The Audiobook production company Pro Audio Voices have a plan to disrupt the Audiobook Industry with a new app that promises to put Authors first by offering a direct audiobook sales platform with higher royalties and more control! Putting more of the money from Audiobook sales into Authors’ pockets, hopefully meaning a more sustainable career for artists! So if you want to support Authors while enjoying lovely Audiobooks read on for more info!
We sat down with Emily Busbee the Operations Manager for Pro Audio Voices and their new app - AMPlify Audiobooks
Congratulations on launching your new audiobook platform! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting this platform and what motivated you to focus on looking after authors?
Thank you! Absolutely. Becky Parker Geist, the CEO and founder of Pro Audio Voices (who has many other accolades to her name) is also an indie author and professional narrator. Being on both sides of this industry really opened her eyes to the lack of tools available for authors who want to promote and sell their audiobooks. Not to mention the devastatingly low royalty payouts! It was shocking to discover, and we've repeatedly shared in this shock and frustration with the authors we work with on their audiobook productions. Now that our company has grown enough to fund a crazy project like this, and considering the recent "audible-gate" scandals - we said, you know what? The time is NOW to develop a new way to really help authors succeed with their audiobooks.
The audiobook industry has seen significant growth in recent years. How do you envision your platform contributing to the voiceover and audiobook community in a unique way?
Yes, the growth has been incredible! The frustrating thing is to see this growth go in pretty much one direction - funnelling money away from the authors. Anyone would assume authors are also getting rich off of their audiobooks, but it's just not happening that way for most authors and they are justified in concerns about the ROI when selling through the big retailers. At Pro Audio Voices we produce high-quality audiobooks, so we clearly want authors to be encouraged when starting a wonderful project like an audiobook! It brings stories (of all kinds - fiction and nonfiction) to life in such a beautiful way, it's a shame to ever see an author abandon their audiobook project because they fear they won't make that money back. This is one way AMPlify Audiobooks can actually contribute to the growth of this industry - by creating abundance for authors, so they can thrive and write more books, which means more audiobooks! Which also means more jobs for narrators. And the authors who might have been on the fence because of financial concerns, now have a way to earn their investment back so much quicker than ever possible before. AMPlify Audiobooks will allow authors to eliminate any fear they may have about an audiobook being a financial black hole. Because now, it doesn't have to be.
Authors play a vital role in the success of any audiobook platform. How does your platform prioritize the needs and interests of authors, and what specific support or benefits do you offer them?
Wow, this is going to be a long answer so I hope you're ready! Every aspect of the AMPlify Audiobooks platform prioritizes the needs of authors - that's why we built it. It enables authors to fully control their audiobooks. For example, they can set the price of the audiobook. It's not just submitting a suggested price which will likely be ignored - the price they enter becomes the actual price. And authors can change the price at any time they wish.
To give you an idea of how this works, we've built an Author Dashboard, and just by logging in, authors have an arsenal of tools available at the click of a button. So, not only can they set the price, they can change the price, or put the audiobook on sale! Perhaps an author wants to give away a few free copies to friends, or in exchange for a review - there's a section in the dashboard for creating coupons too. These tools open up a world of opportunity for authors to run promotions and be fully in control of their audiobook launch and ongoing marketing. If an author wants to have a sale, they should be able to do that! The mainstream platforms don't allow authors any creativity in marketing audiobooks, but AMPlify Audiobooks does!
Another major advantage from using AMPlify Audiobooks is that authors will collect their own sales and customer data. They'll be able to export sales reports, see graphs from their dashboard, and even more excitingly, will have direct access to the emails of their customers. This is HUGE and is a vital part of fostering a community between readers and writers. We think authors should be able to contact their audience and say "thank you" or ask for a review, or send their monthly or quarterly newsletters. After all, authors aren't spammers. They want a genuine connection with their fans, and often they're doing all the promotion on their own or with a very small team. So it's not like a mega-corporation that spams customers several times a week or even a day - this is about creating a direct connection, and breaking down the barriers which have long prevented authors from communicating with their listeners and building community.
