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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How an Audio Book is Made

If you are an author considering transitioning into the audio book market, then you most certainly have a lot of questions related to the topic.  Though I certainly can’t answer them all here, I will provide some of the basic information to get you started on the journey – a worthwhile trip, considering the soaring popularity of audio books these days.

The most frequently asked question is generally regarding the length of time required to have the book transferred into an audio format.  You will, of course, need to hire a voice over professional and, very likely, a producer as well.  The process of finding, vetting, and securing your audio team can claim several days, weeks, or even months, depending on your connections in the industry.  Once those contracts are signed, the recording process can begin.  Typically, the reading speed for narration is 120-200 words per minute, with 160 wpm being the average.  That means that a novel of 80,000 words (a common length) would equate to 500 minutes of audio.  That is nearly 8.5 hours. That is the finished audio length.  As a general rule, for every one hour of audio, there are 2 hours spent in the recording booth.  So, that is 17 hours of recording time, before production editing and formatting can take place.  This can take even longer, as all other sound must be removed from the track.  This could include deep breaths, a cough, the scratch of a chair leg against the floor, etcetera.

The finished audio will be formatted to fit your needs, whether it is intended for CD or digital download. As you can see, the length of your book, the schedule of the audio talent, and the degree of editing necessary can greatly impact the amount of time to create the audio book.  Some can be created in a few weeks’ time, while others will require a much longer span.

The cost of this process is also often questioned, with good reason.  There is a lot more competition in the voice over industry, which is great news for you.  Competitive pricing, after all, works in your favor.  However, be sure that you are choosing someone truly equipped and experienced enough to handle the project.  You should certainly consider the tone, pitch, cadence of the voice, but also the professional nature and former projects of the person to be hired.  For good audio quality and a truly finished product, you can expect to spend $200- $700, depending, in large part, on the length and content of the book.

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