How to Make a Book Into an Audiobook [9 Steps For Authors!]
Are you an author looking to make your book into an audiobook?
Making an audiobook can be a great way to reach new audiences and sell more copies of your book. It can also be a lucrative way to make money as an author.
The audiobook market is growing in popularity, and there’s never been a better time to make an audiobook of your own.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about how to turn a book into an audiobook – from finding the right audiobook narrator to recording and publishing your audiobook.
I’ve had personal success with publishing a book and then turning it into an audiobook on my own. It was a lot of work to narrate and create the audiobook, but I was so pleased with how it turned out, and it’s something I’m very proud of having out there in the world!
If that sounds like your dream as well, read this guide now and start making your dream of becoming an audiobook author a reality!
Neil Chase Film is supported by its readers. When you click through and purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Thank you for your support!
What is an audiobook?
An audiobook is a book that is read aloud by a narrator. Audiobooks can be purchased on CDs or, more commonly, streamed and downloaded as digital audio files.
They are popular with commuters, parents of young children, and people who enjoy listening to stories while they exercise or do other activities. Many public libraries also offer audiobooks on loan.
Audiobooks often have greater production values than traditional books-on-tape, many with multiple voice actors and even sound effects and music. This can make them more engaging and immersive than simply listening to someone read aloud.
Audiobooks are especially helpful for people who have difficulty reading or want to multitask while they enjoy their book. You can listen to an audiobook while driving, doing chores around the house, or even working out at the gym.
For people with visual impairments, audiobooks can provide access to books that would otherwise be difficult to access independently.
Why turn your book into an audiobook?
There are many reasons why you might want to turn a book you wrote into your first audiobook.
For one, it can help you reach a whole new audience of listeners. The audiobook market is increasing all the time, and by releasing your book in this format, you can tap into a growing market.
Additionally, an audiobook can add another dimension to your story. With the help of a professional narrator (or by yourself, once you’ve set up a home studio and learned how to professionally record your voice), your words will come to life in a way that is impossible on the page. Done right, a well-produced audiobook can be like a movie for your ears.
Finally, recording your own audiobook can be a fun and rewarding experience in its own right. It’s a chance to revisit your work and to hear it take shape in a new way.
So whether you’re looking to expand your reach or deepen your connection to your story, making an audiobook out of your own book is worth considering.
What kinds of books work well as audiobooks?
Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy a good book while on the go, but not all books work well in audio format. Here are some tips for what kinds of books work well (or don’t work very well) as audiobooks:
- Books that are heavy on description or rely heavily on visual elements can be challenging to follow in an audiobook.
- On the other hand, books that are driven by plot and dialogue are often well suited to the audiobook format.
- Books that are read at a slower pace can be easier to follow in an audiobook than those that are narrated at a fast pace.
- Shorter books with fast-paced plots are generally better suited to the audiobook format than longer works with complex narratives.
- Similarly, books that rely heavily on dialogue tend to be more successful as audiobooks than those which are primarily descriptive.
As a result, some of the most popular audiobooks are thrillers, mysteries, and comedies when it comes to fiction, and self-help and first-person memoirs when it comes to non-fiction. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, which ultimately comes down to personal preference.
But if you’re looking for a book that will make for a great audiobook experience, stick to shorter works with plenty of action and dialogue. The best way to determine whether a book will work as an audiobook is to give it a try!
How are audiobooks recorded?
The first step in recording a high-quality audiobook is to choose the right voice talent. The narrator must have a clear speaking voice and the ability to convey emotion without sounding forced. An acting or radio background is always a plus. That said, due to cost, self-published authors often self-narrate their audiobooks.
Once the narrator has been selected, they will be given the script for the audiobook. The narrator will then spend time alone in a sound-proof recording booth or a correctly set up home studio, reading the script aloud. As they read, they will be monitored by an audio engineer who will ensure excellent recording quality.
Once the recording is complete, the overall audio file – which is composed of individual audio tracks for each chapter of your book, as well as the prologue, epilogue, dedication, index, footnotes, copyright information, and any other information found in the written book – will be edited by an audio editor to remove any errors or unwanted noise.
Finally, the audiobook will be mastered and made available for purchase by a professional producer or audiobook publisher.
