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How to Publish and Market Your Own Audio Book

Updated on August 30, 2022
dougwest1 profile image

My writing interests are general, with expertise in science, history, biographies, and how-to topics. I have written over 70 books.


The 21st century reader

For many people being read to is more conducive to understanding, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why both young and old alike are choosing to “read” their favorite titles by an impressive voice.

Instead of reading a book while holding it, one can put on earphones and listen to the book being read while other tasks are completed. Bookworms who have discovered audio books soon develop the habit of listening to their favorite titles while driving, traveling, or working out. Many of them have never looked back and have become audio book converts.

A multi-tasker that thrives on doing more than two things at any one time usually listens to music or stories. Reading on the go is now quite common, and now studies reveal that audio book listeners go about this leisurely activity while commuting (47%), exercising (23%) and doing household chores (25%). Fortunately, for intrepid readers, many different types of written works are available in audio format, including non-fiction books, fiction, short stories, books of poetry, and children’s stories. These days, avid readers who already have a shelf full of their favorite volumes tend to look for the audio book version. The attraction to audio books is founded not just on the arresting plot of a good read, but also on the entertainment factor unique to the audio book experience.


Help for aspiring audio book authors

Are you an aspiring author? Have you already written a book that you want to publish in digital audio format? Today, you can take advantage of the growing interest in audio books and choose to introduce your work on audio format rather than in print. Modern audio books come in compact disc format or in downloadable audio file, usually in MP3 format. The most popular online sources for audio books today are iTunes Store, Audible, and Amazon. These sites allow for audio book downloads for a price.

Today, the most common means to publish an audio book is by uploading them as digital files and letting readers download it for a specific price. If you have a book that you want to publish not only in print but as an audio book as well, then you can either publish the book on your own or entrust the whole process to a publishing house.

Publishing on your own is an option if you have the wherewithal and if you are open to learning new things. This is an option for those who are willing to take risks and make mistakes. If this is the kind of experience that you aspire to have on your first ever forays into the world of book publishing, then you need to be ready to work very hard. For those who are adamant about seeing the publishing process through on their own, they can refer to published references and audio books on the subject. There is no shortage of resources for people who want to publish their book in electronic format, audio format, or print. If you are ready for the challenge then you might as well start doing your homework now, and in the process determine whether you are up for it.

The second option is a lot less time-consuming, less difficult, and does not involve a learning curve. This involves finding a company to do all the work. All you need to do is be ready to shoulder the expenses. Nevertheless, it pays to choose very carefully so that you can expect a good start to your career as an audio book author. Find the best company around. By entrusting your written work to a reputable team, that knows how best to publish an audio book, then you can look forward to seeing your work listed on Amazon, Audible, iTunes or featured in your own personal website.

Should I read the book myself or hire a professional reader?

A narrator is a person who records audio books, whose main task is to read the contents of the book in a professional manner. Fictional works often require the narrator to assume different vocal characters, and so it is imperative for a good narrator to be able to perform character voices that do not melt into each other but instead are distinguishable to one another. There are numerous vocal tones, inflections, and styles, and the perfect one must be found that fits the audio book’s content.

More than one expert has declared that an author lives or dies by his audio book narrator. The reason for this is the notion that audio book aficionados have and so they are partial to titles read to them by a famous voice talent or actor. The truth is people want to listen to a book read to them by a voice that has a high quality sound and exudes authority.

New authors can count on the talents of a professional reader so that the audio book is of the best quality. Apart from finding a good narrator, state-of-the-art equipment must be used during the recording session. With a microphone and studio that leaves nothing to chance, an excellent audio book is produced for readers to enjoy.

Many websites are dedicated to providing authors with voice talents that will read their audio book. Hundreds of them are listed online. You can contact the webmaster for more information about the audio book narrators who are associated with them. Some professional readers are already very famous in the industry and enjoy popularity and distinction, and these are the people that you need to find and work with. They are celebrities in their own right and they are some of the best voices audio book listeners encounter when they buy an audio book title. A golden-voiced narrator with a famous name is sure to sell a few thousand copies and boost interest on a title.

