Premium Audiobook Studio Production for Entrepreneurs & Authors

narrator and voice over actress talent narrating a book in a studio vocal booth with condenser mic neumann tlm 103

As soon as you have your book written down, you can hire a sound studio to produce the audio version of the book: the audiobook.

  1. There are 2 professional ways of producing your own audiobook,
  2. There is a reason why a boutique audio studio is appropriate for authors, and
  3. I'll share with you a fruitful idea of distribution of your audio content.

Voice Over & Narration Audiobook Production Summary

How to have your audiobook produced with premium quality - Sound Engineer Amanda de Andrade
How to choose a narration audiobook production company or studio?
What is important to choose a sound recording studio
3 Steps to produce your own audiobook with high end experience
How the author participates in an audio book recording and publishing
Audiobook production studio details to be discussed
A Boutique sound studio's unique experiences
How to distribute and monetize your podcast or audiobook
Curiosities, research, and growth in the audiobook production market
High quality professional audiobook production studio specialized in narration and narrators

How you start producing your Audiobook

There are 2 professional ways of producing a high quality audiobook - Amanda de Andrade Voice Over Talent
There are 2 professional ways of producing a high quality audiobook - Amanda de Andrade Voice Over Talent
  • You can go to a professional studio or an audiobook production company to record your voice reading your book. You'll have an audio engineer and possibly a director to assist you in the recording while you read the book. You'll be reading the book, the studio will be recording it, and will also be responsible for providing you with the ACX-complying files ready to be commercialized and distributed.
  • Alternatively, you can hire a broadcasting narration studio in any other location to have your book recorded by a voice professional and produced by an audio engineer, without needing to physically go to the audiobook studio.

If you go to an Audiobook publisher for audiobook production instead of choosing an audiobook studio production, you are no longer looking to have an audio version of your book. In reality, an Audiobook publisher expects that you sell them your book rights so they control the rights and the usage of the book. In other words, if you sign a contract with a publisher, they won't produce your book's narration for you - they're producing the voice-over narration of your book for them to sell and profit. In this scenario, you won't be able to participate in the audiobook process.

The steps to have a high-quality Audio book

Choose the kind of professional you want to work with

There are many reasons and preferences that will lead you to choose the best studio for you, and you might know exactly how you want to feel about the perfect studio.

  1. Are the people from the studio friendly, flexible and open?
  2. Or are they highly professional, fast, and straightforward?

Regardless of personal preferences, some of the most important reasons you should choose a studio are:

  • Studio sound quality and level of refinement in audio editing and audiobook post-production: it seems obvious that a multi-purpose audio studio or even a professional home studio will have broadcasting sound quality if they say they have, but still some don't. Ask for examples of audiobooks they've produced. Listen to it and see how you perceive it.
  • Expertise in audiobooks: in other words, they know how to produce audio for audiobook listeners and how to optimize this format for ACX audiobooks and platforms, like Audible and Spotify. Not only that, but they also know how to provide the listener with the best sUX (Sonic User Experience) to avoid fatigue, discomfort, boringness, and more, to incite sensations, and improve learning and immersion through sound/vocal design and psychoacoustics.
  • Clear and Open Communication: as important as the sound studio and audiobook expertise, having clear and open communication with the professionals from the studio - the voice actor or actress, the sound engineer, and the creative director - is detrimental to the final result and to your experience during the briefing, the recording and the editing. How you feel during the process and how your requests and feedback are received are the keys to a successful collaboration and an audiobook or podcast episode you'll be proud of.
After you choose the audiobook production company, there are 3 steps to produce your book or podcast - Amanda de Andrade Voice Actress
After you choose the audiobook production company, there are 3 steps to produce your book or podcast - Amanda de Andrade Voice Actress

How do you want your audiobook to sound?

The first step is to have a frank and fruitful conversation about how you want the audiobook to sound.

  1. What are your desires and ideas for the audio version of your book?

  2. Do you want to narrate it or have a professional read it for you?

  3. Do you want it to sound precise, articulated, detached, eloquent, polite...?

  4. Or because of the subject, are you looking for a warm voice, with a round and soft sound?

At this stage, you and the studio professional must be in synergy in order to feel and discuss all the details to explore the full potential of the story and the performance. At the briefing stage, you can share everything you have been having in mind about your own creation.

Of course, if you are not sure about any of the more technical details, the studio professional can advise you and even decide for you based on experience and expertise in audiobook production. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable saying nothing and letting the studio advise you or saying everything about how you envision this literary work.