Recording a professionally narrated audiobook is a complex process, but it can be very rewarding for both the narrator and the listener.
Where are audiobooks published?
Audiobooks are published in a variety of ways. Some are recorded in studios (professional or home), while others are recorded live at events such as author readings or panel discussions.
Some audiobooks are also produced as audio dramas, much like radio plays of old, with multiple voice actors performing the various parts and even sound effects and music added in. In addition, many audiobooks are now being released as podcasts, allowing listeners to download and listen to them at their convenience.
As the popularity of the audiobook industry continues to grow, additional innovative ways of publishing them will likely be developed.
How to turn your book into an audiobook: 9 Steps
1. Determine if your book is a good fit for an audiobook
Before you launch into production on your own audiobook, it’s essential to ask yourself: is this book a good fit for an audiobook? Not every book translates well into this format.
If your book is light on dialogue or relies heavily on description or chapters of only facts, it may not work as well in audio form. On the other hand, if your book is fast-paced and full of action, it could be a great fit for an audiobook. Before you make a final decision, consider the following factors.
- First, think about your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your audiobook? If you’re hoping to appeal to a wider audience, an audiobook could be a good option. However, if you’re trying to target a specific niche, it may be better to stick with a print or e-book format.
- Next, consider the length of your book. A shorter book is more likely to hold listeners’ attention than a longer one. If your book is on the longer side, you may consider breaking it into multiple parts.
- Finally, think about the production value of your book. An audiobook requires professional narration and production values to be successful. If you’re not confident in your ability to produce a high-quality recording, it may be best to leave this project to the professionals (or try using an Artificial Intelligence Voice Generator!).
2. Find the right narrator for your book (or look into AI voice-over software)
The first step to creating your audiobook is to find the right narrator. This is someone who will be able to capture the tone and style of your writing and who will be able to bring your characters to life. You can find a great professional voice actor through audiobook websites or online directories.
Once you’ve found a few potential candidates, listen to samples of their work to see if they’re a good fit for your book, or take the further step of auditioning them by having them read a small sample of your book.
You could even narrate your audiobook with the right equipment and set-up at home. However, if you have no voice-over or acting experience, get objective feedback on your performance from people you trust before recording the entire book.
Whether you hire a professional actor or attempt it yourself, the following tips are essential for creating a good audiobook:
- Preparation is key. Know the script, rehearse the lines, and make notes. And always keep a glass of water handy. Your voice is your tool, so the last thing you want is a dry throat.
- Have a strong technical understanding of audio production. You need to be able to make adjustments on the fly, while still keeping your performance natural and believable.
- Have a quiet space to record in. A professional sound studio is best, but with careful planning, a room in your home can do as well.
- When recording voice-over, be sure to speak at a measured pace and enunciate your words.
- Avoid using fillers such as “um” or “like,” and choose words that are easy to understand.
- Try to inflect your reading voice in a way that conveys emotion and helps bring the book to life. The performance is purely in your voice, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be animated while recording – just be mindful to always direct toward the mic when you begin recording.
- Finally, remember that a well-recorded audio file includes elements such as timing and pacing.
If you’re not sure about using a human narrator, you could also look into AI voice-over software for audiobook narration. This can be a great option if you want to save money or if you want to have more control over the finished product. Some software programs to look into include Murf.ai and Play.ht.
You can read my full review of Murf here!
3. Create an audiobook production timeline
Once you’ve selected your narrator, it’s time to create a recording schedule. Work with your narrator to block out time for recording, and leave plenty of time for editing and post-production work. If you are working with a professional narrator or studio, they will often do this for you as part of their contract.
If you are using AI voice generator software or are narrating the book yourself, you can create a schedule to keep yourself on track for creating the narration!
4. Record the audiobook
As stated, there are three main ways to record your audiobook: doing it yourself, hiring an experienced voice actor, or using AI voice generator software. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you decide to record your own audiobook, the most significant advantage is that it will be free (or at least very cheap). However, the downside is that your performance may not be as good as someone who does this for a living, even if you have a good setup and the right equipment at home.
If you hire an experienced voice actor, on the other hand, you can be sure that they will make sure that your audiobook sounds professional. Voice actors have the training and experience to bring your book to life. The downside is that hiring an audiobook narrator will likely be more expensive than recording it yourself.
