Audiobook Q and A

If you’re thinking about the market, royalties, costs, narration, duration, recording, standards, permissions and pitfalls of creating an audiobook… check this out!

Why do I want one?

Audiobook sales are increasing at 40% in the UK, 30% in the US and approaching 20% in Australia. These international markets for your book are extended when you also have an audio version of your book to sell.

How much does it cost?

Allow around $1,000 per 10,000 words. For example, if your book has a word count of 40,000, it will cost around AU $4,000 ex GST to convert to audio.

How do I know if I can narrate?

Many authors are also public speakers, particularly if you are writing as an expert (say on business topics). We recommend that you narrate your audiobook yourself, to reinforce your voice as a key part of your brand recognition. If you are uncertain about narrating, we are happy to receive a recorded sample of your voice to give you feedback. We have a voice coach to help build ability and confidence. If you have written a novel, and require voicing for some or all of your book’s characters, we have expert female and male narrators who can help.

How long does it take?

We begin by estimating the length of your audiobook. The rule of thumb is, one hour of ‘finished audio’ for every 10, 000 words of your book. So a 40,000 word book will result in an audiobook of around 4 hours of finished audio. Based on this estimate, the recording takes around 6 hours, the editing takes around 30 hours, and the production and delivery of the audiobook itself takes about 4 hours. We usually have your audiobook ready within 2 working weeks. If you would like us to upload your book for sale at Audible (Amazon), iTunes and another 10 online bookstores, libraries and radio stations, it will take a small additional investment, and a further 4 weeks to be published across those outlets. So around a month and a half in total.

Where can I record it?

We can record you audiobook in the comfort of your own home, office, motel room or in a studio. We come to you, use our own sound equipment to record and create a professionally mastered audiobook to industry standards.

Do you have samples I can listen to?

We have published to all the major audiobook online outlets. If you would like to hear samples from our author’s audiobooks, please visit:

Whose permission do I need to publish?

If you are a self-published author, then generally you own the audio publication rights. In this case, we can use your permission to publish. However, if you released your book through any publishing house (Penguin Random House, Simon and Shuster, etc), your contract is likely to contain a clause about audio distribution rights. It is essential to contact your publisher and discuss your audiobook plans. In some cases, the publisher may levy a fee to ‘buy out’ the audiobook production rights. This can significantly change the total cost of production and distribution.

Who is listening to audio?

The short answer is Generation Y and millenials. Although audiobooks are nothing new, smartphones, online outlets and multimedia have created unprecedented and easy access to all forms of audio. As time goes by, an increasing number of Gen X’ers and baby boomers are buying in too. In addition, as audio technology becomes more ‘voice driven’, earlier generations are adopting audiobooks as reading and television become less accessible with age.

How can I promote it?

Audiobooks can be promoted using the same techniques used to promote your book: PR (publicity), book launches, social media, chapter samples, public speaking events and through your website. Many authors are now coordinating the simultaneous release of their paperback, eBook and audiobook to drive their promotional budget further and extend their international market reach.

Can I do podcasts?

Yes, absolutely! A podcast series is a great way to re-purpose and promote your book content and expert advice. One of our customers reached the iTunes business podcast top 50 after releasing their first 6 episodes. Have a listen to ‘Anecdotally Speaking’ at iTunes: or Stitcher:

Can I earn royalties?

Yes. Audiobook royalties follow a similar pattern to book royalties. Generally speaking, you will earn a higher royalty percentage for an exclusive arrangement (for example, if you chose to only distribute via Audible and iTunes). We publish via an ‘aggregator’ called Author’s Republic to maximise the number of online outlets where your audiobook will be sold. Your royalty payments are summarised in a single location and paid into your PayPal account.

Can I use images?

Audiobooks are available in two formats: MP3 and M4A. MP3 files are the current standard required for online outlets. If you would also like to offer your audiobook for direct sale from your website shop, then the M4A format allows you to include a graphic image for each part, chapter and section of your audiobook. This allows easy navigation from your customer’s smartphone, providing a table of contents and a graphic for the section currently being listened to.

Can I use music?

Yes. We can provide short, musical interludes to introduce chapters. Please be aware however, that even so-called ‘royalty free’ music licenses can be quite expensive, and for some audiobook use is prohibited. A recent enquiry discovered that a single song could cost as much as AU $450 for a perpetual license. We do offer cheaper options, but the choice of genre is more limited.

Can I record it myself?

The ultimate quality of your audiobook is determined by the standard, clarity and consistency of the original recording. For this reason, we always suggest that our engineers conduct the recording on our equipment (regardless of the narrator). It gives you piece of mind, avoids equipment costs, and if you are narrating, you have an ‘audience ear’ to narrate to. This tends to improve narrator performance, allows for discussion around pronunciation, and note taking around mis-reads, quotable quotes and candidate passages for later audiobook promotion. The subsequent editing and production processes are also greatly simplified.

Will I have to travel?

The short answer is No, but we can certainly accommodate it if you choose to. A Sydney customer was travelling to Melbourne on business for a week, so we conducted the recording in his Melbourne motel room. The savings to the customer were the additional airfares and accommodation charges necessary for us to record his book in his home state.

Where can things go wrong?

Like any project, creating an audiobook can sometimes have it’s problems. And like health care, prevention is always better than cure! Preventative measures include: consulting with us in detail before deciding to record yourself, thinking about how to reference any book infographics orally, and be realistic about your determination to narrate yourself. Most authors have only been able to cope well with 6 hours of narration in a given day. Anything beyond that has sounded tired and usually necessitates re-recording and additional cost. It is most important to be very familiar with your book content – a well rehearsed narrative always produces a better result. Our professional narrators are worthy of consideration, especially for busy authors running enterprises, for whom a 2 or 3 day recording session is going to be difficult to schedule. And finally, always provide us with a paperback (and if available eBook) copy of your book, so we can get the tightest possible match between your written and spoken words.

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