How to Convert Your Ebook into an Audiobook On Your Own

Do you want to convert your Ebook into an audiobook on your own but you're not sure how? This article will walk you through the process and offer 11 tips on how to successfully record and edit your audio!

Have you just read our post, Why You Should Turn An Ebook Into An Audiobook, and now you want to know HOW to do so? If so, this article will tell you what you need to record your audiobook and the steps need to compete to be successful in the process.

What do you need to be successful?

  1. A good microphone. If you’re looking for suggestions, we have an article on budget microphones under $100 and one for microphones over $100. Find one that works for you at a price you can afford. No need to break the bank here.
  2. A computer or tablet that you can record your audio on. Your phone potentially could work. This would be dependent on how much storage you have and the quality of the microphone it has; this would take out the need for purchasing a microphone. If you personally don’t have a computer or tablet, think about who you know that does. Would you be able to borrow theirs? Another suggestion is your local library or if you’re in college, universities typically have a tech rental program. 
  3. An editing and recording program. This is up to you and what operating system you have. Check out our article, 10 Free Audio Editing Platforms if you need suggestions!
  4. A quiet space. You don’t want to have sirens or children screaming while you are recording. Also note that AC units will sneak up on you as well--you may not think about them initially when recording, but you will hear them when you begin editing. 

Convert your Ebook into an audiobook in 3 steps

  1. Record the audio. This may be the most time-consuming aspect of the entire process because you can’t speed through the reading. No one will be able to understand you if you talk a million miles a minute. Slow down and talk at a normal pace, unless the section of the book has you running for your life from a pack of wolves. You will also make mistakes as you go along. This is one hundred percent normal and okay. Take a few breaths and re-do the section. If you choose not to be the narrator, you can find alternatives listed below.
  2. Edit the audio. Get rid of the extra “ahs”, “ums”, and other unnecessary pauses you may have inserted as you read. Also, pay attention to the background noise and make sure the audio does not sound grainy with static constantly going off in the background. 
  3. Choose a platform to sell your audiobook with. Our article The Best 5 Ways To Sell Your Audiobook will describe in more detail what platforms exist and the pros and cons of each. Pay close attention to what you want to gain from publishing your audiobook. Is it an additional source of income that you want to gain the most profit from? Or is just something extra to put out there--you are indifferent towards how much money it makes? 

How long will it take to narrate my Ebook?

According to ACX, it will take about two hours to narrate one hour of finished audio. For this stat, it’s important to note that ACX assumes the average rate of words narrated in an hour is 9,300 or 155 words per minute. Taking this into consideration, a 60,000-word novel would take 6.5 hours to complete at the rate previously mentioned. Books that are under 10,000 words (less than 40 pages) read at the same 9,300 words per hour, would take 1.1 hours to narrate. 

How long will it take to edit my audiobook?

This will depend on a few factors. First, are you new to editing audio? If so, it may take a little bit to adjust to how to edit. Second, which platform are you using? Some platforms are more user-friendly than others. Play around with a few before deciding which one is best for you. Lastly, do you take 5-second pauses or have another method in place to denote in your waveforms when you’ve messed up and then restarted? If not, think about adding this in to make your life easier when editing. ACX found that in order to produce one hour of finished audio content, it will take the average editor three hours. Keep this in mind. 

What format does my audio need to be in?

The most common audio formats are WAV, MP3, and M4B files. Some programs may vary in if they prefer one over the other, but generally speaking, these are acceptable formats. Quick tip, if using a program such as Audacity to edit and record, you will need to ‘export’ your audio to one of these formats. Audacity keeps files saved as .aup, which is not a format these programs can read. 

How much will it cost me in total to produce my audiobook?

If you’re choosing to narrate and edit your course on your own, the total will come down to a whopping zero. This is assuming you already have a decent microphone, working computer (or access to one), and a quiet space to record. Other than these things, you don’t need much else in order to be successful in this process. 

11 tips for recording the perfect audiobook

  • Sit still. The microphone will capture the extra noise of you moving around or fidgeting with your pen.
  • Keep the microphone in one place and watch your positioning as you record. You don’t want to move further or closer throughout the recording to affect the audio sound volume.
  • Read from an electronic device so you don’t have to move papers.
  • Practice any tongue twister statements or words ahead of time that may cause you to stumble when recording.
  • Record for no more than 2.5-3 hours at a time. After this, most narrators will get tired and start to lose their voices. You will save yourself the headache of having to edit or re-do sections. 
  • Read at a normal pace. Think about it as if you were having a conversation with someone.
  • Stand up while you’re recording. It will help you breathe better and causes you to be more energetic.
  • Have water, tea, or other clear liquids available to stay hydrated. Try and avoid carbonated beverages or those that may causes issues.
  • Start with a 10-second silence at the beginning of your recording. Helpful for filling in gaps later on or hearing the background noise that gets picked up by the microphone.
  • Use a system to mark your mistakes. For example, this could be a 5-second pause that allows you to easily edit the audio by denoting where you messed up and can easily snip it out. 
  • Enunciate. Be sure the listener can understand what you’re saying.
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