The Process and Cost of Creating an Audiobook

woman listening to audiobook

Have you ever been book drunk? Oh, you know what I mean. You’ve read a book so captivating, when you finish it, you’re a bit drunk from the immersive qualities of the story. In the same way, creating a high-quality audio book can give potential new readers the chance to become ‘drunk’ on your story. Let’s walk through the cost and process of creating an audiobook.

Investing in Audiobooks

As I mentioned in my presentation last week (video above), investing in audiobooks is a great way to gain new readers. Some readers are on the go professionals, others may be visually impaired, still others may have problems with reading comprehension…. but listening to your message can be the way to go.
When producing a good quality book, consider a few things;

  • What does my budget allow for?
  • What’s the best way to get an audiobook produced?
  • What are other ways to use an audio format for my books?

Platforms and Formats

Money is an important factor in getting the audiobook completed. No matter which way you go, audiobook production costs money. You hire a narrator to read your book. This narrator has the potential to get your readers attached to your message. This person’s performance will be crucial.
An audiobook editor makes sure the quality of the book is up to industry standards. No coughing, sighs, long pauses, or odd glitches allowed. All those things can affect the quality of your work. You want to make sure that you use someone who understands these things. Normally, the narrator does this, but make sure you research as well.

The platform(s) you decide to distribute on will be a factor. Amazon Audible has a huge market share but there are other competitors. Chirp is one. Look at their terms for distributing your audiobook on their platform. Make sure you check with the company or narrator, or if you are producing your own audiobook, to see what the requirements are. Look at what the royalty split is, how long will it be there on the platform, etc.
During the presentation last week, an author mentioned the message of their book would not translate well in audiobook format. My answer to that was to use an audio format–recording summations of the material and making them available for download via your website or blog. You can also create a podcast that surrounds the content of your book as well.

Cost of Creating an Audio Book

The cost of creating an audiobook can vary, but it will be an expense. You can either split royalties with your audiobook producer (narrator or company) or you can do it yourself. The price range varies on how much a producer charges for each completed hour. I’ve heard of estimates from $125 per completed hour to $200 or more. Well-known voice actors can charge more than that… and you wouldn’t mind if Morgan Freeman narrorated your book!

If your book is ten hours long at, estimating $100 an hour, you can expect to pay $1000 and some change in costs. Many authors I know do a royalty share, so the narrator doesn’t charge up front for the work they complete, but they split the royalty three ways. There are other terms you might be able to negotiate with an audiobook team to benefit you.

Do what works for your budget and time, but investing in an audiobook is a great way to gain new readers, and maybe they’ll get drunk on your work!

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