How to Publish Your Audiobook

By | February 5, 2020

In this article, you’ll learn how to publish your audiobook and get it to go viral. One of the most significant features of the knowledge economy is the abundance of information available. The internet has made it possible for anyone with a connection to produce content, and distribute to the world in a matter of seconds. Social media platforms, blogs, forums, email newsletters, eBooks, podcasts, and audiobooks are some of the media through which information is spread online.

It is obviously a very competitive field for a content producer, having to produce and distribute content that will stand you out, appeal to your audience, and get them coming back for more. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this, however exploring certain media and taking full advantage of this can help increase your audience. Today, we are discussing on audiobook production, and how this can both help increase your audience and revenue.

Why Produce Your Audiobook?

You may be wondering the need for audiobooks, if you haven’t started producing already. Well, it is a growing market with lots of growth potentials some of which are addressed in this section.

1. Growth Potential – Audiobooks are reportedly the fastest growing segment in the self publishing industry, which is evident in the growing increase in listeners and revenue. The United States is the biggest market with about $2.5 billion in sales in 2017, a whopping 19% increase from 2016’s sales of $2.1 billion.

Audiobooks are quite appealing to the younger generation, with 48% of listeners under the age of 35. Publishers who are aware of this trend have positioned themselves to increase their earnings and reach. Now is the best time to begin your audiobooks production, so you can take advantage of the growth potentials.

2. Additional Income Stream – In this world of ever increasing needs, an extra income stream is most welcome, no matter how small the earnings may be. Even if you’re financially stable and without any needs, you sure can do much more with the extra earnings.

A well produced and distributed audiobook may give you an additional 100 to 200 listeners. Depending on the price attached, you can earn in hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly.

3. Royalties – Royalties are earnings received from original work done in the past. This means that the audiobooks you distributed last month or last year is still earning you money. There are some platforms that partner with you to produce your audiobook, and they pay you royalties from the sales. An example of such platforms is acx.com.

4. Build Your Audience Base – There is the likelihood of you getting new listeners from your published audiobook – some who have never read your blog posts, newsletters or eBooks. There are reports on the decline in the growth of eBook readers, when compared to that of audiobooks. That audiobook might just be the key to doubling your audience base.

5. Increase Email Opt-in – Just as eBooks do not have a set standard to follow, the same applies to publishing audiobooks. Requesting for email opt-in of your listeners isn’t uncommon, if properly done. An appeal to listeners to stay in touch and receive updates from you will definitely make a positive impact on your email subscribers’ bottom-line.

Having considered reasons for producing your audiobook, the next consideration is how to go about it. There are 3 main methods of producing an audiobook, each with its own pros and cons.

Audiobook Production Methods

There are factors that will determine your choice of production method, like available funds, level of technical know-how, distribution platform etc. Production methods can be broadly categorized into three:

1. Hiring a Producer
2. Royalty Share
3. Do it yourself (DIY)

Let’s delve into the details to help you make an informed decision.

1. Hiring a Producer – This is a very good option for those with very limited knowledge on audiobook production. You engage the services of a producer who handles the work of narration and production of your work. This saves you time which can be invested into other productive activities.

You can find producers on acx.com, or upwork.com who can deliver according to your requirements. One other advantage of this method is that you’re rest assured of quality production. Also, the exclusive rights of the audiobook belong to you, with the right to earn 100% royalties long after it hits the market.

On the flip side, this could be an expensive venture for you, considering the cost attached to it. It would cost about $1,330 for a 50,000 word eBook to produce your audiobook (at the rate of $250 per finished hour). Unless you have the capacity to pay such an amount, this method might be off your limits. Even after production and sales, it might take a much longer time to earn from your audiobook.

Again, even though this method frees some time for you, there is some level of involvement for you in proofing the audiobook to ensure the right message and communication is delivered.

2. Royalty Share – Royalty Share deal is a production method available on acx.com. In this, the author comes into a contract with a narrator to produce their audiobook without any upfront payment. They both agree to a contract where the author and narrator earn 50% each from the royalties.

If you’re short on cash and still want your audiobook produced and distributed, this method is best for you. Once your contract is agreed upon by the narrator, production can begin based on the terms of the contract. Your major investment is time and mental energy expended in creating the book’s content, and time spent together with narrator in ensuring that audiobook comes out as desired.

You get the benefits of both professionally produced audiobook, and no upfront payment.

Royalty Share contract locks you into exclusivity with your narrator as you both own the rights, based on your contract terms. You earn half of the royalties accruing from your audiobook sales. Another downside is the potential wait time before you get a narrator willing to deal with you.

Those with cash constraints can opt for this, but it would be a bad idea for a long term thinker as you cannot use the audiobook for promotion.

