Many new audiobook publishers are only offering a royalty-share model of payment. In this model, the narrator is not paid anything up front and is instead paid a percentage of royalties based on the sales of the audiobook.
In his wonderful autobiography Up Till Now, William Shatner wasn’t talking about audiobooks when he wrote these compelling words, yet his wisdom about taking risks certainly applies to this situation:
In 1968 Decca Records asked me if I was interested in doing an album. I hesitated, I wasn’t a singer — but then it was pointed out to me that the first note in the musical scale is do…What I decided to was find a selection of beautiful writing and use that as a lead-in to a song that complemented it…Apparently it was a bit obtuse…for most people….I’d taken a creative risk. I’d tried to do something unique, something very different. And I’d learned very early in my acting career that you can’t improve without taking risks…Decades later, my debut album “The Transformed Man” would lead directly to one of the most successful commercial ventures of my career — and another album!…It turned out that the copywriter on the [Priceline] account, Ernest Lupinacci, was a big fan of my 1968 album “The Transformed Man”.I am absolutely fascinated as I look over my shoulder at my past at how the simplest decisions I’ve made have had the most complex reactions. A career is a series of connected events. So when I turned down an offer, I wasn’t simply rejecting a job and paycheck, I was completely eliminating the possibility that it might lead to something else. When you turn down an opportunity to work, you’re also turning down an experience, maybe even an adventure, and a universe of possibilities.
Two footnotes on Shatner’s story:
- I recommend that you listen to his audiobook rather than read the book. Hearing him tell his story in his often-imitated but imcomparable style is a true pleasure!
- That fabulous gig as Priceline’s spokesperson is about to end, but it lasted for 14 YEARS! Think how much money he made just from that one enterprise! And he never would have had it if he hadn’t taken a risk.