Creating an Audio Book

pugMany authors seek to understand how to create an audio version of their book(s) to attract more followers. At face value, the process can seem complex and daunting. In the next few minutes, I hope to give you a one hundred-foot perspective to remove the scariness and get you on your way achieving your objective.

First and foremost, design a marketing plan for your audio book even before you create it. Without a plan to get others to notice, it will not matter how good it is. Set yourself up for success to realize profit on the time and effort you spend creating your audio book.

Next, you need to choose whether you will record the story yourself or have a professional narrator record it for you–cost is usually the primary concern, but allow me to expand your considerations. I have done both, so allow me to share insights I gleaned from creating a podcast of my first book, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury on my own, versus my experience using ACX with a professional narrator for the audio book of my second book, Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning.

With Amazon’s acquisition of ACX, there are a host of professional narrators available to bring your story to life in ways the page cannot. With ACX, you can choose to either pay the narrator on an hourly basis leaving you the full profit after ACX fees, or you can do a revenue share to split the risk and reward. I recorded my audio book at ACX with a revenue share agreement because I had no history to go on to judge fan interest.

Things to consider when using a professional narrator:

  • Narrators are in this for the money, just like you. As such, interested narrators will want to know how you plan to market the audio book so they can gauge potential sales. Have a compelling marketing narrative at hand so prospective narrators will view you as a positive opportunity.
  • Do a gut check. An audio book is not the solution to slow book sales, but an additional distribution channel. If your books have not sold well, understand that you need to take care of your narrator’s income if you want him/her to be available to record more than one audio book, particularly if you have a series.
  • If you choose to pursue a narrator on ACX, your next step is to spec out your project and find qualified candidates. To do so, create an account on and go to for specific next steps.

micIf you choose to record your book yourself, steps for success include:

  • Download free audio editing software from Audacity at I found this software very easy to use as a novice. It’s forgiving and will give you a quality product.
  • Purchase a condenser microphone. There are many inexpensive mics on the market, but if they are less than $75, they will not give you the clear sound you seek. I purchased the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB condenser microphone. This website ( has it for $99.
  • I also purchased Podcasting for Dummies and found it to be immensely helpful for all the specifics related to the Audacity software.
  • Use YouTube videos to learn specific tips about recording. There are a host of these videos at that give suggestions, among which include: have a glass of water handy, wear casual clothes so the fabric will not make noise when you move, and more.
  • If you want to make your book sound even more professional, consider adding some royalty free music. There are a host of selections for not a lot of money at
  • FYI: You can still distribute your book through ACX so you can leverage the power of Amazon.

Believe it or not, that’s it. This is the landscape for creating an audio book. I think you will agree it is not unreasonably complicated, even if you choose to do it yourself. To listen to my works:
Podcast of Book 1: Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury – FREE on my website at that I produced myself.
Sample of Book 2: Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning – at Amazon in which I used a professional narrator via ACX.

What questions can I answer about creating an audio book?


Linda2L. R. W. Lee is the author of the Andy Smithson MG/YA coming of age fantasy adventure series. A planned 7-book series, the following are currently available:
Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book One
Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book Two.
Book Three, Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor is coming October 13th!

She is a wife, mom and reader of the same kinds of books she writes. From age 8 she had a passion to write books that not only entertain, but also teach uncommon life principles. Learn more about her books, read sample chapters, watch trailers, see reviews and much more!

Connect with L. R. W. at: Twitter   Website   Facebook


11 thoughts on “Creating an Audio Book

  1. Fantastic information, Linda! I’ve thought about doing this often. I would want to read my own. (I do voices.) You’re totally right about the microphone quality mattering, and a way to mix down the sound to cut anything tinny sounding, etc. You also have to learn how to breathe without leaving a gasping or Darth Vader sound on the track. Thanks for sharing the resources and where to go.

  2. Ha! Look at the subject! 😉 I love your take comparing the do-it-yourself (which I’ve done) vs. hire-a-narrator approaches. Great insights. One of these days I might do more with this. So many projects, so little time to actually WRITE. Though I suppose doing this through ACX wouldn’t be much of a time commitment compared to a podcast.

    1. I agree, Michelle. Going the ACX route is less time consuming for the author, but you have to make sure it will pay off for your narrator as well. The time commitment with ACX is the fun part — listening to the story. I’m such a sucker. Even though I know the story, I still love listening to it brought to life in a new way.

  3. High fives on this post, Linda! Love the way you recorded your books two ways. I’ve been learning that delegation helps in this business, so when I’m ready, I’ll probably go the ACX route. Let the pros handle things while I do what I do best. Thanks for your input and sharing your experience!

  4. Great post. Awesome information. We all appreciate your knowledge and sharing it with the rest of us. I would definitely have to hire a professional….never could do any kind of voice, especially while trying to read and record at the same time.

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