Tips for Recording and Publishing Your Own Audiobooks

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
It’s no secret that audiobooks are growing in popularity, and are becoming part of the self-publishing process. An op-ed in the New York Times wrote about the benefits of listening to stories:

I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching. The author becomes more transparent, the characters more real.

According to Copyblogger, having an audiobook gives you more credibility as an author.

Publisher’s Weekly recently reported on the rise of audiobook sales, and how that’s changing the industry. More publishers are producing audiobooks, and there’s been some innovation, such as “multivoiced recordings, short-form content, bonus audio-only material added to audiobooks, adaptations of such print formats as graphic novels, and more original content created for audio.” BookMachine talks about mixing short stories with full cast and narrated audio fiction, “where the magic of its stories were brought to life through links to audio dramas that could be change and be added to.”

It’s exciting to think of the possibilities, but if you’re just starting out, how do you make and sell your own audiobooks? Here are some things to consider.

Narrating

As an indie author/publisher, you have two options: narrate the book yourself or hire someone. Many actors and actresses now turn to audiobooks for work, according to the New York Times and the LA Times.

You can use ACX to find a narrator. SelfPubAuthors offers a helpful guide to navigate that process. You can also hire people through companies such as Burbank Voice Over Recording Studio or find freelancers such as Sass Voice.

If you want to narrate yourself, read The Creative Penn’s post on how to record your own audiobook. Make sure to record in a quiet space and have a separate file for each chapter in the book.

Editing

You can save money by learning how to edit audiobooks yourself. Here are some helpful articles:

Distributing

Audiobook Exchange (ACX) is probably the most popular service, but there are other options. According to The Digital Reader, Author’s Republic distributes audiobooks to “Audible, Findaway, Downpour, and Overdrive, as well as Amazon and iTunes (via Audible) and B&N, Scribd, and TuneIn (via Findaway).”

GoodeReader also reported that Humble Bundle supports audiobooks.

There’s also CD Baby, according to Jane Friedman. Even Pandora has spoken word, though it’s just comedy for now.

Marketing

As with ebooks and print books, it’s important to get reviews for audiobooks. Beyond Paper Editing offers tips on how to leave reviews on Audible, which include making sure the reviewer has your book in their Audible library, and keeping the review short.

The ACX blog also offers tips on marketing audiobooks, such as regularly talking about your audiobooks and writing a fun blurb to give away your 25 promotional Audible codes. You can use these promo codes in contests, or swap them with other ACX folk, and you can partner with other authors to promote your books or even work with your local bookstore to do a live reading and Q&A, according to the ACX blog.

Have any audiobook tips? Please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared February 2016.

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