November 2020 Update

Thanks to those of you that picked up Boozehounds and Ball Drops! I’m hard at work on Scry Harder, and that will be the second to last Book in the Mystic’s End series. I’ve already mapped out and put the next one up for you, and I think you’ll like the Owl Star Witch!

I do need to take a moment to talk about some not so great news. This year I started a foray into audiobooks, and I have to admit it’s been less than fun. I chose to produce them through Amazon’s ACX, and while I thought I’d be getting one out once a month and catch up easily? Due to massive delays at ACX, that hasn’t been the case. For example, Sketchy Charms was submitted to ACX on October 25th as complete and ready to go. On November 19th, the quality control process was finally completed—though I still have no idea when it will be actually in the store. Production took about half the time.

That alone would be frustrating enough. However, it’s come to light within the past month that Audible is promoting exchanges and returns as a feature of membership. You can read in-depth information about this in these locations:

To make a long story short, it appears that the returns of audiobooks are extremely high (which stands to reason as this is encouraged by Audible) and that folks openly discuss using the returns as a way to get more out of their credits—kind of like a makeshift subscription service/KU for audiobooks. My own sales math does seem a bit wonky – the first month, 75% of my audiobook sales were through member credit. Second month? That dropped to 50%. The third month it dropped all the way down to 20% – and yet sales made via purchases both by members and non-members remained relatively stable. It was only the membership sales that had wild fluctuations and steep drops.

The problem is when books are returned or exchanged to get the next one in the series, no royalties are paid to rightsholders for that listen. This means that audiobooks—which already pay fewer royalties than books and are far more expensive to produce—are not just unprofitable but can become financial liabilities.

If you’d like to join us in an attempt to discourage Amazon from (1) hiding our returns from us and (2) encouraging those exchanges and returns as a feature of membership, please think about signing the Author’s Guild Petition.

For now, I’ve put the production of the rest of the audiobooks in the Mystic’s End series on hold. I’ve requested my returns data from Audible so I can confirm precisely how much of a problem this is, and once I get that data I’ll make a decision as to whether it’s financially feasible to continue. I hope I’ll be able to—I really do like the audiobooks, and I want my listeners to have them. I’d like to find a way to do that while subsidizing my career instead of Amazon’s business model, though.

Stay safe, and happy Thanksgiving!

Leanne Leeds