor, did a terrific job of narrating the book, which is now available at Amazon, and iTunes with three of my other books.

Westerners: Candid and Historic Interviews contains some of the fascinating people I've had the pleasure of interviewing over the years. Among them Louis L'Amour, country singer Chris LeDoux, attorney Gerry Spence, Lucile Wright, early aviatrix and friend of Amelia Earhart; infamous grandsons of Buffalo Bill Cody and Presidents Benjamin and William Henry Harrison. They left their own imprints on society, among many others interviewed during my years as a news reporter and freelance photojournalist in California and Wyoming,  Narrator Paul McSorly deftly brings the interviews to life.

Mystery of Spider Mountain was written for middle grade readers and features the adventures of the Hamilton Kids. It's a semi-autobiographical story of my childhood in the Hollywood hills. Chelsea Ward does a great job narrating the novel for 9-12 year-olds and will also narrate the following book in the series, Ghost of Crimson Dawn. 

More of my books are currently in the process of narration and it's been fun listening to them as they're recorded as well as working with the narrators. From now on I'll keep my sentences shorter and narrations in mind as I write future books. All the books are currently on sale at: where you can listen to them by clicking on the small green circles under each one.


  1. I don't think audio books have anything to do with a sales slump, we're all having one right now for some reason. What I do think is audio books appeal to people who wouldn't ordinarily read a book or those that frequently travel. It's exciting that audio books are becoming more popular for both us authors and readers. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Madison. I'm just glad that audio sales are increasing to offset the slump in ebook sales. Some writers feel that too many free ebooks are driving down sales, which I'm sure factors into the equation.

  2. I'm excited your books are now available in audio. I'm afraid I don't know too many people who use audio books, but I'm sure the number is growing. I don't think audio books will take over, but they just might be a good match for ebooks. Good post!
    Marja McGraw

    1. Thanks, Marja. I think Audible's Whisptersync program has helped sales. The ability to switch from reading an ebook to listening to an audio book without missing a beat is a great selling feature. My children's book, Mystery of Spider Mountain, is on that program and has outsold all the other books, which really surprised me.