Producing an audiobook chiefly involves hours spent in a studio with a book being read and recorded. Reading an average novel from cover to cover may take seven or eight hours, but recording the same book may take twice that time; the person recording the book needs to know it before it is read out loud, they need to know the characters, what happens and when, they need to understand the tone and pitch of the work before it is read aloud. Then when recording, actors are human too, they stumble, get the inflection wrong… cough!
Once recorded, the sound engineer has to edit the resulting audio so that all those extraneous bits are removed; and they have then to produce a set of audio files that meet the requirements demanded by the audiobook retailers. That isn’t just technical requirements, though they can be complex, but a requirement for a quality recording presented professionally.
Our audiobook production service uses a commercial recording studio and engineer, with all narration carried out by working professional actors. You can see and hear all of the artists available on this website. For practical reasons and reasons of quality, we are unable to offer author-narrated audiobooks. More detailed information on audiobook production can be found on our Audiobook Factsheet.
Our audiobook production service is outlined below, but first let’s look at the costs involved, so you can decide whether to read on! The cost of production is determined chiefly by the length of time it takes to record a book, and that is obviously influenced by the word count in your book. We thus base our production costs on a book’s word count, as follows:
Up to 40,000 words*: £1450.00 *(equates to around 150 typeset pages)
Each additional 1,000–10,000 words*: £160.00 *(equates to around 40 typeset pages)
Note that all costs quoted are VAT exclusive.
The first step in the production process is to choose an actor to record your book. We offer a range of voices to suit different sorts of book. Opposite you can see those actors available, and listen to clips of them reading aloud; simply choose which actor you feel would be best to narrate your book. Note that an audiobook will use only one voice to record (eg. you cannot have multiple actors, each for a different voice).
Once you have made your choice of narrator, we can confirm availability and the likely production timescale (remember, these are working actors with their main job being in TV, film or on stage, and they may not be available immediately).
We then ask you to complete a questionnaire about your text, providing a brief for the narrator. This covers things that you feel the narrator should know, like any accents characters have, particular passages where you would like a certain tone, and so on.
The recording of an audiobook will usually take place over a few days (as an actor’s voice cannot narrate for eight hours solid!). Then the sound engineer needs time to edit the files and create the finished recording. Once we have the completed recording, a copy is sent to you for checking. We advise you to listen to the whole audiobook recording, and check for anything that is missing (note that this check is not to comment upon the actor’s voice, nuance, pace etc, it is purely to ensure that no text has been omitted during the recording). We allow up to an hour of studio time for necessary re-recording of missing text, and then the final recording is produced. Overall, the process usually takes around six weeks.
Cover artwork is usually recreated by us from your book cover to conform to the retailers’ requirements.
For authors who wish to distribute and sell their audiobook themselves, that is the end of the process. Many authors, however, ask us to distribute their audiobook to retailers on their behalf.