Ebook before Audiobook, not the other way around.
This seems like common sense if you want to do a good job, but convoluted if you’re in a hurry and would rather do it fast, right?
I’ve seen this come up a few times in a few business groups I’m in on Facebook, usually by gurus who otherwise have brilliant ideas in other areas of their work — you know, the areas they specialize in and have expertise that qualifies them, followed by back patting and “why didn’t I think of that?!” from their followers.
But it’s horrible advice.
Case in point: I’d been working on this post recently when I saw a business acquaintance post a link on social media to a re-release of a short book of his, claiming a lot of mistakes had been fixed in it.
Because other people had taken videos and trainings of his, transcribed them and put them into a book and uploaded it to Amazon and he didn’t know he had even written a book until people told him he did.
Apparently this was problematic and needed fixing.
Putting the Cart Before Horse NEVER Results in Excellence
I’ve seen marketing gurus and entrepreneurs tout the idea of creating the audiobook first, and then transcribing it into written form to save time. We’re all about “efficiency” and stewardship of our time, right?
I once narrated a book for Eric Gilmour where he RELEASED the audiobook version first, but this was only after he had gotten it professionally edited and ready for print publication.
I’m combatting the suggestion to use dictation software and “record” the audiobook, where the content is then transcribed into a book. I’m not against releasing a properly-produced audiobook before releasing the print and ebook versions, if and when both are done correctly.
If you’ve ever read a book that was put together the way such gooroos suggest, then as a reader, you’ll see a huge difference in both quality and flow. People do not want to read what amounts to a transcript of you talking or giving a lecture, because most people do not talk with purpose, clarity or alignment. This helps readers take in the info you want them to receive to be persuaded to whatever your call to action or purpose behind the book is.
Repetition Works in Person, Not in Writing
Another problem with this approach I’ve encountered repeatedly with clients with whom I’ve helped transcribe their teachings or calls into books is that in person, a lot of speakers tend to repeat themselves for the sake of the attention span of the listeners. This works and is completely appropriate in a lot of live contexts, such as if you’re preaching on one Sunday per week and giving a review of ground previously covered in a series in prior sermons. Many of those present have gone about their lives for a week and may need a reminder, and so the repetition and review is helpful and even necessary.
But in writing books, this makes less sense because people can read the book (or listen to the audio) at their leisure, and turn the page or swipe back to a point and don’t need the content repeated to them IN the written content format as much in-person or online presentations do.
Then, if you do follow this “transcribe the audiobook first” advice, you’ll need to hire a full writer/story editor since a basic editor will NOT improve the writing structure of your talking points. For a premium price, one worth their salt will clean it up but NOT in a way that makes you look professional or like you took the book content creation seriously. It will further broadcast for you, unintentionally or not, at quick glance not that it was obviously not traditionally-published, contributing further to the bad reputation that self-publishing still gets even in 2022.
In which case, most of any credibility you were hoping to get by becoming “an author” is eroded.
Out of sync the more you work on it
Another scenario that comes to mind is upon creating the written version after the audiobook, the two will be wildly out of sync with the other if you do proceed to get the written version professionally edited and deal with any issues of content or mistakes that will wind up unaddressed in the audio version.
Or, upon finding all the issues you’ve discovered in the editing and re-writing process, you now realize you will want to fix them in the audiobook, you wind up needing to just redo the audiobook performance and recording in the first place, when you could have just done it this way in the beginning.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by writing a book that doesn’t look good or read well — people DO judge a book by its cover. And if they happen to get past the cover to find it’s edited poorly or doesn’t flow well, or both, then it doesn’t matter how savvy an internet marketer you are.
If your book sucks, it sucks, no matter how fast you were able to produce it.
So you were able to save a few dollars, but at what other cost?
NEVER think a book from transcription is “ easy”, “fast” or “low cost”. Lean in and be prepared to work harder than you ever have before, then you have a shot at creating a quality book you’ll be proud of that will create the authority and credibility you desire.
In the recent past, I have helped various Christian entrepreneurs leverage their intelecctual property by helping them, through transcription, to ghostwrite or re-write their work and launch their book.
If you’d like to discuss this with me, book a call and let’s talk.