Finally, if you use AI voice software, the advantage is that it can create a very realistic performance and do it quickly and easily (without needing to buy any recording equipment!).
However, the downside is that it may not sound quite as natural as a human voice (these programs are getting better and more natural-sounding all the time!). There are free and paid versions of artificial intelligence voice generator software programs.
The decision of how to record your audiobook comes down to your budget and your preferences. Whichever way you choose, you can end up with an audiobook that you can be proud of!
Recording and editing software
There are many options to choose from for recording and editing your audiobook files, from free programs, such as Audacity or your computer’s built-in recording software, all the way up to professional audio software, such as Sound Forge or Adobe Audition, that are as versatile or cost-effective as you need them to be.
How to create your perfect home recording studio
Let’s take a minute and talk about the importance of having the right audio equipment in your home recording studio. If you are looking to make an audiobook out of your book, you’ll need to create a quality audio file for your listeners.
If you try self-recording with your voice, having a great home recording studio is essential. With the right equipment and setup, you can create a space perfect for getting great-sounding audiobook files. Here are a few tips for creating your perfect home recording studio for audiobook projects:
- Invest in a good-quality voice-over microphone. This is probably the most crucial recording equipment for great sound quality. Look for a microphone that is designed specifically for recording vocals. You may also want to purchase a pop filter further to reduce the lip-smacks, swallows, and other sounds we all make while speaking.
- Make sure you have a quiet space to record in. Background noise can be very distracting when recording, so it’s important to find a relatively quiet room. If necessary, you can use soundproofing materials to help reduce background noise.
- Your recording environment should have good acoustics. Sound should not bounce around too much, which can cause echoes and other problems. You can improve the acoustics of a room by placing absorption materials on the walls and ceiling. If you are on a budget, try draping heavy blankets over room dividers and placing those around your recording space – this will help dampen the sound.
- Pay attention to the lighting in your recording space. Good lighting can help you see what you’re doing and make reading the audiobook’s text easier. Avoid glare by using soft, diffused lighting.
Following these tips, you can create a home recording studio perfect for narrating audiobooks. With the right equipment and setup, you’ll be able to get great-sounding recordings of your own voice that will please your audiobook listeners.
5. Edit and master the audiobook recording
Once you’ve recorded your audiobook, it’s time to edit and master the recording. This is important in ensuring that your audiobook sounds professional and polished. Here are some tips for editing and mastering your audiobook recording:
- Listen to the entire recording from start to finish. Make note of any sections or chapters that need to be re-recorded or edited. It’s a good idea to make notes as you go and to mark down the time code and problem each time one appears to keep track.
- Use a voice-over software program to edit the recording. This will allow you to remove any unwanted noise, add fades, and adjust the volume levels. You may also want to add a few sound effects or music tracks to enhance the listening experience, though this is strictly optional.
- Use a software program to master the recording. This involves creating digital files that can be downloaded or streamed by listeners. The mastering process ensures that the audio is of the highest quality and will flow smoothly when played on any device.
By taking the time to edit and master your audiobook recording, you’ll be able to create a finished product that sounds great and that your listeners will enjoy.
6. Create the audiobook cover image
A well-designed cover image is essential for any audiobook. Not only does it need to be visually appealing, but it also needs to reflect the book’s content accurately. The good news is that creating a professional-looking cover image doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, with a bit of creativity and some basic design skills, it’s easy to create a stunning audiobook cover that will grab attention and make listeners want to hear more.
Here are a few tips for creating an eye-catching cover for your completed audiobook:
- Use high-quality images: When it comes to visuals, quality is critical. Be sure to use high-resolution images that won’t appear blurry or pixelated when scaled up. You can use your own artwork or photos or download paid or free stock photos. If you use other people’s artwork or photos for your cover, always ensure you have permission.
- Keep it simple: A busy or cluttered image will be difficult to read in small sizes. Stick to a clean design with a limited number of elements.
- Use strong typography: Make your title and author name easy to read by using clear, legible fonts. Bold or italicized text can help add visual interest.