We also have several marketing support options available that we’ve created over the years in response to what our clients tell us they need help with. Everything from a full out marketing plan to audiograms to monthly mentoring ACCESS calls to social media support. We have a whole team of experts available to help authors succeed.
Building strong relationships with narrators and voiceover artists is crucial for an audiobook platform. How do you plan to create a collaborative and supportive environment for these talented individuals?
By partnering with our narrator friends, everyone can have more abundance. We highly encourage narrators to join us in helping authors by sharing AMPlify Audiobooks with them! We have an affiliate program, so when narrators sign up and a new author joins AMPlify Audiobooks using the narrator's unique link, they'll earn a little cash for helping us help authors together. This referral fee does not increase the cost for the authors! In fact, the same program is available for authors to help spread the word to their colleagues. We want everyone to win! I'd also like to mention that Team is one of our Core Values: C.I.T.E. (Community, Impact, Team, Efficiency) so supporting and collaborating with the talent we work with is of the utmost importance to us. This platform is very author-oriented, but we love creative collaboration, so if there are more ways AMPlify Audiobooks can uplift the wonderful and talented people we work with, we are all ears!
Audiobook listeners often seek diverse and high-quality content. How does your platform plan to curate and promote unique audiobooks that cater to a broad range of interests?
This is a great question. Pro Audio Voices has always produced audiobooks in a wide range of genres, with a speciality in unique or complex projects, from full-cast theatrical adaptations to complex multi-voiced projects, language learning programs, and so much more—as well as single narrator and author-narrated projects. I struggle to think of a genre we haven't produced. So, by starting with all the wonderful authors we've worked with over the past decade, their audiobooks set a quality foundation that covers many genres. As more authors join the movement, that range will become even richer. Another exciting prospect is listeners reaching out to their favorite authors on social media, encouraging them to join the platform too, because as a fan, you want to know that the money you spend on audiobooks reaches the authors. After all, No Authors = No Audiobooks!
In terms of curating content, we feel the best way to serve diverse audiences and authors is to welcome a full range of genres. That said, what we will reject—and is in our terms of service—is anything we deem to be hateful or harmful. We’re trying to make a positive impact in the world, after all.
Technology plays an essential role in modern audiobook platforms. Could you share some of the innovative features your platform offers to enhance the user experience for both authors and listeners?
Yes, modern technology is exactly what made audiobooks so convenient and popular! Being able to listen in the car, on a run, while doing chores, or to fall asleep, is precisely why audiobooks are so awesome! Well, at least one reason why, right?
However, it has presented another challenge for authors when it comes to working around the established retailers. Delivering audiobooks is not as simple as other products. It can't be shipped using USPS media mail. Audiobooks are, inherently, complex digital products - so any author who has explored the idea of selling their audiobooks directly has certainly come across some serious technical challenges.
I know people will try putting an audio playlist on their website with a paywall, or will give people access to a Google drive folder or dropbox or some other file-sharing system like that. And seriously, KUDOS to those who are trying to find work-arounds! It's a valiant effort - but - without actually developing an app from scratch, designed for delivering audiobooks, you're asking your audience to sacrifice their experience. They'll have to sit at their desktop to listen, and click "next" and when they close the browser it won't save their place, and so many other things which all take away from the smoothness and mobility the audiobook format is meant to provide.
That's why we've invested in the necessary technology to create a great listener experience. The audience shouldn't have to sacrifice anything in order to support authors directly. The AMPlify Audiobooks app is now available for both iPhone and Androids—freshly launched in July 2023. The app takes the burden of delivery off of the author's shoulders. They don't need to become (or hire) an app developer. They're already doing so much!
The introduction of AI into the industry has been scary for many artists, authors and narrators alike. Do you plan to use AI on your platform and if so how will you protect the artists?
We have a staunchly pro-human stance. We believe audiobooks need that human touch, and even if AI could imitate a human perfectly, we'd still be against it. Books, audiobooks, writing, reading, performing, and listening are all human-centric activities. They all require a soul—or whatever you choose to call that part of your human self that is intangible. You simply can't be a storyteller without that intangible human element. Isn’t it bizarre that we even have to address this question?
Launching a new platform can be both exciting and challenging. What obstacles did you face during the development phase, and how did you overcome them?
