Saturday 1 May 2021

Producing an audio book

The audio version of my romance Escape To The Country is now available! The narrator is actress Claire Storey (you may have heard her voice doing those BBC intro things or voice overs) and she's done a fabulous job. As my main character Leah spends quite a lot of time eating the delicious food and drinking herbal concoctions created by her aunt Jayne on the small farm, it seems very appropriate to have someone who worked on The Great British Bake Off reading the novel!

I still have a few codes for review copies to give away. If you have an account with either or and are willing to leave a review then contact me, or leave a comment – saying which site you use. If you don't yet have an Audible account but would like to try it, you should be able to get a free 30 day trial complete with my book by using this link.

It's not too difficult to self publish an audio book. Several companies offer a service to help with this including Audible (Amazon), Findaway Voices and Tantor. There are a few things to keep in mind which don't apply to ebooks and paperbacks. The most obvious is the choice of narrator. 

If you have the right equipment, or hire a studio, you could read it yourself. That might be a good option for a memoir or non-fiction book. However not everyone is good at reading aloud in a clear, consistent voice, or at bringing different characters to life. I sometimes give talks including readings of a few of my short stories, but I couldn't narrate a novel. 

You also need to consider if your voice, or that of the narrator, is appropriate. In a first person story particularly, it would be confusing to the listener if the reader is clearly a different gender, age, nationality etc. It's best to listen to several 'auditions' (just short recordings of the person reading part of your book) to be sure you've selected the right person. It's common for the narrator to also be the producer.

Something else to consider is the financial aspect. If you use a narrator you can either pay them a flat fee (rates vary hugely – and some really are huge!) or do a royalty split. With the former you'll receive all the royalties and take all the risk. Sharing both might seem a better option, but you'll need to convince the narrator it's worth their time. Apparently each finished hour of recording takes about six hours to produce.

As with ebooks and paperbacks you also have the option of 'going wide' (making the audio book available through more than one platform) or being exclusive with one. The affects your royalty rates, and those of your narrator if you're doing a royalty split.

Even if you don't narrate the book yourself it will take up some of your time. The narrator may have questions about pronunciation, accents or tone. You will also need to listen carefully to the entire recording and note anything which isn't right, until you're happy with it.

You'll also need a new cover as those for audio books are square!

The blurb can stay the same as for the ebook and paperback. Here's mine for Escape To The Country

Leah is accused of a crime she didn't commit. Dumped by Adam, the man she planned to marry, she escapes to Aunt Jayne's smallholding in the Kent village of Winkleigh Marsh. Heartbroken and homeless, she strives to clear her name and deal with her emotions.

Jayne treats Leah's unhappiness with herbal remedies, cowslip wine and common sense in equal measure. In return Leah works hard for the delicious home-cooked meals they share. She wrestles with sheep, breaks nails and gets stuck in the mud – learning as much about herself as she does about farming. Soon Leah is happy milking cows, mucking out pigs and falling halfway in love with Duncan, a dishy tractor driver.

Back in London, steps are being taken to investigate what's happened to the missing money. It looks as though the real embezzler must soon be unmasked and Leah will have to choose between resuming her old life or starting a new one.

That's when her problems really start.

My novel Paint Me A Picture has also been recorded and is awaiting release, and one of my short story collections will follow.


Elizabeth McGinty said...

Congratulations Patsy on getting your book into audio, and for this detailed post explaining the process.
It's sounds great that you have had so much input and decision making to produce the finished result and what a feeling of satisfaction that must bring.
Very well done, I hope it flies, or maybe I should say floats through the airwaves. Thank you for generously sharing your experiences :)

Jenny Worstall said...

Really interesting, Patsy. Thank you. I've not tried to produce an audiobook (yet!!), but you have made me feel it would be possible with this very clear and helpful advice.

ados123 said...

Well done, Patsy. Good luck with the audiobooks. Well outside my comfort zone...

Bendywriter said...

Congratulations, both on the finished product and for seeing it through. I'm sure that it took a lot of time and hard work to make it from idea to reality.

Marguerite said...

Ditto as Alyson above - probably not something I would ever do but I know they are coming more and more on stream - well done for getting in there, Patsy!

Nas said...

Congratulations on getting all done to your satisfaction!

Mary Aalgaard said...

How fun to have your book on audio! Congratulations on all your accomplishments!