Feel free to share your ideas about:

  • your voice: if you are going to narrate it, how do you want your voice to sound? Record tests and compare how you like them most.

  • voice talent: if you want a male or female voice, or both, or even a group of actors and actresses to give voice to characters, for example.

  • music & SFX: if you want sound effects and/or music where do you imagine it would be interesting to have them?

  • additional information: is there something that is not written in the book but that you'd like to include in the audio version? For example, audiobooks can carry the information of who narrated it and which studio produced it, right at the beginning, and this info is not written in the audiobook. Another example is a disclaim or a warning for the listener to not listen to the audiobook while driving or operating machines.

  • unnecessary information / abridged vs. unabridged: is there any info you don't want or don't need to be narrated? Bibliography, visual examples, footnotes, numbers... and here include information that will have a different order.

    For example, do you want the footnotes to be read right after they appear, in the middle of the text, instead of being read all together, as in a list? The professional from the studio can also advise you about creating an abridged (shorter, summarized version) or unabridged (full, untouched literary work) version of your audiobook.

  • splitting the audiobook into individual files: the audiobook can have individual files for chapters, and when the chapters are too small or too big, they can be combined and re-combined to have a reasonable duration that is consistent with the overall duration of other chapters. It can even be split into sections, episodes, and pages.

There are too many details that can be discussed and it can be overwhelming. So feel that you trust the professional to solve all these nitty-gritty details for you. But also feel that there must be space and receptivity for you to discuss any of these details in depth if you'd like.

By the end of the briefing stage, we'll have a guideline of:

  • how the voice will sound,
  • what will be narrated and what will not,
  • how we'll present the chapter or sections to the listeners,
  • and what's the overall sound experience we want to offer them.

The next stages are production (recording) and post-production (editing, mixing - if needed - and mastering) and they require less from the author/entrepreneur than from the studio's audiobook producers.

The advantage of a Boutique Studio for Audiobook Narration

For entrepreneurs, authors, and content creators who value their work and want to feel heard and immersed in the production of the audiobook, a smaller audio studio is appropriate. A smaller and specialized studio is the best choice because boutique studios offer way more human touch to their productions, in all stages and in all touch points. However, note that smaller doesn't mean less professional - if you choose right, you'll actually find a boutique studio more efficient than a large multi-service or all-purpose sound studio. So if you choose a professional boutique studio, which has less middle-man and more connection and dialogue between the parts, you'll benefit from:

  • a cozy ambient and attentive communication (be it physically or virtually, if you are not physically in the studio), where your questions, comments, and preferences are welcome.

  • direct access to the people involved in the production of the audiobook, the same professionals who will summon their creativity and expertise to create a truly special audio version of your work.

  • a specialized and quality-controlled service: due to its size and structure, a boutique studio doesn't or rarely depends on freelancers and vendors, which larger studios frequently do (but they don't tell). Boutique sound studios have an aggregated experience and expertise registered in the professionals' DNA, and those unique abilities can be at your disposal.

  • a tailored and creative approach to projects: less bureaucracy and interruptions means more creativity and personalization. The people from reputable smaller creative studios nourish ideas, create solutions, innovate, and welcome feedback like no big studio.

    Bigger studios have great people inside too, but most of the time they are out of range, working with bigger projects than yours. So that's another aspect: a big studio tends to treat your project with less care or they may even decline your request or quote for an audiobook production.

  • Contracts, terms, guarantees, and deadlines can be easily discussed and will be registered and agreed upon just like they would in any professional studio.

Podcast & Audiobook distribution

A profitable idea of podcast and audio book distribution - Amanda de Andrade Voice Over Studio
A profitable idea of podcast and audio book distribution - Amanda de Andrade Voice Over Studio

Depending on your genre and reader's profile, you can consider starting the production of your audiobook or podcast episode even if the full work or text is not finished yet. And more: you can consider marketing, selling, and distributing your material in small doses.

I advise you to research and evaluate this opportunity strategically in perspective with what you already know about your audience and with what positioning you are crafting for yourself as an entrepreneur, author, influencer, writer, or creative.

Moreover, if you work with a boutique sound studio, you'll find it easier to start producing your content in audio format right away even if the book is not complete. That is because a smaller studio with a tailored approach will be flexible enough to understand why you are releasing your content in micro or short shots and how to accommodate your needs in their workflow.

By starting right away producing audio content, you'll have the:

  • material to start working on marketing and promotion,
  • position to build awareness, curiosity, and expectation,
  • the option of splitting the content of your book into smaller parts that can be released individually, like in an audio-drama series, short stories and tales or a podcast.

