DIY vs. Outsourcing in Audiobook Creation: A Guide for Authors

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Audiobooks are quickly growing in popularity, with listeners and authors alike loving the possibilities they offer. From enabling listening to a story on the go to making books accessible to visually impaired people, audiobooks are revolutionizing the publishing industry and are unlikely to go away anytime soon (if ever). That’s why so many authors are choosing to create audio files of their books, seeing it as a way to reach a larger audience and gain new fans. An audiobook can garner more admiration from existing fans while also attracting new fans who would have never bought the written version of your book.

For emerging and especially self-published authors, the biggest issue is money. Doing it yourself will be cheaper, but unless you’re an expert oral storyteller, the final product won’t have the same quality as one made by a professional voice artist, which will cost more money but give you a larger return on your initial investment. You also have to consider your equipment and the background noise—no one will listen to a poorly recorded audiobook, no matter how great the content is. 

If you’re ready to hire a professional to turn your story into an audiobook, check out our end-to-end audiobook creation services for authors. If you’re still considering a DIY approach, read on to learn about the pros and cons. 

How to create an audiobook 

Anyone with basic equipment can record an audiobook, but that doesn’t mean the quality will be good as audiobook creation is a skill one needs to master. In addition, the process requires multiple steps to ensure the output is up to industry standards. 

The first step is preparing a script. Although an audiobook is an oral version of a written book, there’s more to recording it than simply reading out a manuscript or published copy. Inflection, pronunciation, pauses, emphasis, tone, dialogue, and even accent must all be considered so the person doing the recording knows how to read each sentence to make sure it reflects the author’s original intention. When you’re writing your book, you may feel that the intonation and emphasis are obvious, but when you start recording an audiobook, you’ll quickly realize there are multiple ways to read almost every line. This is especially important when it comes to dialogues—if they aren’t done right, the listening experience will suffer immensely.

The second step is the actual recording. Chapters, opening and closing credits, and marked silences (known as room tone) will make your recording sound professional; they are a necessary part of formatting your audiobook files and must all be taken into consideration along with the quality of the recording equipment and the reader’s skill. 

Once the recording is finished, the files must be edited and formatted before being submitted, which will necessitate an audio editing program. Ambient noises and other distracting sounds should be removed, and some sections might need to be re-recorded. Once the files are finalized, you can submit them to the proper channels and platforms so your audiobook can be distributed and sold. You can do this as an amateur, but when you consider the massive investment of time and effort, hiring a professional may be the most cost-effective method.

Outsourcing your audiobook creation

Outsourcing your audiobook creation is more expensive than doing it yourself, but it’s the best option for most authors. Not only will you receive a professional file that’s ready to upload, but every decision will be tailored specifically to your book and your requirements. A professional team will finish your project a lot quicker than you can do it yourself since they already know what they’re doing. You will likely get a higher return on your investment because professional audiobooks will sell better than those that sound amateurish. You’ll receive a boost to your reputation thanks to your polished, professional audiobook and can rest easy knowing the professional narrator has done your story justice.

A professional service will also offer you multiple voice actors to choose from so you can hire the voice that best suits your story, style, and theme. Of course, editing and finalizing your files are essential steps in producing a high-quality audiobook, but none of that will matter if the voice actor isn’t on point, which is why you, the author, should always have the final say on who will narrate your book. After all, your story should be told in the voice you hear in your head. Whether that’s your own or someone else’s, focus on what’s best for the story and your career. If your story is told in the first person, you’ll want a voice actor who matches the character—gender and age are big factors here. You can also choose the accent and dialect of your narrator.

Recording your own audiobook

Celebrities and public figures tend to record their own audiobooks because audiences want to hear them tell their story in their own voice. However, most authors, especially those who write fiction, will usually hire someone else to record their audiobook. If you’re determined to record your own audiobook, the good news is you can probably save a bit of money and learn some new skills. Your intimate knowledge of your story will come through in the recording and can make it sound more familiar and natural, turning it into a richer, more immersive experience for your listeners. 

However, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before you decide to do your own recording. Do you have a pleasant voice? Are you good at telling stories? Are you good at reading aloud? Can you inject emotion into your reading, especially into dialogue? Do you have some basic (but good-quality) recording equipment, for example, a good microphone? Do you have audio editing software, and do you know how to use it? Do you have the time to do all of this? Recording your own audiobook is possible, but it can also be overwhelming, which is why most authors choose to outsource their audiobook creation to professionals. 

A professional service will help you create the best-quality recording of your book so you can focus on other projects, freeing up your time while the experts finalize an industry-standard audio file. In this way, you end up with a professional audiobook and a headstart on your next masterpiece. If you’re ready to expand your market, check out our end-to-end audiobook creation services to choose your voice actor and begin the process right away. 

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