- Incorporate audio elements: Consider incorporating these into the cover design if your book includes music or sound effects. This can help listeners taste what they can expect from the audiobook.
- Experiment with color: Color can be used significantly in cover design, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different hues and shades. Just be sure not to use too many colors, as this can make the design appear busy or chaotic.
- Consider using an AI image creator such as Jasper.ai, Midjourney or Nightcafe. Jasper can create unique cover pages for audiobooks when given specific written input.
- Remember that on many platforms, your cover will be initially presented as a thumbnail, so make sure it is legible even at that size.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an unforgettable audiobook cover that will make your book stand out from the crowd.
7. Produce and distribute the audiobook
Now that you have recorded and edited your audiobook, it’s time to produce and distribute it.
The easiest way to produce an audiobook is to use a global distribution network like ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange – Findaway Voices, or Author’s Republic, among others. These companies will handle all of the distribution details for you and distribute your book’s audio version through major retailers like Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
Depending on the platform, you will also need to create a retail audio sample (or retail audio clip), which is a carefully-chosen excerpt from your audiobook that you feel best represents the tone, feel, and overall production value of the rest of the book. A good idea is to select a few minutes from an exciting section to whet the listener’s appetite, make them want to hear more, and purchase the audiobook.
8. Create an audiobook trailer
By now, you’ve recorded and edited the audiobook version of your book, and it’s ready to be published. But there’s one more thing you can do to boost your book: create an audiobook trailer.
An audiobook trailer is a short video clip (usually 1-2 minutes long) designed to give listeners a taste of what your book is like using strong visuals and audio excerpts like a movie trailer for your audiobook. Just as a movie trailer can make people want to see a film, an audiobook trailer can make people want to listen to your book.
So how do you create an effective audiobook trailer? Here are some tips:
- Keep it short and sweet. Remember, you only have a minute or two to make an impression, so ensure your trailer is concise and to the point.
- Start with a hook. Like a movie trailer, your audiobook trailer should start with a hook that will grab listeners’ attention and make them want to hear more.
- Use engaging music. Music can effectively set the tone for your trailer and keep listeners engaged. Choose a piece of music that fits the mood of your book and creates an emotional response. Always be sure you have permission to use whatever music you select.
- Use sound effects sparingly. Sound effects can help create an atmosphere, but too many can be distracting and overwhelming. Use them sparingly and only when they add something to the listener’s experience.
- Include excerpts from the book. One of the best ways to give listeners a taste of your book is to include excerpts from the actual recording. But be careful not to give away too much; you want to leave listeners wanting more.
Creating an audiobook trailer is a great way to generate interest in your book on social media and elsewhere and help it stand out from the crowd. Following these simple tips, you can create a trailer that will pique listeners’ curiosity and make them eager to hear more.
9. Get creative with marketing and promotions
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final step in turning your book into an audiobook. Now it’s time to get creative with marketing and promotions.
There are several ways to promote audiobook sales; the best approach will depend on your audience and budget.
One option is to offer a free sample chapter on your website or blog alongside the audiobook trailer to generate interest and excitement.
Social media is another excellent way to spread the word, so post about your audiobook on all your channels. You can also reach out to book bloggers and reviewers and see if they’re interested in listening to and reviewing your audiobook.
Whatever marketing strategy you choose, make sure you get creative and have fun with it. After all, you’ve put a lot of work into creating this audiobook, so it’s time to let the world know!
My experience turning my own novel into an audiobook
When it came to my own novel, the horror-western Iron Dogs, I decided to narrate and produce it myself (in addition to releasing it as a Kindle eBook). So I teamed up with my good friend and talented musician, David Heacock.
Together, we recorded the book chapter by chapter, using the steps outlined above, with each one being a separate audio file. We cleaned up the audio for each track, eliminating any distracting noises, and we re-recorded any portions as necessary until we were satisfied with the quality.
Once that was complete, David wrote and recorded an original musical score to accompany the narration, and we took it a step further to add sound effects. It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it. You can even listen to the soundtrack (titled “Testament”) for free on Spotify.
The goal was to create an audiobook closer to a movie for your ears than a simple reciting of words on a page, and the feedback for the Iron Dogs audiobook from listeners worldwide has been nothing short of amazing!