There is one factor to consider with regard to whether you can forgo getting the services of a professional reader. The trend these days is for the author to read a non-fiction work. If the audio book is a work of fiction, then the usual practice is to find a narrator with a voice and tone that complements the story while sounding appealing to audio book listeners.

What are some of the technical details on script preparation, recording, and production?

For self-published authors there are many different aspects of audio book production and recording to prepare for. For instance, the script prep must be very thorough indeed. This entails practice reading, full comprehension of every line contained in the reading material, and making notations. Most of the time additional research is necessary. One of the areas that require research and additional technical preparation is pronunciation of worst that are foreign, historical, or uncommonly used in everyday speech and communications.

Prior to the recording of the audio book, the hardware and software requirements must be attended to. There are also preparations required in terms optimal microphone settings as well as the tone of the room, or whether there are extraneous, sounds caught on tape during the recording process. Ideally, the voice must stand out and the sound quality is clear. The background must be totally quiet, without undesirable noises. In order to ensure that the environment is optimal for the recording session, acoustic panels and certain sound filters may have to be installed. Because the quality of sound in an audio book is one of its most crucial elements, putting together a recording setup that has all the ideal characteristics must be prioritized.

Before the actual recording, trial recordings need to be made and a file backup system must also be established for the raw audio using a reliable computer program. Regarding the use of software, you must be discerning and cautious. For instance, a bad recording cannot always be fixed by plugins. If there are noises in the recording already, improper use of software may only add new artifacts. Post-recording production must also be scheduled in order for the audio book to sound as if time, effort, and resources have been invested on it.

What are the budgetary considerations?

The budgetary requirements for self-published and professionally done audio books depend on two main factors. These are narration and production. There is no amount that can readily be given as an estimate of expenses because there are too many factors at play. One of the most important influences on budget is the number of words that the book contains. In fact, this is the basis for the duration of the recording period, which is factored in turn in determining the amount of money that goes to the narrator. For instance, an audio book that contains an average of 100,000 words usually comes out as 11 hours of audio or 22 hours with the voice talent inside the studio. Moreover, editing must be done after recording. In general, this takes about twice as long and the budget must also account for editing expenses.

How do I market the audio book?

There are so many ways to go about promoting a new audio book to the public, but the most successful ones share one thing in common—they had a great plan and they implemented it step by step. A well-thought out marketing plan can boost an audio book’s sales and exposure.

In terms of marketing an audio book, established authors have it easier since they can utilize existing channels available to them to put the word out that a new title is available. For instance, they can send out a tweet to their followers announcing the availability of a new audio book. They can also mention the new title and offer the public an overview of the audio book’s content whenever they are being interviewed. It is also common these days for authors to release information about their audio book titles via podcast interviews. In promoting the audio book using these methods, one of the most important details is when and where the title may be procured, such as for instance the exact date that the audio book will be available in iTunes or Amazon.

If there are service providers that offer promotional and marketing activities, then you must discuss with them in detail what the availed marketing package includes. You are definitely not writing an audio book for free. You want revenues, and you hope to enjoy return of investments as soon as possible.

A company that specializes in advertising, promotion, and marketing of audio books can really help a novice audio book author like you to succeed in this very challenging endeavor. Usually, the author is given the chance to choose what level of sales the title could generate so that serves as the marketing program’s target. The service provider then takes charge and conducts all activities related to promoting a book with the end-goal of achieving publishing success.

There are professional publicists who are experts in book marketing and publishing and they can be sought for advice with regard to the marketing campaign that suits your work best. With the help of an expert, a marketing strategy has to be developed for best results. Media recognition is the end- outcome of an effective marketing campaign.

It is important to find consultants that specialize in audio book production, marketing, and promotion. They usually are affiliated with specialized companies that venture exclusively in audio books publishing. The audio book publishing industry is manned operators that not only take charge of the publishing aspect, but also the initial marketing and distribution. If you choose to avail of the services of a publishing house, choose one that has existing connection with online stores, brick-and-mortar establishments, and wholesalers.

My Book on Publishing Your Own Audio Book


  • West, Doug. How to Write, Publish and Market Your Own Audio Book. C&D Publications. 2015.

© 2014 Doug West


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