Why and How to Convert Your Book to an Audiobook
You’re writing an ebook and your mind is buzzing with all tasks that lay before you. Adding audiobooks to the list may not be on your mind, but making audiobooks is easy, profitable and good business sense.
Audiobook sales in 2017 were estimated to be around $2.5 billion and growing. Don’t worry if you don’t know much about audiobooks and how to go about converting and marketing your own, we’ve got you covered in this article, so keep on reading!
Just so that we’re on the same page, audiobooks are recordings of someone reading a book out loud. Many apps facilitate listening to audiobooks and offer extra features, like bookmarking or taking notes. Generally, audiobooks are designed to be listened to without the book present. Kindle App’s Immersion Reading syncs an ebook with its audiobook so readers can follow along. Kotobee Author allows authors to create ebooks and embed audio files, which readers can then play as they read. Sounds ordinary, so why the big craze?
Why People are Crazy About Audiobooks
Easy to Get Through
Let’s face it, we all have what seems to be a million and one things on our to-do lists and at times the tasks may seem rather daunting? According to Edison Research’s National Survey of American Audiobook Listeners, of the activities people do while listening to audiobooks housework leads with a whopping 68%. As we do our chores, run errands or a myriad of other things, we listen to books, thus enjoying ourselves and getting one more book off of our TBR (to be read) pile!
Take this audiobook narration of Alice in Wonderland by Scarlett Johansson for example, doesn’t it sound fun? Or Anna Kendrick’s own autobiography narrated by her in Scrappy Little Nobody’s audiobook. You hear my drift? They sound entertaining to me. Trained voiceover actors and the books’ actual authors make the best recitations.
Easy to Find
Countless platforms sell audiobooks and allow you to listen to free samples: Audible.com, Google Play, Kobo, and Audiobooks.com. Libraries let people borrow audiobooks via OverDrive. Companies and individuals post audiobook podcasts on their websites. Simply, audiobooks have become ubiquitous.
Easy to Play
A large reason behind the increase in audiobook sales can be primarily attributed to how easy it became to listen to them. You can carry hundreds of audiobooks and listen to them on the go. In homes, voice assistants such as Alexa and Amazon Echo help with playing audiobooks out loud, as well as customizing preferences and recommending books depending on previous choices, likes, and dislikes.
Why Create an Audiobook
Creating an audiobook gives authors an edge when it comes to promoting their books. During the book launch, audiobook teasers are sometimes released prior to the ebook to build the suspense and the hype.
Because the cost of creating audiobooks is reasonable, authors enjoy the wide profit margin. I’d like to say as long as you’re not hiring Morgan Freeman you’ve got no worries about costs, but there are services out there with exorbitant rates. Do your research and you’ll be glad to have an extra source of income.
Better Reach for Non-Readers
Between hectic schedules and shorter attention spans, many people have turned into non-readers. They don’t have the patience to sit down and read, when they can listen and multi-task instead. With audiobooks, it’s gain with no pain.
Audiobooks initially started back in the 1930s to help the visually impaired and were, in fact, the first use for LPs. For decades audiobooks were neglected, till technology caught up in the 1980s and the audiobook industry took off. In recent years audiobooks enjoyed another boom in sales, with sales doubling in the past five years alone.
Audiobooks are still taking the literary world by a storm. In fact, if we’re going by this year’s numbers alone, the months from January to July of 2018 have seen a 36.4% increase in audiobook sales. Amongst the big 5 publishing houses, Simon & Schuster’s CEO has stated that its digital audio sales have jumped by 43% in the first three months of the year.
Accessible for the Visually Impaired
Since audiobooks first started out as an alternative to help the visually impaired, they’ve been steadily replacing other options. As few as 4% of the blind and partially sighted population of children in the UK learn to read Braille. Audiobooks have become the preferred format for visually impaired persons.
Create an audiobook
With everything you’ve just read, wouldn’t you like to capitalize on that market? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you how to do it.
Do it yourself
You can turn your ebooks into audiobooks on your own and at home.
