Creating Your Audiobook: Part I
Whether you have published a print book yet or not, an audiobook will certainly help boost your book sales.
Whether you are a fan of audiobooks or have ever even listened to an audiobook, you should know how helpful it would be to have an audiobook.
... and whether or not you have any interest in getting paid speaking engagements and selling a lot of books afterwards, know how helpful it would be to have an audiobook!
I recorded and published my first audiobook earlier this year (2019) – Think Differently to Achieve Success! My book had already been published for over 10 years before I finally realized I was missing out on exposure and book sales by not having the book available as an audiobook.
After speaking engagements at book signing tables, I was repeatedly asked whether my book was also available in audiobook format. After replying “No” for the ump-teenth time, the universe finally got my attention. People wanted my book but in a format that was convenient for them!
Has this ever happened to you where people ask you the same question and over? If so, something is trying to get your attention too!
The main reason I had not recorded a Think Differently audiobook is because I didn’t know “how.” And what l I had heard about audiobook recording was that it was time intensive, expensive, and frustrating.
So beginning with the end in mind, I began looking into how to create an audiobook. I researched the topic on the Internet, quickly finding myself in rabbit hole after rabbit hole of information and various opinions. It was exhausting and overwhelming. There’s lots of “noise” out there with how to make an audiobook from people who want your business.
Believing in coaching and asking for help when needed, I actually hired a coach to help me determine which company was the best for me. An hour phone call was all I needed for clarity!
My coach helped me realize there were many options. Based on my goals for distribution, exclusivity, and royalty percentages, one option stood out best for me. I’ll explain this option in Part II of this series!
I took a lot of notes and became clear on my personal pros and cons for moving forward with an audiobook. I created a budget for how much an audiobook would cost to produce and, most importantly, I became crystal clear on the specific process for audiobook upload requirements.
During my research I also asked lots of questions from audiobook authors who had paved the road before me. I learned from them, including what pitfalls to avoid from their experiences.
Fortunately, there is a “Write Way” for producing an audiobook!
Wouldn’t you agree that it would be better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to make your own?
At least I think so. This is why I constantly share my “lessons” with you so you can learn from “mistakes” I’ve already made and not have to make them on your own. As I say to my audiences, “The only mistakes are the ones we don’t learn from.”
Also, contrary to recommendations from some audiobook authors I spoke with, I did my audiobook all on my own (DIY – Do It Yourself).
Submitting my audiobook and having it approved for distribution on Amazon.com was not nearly as complicated or time intensive as others seemed to have found it to be. In fact, my audio files were approved on the very first submission!
Preparing my book to be read and then reading it myself was also an unexpected and extraordinary experience for me as a speaker. The process helped me reconnect with some of my book content. I refamiliarized myself with some stories I had not thought about in a while.
The bottom line from my experience is that I would recommend audiobook DIY for anyone who is, or desires to be, a professional speaker. You’ll be a better speaker and your speaking career will thank you for it in dividends later. Listeners to your audiobook will expect to hear your voice as well.
So look, there are many options for how to record an audiobook. You certainly can do it ALL on your own, or you can do parts of the process and hire parts out of the process, or you can hire it all out.
If you hire it out though, you will be paying a studio for their recording setup and time. You will be paying someone to edit all your recorded files and every time they upload files until you meet upload requirements. And you will be paying a lot of money for someone else to narrate your book.
Of course having someone else do the work saves you time, but their billable hours will quickly add up into the hundreds and very likely thousands of dollars.
In my opinion, the pros of DIY far outweigh any cons.
When I recorded my audiobook, I gained experience about audio recording and editing, which I can use now for a lifetime in my speaking, speaker coaching, webinars, and even writing business. Cliché but true.
I had minimal prior experience starting off but I didn’t let that hold me back. After only a few hours of watching tutorials and making some test recordings, I was ready - no recording studio, narrator, or editor needed—this not only saved me thousands but it also made me feel even more proud about my audiobook experience!
