• Mark Iles

Using Audible as a Writer

As a writer of science fiction and fantasy I’m a real sucker for like-minded stories. But,

alas, I now begrudge the long lazy hours spent reading them, knowing the time could perhaps be better spent cracking on with my own projects. In fact I now struggle to read fiction full stop, unless it’s by a favourite author or it really intrigues. I often find myself going over the same section time and again, which is a bit of a change for someone who used to devour three paperbacks a day. These days my preferred method of catching up on my booklist is by listening to Audible.

I find it amazing that you can buy a credit for £7.99 and then often download an audible book valued at over £20 in exchange. I mean, how good can it get? The bonus, of course, is that the software can be downloaded to phones, kindles, laptops, PCs and MAC.

One thing I’m not fond of is driving and my particular hate is rush-hour traffic, which I

tend to avoid like the plague. It was while listening to Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’, in which he says that he listens to audio books while driving, that I decided to do the same. Not only do I now catch up on that reading list quite rapidly but it also helps tackle the rush hour blues.

Listening to Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter series is an absolute delight. He catches the nuances of each character so perfectly you can truly envisage them. I listen to books on creative writing daily and always check out the authors first. After all why buy a book on ‘Writing a Bestseller’ when the author’s never done so? It’s a bit like buying a book on building a house and then discovering the guy who wrote it has never been a builder. My current interest is ‘How to Write a Dynamite Scene, Using the Snowflake Method’, by Randy Ingermanson. I’ve been writing for years and yet this opened to eyes and shows how much I still have to learn.

I’m sure that many reader will discuss the ethics of audible, saying that it’s enabling the lazy to listen to the spoken word rather than study the written. But, let’s face it we’re writers and, while I agree in principle, at least it’s an additional outlet for authors who are struggling in a marketplace that has declining incomes. An article on bookseller.com, for instance, states that recent research from the Authors Licensing and Collection Society (ALCS) clearly illustrates that authors’ incomes have dropped 15% since 2013.

It can of course be costly to get a professional to read your book for audible. The good news is that deals can be done. There are organisations out there who are willing to share royalties instead, depending of course on the project in hand.

The real bonus of audible is that not only is the software without cost, but also that the first book is free. If nothing else, it’s worth downloading Audible just for that. But I’ve no doubt that if you do so many of you will be hooked instantly. Audible not only offers you a rapidly expanding cyber bookshelf, but an excellent writing tool and potential market to boot.

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