Tips From David H. Lawrence XVII to Create and Profit From Amazon ACX Audiobook Projects

Today we’ll continue our series of takeaways from Author Marketing Live with David H. Lawrence XVII and his tips for creating and profiting from Amazon ACX Audiobook Projects. Lawrence is an actor, voice talent, audiobook narrator, and voice trainer. Through vo2gogo, Lawrence trains people in the technical and business aspects of voice work.

Have you ever considered the possibility of turning your one of your books into an audiobook? The Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX, allows authors to do just that. ACX is a marketplace where authors can upload and sell the audio version of their books or find voice talent to do the job for them. Audiobook sales are growing rapidly, and the market is full of people who devour books (myself included). While it’s not an easy process, it is doable for indie authors to either narrate and produce their own audiobooks or hire a qualified professional. How do you know if you’re the right narrator for your book? Create a few samples to see how it goes. Do you enjoy the process? Do you like the result? Then seek feedback from beta listeners. How are your samples received? Today we’ll share takeaways for authors who want to narrate their own books.

1. Get the right equipment. You don’t need to buy a lot of expensive equipment, but you do need a few items to produce a quality audio product. At a minimum you need a good microphone. Lawrence recommends the AT2020USB+, which is available for $169.00. You’ll need recording and editing software as well. Audacity fills the bill and is free and easy to use. LAME is a free MP3 encoder, and Levelator is free software that adjusts variable audio levels. You could buy many other tools, but these are enough to get you started.

2. If you’ve never done this before, get some training. Vocal qualities are not critical, but the ability to tell a story is. There are specific, learnable skills that can help you make the most of your project. Check out vo2gogo’s offerings to learn the skills you need to produce a professional product.

3. Follow ACX’s technical standards. If you want to submit your audiobook to be sold through ACX, you must meet their technical standards. Become familiar with them so that you don’t waste your time.  

4. Be ruthless in quieting your recording space. This doesn’t require a special recording studio. Many audiobooks are recorded within people’s homes, and a walk-in closet is a perfectly adequate space.

5. Take your time when reading your book. The audience has to acquire a great deal of information; read slowly so they can take it in. Also, don’t leave your listeners breathless by editing out all of your breaths. Lawrence calls this “the spice in the soup.”

We invite you to share in the comments below what’s next in your own journey to successful authorpreneurship. Are you ready to take the plunge and create your own audiobook? If so, great! If not, we’ll pass along takeaways for authors who want to hire a professional to narrate and produce their audiobook in a future post. In the meantime, we’ll keep sharing more Author Marketing Live takeaways and other resources right here. Be sure to sign up for regular updates from the Captain’s Blog: Publishing so you won’t miss any of these posts!