How to Record Your Own Audiobook

Multiple revenue streams are critical to becoming not only a successful author, but also in any business. I recently read an article that explained the average millionaire entrepreneur had an average of seven revenue streams. Audiobooks are another great revenue stream to have as an author.

I decided to add audiobooks to my launches starting with my second book, Motivation 101. With my first book, Eat Less and Move More, I was incredibly busy with the launch and I did not have time to get the audiobook done at the time of the launch. After the launch finished I started to research audiobook options and found that I could do it myself.

I bought a condenser microphone called the Blue Snowball ICE Condenser Microphone and a pop filter from Amazon. The cost was around $56.00 for both and I downloaded the Audacity program for free, which would allow me to record the book. You will also need to reach out to your freelancer (the person who created your Kindle book cover) and have the freelancer convert your Kindle book cover to audiobook size. It shouldn’t cost much and having the cover is just as important for sales as it is for a Kindle cover. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way. I did not have audiobook covers ready for several weeks after both the Motivation 101 and Eat Less and Move More audiobooks were published. This was a mistake I do not plan to repeat as it did cost me revenue.

For Motivation 101, I wanted to have an audiobook available at the time of the launch for two reasons. The first was to have the additional revenue stream and the second was to use it as a lead magnet.

I recorded the audiobook version of Motivation 101 over two weekends. There is a lot of work that goes into recording it yourself, so you need to decide if you want to take on that responsibility or work a royalty agreement out with having someone else record it for you. I have gone both routes.

Over the two weekends Motivation 101 was recorded, it took me two to three hours each weekend to record the audio. It was not an easy process, but I did learn a few things that I will cover. I also invite you to download the Motivation 101 Audiobook for free.

My first suggestion is to record the smaller chapters first. This also includes the intro, foreword (if you have one), contact information, and some of the smaller chapters. Leave the longer chapters for the following weekend. You will make mistakes and you will have to rerecord chapters again. It is a frustrating process at times, but it does get better.

When I recorded Positivity Attracts, it was much easier and took me four hours instead of five to six hours. I do HIGHLY recommend finding a small room to record in. Do not have the air conditioning or heating on, you want the room as quiet as possible. I also recommend having the mic on at least three to four large hardback books and have the mic six inches from your face. This will help in case your computer fan is a little loud. You will want to speak into the mic at all times.

Once you have recorded a chapter I highly recommend that you listen to it immediately. If it sounds good and you are happy with it, go to the next chapter. Continue the process for those two weekends until your audiobook is complete.

I also recommend taking a 5-10 minute break each hour. You will want to get some water and possibly some hot tea as your vocal chords will get tired. In addition, when recording, you will also want to pause before speaking at the start of each chapter for 2-3 seconds and then start to speak. At the end of each chapter also leave 2-3 seconds of silence.

In audiobook recordings, ACX wants there to be a slight gap at the beginning and end of each chapter. The 2-3 seconds of silence is that gap. Your freelancer can make this flow very smoothly, but you do need to leave that space.

Once your recording is complete, you will want to send the files to someone who can edit and remaster your recording. I utilize a freelancer on Fiverr who cleans up the recording for $45.00. It is well worth the investment.

I highly recommend using a freelancer to clean up your audiobook recording as you want to make sure it passes ACX standards to get approval from them. Unfortunately, ACX is not always consistent with approving audiobooks so it is well worth the investment to get someone to clean it up for you to ensure it gets approved quickly.

Once your audio is remastered and edited you will need to get an account set up on when you are ready to upload should you record it yourself. They will give you several options for royalties.

For Motivation 101, I chose the 25 percent option. The 25 percent royalty option gave me rights to have the audiobook on my own website and I could also sell it separately. Since the Motivation 101 audiobook was also going to be the main lead magnet to build my email list, I was alright with losing a little money long term to get more readers funneled to my list. I could have chosen the 40 percent option, but that would have made the Motivation 101 audiobook exclusive to ACX.

With Positivity Attracts, I chose the 40 percent option. My strategy is to always think long-term. This business is a long term investment and I felt comfortable having the Motivation 101 audiobook as the only audiobook magnet that I would offer.

For my first book, Eat Less and Move More, I decided that I did not want to record it myself. My other books were around 10,000 words and Eat Less and Move More was almost twice as long. I chose to do a royalty share agreement and had a narrator on ACX do the recording. This option only gives you 20 percent commission as the narrator also gets 20 percent as well. Since I did not want to record it, I felt that 20 percent of something was better than 20 percent of nothing.

It is an easy process as you submit the information on ACX and narrators will audition for you. After listening to ten auditions, I chose my narrator and he recorded the book within five days. The narrator also uploads the audiobook to ACX, which is great. It was available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes within two weeks.

One other thing about ACX is that the audiobook will most likely not be ready in time for the start of your launch. You cannot upload the audiobook until your Kindle ebook is available on Amazon. At that point you can upload the book. Again, the audiobooks are a long-term investment. You will not make a ton of money starting out and might only make 10-20 dollars on average for the first couple of months. It should pay off long term. My most recent book, Just Do It was released in mid-November and has sold over 100 audiobook copies so sales can be significant.

An additional benefit is the bounty system. Audible offers a fifty dollar bounty to you for every new Audible listener who signs up for their service. Each new subscriber gets a choice of two free audiobooks to start their free trial. If they choose one of your audiobooks as the free choice then you receive the fifty dollar bounty after sixty days as long as they continue to subscribe to Audible. I have received five bounty’s since starting over a year ago and four of those five bounty’s were in the past three months.

I do want to add that you will share the bounty ($25.00 each) between you and the narrator if your audiobook is part of a royalty share similar to what I did with Eat Less and Move More. If it was recorded yourself then you will get the entire fifty dollars. The bounty alone with pay for most of the cost of creating your audiobook.

Another great benefit of recording it yourself is that you find errors in your book that you may not have caught initially. No matter how awesome your editor is (and I have an AMAZING editor) there will be mistakes that do not get caught. Recording the audiobook out loud will help you find the other mistakes. I have found at least ten errors with both Motivation 101 and Positivity Attracts while recording the audiobooks.

If you are going to record an audiobook yourself, I would recommend recording the audiobook first before having your book converted to Kindle. For Positivity Attracts I used the Microsoft Word version of my book to record the audiobooks and then made corrections to any errors found to the file while recording the audiobook, I had it converted to Kindle and then paperback.

Over the past year I have recorded five additional audiobooks, Book Publishing for Beginners, The Pursuit of Happiness, Maui, Just Do It, and PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. The process becomes much easier over time. I now record the audiobooks in two to three hours, typically in one session. I rarely have to do more than one take to record the chapters. It really is a smooth process as it does get easier over time.

I also highly recommend converting your Kindle book to Createspace for paperback. The paperback version of the book should be available within two days after uploading it to Createspace. I cover the process in addition to many other ways to build your publishing business in my free kindle book, Book Publishing for Beginners. The book was written specifically for those who want to publish their own books and is available in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook formats.


Paul Brodie

Seven time Amazon Best Selling Author