How much does it cost to make an audiobook?

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    Find out how much does it cost to make an audiobook and why you might be better off using Speechify for your production and distribution needs.

    Many people enjoy audio recordings these days, from podcasts to audiobooks. It lets everyone consume their favorite stories while doing other things. You can’t do that when reading a book on a Kindle device.

    But this content format isn’t understood well enough by authors. Not everyone can afford to do an audiobook version of their stories.

    Audiobook production comes with many technical requirements, voiceover expenses, split royalty share options, and other costs.

    Here’s what you need to know before turning your own book into an audio version.

    The costs of making an audiobook – An overview

    It’s possible to do DIY audiobook production if you have content and the right tools for the job. But it might not be as cheap as you think if you want a high-quality product.

    Here are the main expenses you can expect when making your own audiobook.

    Equipment

    Much of the audiobook production costs come from the gear. It would be best if you had a microphone with a pop filter, an audio interface, recording and production software (e.g., ACX or Audacity), headphones, and a microphone stand.

    This equipment can give you the barebones configuration for making an audiobook recording. Some indie authors may use affordable hardware and software to produce audiobooks and limit their expenses.

    Production costs

    If you want to take it one step further and aren’t satisfied with the prospect of an average audiobook, you need a studio and professional help. This is when audio production gets expensive.

    Time in the studio costs a lot, especially working with people with enough industry know-how. Audiobook producers, professional narrators, audio engineers, and other specialists work together to create the audio version of your story.

    Recording sessions can take many days before you get the right tone and cadence from voice actors and edit the audio files for crystal-clear vocal quality.

    Distribution costs

    The cost of an audiobook goes even higher than some self-published authors realize. It’s essential to make room in the budget for more than engineers, audio specialists, and an experienced narrator.

    Bestsellers often get many audiobook sales. But if you don’t have a bestseller, you need to work with a professional audiobook service and market the story extensively. This raises the cost of an audiobook even higher because everyone wants a cut.

    Some publishing houses may use a flat fee. For others, you may want to agree to the royalty share. And that doesn’t even account for potential royalties you might have to pay to an experienced narrator or celebrity voice actor.

    Production services are expensive but aren’t the total cost of getting a finished audiobook in front of your audience.

    Audiobook making options

    Bringing a new audiobook to market involves hard work and a significant financial investment if you want to deliver the best quality. Therefore, you must know your options when it comes to audiobook production.

    Make it yourself

    Recording your own audiobook will be a significant challenge. You can save money on production costs by doing everything yourself.

    However, you must hone your technical skills, invest in equipment, and learn to narrate as best you can. Naturally, this can work in your favor if you focus on non-fiction stories. Your fans may appreciate hearing you narrate, and you benefit from complete creative control.

    Share revenue with a narrator

    You can split the audiobook production work if you share revenue with a professional narrator. Usually, this involves entering a royalty share agreement.

    But as an upside, you can negotiate terms and might have no upfront cost. The downside is that you might lose up to 50% or more of your earnings by signing exclusivity contracts with Amazon Audible, Spotify, iTunes, and similar production houses.

    Pay a narrator to handle everything

    Getting someone else to do everything is another option. You can often do this by entering a per-finished-hour (PFH) agreement. You may pay a flat rate for each finished hour of your audiobook.

    But the costs vary wildly based on skills required, narrator reputation, production value, etc. On the other hand, you can save a lot in profits if you get many audiobook sales and produce it for an affordable flat rate.

    Make a hybrid agreement

    Hybrid contracts are what you might find when partnering with ACX. You can do a split down the middle on royalties. However, you also pay a PFH rate for audiobook production.

    Although it sounds unnecessarily expensive, you may find it easier to attract better voice talent. Unfortunately, this isn’t a given, so it pays to exercise caution and do your due diligence before signing a hybrid contract.

    Use Speechify

    Lastly, you can use Speechify to make your audiobook. You can think of Speechify as the perfect balance between making it yourself and partnering with professionals.

    Speechify is one of the newcomers in the audiobook industry. But it has one of the best apps available, high-quality audio, and popular titles. In addition, it has room for a wide range of genres and offers fair deals to authors so they can publish faster without sacrificing quality.

    You can keep your creative control and have your audiobook in the same library with titles from some of the most talented writers and celebrities.

    Make your audiobook easily with Speechify

    If you want to see how Speechify can get you from writer to published audiobook author, you have to set up an account. Explore the library to see where your finished work can fit and how people use the app.

    Try the service today and get one step closer to making your audiobook publishing dream a reality.

    FAQ

    How much do audiobooks cost?

    Audiobooks can cost a couple of dollars up to tens of dollars or hundreds when sold as volume sets.

    Is it profitable to make audiobooks?

    Making audiobooks can generate revenue if you balance production costs and market the book on the right channels.

    How much does it pay to become an audiobook narrator?

    Narrators can charge anywhere from $30 to hundreds or thousands of dollars per finished hour of work. Famous screen actors like Tom Hanks can earn millions of dollars from audiobook work.

    How long does it take to narrate an audiobook?

    Although some audiobooks can be close to 20 hours long, sometimes narrators work up to three hours to get a finished hour for the audiobook.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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