By the year 2030, the audiobook market is estimated to be valued at $35 billion or more. Knowing how to create an audiobook, where to look for narrators, terms such as PFH, and more will guide you to take a plunge into capitalizing on this rising market and broaden your horizons and your story’s revenue streams. Here are 10 steps on how to make an audiobook.

Prepare for Audiobook Recording

If you are done with your manuscript editing, further preparation will ensure an engaging audio version. Some of the ways you can mark up your manuscript are adding a notation to indicate pauses or breaths, creating a brief feature of characters, inserting phonetic pronunciation next to difficult words, and other voice-acting notes.  

Pro Narration Vs DIY Pros and Cons

Now you need to decide whether you are going to hire a narrator or do it yourself. There are both pros and cons to working with professionals. Some of the pros: you get to audition artists’ work, and distinct payment models, and you can remove the stress of having to produce pro-grade audio. The disadvantages of hiring a pro narrator: expensive than DIY, you may have to share royalties, and you can’t keep re-recording. On the other hand, some of the pros of DIY are cost savings, extra editorial insights, you get to keep the royalties and connection to your fanbase. The disadvantages: if you are not aware of audio production, it might be hard to attain the professional sound you require; your recording will lack the finesse and more.

How to Make an Audiobook? - 10 Steps
How to Make an Audiobook? – 10 Steps

Know the Main Audiobook Platforms

Some popular and important audiobook distribution services to go through are ACX, Findaway Voices, Authors Republic, and Kobo Writing Life. Each of these has its advantages and guidelines for you to check. Make sure to check each service when deciding as price is one feature that is always going to alter.

Budget Production Costs

Professional audiobooks have agreements with narrators and it will include how you are going to structure your payment. Royalty share shares are the period for which you will split royalties based on the contract. Once the duration expires you can keep all subsequent royalties. In this way, you will not have to pay for the entire narrator’s labor upfront. You can budget for audiobook production. Work out the total project cost at average PFH narration prices. Keep a spreadsheet for the PFH rates of auditioned voice artists. Do some math measuring anticipated sales and royalties. And, how much do you need to share with your narrator over the contractual years.? Which payment method would have the most ROI (return on investment)?

Hire a Narrator

The above-mentioned steps are beneficial for building your knowledge of audiobook production as a field. Make a list of aspects of your book that will be effective in terms of tone, such as accents and genres. Focus on the accent if there is a strong regional aspect or if you need voice artists to capture voices from a specific time or place. Try to listen to the audiobooks of your genre and understand what kind of voices are commonly used or expected from the readers of that genre.

How to Make an Audiobook? - 10 Steps
How to Make an Audiobook? – 10 Steps

Record

Whether you are doing it yourself or reaching out to someone, you must have a professional polish to your recording. You will fail to achieve it if you are using low-quality recording equipment, an acoustically problematic space, and a noisy recording environment. The minimum requirements if you are choosing DIY: are a good condenser microphone, a pop filter for it, an audio interface for recording into your devices, some form of soundproofing and dampening, and recording software.

Get an Audio Engineer

You can skip this section in case you are not planning to create your audiobook DIY. If you are planning to do that, you may have to take the help of an audio engineer to clean up your audio. Since they are an expert they can recognize minute differences in recording and help you to get a professional sound. Over-filtered voices are as distracting as raw recordings. You need to avoid flattened, squeezed, or muffle sounds too. Find someone who can clean up your audio on sites like Fiverr or People Per Hour.

Create Your Cover Art

You must check you’re the guidelines of your preferred platform for the audio file format. Once it’s done you need to move forward with cover art. Your cover art must be eye-catching and must have an essence of the story. Each platform has a specific requirement when it comes to cover art as well in terms of file format, size, and resolution.

How to Make an Audiobook? - 10 Steps
How to Make an Audiobook? – 10 Steps

Upload Your Audiobook

When you are prepared with your narrated version of the book and cover art, the next thing you have to do is upload it. Check the requirements of the platforms. For example, a few requirements of ACX are an introduction, sections, credits, a cover image, and a retail audio sample.

Descriptions, Categories, and Promotion

Look through the categories to know how the platform you choose organizes its content. For example, Audible has ‘Audible Latino’ which is devoted to Spanish-language audiobooks. Once the audiobook is uploaded, your categories and keywords specified, and your audiobook is live, promote it in uniquely creative ways. To promote the audio version you could do these things. To begin with, share your audiobook’s cover art with an audio sample. You can experiment with audio-focused platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube. Try to run contests or give away promos. Furthermore, you can reach out to popular book podcasts.

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