How an Audiobook is made

July 31, 2018


I remember taking long road trips with my family when I was young, we would load everyone into a rental van and make our annual trip to someplace fun.  Every trip we took, we picked a few "books on tape" as they were called back then, because that's what they were... books on tape.  Now in the digital age, practically everything you could want or need is available at the touch of a button, including books.  In this age, more and more people are listening to audiobooks on Audible or iTunes than actually reading the book. In this busy busy, go go go life, we listen to our books while on our commute  to work or working out at the gym, doing our housecleaning. I'm sure most people don't think about the work, time and passion that goes into making that audiobook .


As an audiobook narrator, I can tell you that it takes time, stamina and lots of water!  It really just depends on the type and size of the book. As an example, lets say that I am asked to narrate a book of roughly 50,000 words. Let us also say that its a natural read, no accents or character voices. Here is the process:


1. The narrator must read the book.  The narrator must know how to deliver the message or story, therefore, they must read the book. 


2. After I read a book, I contact the author and double check and Name pronunciations, their preferred pace or tone, or anything else that I am unsure of how to deliver. 


3. Once I feel I have an understanding of the author's vision for their audiobook, I record  a section, edit it and send it to the author for approval. 


4. After the author has approved the sample, its time to get to work on the rest of the book! 


Now, our example book has 50,000 words. Let's say a rough estimate of finished audio time for this example is 5 hours.  (1 hour per 10,000 words).  It takes roughly 10 hours to narrate. It takes that long because there will be retakes, different variations we will try, maybe a hiccup interrupted... there could be lots of reasons.  After the manuscript is recorded, now the narrator has to go through those 10 hours of audio and edit out the noises, breaths, retakes and hiccups. Next, is the sparkle of the EQ and all of the other fun things that really make the audio shine!   These could take another 20 -30 hours (depending on how quick the narrator can edit). So in total, that 5 hours of listening pleasure took a narrator 30-40 hours of hard work to complete.

To me, the end result and the author's happiness are what make it all worth it. Not to mention, you, dear audiobook listener.  


Have any questions about audiobooks or comments? Share them below or send me an email.




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