We faced several challenges, but mainly our team has been bursting to tell everyone they know about the app, but we had to wait until it was fully ready to release. It was so hard! When you’re working on such an exciting project like this, it’s nearly impossible not to tell the world about it too soon!
Also, this is the first app we’ve ever developed. I think we all had the experience that authors can have when exploring audiobooks for the first time - it’s a whole new world! It sounds pretty straightforward to “get an audiobook” right? You just hire someone and boom! Well, anyone in the audiobook industry knows there’s a lot of details that must be addressed to produce a quality audiobook, then the review process, then there’s the distribution conversation after the project is completed. So, we were on the other side of the coin this time - there are many stages and details that we hadn’t anticipated. There was absolutely a learning curve throughout this process!
We have learned so much, and now have a much deeper appreciation for the creativity and problem solving that is required of great website and app developers. At different junctures, we had to be honest and recognize that we took on a bigger project than we initially realized, but thankfully we found the perfect developer to support and guide us through the process. Thanks to our app developer, Jackson Callaway, and our website developer, Jeffrey Samorano, the AMPlify Audiobooks platform and app are now a reality! We could not be happier with our team and the incredible work they’ve done, and continue to do.
Building a community around your platform can foster loyalty and engagement. How do you plan to encourage interactions between authors, narrators, and listeners on your platform?
We are encouraging authors to use their tools to reach out to their audiobook customers. We’re also ramping up our online presence and want to bring people together on social media to encourage each other, and celebrate the writing, narrating, and listening community. As I mentioned, Community is one of our core values, so we’re always looking for ways to build and strengthen it, and listening to what kinds of support the community is asking for.
Audiobooks have become a popular format for storytelling. How do you see the future of audiobooks evolving, and how does your platform plan to stay ahead in this dynamic industry?
In the future, many platforms will likely accept AI produced audiobooks - that’s one of the big concerns in the industry right now as you mentioned. Even if it evolves to a point where you can’t tell the difference between AI and a human narrator from a technical perspective, we plan to continue to be a human-centric platform that people can turn to and be sure that they’re supporting real people. Storytelling has always been how people connect, relate, and share wisdom, and we believe it’s important for that tradition to be continued by real people.
Many aspiring authors and voiceover artists might be interested in collaborating with your platform. What advice would you give to those looking to get involved, and what opportunities can they expect to find?
We have already had a great response and are encouraging our author and narrator partners to get involved and spread the word. Anyone who would like to become an ambassador can sign up here:
If you’re excited about the work we’re doing to support authors, we encourage you to join us and earn a small finders fee as a ‘thank you’ for bringing more authors onboard. All are welcome to become an AMPlify Audiobooks Ambassador!
We live in an age of digital media, and competition among audiobook platforms is fierce. How do you plan to differentiate your platform from others and make a lasting impact in the industry?
AMPlify Audiobooks is inherently different from any other retail audiobook platform because of our mission to empower authors with the royalties and control they deserve. AMPlify Audiobooks does not tie listeners down with a monthly subscription or control the price of the audiobooks. The platform itself is really a tool for authors to sell directly to their fans, and make the most of their marketing efforts. The impact will continually be felt by all authors who are selling through AMPlify Audiobooks, and we hope that listeners will feel good about spending their money where they know it will make a difference.
Lastly, what excites you the most about the future of your audiobook platform, and do you have any upcoming features or initiatives that you'd like to share with our readers?
One exciting strategy for the future is to see more authors launch on AMPlify Audiobooks first, since this is where they’ll be getting the greatest return from sales. As that continues, I can easily see AMPlify Audiobooks becoming the first place listeners are checking for audiobooks ‘fresh off the press’ before they’re released to other platforms. The future possibilities are endless and we’re excited to see where this adventure takes us! However it grows, we’ll always refer back to our Core Values and mission to see authors thriving, and to connect people around audiobooks.
Become an AMPlify Author today - More Royalties, More Control!
Buy Audiobooks Direct & Have an Impact using AMPlify Audiobooks!
Anyone can audition to be a narrator for ProAudioVoices here: https://proaudiovoices.com/apply-for-narrator-team/