Set up a studio at home. It doesn’t have to be anything special. A room with no noise and good acoustics to minimize echoes and drown out the background noise. A room with wall-to-wall carpeting, curtains, and other soft furnishing works well. Messy bedrooms work the best with clothing strewn everywhere. I’ve even heard of voiceover artists recording in their closets.
Determine what equipment you need like noise-canceling microphones, acoustic panels (buy or DIY), and headphones.
As for audio editing, there are a few apps to help you edit the audio: Audacity, WavePad Editor, Acon Digital, Ashampoo, Ocenaudio, or Sound Forge. For more on audio editing software, you can refer to this article here. Or more details on the whole process from someone who’s done it on their own, you can refer to this article here.
Hire a Voiceover Artist
If you don’t happen to have either the time or the skills, you can hire people to do it for you! There are so many places online where you can find great voiceover professionals to help you narrate your book. ACX is an Amazon company devoted to audiobooks. The Voice Realm is for voiceover professionals in general. The major freelance platforms Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer also maintain lists of voiceover freelancers.
Keep in mind that the prices may differ from one person to the other and that you shouldn’t just think of the price, but also your book’s identity and which voiceover artist will match best. Before you commit to anyone, ask several artists to audition with a sample of your book. Then pick the one you like best. If you’re going to spend money on this anyway, might as well get it done right.
Hire Professional Publishers
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of either doing it yourself or hiring a freelancer, then you can have the entire publishing process handled by an audiobook self-publishing service — yes, those exist as well.
The most popular audiobook platform is Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) which distributes to iTunes, and of course both Audible and Amazon. Another popular option is Findaway Voices, which recently partnered with Draft2Digital. Both platforms facilitate finding a narrator and producer for your audiobooks as well as distribution.
Here are other options you can check out as well:
- Listen Up Audiobooks
- Audio Shelf
- Deyan Audio
- Spoke Media
- Pro Audio Voices
- Voices for Books
- Bee Audio
- E-Audio Productions
- Common Mode
If you plan on distributing your audiobook through Apple, you might want to select one of Apple’s Audiobook Partners.
We advise you to go through them all and pick the ones that suit your needs (and budget) most. To get an estimate of the average cost of audiobook creation, you can refer to Written Word Media’s article and calculator.
Teasers and Excerpts
Just as authors put out teasers and excerpts from their stories to help get more readers interested in reading their stories, you can do the same thing with your audiobooks. If the narration of the ebooks is engaging and gripping enough, even a small audio file if well chosen can be the right lure to get your share of readers to be intrigued enough to take the next step and buy the full audiobook.
There are several ways to help spread the word on your audiobook. Your social media and book site lead the list. The best part about said ways is that they give you a wide reach, and they’re completely free! Try Youtube, Soundcloud, Chirbit, MixCloud, Clyp, and Heartthis so that your listeners can easily share your teasers.
The next step would be to distribute your complete audiobooks and sell them to your readers. As with ebooks, there are many ways to get your audiobook out there.
Blog or Website
The first way to do that would obviously be via your website or blog. You can make it available to download for your subscribers for example. In fact, here’s how you can Sell Books on WordPress with the WooCommerce Plugin.
Distributors and Aggregators
Distributors and aggregators connect you to different audiobook retailers to help you sell your books. And as with ebooks, there are a few that will help make that happen for you. We’ve already mentioned a couple above when talking about audiobook publishers Findaway Voices, ACX, Listen Up Audiobooks and Audio Shelf. They’ll help both publish and distribute your audiobooks to various retailers.
But one more addition worth mentioning is Author’s Public, which is widely known for being an audiobook aggregator that has a wide list of retailers that it can upload your book to. To learn more about aggregators here’s Everything You Need to Know About Aggregators.
As you can see, audiobooks are paving their own way into the future, which is why you should be going along with it before the market is flooding with a lot of audiobooks like ebooks are. So what are you waiting for? Be ahead of the curve and convert your ebooks to audiobooks today!