Audiobooks are incredibly popular. People listen them doing errands, during work or even as a sleeping aid! In fact, audiobook sales are growing fast, generating massive income for authors.
But still – it seems like a lot of self-publishing authors have not found their way to the audiobook market yet. And that is understandable. It is a big step going from writing a book to publishing your audiobook!
So how do you make an audiobook? Or how do you publish your audiobook or book on Audible? Is it even worth to invest in making an audiobook?
Should you invest in making an audiobook?
Audiobooks are hot. Super-hot. In 2016, Amazon was selling about 119.000 audiobooks a day, generating roughly $2,100,000 – every day. These audiobooks were generating $204,000 for authors on a daily basis. I will let that sink in for a bit.
Due to the technological advancements since 2016 – think Google Auto and more cars with phone connectivity in general, audiobooks took over an even bigger share in the market. The fact that a large number of self-publishing authors has not yet found their way to audiobooks can only play in your (financial) favour.
Audiobooks will not only give your readers a way to rediscover your book in a different format, you might be able to attract new readers and fans that might not have picked up your book – but love the audiobook.
A lot of people do not find the time to read books and find it easy to listen to audiobooks on the go. They prefer to listen in the car or at work as they do not have the time to take the time out of their day to sit down and read.
Audiobooks also make literature accessible to people with dyslexia or people who just plainly do not like to read.
If you choose to narrate your own book, it will also give you a chance to improve your book as reading – narrating, your book out loud will help you to identify clunky or weirdly written sentences.
Publishing your audiobook on ACX
ACX is an Amazon company that helps connect authors and their book to producers and narrators. Already have the audio for your eBook? No problem, just like on KDP you will be able to publish your audiobook to the vast collection of audiobooks audible and Amazon offer.
Narrating your own Audiobook – should you narrate your own Audiobook?
Whether or not you narrate your own book depends on your budget and your book. Narrating non-fiction is pretty easy. All you should do is read out your book in a passionate and engaging way.
Narrating a non-fiction book is not as easy. You have to think about accents and voices and intonation while reading. It is doable! Don’t get me wrong… but it might take a lot of work and time before you feel comfortable and content with your end-product.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before recording your own audiobook.
How comfortable are you in front of a microphone?
Speaking into a microphone is not as easy as you might think. For some it comes naturally, others need to work on it. I definitely was one of the latter. When I started out my podcast, I had to work five to six hours on a thirty minute episode, just because I had to rerecord so many intro’s and takes because I just wasn’t comfortable behind a microphone.
When recording something, you need to speak with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and passion. Explaining or reading something in the same tone you would explain or read something to a friend just won’t cut it. It would be too boring.
The information and ideas your audiobook contains only make up half of the reason why people will like your audiobook. The sound of your voice will also be a big factor in your reviews and whether people will finish your Audiobook.
There are so many audiobooks I started and just never finished – or had refunded, just because the voice or the accent of the narrator didn’t appeal to me. And that is normal! So when you are recording your own audiobook, try to hold a neutral accent and keep your voice low and warm but full of passion and energy.
Will your listeners be able to understand you and your accent?
It’s no secret that some accents are quite hard to understand. As a Dutch speaking Belgian, it can be quite hard for me to understand people from The Netherlands – even though we speak the same language (in essence). But the same goes for accents within my own country and language zone. As someone from Limburg/Antwerp, it is very hard for me to understand friends from the West of Flanders. I am sure that the same can be said for British people not understanding their Northern countrymen or having problems understanding thick Irish accents. There’s nothing to be ashamed about – just keep in mind that if you have a strong accent, your listeners might have a hard time understanding you.
When recording your audiobook, it is important to speak slowly and clearly. I repeat: sloooooowly and cleeeearly! People need to be able to understand you. I myself am someone who speaks very fast. I always have. So I needed to make a big effort slowing myself down when podcasting or narrating audiobooks.
Will you be able to edit your own audiobook?
Just like books, audiobooks need editing. A lot of editing. When recording an audiobook, there will be a lot of “euhms” or stumbling and even mumbling. This all needs to be cleared and audiofiles need to be cleaned up. This is not a very easy task – but luckily this is easy to learn!
Should you make your book into an audiobook?
I think the short answer is Yes. There is literally nothing to lose. The market is relatively fresh – there aren’t that many self-publishing authors that have taken the step to the audiobook market, so you can take advantage of this. Obviously a lot of work goes into recording and editing your own audiobook, but in the end – as authors, we are used to working long and hard on books and manuscripts. This isn’t at all that different.