I've been approached on Twitter by W F Howes who claim they are interested in publishing an audio version of my book Gyppo, but they need to know if I still own the audio rights. Have any of you had any dealings with them, how does this all work? Are they legitimate, do I pay them for the conversion or do they work on some sort of a commission basis? I'm a social housing worker in my day job so this is all over my head, and I would really appreciate some guidance on this matter.
Many thanks Mary
Edited by: Mrs MM Credentino on Oct 6, 2017 4:46 PM
Hi, Mary! It sounds as though these folks have noticed the success of your book and want to cash in.
I've never heard of these folks, but then I don't know all the British audio producers. Ask them more about themselves--how many books they've done, whether their books are available on Audible (the biggest US distributor of audio books, owned by Amazon), and on iTunes, and of course specifics about what they're offering you.
You own the audio rights if you haven't granted a license to someone else (which I gather you haven't). If they come to you, they should come with chequebook in hand. You shouldn't have to pay for anything. If they expect you to, turn them down.
It would be different if you yourself went looking for a voice artist/producer. Then naturally you would pay her or him. The person who comes looking to make an "offer" (here WF Howes) is the one who should be offering money. They've seen your success and want to join in. They may be perfectly legitimate, but learn more.
I think (maybe a British author can correct me) that ACX is now available in Britain. That's Amazon's audio "exchange" where authors and voice artists meet up. If the Howes folks don't work out, you might check it out. A lot of the artists will work on a royalty-share basis. Good luck!
Two years ago I was approached in the same way by an American agent. Initially I was suspicious and declined. She was politely persistent, so I checked her out and she seemed to be legitimate. I went ahead, examining all the documents involved in the sale of rights and in relation to the recording process. I asked for the final say on choice of narrator and she won this on my behalf.
The sixth book is now about to be released, and it has been much more successful than I had anticipated. I cannot speak for the person who has approached you, but audiobooks can be a good option, especially now that it is easy for people to download the files onto their devices rather than buying CDs.