Creating an Audiobook: My First Experience & What I Learned

So, yeah… I made an audiobook for the first time and I didn’t hire anyone to do a d*mn thing.

 

In the midst of attempting to jump into traditional publishing behind the scenes, I’m being sure to stay consistent with releasing content for fans of my work to check out right now. This consists of short stories and also blog posts where I share some tea on the sh*t I’m doing and how I’m getting it done. But, I didn’t want to just put out short story e-books, I wanted to also have audiobooks available because I know a lot of people prefer them over reading.

 

Soooo, I looked into the process of creating audiobooks and it seemed easy enough! Especially since I use Amazon KDP for my ebooks and they partner with an audiobook platform that makes the process much easier than I could’ve ever expected.

 

With that being said, let me tell you how my first time creating an audiobook went.

 

Creating an Audiobook: My First Experience & What I Learned

 
 
 

The audiobook platform that is partnered with Amazon KDP is called ACX. Per the ACX website, it is a marketplace where authors, literary agents, publishers, etc. can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, etc. in order to produce a finished audiobook. ACX is brought about by Audible.com, which is a subsidiary of the all-powerful Amazon.com.

 

This explains the partnering and convenient connection between creating your eBook on Amazon and being able to simply transform it into an audiobook on ACX.

 

When you first access ACX and link to your Amazon KDP account, a list of your active titles on Amazon appears on ACX for you to select from. To create an audiobook for a title, it must be active on Amazon. This means the book must currently be available for pre-order or actually on sale.

 

I didn’t know this.

 

So, when I finished the eBook for Goodbye, Hello I made it available for pre-order sooner than I initially planned to. When you submit the piece for pre-order, KDP says the review can take 48 hours but I received an email with approval in about 6. Once I got the approval, I went back over to ACX, saw the Goodbye, Hello title now listed amongst my other Amazon active works and was able to select it and create the new audiobook project.

 

I wanted to record the audiobook myself because, duh. It’s my work, it should be my voice that reads it aloud to listeners. I looked into ACX’s requirements for audiobook recordings: each section of the work must have its own audio file (chapter I, chapter II, etc.), each file must have about 3-5 seconds of room tone at the start and end, the volume must be at a certain level, no background noise, etc. It’s a long list of requirements that all make perfect sense to ensure your recordings are of good quality for listeners. This makes sure they have a good experience, which you should want them to, and in turn prevents your work from enduring harsh reviews due to sounding like trash.

 

At first, I had a ghetto-fancy setup in the bathroom with a high-quality microphone and camera I could extract the audio from and discard the video. But the sound seemed to bounce off the bathroom walls and created a weird echo I didn’t like (rookie mistake). So I ended up re-recording early in the morning in my bedroom with the microphone of my Beats by Dre headphones on GarageBand. Then I saved the audio and tossed it over to iMovie to edit.

 

After all the audio files were complete, I uploaded them to ACX in their designated section headings and submitted the audiobook files for review. Once you submit them, the site prompts you to confirm you’re cool with the project being for sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes because once your project is approved it will immediately be for sale on those platforms. You can’t pick a date for the audiobook to be launched (at least I couldn’t from what I could see) so that’s a big thing to be aware of. And it also said review can take 10-14 business days, but I heard back from them in 3 days by email letting me know the volume of some of my files were off.

 

So, I edited the volume of the listed files and re-submitted them same-day.

 

Then, I checked the status 10 days later and noticed it had updated to being ‘ready for retail’. This was a good sign, as it let me know the edits I made to the volume passed that second review and the project was on the road toward officially being for sale. But after a number of days, it was still in that status so I did a quick search online and found some helpful information from other audiobook creators in a forum. They said how they had questions about how long the project’s status would be in the ‘ready for retail’ status, so they emailed ACX and was told how the process takes 10-14 business-days. But then, their audiobooks were approved within 1-2 days after that email.

 

So, emailed ACX. And sure enough, the same communication happened with me and the next day, I was emailed with the alert that my audiobook had been approved and is now for sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

 

Shoutout to quick internet searches and online forums coming through with accurate information.

 
 

Would I create an audiobook again?

 

Absolutely. I learned so much this first time around. From the best, simplest way to record the project while still having great quality and what programs to use to edit the audio clips, to the process for submitting the project to ACX and how long it can take, etc. I can now take what I learned and apply it to future pieces without as much confusion.

 

I hope this little bit of my experience helps someone out there that may be considering giving it a try. It’s super easy and if a beginner like me could do it, you could certainly do it too!

 

Have you created an audiobook before or thinking about it and have more questions? Let me know, I would love to discuss the process with you!

 

xo

 

-aew

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