3 Things You Should Know About Making Your Own Audiobooks

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Audiobook's popularity is skyrocketing. Listeners love being able to experience their favorite book wherever they are, and what's more, for independent authors, audiobooks are a great avenue to pursue because of their profitability. One of the benefits of self publishing over traditional publishing is that if you know your book will sound amazing in audio format and you're driven to do it, you can go ahead and make that a reality.

That's also the challenge: it's up to you. The idea of creating an audiobook and discovering how to make one are two different things. Keeping in mind that 'profitable' should also mean 'professional', here's 3 things you should know about making your own audiobooks.

1) It must sound professional

There are a few ways to achieve this — the first and most expensive is the Done For You (DFY) service. All you do is submit your finished book to a production company, and in return, you'll receive your finished audiobook. You'll be consulted on narrators and asked to consult on word pronunciations, but otherwise it's carefree — except for the price.

The mid-range option is to project manage your audiobook. You source a narrator to read it, a sound engineer to mix it, and a designer to modify your book cover. Once you've compiled your work, all you have to do is submit to your desired marketplaces.

Lastly is the Do It Yourself (DIY) service. You read. You mix. You design. You publish. You save money on expenses but lose out on time. Plenty of authors believe they're the perfect narrator for their book, but you still need to produce a professional sound. This means investing in good equipment, suitable recording software, and a few bags of tea. If you want to record your own audiobook, be prepared for a bit of trial and error. But don't forget to have some fun!

2) It's not as expensive as you think.

Audiobooks are made on a per finished hour (PFH) basis. Which means those $75 - $250+ PFH prices can look pretty scary. Then, considering the average audiobook is 10 hours long at 100,000 words, from the above estimates you could pay between $750 - $2,500 for the finished product.


Except the audiobook market is the fastest growing market in all of publishing. Currently exploding at a growth rate of 25+% each year, creating an audiobook can be a great investment. The possibility of creating a unique experience to accompany your print book is only down to your imagination.

3) Treat it with the same importance as print or digital

With all this market growth, it's easy to think making your own audiobook is an easy win, but your customers are paying for an experience, not exploitation. While many people listen while walking, on the bus, making dinner or working out, on their phone speakers or in-ear buds, they still deserve a well-produced audiobook.

This channel is just as important as any other, and releasing a sub-par audiobook is like releasing a sub-par book. It should be noted that it's a lot harder to amend a correction in an audiobook after release as opposed to a small typo in a book — so be patient and take the time to learn the channel. Whether it's time or money, invest in your product and decide what you want it to be.

But the experience you can bring to your readers is something you should care about, because it will make them care about you.

Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world's best self-publishing resources and professionals like editors, designers, and ghostwriters. She lives in London.