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4 Killer-Good Reasons to Turn Your Book into an Audiobook

4 Killer-Good Reasons to Turn Your Book into an Audiobook

The Audio Market is Booming

Audio books are exploding. The number of titles published jumped 39% in 2020 versus a year ago, leading to a global market of an astounding $3.5 billion.

As an author, what does this trend mean for you? It translates into opportunity, revenue, and customer loyalty.

Translating Your Words into an Audio Product

Please allow me to be clear: narration takes time and practice. A typical business book is 50,000 words. At a standard recording rate of 9300 words per finished hour (50,000 divided by 9,300), your book would be almost 5 ½ hours long. Add in that it takes approximately 3.5 hours of recording time for each finished hour of audio, and recording your own book will take approximately 15 hours plus production time.

I am not trying to dissuade you from narrating your own book. I am, however, setting you up for the realities of the undertaking.

The Power of Narrating Your Own Book

Narrators are often expensive. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000. On the other hand, you might have more time than money, which makes reading your own book a solid option.

Michelle Obama narrating her own 19-hour book was magical. Malcolm Gladwell voices his own books. He fell in love with the audio genre to such an extent that he created his own audio business entitled Pushkin Industries!

Clearly, there are not only financial considerations when it comes to converting your own book into an audio book. Here are four compelling reasons to narrate your own book:

1. Listeners Fall in Love with You as The Brand.

Reading your own book brings your customers in a little closer; they hear your words in your voice and feel as if they know you better.

2. You Know the Material Better Than Anyone.

You know what to emphasize in your own book. You control the pace, pause, volume, and expressions, delivering a first-rate product.

3. You Develop Another Revenue Stream.

Revenue is good. For example, an exclusive Audible book release receives a 40% royalty rate.

4. Recording Boosts Your Speaking Skills.

Reading aloud makes you a better speaker. After all, you have to re-record every time you hit a “speech bump”— a mispronunciation, a disfluency (uhm, er), a stutter, etc.

Given the pandemic and technological improvements, narration has shifted to home studio recording. You can create your own studio relatively inexpensively with a little soundproofing and a great microphone.

In working with authors embarking on narrating their first product, the biggest issue I see is getting them comfortable with recording. You need to practice, highlight the manuscript for special sections, decide how to deal with quotes, guidance, exercise, and other unusual elements of a book that was originally intended as a written book.

Having said all of that, I believe you’ll find the benefits outweigh the time commitment of recording your book.


Liz Goodgold is a branding expert, speaker and speaking coach who has worked with over 220 authors and entrepreneurs to brand better and “speak gooder.” She’s the author of three books, a former columnist at Entrepreneur magazine, and a frequent guest delivering sexy soundbites in the media. Connect with her over at

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