How to Create an Audiobook for Audible, iTunes, and Overdrive

If you’re a nonfiction author, or you’re going to be, I highly recommend you put audiobook on your list of things to do, especially once your book is written. And I’m not just saying this because I listen to more non-fiction books than I read. I’m saying this because I’m not alone.

Books aren’t going away. Print books aren’t dying either.

The book market is shifting though.

How people consume books is changing. The biggest change is that we’re listening to books more than ever.

3 reasons why it’s time to create an audiobook for your non-fiction book:

  1. E-book and print book sales are stable or declining, but audiobook sales are growing.

    Nearly half of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35. But, audiobooks aren’t just for the young reader. Podcast listeners love audiobooks too. If you are a podcaster, it’s quite likely you have a built in market for your audiobook in your listener base. (And, here’s an article on turning your podcast into a book!)

  2. Credibility and trust.

    For most of our clients at Book Launchers, the goal of writing a book is grow your business and build your name as an expert. If that’s you, here’s a few cool thoughts for you.

    First, there are far fewer audiobooks on the market than there are print books and e-books. That makes it easier to stand out.

     

    audiobook listener

    The costs are higher to produce than the other kinds of books in some cases, even if you do it yourself, and that definitely reduces the size of the market. And it’s also a bit of a pain to produce. But if you’re the voice narrator, the benefit will be that your listener will build a level of trust with you directly.  That bond is so much stronger than if they just read your words. There’s something powerful about your voice being in someone’s head.

    Also, the fact that you have an audiobook makes you seem even more credible because few books have that audio component. When someone checks out your book on Amazon and sees multiple formats, it makes you look like the ‘real deal’. This is really important if you’re a consultant, a sales person, you’re selling workshops, you’re speaking, you’re doing media, and so much more.

  3. It’s easier to stand out on Audible.

I couldn’t get actual up-to-date numbers on the size of the Audible library in comparison to the Amazon library, but in 2013, the Audible library only had one hundred thousand titles, and Amazon had millions.

Even though both catalogues have grown dramatically since 2013, you’re still standing out in a sea of probably no more than 20% of the size of the current Amazon library. That’s a much easier job for a nonfiction book. Don’t believe me? Go to audible.com and do a search in your niche. Instead of finding hundreds or thousands of books that you’d be competing with, you’ll probably find a few dozen.

So, how do you create a fantastic audiobook worthy of five stars on audible and other platforms?

Here are six tips for creating a fantastic audiobook version of your book:

Number one, set up your own studio, or arrange a studio rental.

You can’t just get a mic, open VoiceNote on your iPhone, and start recording. Second, you will be rated on performance, story, and the overall book. In other words, you don’t want your book to get panned in the reviews just because you tried to do your audiobook on the cheap, and didn’t get it edited, right?

If you’re going to use the equipment again, or you live in a remote place, setting up a home studio is easier than you think, and recommended. If you’re a podcaster or you’re gonna create online courses, it makes sense for you to do this so all your content creation is of a good standard.

You can often rent spaces for 60 to 100 dollars an hour, and most books can be recorded in less than three hours, unless you’re terrible. But that leads nicely into point number two.

Number two, practice.

I don’t just mean practice talking, I mean read your book out loud. A paid professional would read your book out loud two to three times before sitting down in a studio to record it. You’re not a professional, which means even though it’s your book, you probably need even more practice reading out loud in an engaging way.

Number three, get voice coaching.

While you’re reading, record 30 minutes of it, and send it to a voice coach. Google ‘voice coach’, and I’m sure you’ll find many. Ideally find one that specializes in audiobooks, or just hire Book Launchers and we have a multiple award-winning sound editor who will coach you. She’s taken home the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar twice for her sound work so, she’s pretty awesome. She also helped me with The New Brand You, if you want to hear what she did for my voice.

There are definitely things you’re doing that will detract from your performance, and Audible listeners rate your book based on performance so it needs to be decent.

The good news is when it comes to nonfiction, Audible listeners are a lot more forgiving. When it comes to fiction, they expect you to be a professional actor.

Number four, hire a professional sound editor.

Generally speaking, 10 hours of a book will take 30 hours to edit. This is audible’s guidelines and the suggestion of my audiobook editor. You can hire audiobook editors on Upwork.com, guru.com, and lots of different places. Generally, audiobooks will cost about 300 dollars per finished hour of product.

If you want to guesstimate how long your book will be, use this tool.

Number five, keep Audible’s rating system in mind when you’re making your audiobook.

I’ve already covered the audible ratings, but it’s important. Success is a balance between a good recording, strong pacing, and great editing, with good mastering. And if you don’t know what any of that means, that means you need help.

Number six, prepare for pick-ups.

What are these? They’re spots where it’s faster for an editor to replace your voice than it is to try to clean up the mess you made. The pick-ups are easy, but just know, you can’t take down that studio right away. You’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and re-record some sentences, even sometimes two or three words.

It might feel a little overwhelming, but you just might find it fun to create an audiobook. I know I loved it, and the really cool part is none of my other author friends have done it. It’s pretty cool to have done something most people haven’t done, and do it well. Plus, it’s the growing market for books and an excellent way to get in your readers’ heads!