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Whether you’re writing your first book or your tenth, you’ve probably noticed that more and more authors are publishing audiobooks in addition to their paperbacks, hardcovers and ebooks. And you might be wondering if you should do it, too. 

Even though audiobooks have been around since 1932 (when they were recorded on vinyl!), it wasn’t an easy thing to produce until the rise of digital publishing in the 2010s. And while listening to books has been a trend since the inception of books on vinyl, tape and CD, now that authors can create recordings on mp3 tracks, more and more of them are actually doing so. 

We work with many self-published authors in the retirement stage of life, who’ve finally gotten around to writing that book they’ve always wanted to write. We also work with business executives and entrepreneurs who are publishing books to become authorities in their niches. While our usual stand is that every author should consider publishing their book in as many formats as possible (to give your readers the option they most prefer), it might not make sense for everyone. Here’s why.

There’s an upfront cost

If you decide to hire a narrator to record your book, you’ll pay upwards of $150 per finished hour to have your book recorded and edited. Even if you decide to record the book yourself, you’ll have the expenses required to set up your home studio, and an audio editor still, which can cost upwards of $80 per finished hour. We don’t recommend trying to do the editing yourself unless you’re already an experienced audio editor. Most audiobook platforms, like Amazon’s ACX, have specific requirements to pass their quality check, and experienced editors know how to meet them.

It takes time


Whether or not you choose to record your book yourself, it will take a lot of time. While one could likely record a whole book in about twenty hours, it’s hard for most people to do that in a few days so they spread it out over a month or two. Then, the editing can take several more months. And if you’re planning to distribute it through ACX, add another 30 days for it to go through their quality control. Plus, if you decide to edit it yourself and you make a mistake, you’ll have to go through the quality control process all over again.

self publishing vs traditional publishing

You might not make a return on your investment

If you’re an author without much of a platform, it might be difficult to earn your money back. Let’s say you pay $1,500 to record your book yourself and have it edited, and you make $7 per profit off of each sale. That’s 215 books to break even, and that can be difficult to do without a solid marketing plan in place, or a trusted network of people ready to buy. 

But if you do have a large audience and/or the book is going to become a part of your business sales funnel, we absolutely recommend creating an audio version of your book. 

If you do decide it’s worth the time and money to record an audiobook, the benefits can be great!

Here are the benefits of recording an audiobook:

Reach new readers

Some demographics only listen to audiobooks these days, and if a book isn’t available in that format, they’ll look elsewhere for the information. If you produce an audiobook, you can tap into this kind of reader, instead of missing out.

Stand out in a less saturated market 

Since there are still many fewer audiobooks on the market than there are print and ebooks, you’ll increase your chances of readers finding your book on the myriad of online bookshops. 

Infuse your book with life

If you had some early success with your print and ebook versions but sales have begun to slow, producing an audiobook can give your book a fresh new start. Plus, giving a literal voice to your book can bring it to life for readers! Have you ever heard someone talk about loving the audio version of a book but not the read version? It happens often, and that’s because listening can often produce a different effect than reading does.  

 Give your book more credibility

You’re likely already aware that choosing to self-publish can be an uphill battle when it comes to finding readers for your book, but offering an audiobook can help set you apart. If it’s professionally done, it can boost your credibility just by having an offering that took more time and effort to produce than just anyone publishing an ebook online. 

Plus with the creation of distribution platforms like Audible, iTunes, Spotify and the like, it’s easier than ever to share your book with the world.

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