I found this very informative and hope you do as well. eve
October 10, 2014, by Joanna Penn
I love ACX.com and I am all in with my fiction there, but I’m also a podcaster and after years of doing my own interviews and audio, I decided to read my own non-fiction audiobook, and sell it direct!
Recording the book
I live in a basement flat with pretty good acoustics for audio i.e. no high ceilings or wooden floors, so I knew it would be OK to record here. If you want to record yourself and distribute professionally, you are likely to need a studio, but I went ahead at home and just stopped if it got too noisy.
I am not hugely technical and I didn’t want to do much post-processing, so I focused on a quiet background. You can sort out noise in post-production, but ideally, you want a clean read, which is why so many podcasters and audio people record in padded cupboards!
I had Scrivener open to the book and read from the screen chapter by chapter. I saved each audio file at around 20 minutes and managed two or three per day.
I actually found it was really tiring to concentrate, plus my voice struggled so I drank a lot of peppermint tea to keep it going. When I made mistakes in the file, which was at least every couple of minutes, I would clap loudly and then be silent for a few seconds. This creates a visible spike and space on the file so you can find the bits to clean up without having to listen to the whole thing again.
Yes, you WILL make mistakes. It is not easy to read a book aloud! I have renewed respect for my audiobook narrators.
I decided to make the audio more interesting by adding my own little comments at the end of some of the chapters, giving the people who bought that version a little extra something. I also found a few bits I wanted to change as I read the book aloud, so I did update the ebook files as I read. It’s great to read aloud for that final proof-read!
Editing and QA process
After I finished a couple of 20 minute files, I would edit them in the same software. I removed all the mistakes and silences and gulps and coughs.
I then used Dropbox to send the files to my virtual assistant who listened to the audio to check for any other issues. I left in things that were natural speech but removed clear errors e.g. when I had left the same section in twice, or a little burp from too much tea!
After the QA process and final edits, I put the files together to create six files of one hour each.
I also included an intro and outro little piece of music which makes it sound professional. I get all my royalty free music from Incompetech, an amazing site with loads of music options.
Then I used Auphonic.com to level the sound and add the metadata and tags so it looks nice in your mp3 player.
I decided to package the 6 audio files with the DRM free ebook files in Kindle and ePub formats as the final product. I made the cover on the left with Canva.com, a fantastic tool for creating images.
Selling the file
I’ve talked about your options for selling direct before.
My choice is to use Selz.com to package the audio files with the ebooks in Kindle and ePub formats.
I also set up a discount code which is in the back of all the ebooks and print books so those who have already bought the book in other formats can also get the audiobook version if they like for $5 reduction. Click here to go straight to the audio sales page on Selz so you can see what it looks like.
In the first 13 days, I’ve sold 16 audiobooks directly at a total of $305.53, and also 24 copies of the ebook directly at a total of $119.76.
The 24 direct sales of the ebooks may ‘cannibalize’ sales from the ebook platforms but I get a closer relationship with my customers and I get the money within a week, instead of waiting a couple of months.It’s not going to buy me a house but it’s also not bad for the first couple of weeks and in a direct sales channel that I only introduced recently!
It’s early days and I expect Business for Authors to be more of a constant seller, as my book, How to Market a Book, is as well.
The book is mostly evergreen material so I don’t expect to have to update it for a while. I’m definitely considering recording my other non-fiction books as well. It is a time investment but I think they will be pretty constant sellers. I’ll keep my fiction on ACX.com but for non-fiction, I think I prefer this option (but I reserve the right to change my mind!)