Audiobooks are an awesome sort of thing. They bring your novel to life in a very different way than writing it or reading it. And they create exposure in a market of “readers” who for any number of reasons like to read with their ears instead of their eyes. For an indie author, there are several entirely feasible DIY options to create an audiobook and can be a lot of fun. If you’re not that interested in that sort of thing or this is tl;dr you can skip to the bottom for some amusing outtakes of Tattered Heart.
If, however, you are interested in the creation of audiobooks there’s three ways to go. ACX is an Amazon company that is at the core of publishing audiobooks as an indie author. Personally, I don’t know if there are other companies that do what ACX does (and if there are, I’d be very interested to learn more). But each of these methods utilize ACX in one way or another.
The Hands Off Approach
If you really don’t know what what you’re doing – or you really want to focus on writing that next novel – or you really want an audiobook but you’re not dreaming of creating that format the way you dreamed of writing the novel… you can get someone else to do the work for you.
And I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of work involved in creating an audiobook.
So, you use the ACX network to hire a producer who will oversee the narration and the editing and give to you a beautifully polished audiobook.
Or you skip the producer and find a narrator yourself, though there may be some editing and polish for you to do with it.
Either way, you are either paying them upfront or sharing your revenue with someone else. You weigh the cost of revenue sharing or out of pocket expense against the time you save and the creativity you release into someone else’s hands and decide if this is the right approach for your audiobook.
This is the easy way and sometimes there’s nothing wrong with easy.
The Tireless and Expressive Author
No one knows the voice of your characters as well as you do. No one knows the cadence of your writing or the inflection of the moment quite like you. So, some authors would never dream of letting anyone else narrate their audiobook.
If you have the recording facilities (a good mic and a good nearly sound proof room- or the money to rent a studio) then you’re off to the races.
You get to flex your creative muscles in new ways.
You get to experience your novel and your characters in a new playground.
And you get to expand your publishing empire from just novels to audiobooks while reaping the rewards that go with it (and by that I mean keeping all your revenue). Though keep in mind most audiobooks are around 10 hours long. So, you’ve got to talk… out loud… a lot.
You still might want to hire a producer to tidy up the edges a little – take your narration and turn it into a polished audiobook. But with some time and some research you can also do that yourself.
This is the do-it-yourself version that requires some more work but can be a lot more fun.
The Radio Play
This takes the technique of narrating your own novel and multiplies it exponentially. Because it’s not just you recording your novel. It’s a whole cast of actors bringing your world to life.
And you don’t just need to polish the edges of your recording – you need to edit the entire thing together. Then polish that.
Possibly you can throw in a score, if you’re so inclined. Or foley (the ambient noises of clapping or walking like a radio play).
This is a movie the reader watches with their eyes closed. It’s intense and it’s a lot of work but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
I learned a lot of things forging this path. Because The Hands Off Approach isn’t the only one you can dive into without having a clue what you’re doing. I’ve already posted the story (briefly) of recording the audiobook. In coming weeks I’m going to post the lessons I learned to do it all faster and easier next time. And in the meantime…
I have some of the more amusing moments from my recording sessions for you to enjoy.