Common questions about how to create an audiobook
How much does it cost to turn my book into an audiobook?
Many factors can impact the cost of audiobook production, including the length of the book, the number of narrators involved, and the level of post-production required. In general, however, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to turn your book into an audiobook. Of course, the final product can be worth every penny when you hear your work come to life in a whole new way.
How can I turn my book into an audiobook for free?
There are several ways that you can create a self-recorded audiobook for free. One option is to use a text-to-speech program like NaturalReader, which can read your book aloud with a synthesized voice. Another option is to record yourself reading the book using a digital recorder or your computer’s built-in microphone. Once you have recorded all of the audio, you can use a program like Audacity to edit the files and add any special effects or background music you desire. With a little time and effort, you can easily turn your book into an audiobook that all can enjoy.
Can I make an audiobook of someone else’s book?
Maybe. Copyright law generally protects the author’s right to control how their work is reproduced and distributed. This means that if you want to make an audiobook of someone else’s book, you would need their permission first. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
For example, if the book is in the public domain (meaning that the copyright has expired), you would be free to make an audiobook without getting the audio rights from the author. Additionally, some authors may choose to release their work under a Creative Commons license, allowing you to make an audiobook without seeking permission first. Otherwise, try contacting the author and asking permission. Please don’t just record the audio without talking to the author first!
How do I listen to audiobooks?
Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy your favorite stories without having to find the time to sit down and read. And with so many different ways to listen to audiobooks, there’s sure to be a method that’s just right for you. One popular option is to download audiobooks from your local library’s website. Most libraries offer a wide selection of titles you can check out and download to your computer or mobile device.
Another option is to purchase audiobooks from online retailers such as Audible or iTunes. You can also find many free audiobooks online through an audiobook app, though these may not be the latest bestsellers. Whichever method you choose, curl up in your comfiest spot and enjoy being transported into another world.
What is the difference between eBooks and audiobooks?
eBooks and audiobooks are convenient ways to enjoy your favorite books, but they offer different experiences. eBooks (i.e., Kindle eBooks) are digital versions of print books that you can read on various devices, including e-readers, tablets, and smartphones. Audio books are recordings of someone reading the book aloud, which you can listen to on your phone, MP3 player, or in the car.
One advantage of eBooks is that they take up less space than physical books, so you can carry around a library’s worth of titles without weighing down your backpack. Audio books are ideal for multitasking: you can listen while cooking dinner, working out, or commuting to work. And audiobooks can make the story easier to follow if you have trouble with small print.
Where can I self-publish an audiobook?
There are many options available for those looking to self-publish an audiobook. One popular option is to create an audio version of an existing eBook. This can be done using different tools, including Audacity, GarageBand, and Adobe Audition.
Another option is to record a live reading of the book. This can be done at a local bookstore, library, or even in your own home. Once the recording is complete, it can be uploaded to many different platforms, including iTunes, Audible or Findaway Voices.
How do I make an audiobook voice?
When creating an audiobook narrator voice, there are a few things to remember. First, it’s important to have a clear and concise delivery. This means speaking slowly and deliberately without rushing through the material.
Second, using inflection and emotion in your voice is essential to bring the story to life. Third, it’s helpful to use pauses effectively to emphasize specific points or give the listener time to process what they’ve heard. Lastly, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent volume and tone throughout the recording.
Can I narrate my own audiobook?
The short answer is yes, you can narrate your audiobook. Many authors do their own audiobook narration. However, you should keep a few things in mind before you start recording. First of all, while it’s essential to have a good speaking voice, it’s also important to be able to read with inflection and emotion. You’ll need to capture the story’s nuances and bring the characters to life.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings when recording. Make sure you’re in a quiet room with no background noise. And finally, while you may be able to record the whole thing in one sitting, it’s generally best to break it up into smaller chunks so you can ensure that each section is of high quality. With these tips in mind, there’s no reason why you can’t create a great audiobook narration of your own.
Wrap-Up: How to Make a Book into an Audiobook
If you’re an author interested in producing the best audiobook you can, we hope the tips above will help steer you in the right direction.
Remember to start small, work your way up, be patient with the process, and have fun!
Creating a finished audiobook can be a rewarding experience that helps you reach more readers and grow your audience.