What happens when book lovers can’t make time to read? How do they consume information or the stories from their favorite authors as the grind of work and demands of family swallow every ounce of leisure time? Easy. Ever heard of audiobooks?
On the train, in the car, or by foot, people are on the go. As a writer, you could benefit from everyone’s daily commute by putting your words in their ears when their eyes are too busy. For the avid book reader who spends two to three hours commuting every day, an audiobook would be a great way for you to reach them. For the fitness freak who is also feverish for a captivating narrative, listening to an audiobook on the treadmill brings a satisfying balance. There are countless occasions when readers can consume an audiobook, but how do writers climb into this vehicle that can add more passengers on their storytelling journey?
If you’re not savvy enough or don’t have the time to record your own audiobook, you could simply hire someone. There are a few ways that you can find the right voice for your book. Let’s start with up Upwork.com. This freelance website is an online space where you can hire anyone to do practically anything. To find someone to record your audiobook, opening an account is easy. Once you provide the site your pertinent information, you can go to the voice talent category and explore the different freelancers that could fit your requirements. Another way to find your narrator is for you to post a job and let the freelancers find you. To set up the job, I would recommended that you deposit the hiring fee in an escrow to show the freelancer that you mean business. You don’t want to run the risk of quality audiobook narrator’s passing on you because you may seem a little sketchy. Depending on word count and book genre, the narrator may attempt to negotiate a price. If they have an impressive voice talent resume, they may charge more. A common price for an audiobook to be produced is $200 per finished hour. So, if your book is estimated to be 5 hours of reading time, you may have to budget $1,000 for the audiobook narrator’s time to read, record, edit, and polish the final project. (It’s more than just reading in front of a microphone and hitting the record button.) Whatever the case, you should always listen to their samples and listen for sound quality, voice clarity, and the tone/style you are looking for in your audiobook. If you use Upwork, the VO artist will send you the audiofiles (usually MP3) when they’re done. Once you approve their work, you release the funds, and everyone walks away happy. If it isn’t up to snuff, then you’ll have to suggest modifications.
Another avenue to take toward getting your print or ebook book to audiobook format is to use ACX. This is the website that connects to Amazon’s Audible program. It’s where serious writers find the big names in the voice-over industry. In 2016, Audible members downloaded almost 2 BILLION hours. Remember all of those commuters? The audiobook craze is astounding. You can open an account and have the option of paying the narrator a one time fee at the completion of the book or negotiate a royalty deal in which the narrator gets a percentage of your audiobooks sales whenever it is download. If you have a fiction book, ACX may be best for you because the audition process is a little bit more involved. An author can post an entire chapter where the narrator will record the entire chapter for you to decide if that is the right fit. On Upwork, it typically isn’t as this strenuous a process for the VO artist. On ACX, you may run into more SAG VO artists, so you may be paying a prettier penny to get the absolute best narrator for the job.
If you have a publisher, you may have to go to them first before taking the route of audiobooks. Better yet, check with your literary agent to confirm who owns the audio rights to your book. For those who self-published a book, the power is in your hands to take your printed work into the realm of audiobooks. Diversify your brand and get those words off the screen or pages and into the ears of your fans!