Follow this link (https://www.acx.com/help/authors) to get started with Royalty Share if this method is for you.

3. Do it Yourself – This production method will have you fully involved from recording, to editing and distribution. If you do not have technical knowledge on how to go about it, not to worry as I will walk you through simple, easy-to-follow steps to get you started.

There are 2 components in doing it yourself:

1. Audiobook Production

This is a process that involves the narration and recording of your eBook into an audiobook.

Follow the steps below

Step 1: Prepare Your eBook For Production – For seamless conversion of eBook to audiobook, you will have to remove any items that do not need to be in the audiobook. Things like images, hyperlinks, and captions!

Step 2: Recording the Audiobook – First, a quiet place is needed for the recording. A recording studio is your best bet, as it comes equipped to serve the intended purpose. If this isn’t available, you can opt for a very quiet place to do the recording. You do not need any distractions or noise whatsoever. For a studio you may need to book ahead of time. Possible 2 to 3 weeks prior to your recording!

You will need to factor the needed time for the recording. For professional narrators, Audible uses about 9,400 words per hour as an estimate. This means that an audio book of 50,000 words would total about 5 hours 32 minutes when completed. For recording purposes, you may need to book 3 times of that time. This translates to 16 hours 36 minutes studio time. Some spots may have to be retaken, and all the inaudible sections will be filtered out during editing.

Going for the option of home studio will pay you in the long run. A typical home studio set up would cost from $150 to $300 for the affordable equipment. As your business grows, you can upgrade them to much better quality. A closet serves as an ideal room for your studio especially if your laptop can fit in.

You will need software for recording. There are a number of them online, both free and paid for. However, I will advise you go for Audacity; it is free and works on Windows and Mac. Also, it comes with some effects that you can use for your recording.

Before the actual recording, you will need to read out a significant part of the eBook, majorly to proof your content and prep your voice for the recording. Remember also that at least 3 hours recording is required for one hour live production.

Step 3: Editing – Your recorded files have to be edited to remove inaudible spots, replace some spots, and work on some inaudible audio segments. For this section, you will need 3 to 4 times the length of a fully recorded audio. So, for our 50,000 hours audiobook, you will require between 16 hours 36 minutes to 22 hours 8 minutes.

It is common for authors to use their voice for recording non-fiction, while fiction will require different voices, accents, dialects, and age reflected in the voices.

This is a very good step-by-step guide with technical details on recording your eBook.

The goal of editing is to produce an audiobook fit for distribution. You should take time to work on it, to ensure you deliver your best to your audience.

2. Audiobook Distribution

For your distribution, you can choose one of exclusive to Amazon/Audible/iTunes by distributing through ACX, or non-exclusive that will enable you to distribute to other platforms.

Audiobook Distributors

1. ACX offers a full-service audiobook production and distribution service for authors and narrators. Through the platform you can distribute your audiobook on Amazon/Audible/iTunes.

ACX has both exclusive and non-exclusive options for authors. Your choice depends on need, and you are required to sign a contract stating terms.

For pricing, an author cannot set prices, as authors are required to work with the pricing on ACX’s website:

1. Less than 1 hour = $7
2. One to three hours = $7 – $10
3. Three to five hours = $10 – $20
4. Five to Ten hours = $15 – $25
5. Ten to twenty hours = $20 – $30
6. Over twenty hours = $25 – $35

2. Findaway Voices boasts of a global audiobook distribution network, which complements their audiobook production and distribution services. It runs an open market that allows authors and publishers set their own prices, with a distribution network that cuts across retailers, libraries, and school markets.

Findaway Voices adopts a retail approach to audiobook distribution where authors are free to set prices, run promotions and discounts, and test distribution strategies that will give them the best results in the market.

3. ListenUp allows authors to set the prices of their audiobooks, though with some parameters on how prices are determined, using the length of the audiobook. Its production outfit is one of the best in the industry.  There is an upfront fee to distribute your audiobook, which is waived if ListenUp is used in the production of your audiobook.

Summary

Audiobook production and distribution could be an inexpensive way to increase your audience, spread your message, earn extra income, and have some fun while working. From the outside, it sounds very tedious, especially for a first timer. Once you are able to successfully complete your first audiobook project, you will find out just how easy and fun it is.

One important thing to note is that not all audiobooks turn out profitable. Most do not accrue enough earnings to justify the expenses in production. The good side is that you are able to have a product that may in the future earn you other forms of accolades.

If you intend to start publishing audiobooks, or just want to convert your eBooks into audios using platforms like ACX, the best way to go about it is to own a blog. And if you want to learn how to run a blog successfully, don’t hesitate to follow this link.

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