Audiobooks have been a hot topic this year and the boom in popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Partner member Karen Williams The Book Mentor, has been busy producing audiobooks this year. Today, she give us her top five tips for creating audiobooks.
Five Tips for Creating Audiobooks
Earlier this year, many of my clients were asking me how to produce an audiobook. Like me, they were recognising the huge growth in this area of digital publishing. And like me, they didn’t know where to start.
So when I decided to write my sixth book, Becoming An Authority, earlier this year, it made perfect sense to jump right in and publish it as an audiobook first.
It was the ideal opportunity to start at the beginning and document everything I learnt as I discovered it. I chatted to those who had already recorded audiobooks and did my research, including picking up some great strategies on the ALLi blog from some of the members.
Here are some of the best bits of my experience and some of the pitfalls I discovered!
Write With Audio in Mind
When I started writing my book, I wrote with audio in the forefront of my mind. There are 16 chapters, none are longer than 3,000 words, and the longest chapter is 18 minutes long on audio. This is the perfect length for a walk around the block or to take a listen whilst doing the chores!
I didn’t include exercises, diagrams or pictures, and I was mindful of phrases such as ‘as you read earlier’ and similar things that wouldn’t make sense. I kept my language simple and have added a resources page to my website where people can access more information in written form if they wish to do so.
Narrating the Audiobook
When I had finished writing and editing the book, and after getting feedback from peer reviewers, the next step was recording it.
As my book has a business intent, it made perfect sense for me to narrate the audiobook myself. But what I didn’t anticipate was the impact on my vocal cords of talking for eight hours straight!
This is definitely something to prepare for and to bear in mind if recording an audiobook. You will want to keep your energy high and your voice rested. Giving up dairy, doing vocal exercises in advance, and Vocalzones were all things that helped me.
Investing in Production
As an indie author, I was mindful of the investment required to go audio first. It’s my belief that if you’re going to do something authority raising, you need to do it well.
I invested in using a studio who recorded the audiobook for me, which in effect saved me time in the long run. The files were ready to be uploaded to the audiobook distribution company in the correct format and they edited all of my mistakes (and there were lots!) as we did the recording.
Publishing and Distributing an Audiobook
The biggest disappointment I had was not being able to host my book on Audible, as I was going audiobook first. You need a print book or e-book to link to when you publish in this way. On a positive note, I came across Findaway Voices and conversing with a real-life helpful human being was a bonus in our digital world!
There are things to consider, which are also common to a print and e-book, such as having an ISBN number, honing your description, and deciding your categories. Plus, when you’re based outside the US, you need to fill out a tax form so that your income isn’t impacted.
At the end of October 2019, my book was published as an audiobook. It is now listed on 40 audiobook sites worldwide. I was also asked to write a blog for Findaway Voices based on my experience of going audiobook first.
The Pros and Cons of Going Audiobook First
One of the upsides of going audiobook first was that it was quick and easy to publish and distribute. I saw this as an opportunity to write and publish the book relatively quickly, and to share my experiences with others. But I still followed the processes I’ve followed for all of my books, such as having a really clear plan, getting feedback, and marketing it, of course.
The biggest thing I found challenging was not having a print copy in my hand. There’s something special about having that box of books arrive and having a celebration party. It’s not the same when it’s only on your smartphone or tablet. So maybe, just maybe, a print and e-book will follow in 2020.
I have painstakingly charted my progress and learnings, as I hope this will help others who are either going audiobook first or recording an audiobook alongside a print or e-book. You are welcome to download this information for free here.Five Tips for Self-Publishing Audiobooks from @librotas #indieauthor #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #writingcommunity Click To Tweet
OVER TO YOU
What tips or tricks do you have for creating audiobooks?