Years ago I created this mini-workshop for a local writing group I belong to. It’s a PowerPoint with basic instructions and a couple of videos on how to handle the most common audio editing issues. Here’s the straight facts from Tobi: narrating your own audiobooks allows you to get them up on Audible and other retailers quickly. If you have a best-selling book, hire a narrator through ACX or Findaway voices. If you aren’t selling thousands of copies a month of your book, then narrating your own book might be the best choice for you because your 80,000 word novel = 8 hours of narration. If you find someone willing to narrate for $50pfh (per finished hour) that will cost you $400, and if someone is using Audible credits, that means you’ll have to sell 400 audiobooks to earn back your investment. I’ve narrated top-selling books, written by best-selling authors, and those have sold around 250 audiobooks in their lifetime as an audiobook, and I started 10 years ago. If you are new to audio editing and narrating but tech savvy, expect your first book to take about five hours for each finished hour. So, your 80,000 word book will take you forty hours to produce–meaning each finished hour may take you five hours to produce. I’ve been doing this for ten years and I’m working at a rate of 3 hours for each per-finished-hour, so my 80,000 word book SHOULD take me about 25 hours to complete. LOL, like there isn’t laundry to be done, and the neighbor isn’t hammering outside. But you get the idea…It’s a nice side-hustle and if you have a nice voice, go for it. Your initial investment in equipment may be a few hundred dollars, but you won’t need to replace that equipment and if you’ve got a big backlist and plenty of time to narrate and produce, it could be worth it.
Worried if your voice is good enough? Listen to a recording of your voice reading a section of your book, pick one with multiple voices and dialogue. THEN, go to acx.com and check out the narrators who are charging $250pfh and listen to the quality of their voices. OR, compare your voice to audiobooks that you check out from the library. Finally, read through reviews of audiobooks that have narrators that are 1 and 2 stars and compare your sample to theirs. People will listen for 8 hours (or six if they speed it up) and your voice quality matters.
Finally, ACX does have the royalty share program, where a narrator is willing to narrate and produce your audiobook and you split the royalties, which is only 40% of the sale of the book because Audible takes the other 60%. You can put your book up and open it for auditions and see if there are any narrators with voices you like who submit an audition. Again, as a narrator, I no longer do royalty share because the payout is pretty bad for most books. But, there are still newbies in the business who are willing and may do a great job. Still have questions? Email me at AskIGW@gmail.com.