In other words, you can approach your creative content with the same approach of microlearning: through small doses that the listener can fit into their daily life and tight routine and that can bring him/her high-quality entertainment, inspiration, and differentiated knowledge more rapidly and frequently.

It's to say that short audio content can complement your bigger content formats by making your story/message an unrefusable moment of the user/reader/listener/consumer's life.

Regarding the last point, there are a variety of ways to monetize this micro-entertainment or micro-learning model of content creation. To cite a few:

  • You can take advantage of the subscription model,
  • The patronage model,
  • Or you can sell each episode/chapter/micro story for a price that exceeds the price of it if it was inserted in the full book. You can do this - charge more - because you've increased the value of that small creation and the whole experience it delivers to the listener. In other words, you aggregated and infused value in your product. And not only this, I hope you super deliver too - I expect nothing less from you!

You can keep infusing value by creating original animation or visual effects for the audio version of your story. All of this - and much more - can increase the value, strengthen the bonds, and deepen the experience of a user.

And the best part is that all of that can be discussed with the professional you choose to work with.

In summary, be it with a small or big audio format, look for adding layers and spheres of experiences that enrich, complement, and elevate your interlocutor's life. That's the most organic and authentic way of making your art and craft ultimately remarkable, immersive, sophisticated, and accessible in terms of when and how the reader can appreciate what you have to share.

By following the steps and applying some of those out-of-the-box principles, you can produce your audiobook with unique voice and sound identity with ease and objectivity, while still being creative and original. Other creatives and entrepreneurs have been creating and growing the value in their businesses with the help of our processes, expertise and talents - and if you are ready, you're the next. Send us a message with your questions and ideas and we get started.

But before finishing, I'll let you get in touch with data, reports, and reasons to use audiobooks to expand your reach and market.

The importance of publishing the audiobook too

Without a well-produced audiobook, an author or an entrepreneur who has a story, a bibliography, or a set of valuable ideas to share is at risk of having a limited reach and impact on the world. With a printed book, a Kindle, or a .pdf, you are marketing to those who prefer reading or more broadly, to those who are able to do it.

Audiobook requests by writers and by the audience are increasing due to many factors. Some of them are:

  • genuine efforts to improve accessibility and inclusion, so visually impaired people and people who struggle with TDA for example, can also benefit from the book;
  • expanding the market and including a significantly big parcel of people who prefer to listen to a story/text or prefer to read while also listening to the audiobook;
  • offering a format of the book that can be enjoyed and consumed in moments and circumstances where reading is impossible or inadvisable (driving a car or while relaxing with closed eyes, for example);
  • enriching the experience of the reader/listener with sensorial information beyond the verbal/written language and supporting the imagination, the learning process, and the co-creativity through sound imagery, which can be only so carefully achieved through the use of nuanced tones of voice, pace, dynamics, paralinguistic sounds and/or music and SFX.

The audiobook market has been ever-growing, and according to the Audio Publishers Association's report, authors can see a steady gain in audiobooks in the United States’ publishing marketplace.¹

Audio Publishers Association's report on audio content and audio books' industry and market
Audio Publishers Association's report on audio content and audio books' industry and market

The global audiobook market size was valued at USD 5,364.9 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 26.3% from 2023 to 2030. The flexibility and versatility features of audiobooks allow individuals to listen to the content at any time. Audiobooks make content easily accessible on electronic devices, irrespective of time and place. The availability of the internet and various IoT devices provide easier ways for consumers to listen to audiobooks. ²

The writer Neil Gaiman advocates in favor of audiobooks, saying that when he listens to a work, he considers it like he read the book. He also values when a writer can communicate well aloud and is able to narrate his/her own book:

I don't think the experience of reading a book and the experience of hearing a book are the same. I tend to think the experience of hearing a book is often much more intimate, much more personal: you're down there in the words, unable to skip a dull-looking wodge of prose, unable to speed up or slow down (unless you have an iPod and like hearing people sound like chipmunks), less able to go back. It's you and the story, the way the author meant it.

If well-read, an audiobook can be magic. [...]

I don't believe there are books I've never "read" because I have only heard them, or poems I've not experienced because I've only heard the poets read them. Actually, I believe that, if the writer is someone who can communicate well aloud (some writers can't) you often get much more insight into a story or poem by hearing it.³


¹ APA: Audiobooks’ US Share Up 5 Percent, 2017 to 2022

² Audiobooks Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

³ Looking or Listening...

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