I hadn’t thought about this much until a question on reddit/fantasy cropped up.
I had a strange path to the audiobook market. I took most of the money I earned from the ebook sales of my second book, *A Warrior’s Knowledge*, and hired Nick Podehl on my own to narrate book one, *A Warrior’s Path*. I hired Nick because I wanted someone with a) a youthful voice and b) someone famous in the epic fantasy genre (Nick narrates some of Patrick Rothfuss’ books and has gone on to narrate a lot more). After Nick agreed to do the book, I sent him the manuscript, and he read it. Then we had a phone call about pronunciations.
Originally, I had intended *The Castes and the OutCastes* to be a simple trilogy, focused on only 4 character POV. Believe it or not, I honestly thought it **was** a simple series all through the first book. Then after the release, people told me how convoluted the characters and world-building were. I think they meant convoluted in a good way since the world draws heavily from India and it takes awhile to get into that difference.
Anyway, Nick and I had an hour long conversation going over pronunciations. Then he narrated the book and did postproduction (getting rid of extraneous sounds like cleared throat etc). About two months from the time Nick agreed to the narrating, I received the final version. I listened to it and asked for a few changes. Then it was done. It cost me roughly $8000 all told, and I tried not to panic when I released the book.
In two months, I knew I was going to make my money back based on the sales (don’t ask me why it sold so well but I think it was Nick’s name mostly and then word of mouth since I did no promo/advertising). Then I hired Nick to do book 2 *A Warrior’s Knowledge*. Same thing with conversation about pronunciation, production, etc, and it came out roughly four months after *A Warrior’s Path*.
By then the third book in the series, *A Warrior’s Penance* was ready to go as an ebook, but I contacted Audible Studios, and they bought the audiorights to book 3. They wanted to do a simultaneous release on the audiobook/ebook/print, so I waited on publishing while they hired Nick to do the narration.
And that’s the story.