How To: Create Your Own Audiobook

When publishing an eBook, it’s smart to promote it with sample chapters or an author interview. But what about producing your own audiobook to accompany it as well?

Producing an audiobook can be time consuming, but it’s extremely fun and makes your book available in yet another medium. You can just choose a brief excerpt to use, maybe a funny scene or illustrative passage, which will help promote your book when you give it away on your personal website. Here’s a short guide to how to create your own audiobook, entirely for free.

1) Get an audio editing program. If you don’t have professional audio recording programs, like Protools or Ableton, don’t fear! A simple, free program called Audacity is incredibly simple to learn, and can be used on almost any computer. If you have an internal microphone, you’re all set to record.

2) Pick a passage to record. For starters, pick a manageable goal. Try not to aim to record your entire book. Consider focusing on a scene or chapter you find particularly strong, and maybe one that includes a variety of characters, to allow for some fun voice acting.

3) Cast and record. Cast your audiobook by either reading it yourself, or sharing the narration with a variety of friends or colleagues who have been assigned roles. You don’t even have to be in the same room — you can record different parts at different times.

4) Edit. Try to make the recording as clean as possible by eliminating pauses, editing out background noise, and re-recording unclear parts. If you haven’t edited audio before, it should take just a little practice to get the hang of it.

5) Add some character. Here’s where you get to have a lot of fun. Add some background music and sound effects to liven up your narration. Just a few additions can completely change the quality of the audiobook. For some free background music published under Creative Commons license, check out the Free Music Archive. For sound effects, be sure to explore FreeSound.

6. Post. After making sure everything sounds right (make sure to play it for a few people), post that audiobook! Be sure to post in a compressed format, such as .mp3. You can even post streaming audio at Soundcloud.

So now that you have the tools, the red light is on!

Who’s tried this? How’d it go?

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18 Comments

  1. I have wanted to try audio book recording and haven’t really figured out how to do it as an indie publisher, but this is a cool idea to start small and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing :).

  2. For my children’s book excerpt (The Secret Lake), I used Garage Band which comes free with Mac – and then iMovie to convert it for the appropriate file to upload to YouTube – extract here on my book blog page! http://www.thesecretlake.com

  3. I’ve done audio recordings before. I tend to post them on my YouTube channel, under the name I use for my publications.

    I also found promotional videos work really well, and if you can make your own music, makes it even better.

    Another tip: post one of the videos to your Lulu Spotlight! That’s what I’ve done.

  4. I’ve tried it about 20 times for children’s books. I’m not sure if it boosted sales, but it’s a nice keepsake.

  5. Enoch

    This is a great topic!

    I created my first audio book in 2009. So far, the book is doing doing well. As a musician and video editor, my goal was to create a book that was relevant for our time, interesting, and a topic that people would want to discuss in social media. With that said, I selected the Book of Enoch.

    Thank you for this blog!

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-book-of-enoch/id325246352

  6. Morgan, Lulu

    @Enoch So glad you like the topic! Me too. Also thanks for the info on how you made it work!

  7. I managed to create an audio track to support my illustrated kid’s book, Crocodile Attack – on LULU. We recorded the music and my husband was able to add music and sound affects that he composed and bought. The end result is very professional and we’ve received some very positive feedback.

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/sandra-s-c-arthur/radio-rons-postcards-from-borneo-crocodile-attack/ebook/product-20413356.html

  8. Morgan, Lulu

    @Sandra – We love to hear that! Congrats and thanks so much for sharing that great feedback with other authors here.

  9. Great tips, I will take into account as soon I’ll be doing an audio book to help others solve day to day problems

  10. Alverta Brustkern

    In education, it is generally cheaper to provide a single set of books on tape, audio books, and other audio learning materials for the class to share. Money is saved because individual books are not needed. Plus, the teacher will be able to do more with his or her time while the class listens to audio lessons. Researches also show that a large percentage- 85%- of our learning and knowledge actually comes from listening. Another plus factor for using audio books is the improvement of the students’ listening and comprehension skills.^

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  15. Mohamed GadAllah

    Hello,
    This is Mohamed from EGYPT – Cairo.
    Really thanks a lot and too much appreciated the lovely in depth article which really helped me a lot to get a better understanding for various techniques for audio book.
    Please I’d like to ask about something related to the way for making the audio book itself.
    Please may you tell me for the best required hardware I may use to get the best result?
    Thanks a lot.
    Mohamed

  16. Great info. I am going to use it immediately. thanks for sharing.

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2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Lulu Blog (how to for audiobooks): http://www.lulu.com/blog/2012/11/audiobooks/ […]

  2. […] CDBaby and Lulu. Lulu, a self-publishing site with over 20,000 titles, also featured an article on how to make your own audiobook for free which can be used to help promote and market a book on an author’s website or to […]

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