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Producing Audiobooks In Australia

Producing Audiobooks in Australia

As a community, we know that audiobooks are booming. But with audio comes a more nuanced range of hurdles to overcome. For example, accents, regional dialects need to be considered if you want to create a product that's accessible across the world – not just the UK and USA. ALLi author, Sarah Williams explains her experience of producing audiobooks in Australia.

Sarah Williams

As an Australian indie author I have been successfully selling my Australian Outback Romances in print and ebooks for over two years, carefully following the advice so generously offered by people like Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn and the ALLi community.

Australia is Still an Emerging Market

Self-publishing is still thought of as a last resort for most authors here, and we still get looked down on at certain festivals and conferences. So when I decided to produce my first audiobook I knew there would be hurdles and the first one was a biggie – even though we now have our own audible.com.au we can’t sign up for ACX. That is only an option for our American and British counterparts. Instead we have to use a distributor like Findaway Voices and give them a cut of our hard earned commission.

The Search for an Australian Narrator

Sarah's rather dishy narrator, Nick Ryan!

Finding a good narrator with an authentic Australian accent – which would still be clear enough for the international market was my next hurdle. Findaway Voices didn’t have any to offer me. I would have to find my own. Fate had it that I met my narrator at a local charity event for my kid’s school. As a famous Australian actor, Myles Pollard was there to draw a crowd. And draw one he did! Award nominated for his role as Nick Ryan on McLeods Daughter – a romantic drama set in Outback Australia – he is the perfect fit for my novel The Brothers of Brigadier Station, which is also a romantic drama set in Outback Australia. Bonus, he comes with over 16k Instagram followers and raving fans.

No harm in asking, so when it was my turn for a photo with the sexy star, I blurted out that I was an author and would he be interested in narrating my book? His response was enthusiastic, if not shocked. He said that he’d actually been thinking about it a lot recently and looking for the right project!

Post Production

Neither Myles or I had recorded an audiobook before and without the backing of a traditional publishing house, I was in charge of directing and project managing. I flew to Perth, where Myles lives, and we spent a few days in a recording studio with a producer. After that it took a couple of weeks to edit and mix the files before uploading them to Findaway Voices. I’m pretty tech-savvy and already produce a weekly podcast so I happily managed this part of the process. Otherwise my producer would have been able to do it, although that would have obviously cost more.

“It's fun to perform.” Myles explains. “The writing is really concise. It's well-crafted. It's so entertaining, and I can connect well with it too. The characters and the world aren't foreign to me.”

Myles has a really lovely voice – he could read the phone book and I would still enjoy it. But he also breathed life into these characters and gave them all unique characteristics and qualities. The best audiobook narrators don’t just read a novel – they perform it. They inject life into a book, adding pace, emotion and tension with their voice alone. They have to do that while mastering all character accents, tricky location names and often foreign languages. Actors learn how to do this, and Myles has twenty years’ experience putting it into practise. He was even nominated for a Logie Award (our equivalent of an Emmy).

We recently received this review, “The pitch, tone, flow, speed and passion in Myles's voice was mesmerising, it had me so engrossed in the story he was telling. Each character has its own individual voice, I really loved the voice used for Darcy, it's very Australian and it's very much how I already had in my mind for him.” Reading for the Love of Books.

Quick Tips

Authors also need to remember that writing for the ear is different to writing for print and ebooks. Before sending your script to the narrator, I found it helpful to read it aloud and perform it while also checking for things like pacing and repetition.

Expect retakes – even established actors often get to the end and then go back to re-record the first couple of chapters because they were still finding their rhythm the first time. You also need to make sure the narration matches the text word for word. So getting proof listeners is a good idea.

Sarah's audiobook The Brothers of Brigadier Station

In Summary – Audiobooks in Australia

It was worth all the hard work. The audiobook is currently a bestseller in the US and Australia, and Myles has agreed to record the next two books in the Brigadier Station series later in the year. We have also been invited to teach workshops together and attend book signings. This audiobook has raised my profile and dramatically increased my book sales.

If you’re thinking of doing it now is the time! Don’t wait until the market is saturated like it is with ebooks. I’m hopeful that one day ACX will open up to Australia and I can go direct to them, but really who knows what the future holds? This industry is changing every day.

For more information visit www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com and follow Sarah on Facebook and Instagram. You can find her books here.

What to Consider When Creating Audiobooks for International Audiences @SarahW_Writer #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #amwriting #writingcommunity #writetip Click To Tweet


If you're in a country other than the UK or USA, what considerations have you had to make when creating an audiobook? What's your audiobook market like?

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Author: Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is the bestselling author of Australian romantic fiction including the successful Brigadier Station series.
Sarah Williams spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to Queensland to raise a family and follow her passion for writing. She currently resides in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia.

When she's not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs, a horse and a cat. She is CEO of Serenade Publishing, hosts the weekly podcast/vlog Write with Love, runs writers workshops and retreats, mentors and supports her peers to achieve their publishing dreams.

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning


This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Thanks for this article Sarah, I enjoyed reading it. I’m an ol’ bloke, officially retired from over 3 decades as a copywriter/story writer.
    So, now I’m free to do something I’ve been interested in doing/becoming for ages. IE producing nonfiction and fiction audiobooks, and narrating them. I’ve just purchased some amazing equipment and having a fun trip through a deep learning curve. I’m loving it!

    My new hobby learner’s hat is a great fit for me. Not only am I having fun, but I’m on track to becoming an audio-author business.
    Thanks to wonderful people like you, I’m growing daily in knowledge and understanding. Can’t wait to launch out into the uncharted (for me anyway) waters of recording. You’re now one of my go-to mentors. Thanks again Sarah. Be blessed!

  2. Great article!!
    Folks / Sarah, I run Satellite Recording Studio here in Perth. Please give me a call if you need a high quality recording. 23 years running ProTools! I’m amazingly efficient, & can offer any option with regard to file/format type. Regards Darren Halifax [0419 908 766].

    1. G’day Darren! I have written and illustrated 7 short children’s stories. They are self-published and available through Amazon in Kindle and paper back form. I have always worked in Television and have recorded all 7 stories as I hope to sell as a single Audiobook. A fter trying to upload the Audiobook myself I looked to two experienced sound engineers who have many years in Television. However, after several months my project is still being knocked back by Author’s Republic. How much would you charge to create a file that will meet their technical requirements? I would simply send you my Audiobook file as it currently sits with both audio guys saying they have met all the requirements to no avail. It runs about 60 minutes. Thanks in advance, Denis English.

  3. I’m also in Australia so had the same struggles as Sarah with distribution. I also went with Findaway Voices as they offered the best royalty rates but I still had trouble finding a narrator.

    In the end, I chose to narrate myself and my voice has become part of my brand. It’s a time consuming process but I find it rewarding. Most of my audio is fiction but I also have a non-fic one about how to narrate your own audiobook. The non-fic was the easiest to narrate because it was literally my voice rather than a character I invented. I’m not a voice actor but I can emphasise and emote as I intended.

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