Writing a book and publishing it seems challenging enough, but producing a professional quality audiobook on top of that seems like it's a bridge too far for most. There aren't anywhere near as many audio books coming out as there are books of every nature on the self-publishing market.
Assuming you're someone people will want to read in the first place, the more you have to offer, the larger the audience you'll be able to reach.
I think audio books are that next bridge.
Right now, there's no filter, technology, or skill gap between someone who suddenly decides they're a writer and posts a story to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and a writer working their whole life to hone their craft, polish stories, and make sure only their best work gets published. As long as the covers and descriptions look good on both products, the consumers won't know the difference until afterward.
But one way to set yourself apart is a properly produced audiobook.
Since a professionally produced audio book is something that's either expensive to hire out or time intensive to do yourself (if you even have the right equipment), I think it will become one of the many hallmarks readers will use to distinguish the wheat from the chaff.
More than that, I think with the way media consumption is today, it will expand the potential audience of your material more than almost anything. We all know someone (lots of people even) who never pick up a physical copy of a book but will listen to ten audio books a month, whether it's on their commute or while they're performing other tasks. It's the ubiquitous podcast-listening crowd. And they're a huge market.
I even had one bookstore owner ask if I had an audiobook version because he wanted to read the book before putting it on the shelf but would rather listen to it instead. Hell, I have members of my family who haven't read my book because they're waiting for the audio version.
To that end: I'm almost done with the audiobook for Lost at the Con. It was supposed to be done last year, but I got sick and lost my good reading voice so I had to put it off. I'll be recording the last two chapters today and manufacturing the CDs next week in time for my signings on February 18th.
If you have the capability of professionally recording an audio book for your material, I would suggest doing it. Indie publishers simply need to get into that game. I truly believe it's the next step to be taken that will expand readership, differentiate more professional from fly-by-night, and add to the profitability of being an independently published author. You're running a business and you want to monetize every possible distribution avenue for your products. Period.
If you want to pre-order the Lost at the Con audio book, I'll be sending out CDs (that include the digital versions of the book) next week.
On a side note:
My newest eBook: Confessions of an Independent Filmmaker - Part 1 is free for the Kindle today and tomorrow. And tomorrow, The Whiskey Doctor and other stories of the new Great Depression will be free for Kindle as well. I would appreciate it greatly if you were to check them out and, if you liked them enough, write a review on Amazon for me.