The first thing to consider is where you will upload your completed audio files. Two of the most well-known platforms are ACX/Audible (owned by Amazon) and Findawayvoices.com. They each have their own requirements for audio files so that is why it is important to make your platform decision before recording begins—so you do it right! They also have different requirements for royalties, distribution and exclusivity.
If you plan to host/sell your audiobook files on your own website rather than through Audible, for example, then be very aware about the pros and cons of this strategy. The audience you'll be missing from not being on Amazon might be far, far greater than your limited circle, respectfully. I've seen this done both ways, and I've never met someone who recorded an audiobook and earned massive book sales hosting on their own site. If you've done it, I'd be happy to hear from you and showcase you in Part IIII!
In part II of this “Creating Your Audiobook” series, I’ll share you with you the platform I decided to use.
Before we talk details, let’s get solid on the “why” to go to the trouble/expense of creating an audiobook. First and foremost, if you are an aspiring author, current author, or speaker, having an audiobook should drastically impact your book sales and your paid speaking engagements. I’m living proof.
As I’ve already mentioned earlier, an audiobook is simply an additional way for a consumer to “consume” your book knowledge—giving them options to consume your book the way they prefer.
From my experience, many people are only audiobook listeners right now. Life is busy and they don’t have “time to read.” But because they have a 45-minute+ commute to work each day, they have “time to listen!” I know several people who listen to 2-3 audiobooks per week simply driving to/from work in the car.
According to Pew Research, only 37 percent of surveyed Americans stated they only read print books. This means, 67 percent of Americans purchase e-books, audiobooks, or both!
So if you’re not an e-book reader or an audiobook listener, you’re actually in the minority.
And many of these consumers who prefer e-book and audiobook formats won’t purchase your book if it’s only available in print format. These were the people who inspired me to record my audiobook earlier this year. I knew the reason they didn’t purchase my book because they told me to my face after a speech during a book signing session! They wanted my book, but they wanted it in audiobook format!
So don’t think of your book preferences, think of your potential consumer’s preferences. If you don’t read e-books or listen to audiobooks, then fine. That’s your preference. Keep buying print books and enjoy them!
But if you’re an author, or desire to be soon, you must have print, e-book, and audiobook formats available if you’re serious about exposure for your book and book sales.
Especially have an audiobook if you’re wanting to earn paid speaking engagements! It becomes part of your brand and an additional potential revenue stream.
Even the Pew Research suggests that you’re missing out on the majority of a potential reader base (i.e. potential consumers) if you do not have e-book and audiobook formats.
In order to have an audiobook available on Amazon.com, the world’s largest book retailer, you must already have a print book or an e-book first. You cannot only list an audiobook.
To help you publish your book, I recommend you contact Write Way Publishing. Whether you need assistance in outlining your book, writing, editing, or publishing, they can help.
After your print book is published, e-book conversion is relatively simple. Write Way Publishing provides e-book conversion and it only takes a few days.
Once you have a print book or e-book, you might as well have an audiobook! Go for it and just have all three formats: print book, e-book AND audiobook.
And once you have your book formats finished, you benefit from them for years to come! I published my first book, Think Differently to Achieve Success!, in 2007, made a revision to it in 2018, created a hardback version in 2018, and finally created an audiobook in 2019. I’ve sold thousands of books this year alone from a book I wrote over a decade ago.
I share that with you simply because I’m living proof. You can do this too!
(Side note: I’ve sold more hardcover books than softcovers this year!)
In part II of this series, “Creating an Audiobook,” I’m going to walk you through the steps of actually creating an audiobook, whether you do it on your own or have someone else do it for you. If you plan to hire out your audiobook, you still need to know the steps.
To contact me, Kevin@KevinCSnyder.com
To visit Write Way Publishing, visit www.WriteWayPublishingCompany.com
For information about how to earn paid speaking engagements, I'd encourage you to get a copy of my book, PAID o $PEAK: How to become a professional speaker.
You can also reach out to me for a complimentary consultation to talk about your speaking goals and explore how to launch your speaking business. Watch below ...
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In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated. If you're not a subscriber to these speaker articles, submit your email today!
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