Audio books are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. They are especially appealing to readers who prefer to multitask such as listening while driving.
“Audio books reached 1.3 billion in 2020,” says Scott Ellis of Scott Ellis Reads, an audio book production company. “Revenue increased 113 percent over 5 years.”
With such impressive numbers, it’s no wonder writers increasingly seek to produce an audio book as an adjunct to their print and electronic books, allowing their manuscript to reach a vast new audience.
How can turn your manuscript into an audio book? Ellis spoke to my summer narrative writing class about how to produce and market an audio book.
He outlined the process, breaking things down into production and distribution. Production includes the process by which you written book is narrated and recorded as an audio book. You can do this yourself or you can hire a company like his to do it for you.
It is most common for authors to perform their audiobook themselves in non-fiction where the audience expects and appreciates hearing the author’s voice. It’s less common in fiction where a trained actor can bring to life the book’s characters with a range of accents.
If you choose to narrate your own audiobook you will need a quiet place to record, equipment and software, time and some technical expertise. The equipment and software you would cost around $250. By far the biggest investment will be in the times it takes you to narrate your book and the time it takes you to edit your audio files in post-production.
Estimate, some 9,400 words per hour for a professional narrator. Thus, a 70,000-word novel will result ion a 7.5 hour audiobook. Budget about triple that amount of hours for retakes and editing.
It is most common for authors to perform their audiobook themselves in non-fiction where the audience expects to hear the author’s voice. It’s less common in fiction where the range of characters and accents, or dialects can become overwhelming and may be better suited for a professionally trained voice actor.
If you’d like to have a professional narrator for your book, you can go to Amazon’s ACX service to find one. Many ACX actors are members of the SAG-AFTRA union, and as members, they can accept no less than $250 per finished hour for audiobook projects. Other professional narrators may charge more or less, depending on their experience.
Companies like Scott Ellis Reads also have a roster of professional narrators who can not only record your book but help with the production process. For more: https://www.scottellisreads.com/.