How to Create an Audiobook as an Indie Author



hi everyone I'm shaylen here with Reed Z and today we're going to begin a two-part series on audio books specifically on audio books for indie authors so how to go about handling the production and distribution yourself so in today's video we're going to focus on the production aspect and then in Friday's video we're going to talk about distribution and marketing so audiobooks only make up around 3% of book sales however sales are increasing audiobooks are actually the fastest growing sector of publishing so if you're an indie author here are some things to consider if you're thinking of doing an audiobook so first of all what is your goal for this audiobook your audiobook will probably only sell around 10 percent the copies that you're print and ebook versions did so it's actually unlikely that you'll even break even on the cost of production however it does increase your visibility as an author so it can be great for marketing your platform and marketing your book and it also just offers every possible version of the book to your reader the second thing to consider is what your budget it it is possible to create an audiobook for free or for a low cost and we'll talk about ways that that's possible later on in the video but in a lot of cases you are going to expect a relatively high production cost to create an audiobook maybe a couple thousand dollars there is a trade-off for less cost or no cost then you might have a lower quality or fewer options but if your goal is just to increase the visibility maybe this is worthwhile for you next up is how much time and or effort you're willing to put into this audiobook if you're willing to do more work yourself you can handle a lot of the production yourself and that will probably significantly decrease your costs as well or if you're not really willing to put in as much time or work yourself and you have more money to spend on the audiobook you could hire a producer to do it for you and finally you want to consider what your marketing strategy is going to be you might use a lot of similar strategies and tools that you would use to market an audiobook that you would use to market an e-book there is a smaller market for audiobooks so that doesn't make it easier for your title to stand out and that can actually help readers discover your other books even if you've only produced one audiobook let's talk about casting your audiobook so finding your narrator if your book is in first person you probably have a pretty clear idea of what kind of voice is going to be appropriate if you have multiple perspectives you can also consider working with multiple narrators it will cost you a little bit more but not as much as you might think because you're still paying for the same number of recorded hours in the end now what if you want to narrow your own book there are some reasons why you might want to do this for example if your book is a memoir it would make a lot of sense for you to narrate your own story it might also make sense if this is a nonfiction book in a field that you're a known professional in again this is similar to writing the memoir it makes a lot of sense for you to be the reader here because you are the narrator of the book if you have performance training it might also make sense for you to want to narrow your own fiction this way you don't have to hire a narrator if you feel capable of doing the narration yourself however ultimately narrating is a type of performance and it requires training and experience to do well so if you don't have any training or experience with any kind of acting it might not be the best decision for you to take on the narrating role unless you really think it's something that's right for your book and that you can do a good job I actually know someone who is narrating his memoir and of course made a lot of sense for him to be narrating his own memoir but he has absolutely no training as an actor he's actually pretty like shy introverted person and so the fact that he had to narrate his own memoir he really didn't enjoy the process he didn't think that he did a good job so now let's talk about the process and step one is the prep the narrator can take from a few days to a few weeks to prep for narration depending on how much of a time crunch you're all what they'll do is read through the book and decide how each character is going to sound and they'll also double check things like pronunciation if your book is sci-fi or fantasy and there are made-up terms they'll check pronunciation with you because they can't check anywhere else then that leads to step two which is recording seminary ders will have their own recording studio at home others will go to a professional studio but the process is basically the same either way a recording session will usually last around four to six hours since any more constrain the narrator's voice and the ratio here is usually two to one we've recorded time to finished audio time so in a six hour recording session the narrator will probably get three hours of recorded book done and then step three is post-production after the narration is done the recording will need to be cleaned up so an editor will listen to the book and clean up all the little mistakes as they come along sometimes there are mistakes that can't be fixed or there are sentences or words missing and the narrator will have to rerecord elements so that the whole thing can be properly mixed in and then the editor listens to it again and and what the editor does is they listen to it as they're reading through the book to make sure that everything is identical to the print version some narrators will do the editing themselves others will outsource this and then we get to step four mastering and formatting the audio is processed with special software to make sure it sounds as crisp as possible then it will be cut into individual chapters and compressed into mp3 files most audiobooks these days are digital downloads some libraries will still use CDs so that's an overview of the process if you'd like to hire someone else to do your audiobook there are a few different options depending on your budget and what kind of rule you'd like to play in the production so one of the main ones is a CX which is audible content exchange so what you do here is you submit the title and then you'll have producers and narrators either audition or bid for the chance to work on it there are two options here you can either do a royalty split where you'll each take 50% of the royalties and you'll only be able to distribute the book through audible where you get a 40% royalty so you'll be getting 20 percent royalty here or you can pay for production up front and keep all of your royalties this is a good option if you want to work with someone since maybe you don't think you have the skills or the time to do it yourself but you're not really able to pay for high upfront costs the downside here is that the most experienced narrators probably won't take a bid on a project that they don't think is going to sell very well so if you don't have much marketing reach for your project then it's possible that you won't be getting the highest quality production there is a risk of lower quality here it is a bit of a gamble it's not necessarily true that you'll end up with a lower quality audiobook but it is possible you also do need to have a US or a UK mailing address to go this route and you are still going to be responsible for managing quite a lot of the process now compared to that you can also go the DIY rig if you're gonna go the DIY where you have to handle and manage everything yourself and the first thing that you'll have do is cast it there are three different ways that you can go about trying to find a voice actor to narrate your book option one is that you can contact a voiceover or acting agency option two is to post a casting call on a website like voices calm or whis is one two three or finally you can do the ads yourself so you can place an ad on Craigslist you can put ads in Facebook groups on LinkedIn and manage this whole process for yourself the first option here is going to be those expensive and the second one is quite similar to working through a CX the final option requires those work on your part since you have to handle all of those ads however there are no upfront fees to posting the ads it's just gonna be a bit more effort now the actors Union recommends that actors be paid two hundred and twenty-five dollars per record an hour however there are going to be narrators with much less experience still building their resumes who are willing to work for less than that some actors will also work for less if they have of a home recording studio since there are less fees involved for them when you hire an actor you also want to be very clear on the scope of work and whether or not they're going to just deliver the raw recordings to you completely unedited or whether they're going to handle the post-production and file mastering as well now for kind of a final most expensive option where everything is going to be handled for you you can if you really want to outsource the entire process you can just work with a professional audio books to do a casting director will send you auditions for different narrators that they think will see the book and they'll check in with you and update you throughout the process if this is an option that you think is right for you you can look up Studios on the audio publisher associations website this is of course going to be a more expensive option but if it's in your budget and you want a really high-quality recording and you don't want to really play much role in the process this might be the option for you the only thing you'll be responsible here is distribution and marketing which is still going to be full of your responsibilities so that's part one in this video on audiobook so now that we've talked about the production you can stick around for our next video where we're going to be talking about distribution once that video is up I will leave a link to it in the cards so you can just hop over there thank you so much for watching and remember to subscribe for new writing editing and publishing videos every Tuesday and Friday until next time

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