If you haven’t already reviewed Part I, click here to do so—it will get you ready for what I am about to share with you.
As we emphasized in Part I of this series, more people are purchasing audiobooks than ever before. In fact, 67 percent of Americans purchase e-books and audiobooks. So regardless of your personal preference towards audiobooks or e-books, know that many readers do prefer them. So by not having an audiobook, you’ll be missing out on potential book sales!
In Part I you learned that there are options to consider before you actually get started creating your audiobook. Will you create your own “studio” or will you pay a studio for their recording setup and studio time? Will you narrate your book or will you hire someone else narrate your book for you? Will you learn to edit your own audio files or will you have someone edit them for you to ensure they meet upload requirements? These decisions form the foundation for the next steps of actually creating your audiobook files.
Your goals are key to this decision because different audiobook services have different distributions, different royalty disbursements, and different requirements! Personally, I went with ACX because the requirements were easy to understand, and I wanted my book to be distributed on Amazon.com through Audible.com. ACX is one of the most recognized platforms that uses Audible to distribute through Amazon.com. Because this is the platform I used, it will serve as my example for the process walk through.
It would serve you well, however, to look at other platforms as each has its pros and cons. Here are some links.
Not much needs to be customized, and I would estimate roughly 90-95 percent of a print book manuscript can remain the same. There are portions of a print book or e-book that should not be included in an audiobook recording or references need to be made to illustrations, for example.
To hire a narrator you will, according to industry average, pay $250 to $350 per finished hour, and a “finished hour” generally is 2 to 3 times longer than a narration hour. Hiring someone else will also require hours of your time to interview and select the right person. This in itself will be a laborious process for you. By the time you find the person you “think” you want to record your book, you could have already recorded it! Plus, you’re relying on someone else and “hoping” they sound as good as you want them to sound.
For example, just this week during a Zoom video conference call with the president of a company where I will be speaking, I was asked me how my audio on the video call was so crisp and clear. I told him I was using the microphone that I used to record my audiobook. He then not only bought my audiobook but he also ordered 100 copies of my hardcover book for the event! #BOOM. That one order paid for the audiobook recording equipment! (Note: This is one of many situations that inspired me to write this post!)
If you want to make your own studio, here is a list of the equipment I use in my studio:
Total DIY investment: ~ $550 or less
Investment if you hire a studio: ~ $750+ minimum (if cheaper, don’t use them!)
Investment if you hire a studio + editing: ~ $1,500+ minimum
Investment if you hire a narrator + studio + studio editing: ~ $2,500+ minimum
You may want to listen again to audiobooks that you liked best in your earlier research for motivation and inspiration. Look back at your notes from your research. Refresh memory on the information in WWPC’s “Audiobook Tips” to prepare your book, your mind, and your body to optimize your recording and avoid costly mistakes in both time and money.
Once you are pleased with your sample recording, submit it to your selected audiobook platform/company for review. For example, if you use ACX, you can send them a small sample for approval before you begin recording the entire audiobook! They’ll respond and inform you whether or not your sample meets their specifications. How awesome is that?! If your sample is not approved, you will receive an explanation and have the chance to resubmit files after making corrections.
*** Important . . . imagine not following this step carefully and going forward with recording your entire audiobook only to find out it was done improperly? I’ve met people who have done this! They didn’t know what they didn’t know and as a result, they experienced massive frustration. Don’t make this mistake! I also know people who became so frustrated during the audiobook recording process that they gave up and never even finished. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are frustrated or stuck, reach out for help!
As you complete a recording for a chapter, I recommend stopping the recording and downloading and checking the audio file just to ensure the files are recording properly.
** A HUGE mistake I made was recording roughly half my book only to find out later that a glitch occurred and nothing had been recorded. I was mad—at myself—for a mistake that could have been avoided if I had simply downloaded each chapter separately and checked each one. I encourage you to do this chapter by chapter download!
If you’ve read “Audiobook Tips,” then you already know not expect to read your own book perfectly. You will make mistakes. You will need to take deep breaths and extra pauses at times. This is perfectly fine. You’ll just need to edit out those extra pauses, mispronunciations, room noises, and slight mistakes once your recording is done. One strategy I found helpful was to pause at least 3 seconds after any mistake so that the mistake could easily be found in the audio file later. (Remember in Part I, I mentioned that I did my own editing after watching a few tutorials. The FREE tool I used for editing is Audacity.)
Other advice about recording is that you want to try and record everything on same day, in the same setting, wearing the same clothes if possible. Don’t wait days or weeks in between recording sessions because something will likely be different that will affect your audio file. You need the audio files to sound exactly the same. Otherwise they will not be approved.
How long should it take to record your audiobook? It depends! My 175 page book (28,000 word count) took a total of just 11 hours to record. That included a wasted 2-3 hours of mistakes that I’ve hopefully helped you avoid!
If for any reason your files are not approved, then you will be informed why and then have the opportunity to make editing corrections. Simply upload the revised files.
Enjoy having your audiobook available on Amazon along with your other book formats. You’ll benefit for years to come and should most definitely see a boost in book sales simply by having an audiobook and knowing how to leverage it.
I hope these steps and my guidance have been helpful. What I’d emphasize the most to you is that YOU CAN DO IT! Whether you do it on your own or you hire help to record and/or edit your audiobook, you can have an audiobook!
If you hit a wall along the way and need some help, simply reach out to me. I’m happy to schedule a coaching call to answer any questions and help you break through that figurative wall.