So, the title kind of says it all right there, but here’s the longer version, with background. Years ago, when I was just starting to show up at a few conventions as an author, a recurring question was often “Do you have anything on audiobook?” The answer, unfortunately, was “No.” Most of that no was price: it costs a lot to make an audiobook, and audiobook sales, though nothing to sneeze at as a whole, rarely return the cost of investment on titles that aren’t, well, written by people like me. Small-pond people. I hated that the answer was no; I listen to audiobooks often, to the point where it’s about half my reading in a given year, partly because reading in a moving vehicle makes me feel sick and partly because my migraines and vision problems sometimes allow me to listen to a book when I can’t do much else.
But, again, expensive. Also, the rights to audio are generally held by the publisher in question, so even if I wanted to take a loss with an audiobook (a huge one, again, if I’m being clear), it wasn’t up to me to do so.
Skip forward a bit, and the unfortunate closing of Wilde City Press meant I could get the rights back to one of my novellas, “In Memoriam.” A novella-length, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gay romance, “In Memoriam” was suddenly not in print and without a home, having originally appeared in a collection of four novellas alongside three other authors. The opportunity was there, and since the costs would be all mine, I decided I would absolutely take the plunge. I got very, very lucky and it turned out my editor for the project, Jerry L. Wheeler, was looking to get involved in audiobooks, and his voice suited James, and we were off.
Then I hit roadblock after roadblock, mostly thanks to being a Canuck. The end result was going to new publisher and though it took effort and more time, “In Memoriam” appeared on Audible (and also as an e-book in the Kindle Unlimited program, since one of the roadblocks was that the book had to be available as an e-format as well as an audiobook). I bought a new cover (via the brilliant Inkspiral), and that, as they say, was that for quite a few years.
In the meanwhile, I learned more and more about how Audible is, well, kind of not-great with accessibility. Books listed with Audible are often world-exclusive to Audible, and that means also that libraries can’t get them. Their app isn’t always the greatest. They offer no-questions-asked returns, which may feel great from a customer point of view, but can be abused into turning them into a loss-lead at best. (I feel similarly about Kindle Unlimited, but at least some authors there manage to earn a living). When I got the rights back from the publisher who’d kindly helped me get onto Audible in the first place, I was able to opt out of Audible’s exclusivity clause, as well as Kindle Unlimited, and was able to re-release “In Memoriam” across platforms (including making it available on Kobo and other e-book e-tailers, which is a big deal as a Canadian author).
I also started the long, long process of getting the files to other audiobook sellers, and as of last night at some random point in time, the title of this blog post happened, and “In Memoriam” is finally available on Libro.fm. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me, not the least of which is how shopping on Libro.fm allows you to support local brick-and-mortar stores. When I buy my audiobooks from Libro.fm, I get to support Octopus Books. Especially right now, this feels like a massive win.
I’m not going to delist “In Memoriam” anywhere else. My goal is to have it appear in as many places as possible so people can find it wherever they’d like, if they’d like. I realize some might be upset that it’s no longer in Kindle Unlimited, but to be a part of Kindle Unlimited you have to not be available anywhere else, and that’s just not an option for me, I’m afraid.
But most importantly, this means it’s possible to get the audiobook into libraries, which is my next (hopeful) step. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take me another few months, but if it does, that’s okay.