We’re in the age of podcasts, radio apps, and audiobooks, and now couldn’t be a better time to convert your eBook into an audiobook. You don’t need to feel intimidated by the process or cost, creating an audiobook today is just as accessible to the self-publishing community as anyone else. Here are the steps and our suggestions to creating an audiobook.
1. Prep Your eBook Content for Audiobook Recording
If you’re starting from the beginning, you may have no idea how to convert your manuscript from writing to audio. Your first step will be to prep your eBook content for audiobook recording. Here are a few tips to move the process along:
- Delete hyperlinks
- Delete captions
- Delete visuals
- Remove any calls to actions or click here prompts
- Add opening and closing credits
- Create a table of contents
- List chapter numbers and chapter titles
- Read through and make sure it all makes sense in audio form
2. Recording Your Audiobook
The next step in the creation of your audiobook is actually recording the book. You have two choices for this step: You can hire someone to record it for you or you can record the book yourself in a studio.
Option 1: Hire a Freelancer to Narrate Your Audiobook
Most authors find that hiring a professional to record their audiobook is the most expeditious and least painful route.
You may be concerned about the cost of hiring a pro for voice work, but you may be surprised to learn that the cost for this service can be quite reasonable. In fact, converting your self-published book into an audiobook using a pro can cost less than half the price of doing the work yourself. Many freelancers will quote a price of under $500 for a full eBook to audio conversion; so don’t let the perceived high cost deter you.
If you’ve never worked with a freelancer before, you might not be familiar with the steps necessary to find the right talent.
First, you’ll need a proposal. The purpose of your proposal is to help delineate the work that’s needed. You’ll want to make sure to include the scope of the work and terms of your offer in your proposal.
Your second step is to create a sample audio clip to share with potential freelance narrators. This clip is called your “retail audio sample.” The purpose of your retail audio sample is two-fold: 1) it can be shared with potential narrators during the freelance-hiring phase and 2) it can later be shared with your future audience on Amazon to peak their interest in your book.
Have some fun creating your retail audio clip—it can be anything you want it to be! You may opt to read a full chapter, or simply condense a summary of plot highlights. The ultimate goal of your retail audio sample is to intrigue both potential narrators and your potential audience. If you can capture their collective attention and peak their interest about your book, they’ll want to hear more.
Option 2: Self-Recording in a Studio
The second path to creating an audiobook is self-recording. Realize that self-recording may be more costly in terms of effort, time, and financial output. The largest cost for self-recording will be the paid time to use a pro recording studio.
We recommend that you block out a significant amount of time to complete your self-recorded audiobook.
Here’s our general production timeframe for a self-recorded audiobook:
- Book your recording studio three weeks ahead of time.
- Record your book in-studio. Plan for up to sixteen hours of recording studio time.
- Plan for at least two weeks of post-recording editing.
Of course, these times are just guides; the time frame may change once you start your project. Obviously, a longer book will take longer to record and edit. Plan accordingly, and give yourself plenty of time to polish, edit, and finalize a professional product.
3. Upload Your Audiobook to Amazon Creative Exchange
Now that you’ve recorded your book, either by yourself or with the help of a freelancer, you’ll need to upload your book to Amazon Creative Exchange (“ACX”). While there are a lot of steps, uploading is a user-friendly and self-explanatory process.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to upload your audiobook:
- Go to the ACX website.
- Log in to your Amazon account.
- Click “Add Your Title.”
- Search and find your book then click on “This is My Book” prompt.
- Click on the “I have this book in audio and I want to sell it” prompt.
- Choose your territory and distribution.
(Note: We recommend the “World” rights options with 40% royalties for the best results.)
- Choose the language(s) you’d like to sell the book in.
- Agree to the “Audiobook License and Distribution Agreement” terms
- Complete the “About My Book” section.
(Note: You can duplicate the content from your Amazon page or create original content.)
- Complete the proper copyright information.
- Complete the info about the narrator, audiobook publisher, and any reviews.
- Click the “add audio file” prompt.
- Go to browse for the first section of your audiobook to ensure it was added.
- Continue this process until your entire book is uploaded.
- Don’t forget to change the chapters and section titles as you go.
- Finally, upload your book cover.
Make sure all info from your printed book matches that of your audiobook. Your author name should be the same and the book cover should the same as appears on your eBook. ACX will not allow you to continue if there are discrepancies in identifying information.
Also, a quick heads up: Your audiobook will not post immediately. ACX will hold your submission to confirm that all is in order before it posts you audiobook. Don’t be alarmed if you see an ACX note telling you “This title is: Pending audio review.” That’s a normal part of the process and not something wrong on your end. When ACX approves your book, you’ll then have the green light to sell the audio copies online.
For a detailed, step-by-step explanation of the entire process—from production to distribution—check out ACX Author’s page.
Even if you’ve never done it before, technology makes the process of creating your audiobook easier than you can imagine. A well-produced audiobook can help you expand your fan base and earn you new readers. Don’t be deterred by the idea that creating an audiobook is outside of your wheelhouse—we promise it’s not! With pro help (or even a little elbow grease on your part), you can have a completed audiobook within weeks, and be on your way to boosting those book sale numbers!
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