Turning eBooks into Audio Books

The next wave in my journey as an indie author is literally a wave. A sound wave. I’ve decided to turn my ebooks into audio books. When I started my indie journey in 2009, I never dreamed I’d be taking a step like this. On my own. Without a publisher. Because, I never dreamed I could afford to produce my own audio books. The success of my ebooks has given me both the financial means and the confidence to give audio books a try.

Why Do Audio Books?

how to make audio books

I see the literary world poised on the edge of another explosion similar to the ebook revolution. With ebooks, the trigger was the phone. In the early days, many people (including me) read their first ebooks on their phones. It wasn’t until they realized how much they enjoyed the portability of ebooks that they committed to buying a dedicated ereader.

With audio books, phones will once again provide the trigger. Every day, new readers are discovering the growing selection of audio books available. I joined Audible.com a couple of years ago and was only marginally impressed with the selection available at that time. Recently, though, I’m amazed at how quickly the selection is growing. The minute I started seeing indie published titles popping up on Audible.com, I knew I needed to investigate.

Where to Begin?

The first step was to go to ACX.com and create a “project page.” ACX is a part of Amazon, in the same way that CreateSpace is part of Amazon. You can do the whole thing through them. (I’m also discovering other studios, though, so more investigation is needed.)

What Does it Cost?

There are many options and variables. For instance, you can either pay a narrator upfront, in which case you keep all the royalties. Or, you can find a narrator willing to wave upfront payment in exchange for a cut of the royalties. I’m choosing to pay upfront because I have the means and I feel confident that I will at least recoup my investment. I think, though, that the other option is perfectly viable.

Narrators are paid “pfh,” per finished hour. I’m seeing rates all over the board from a $200 to $1,000 pfh. My contemporary romance novels should run about 8 hours.

In addition to the narrator, you’ll also need a producer. So total cost will include the studio and production. I’m still investigating this.

Finding a Narrator

This is the stage where I am right now. Within 24 hours of uploading my project page to ACX.com, I received two auditions. I wasn’t wild about either one. So, rather than sit around and wait for more narrators to find me, I decided to be proactive. A friend who actually works in the field of audio books told me about Tantor Studios. I contacted them yesterday, and this morning, I had two emails from people who work in the production end. So, looks like the ball is rolling!

Question: Do you listen to audio books? How important is the narrator to your enjoyment of the story?

UPDATE: I wound up going with Brick Shop Studios for the production of my Perfect trilogy with Jane Cramer as the narrator. I’m thrilled to say all three titles have been fully produced!

Almost Perfect ebook and audiobook

As of Nov. 12, 2013, book one in the trilogy, Almost Perfect, is no ON SALE at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Just Perfect and Too Perfect are available for pre-order.


  1. Tammy Seidick says:

    Thanks for the info, Julie! I’ve already started researching this for Kasey’s books … and not sure how to proceed. Did you look into selling your rights outright to Audible as well? Or was that something you didn’t even consider?

    I have listened to audio books … years and years ago (back when they were only cassettes or CDs). It’s something I think I would enjoy doing again. Good luck on your journey!

  2. Hi Julie, Going the same route, but my son has an in-home recording studio so we’re going to try this ourselves. We got tapes of three local pros and one jumped out at me as the major narrator of the book we want to start with. I’ll enjoy following your journey as we blaze a path on our own. Thanks for all your helpful tips.

  3. Garth Tuxford says:

    I am 66 years old and initially wrote my first novel in 2010 and wrote a sequel just a year later. Despite spending thousands of dollars on advertising and using a professional promoter, ha, the book went nowhere. I have given up on the paper type and I now have both books on Kindle. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. I am also wondering if going down the audio route would be a good idea.

    I have also written a children’s book and a book of poems but am groping in the dark with regards to getting my work recognised and widely read.

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