How to Self Publish an Audio Book
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How to Self Publish an Audio Book

Would You Like Your Audio Book on Audible, Amazon and iTunes?
4.5 (22 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
111 students enrolled
Created by Heidi Thorne
Last updated 4/2020
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $23.99 Original price: $34.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Understand how to use Amazon's ACX site to get your audio book on Audible, Amazon and Apple Books (iTunes)
  • Know how to convert and self publish your existing print or eBook content into audio format… yourself!
  • Understand how to use basic functions of the free, open source Audacity audio editing software
  • Comfortable with using basic computer software programs
  • Windows PC or Apple Mac computer
  • USB microphone and earphones (course will discuss how to select)

Audio content is growing in popularity every year! That's why self published authors need to consider offering audio editions of their existing books and eBooks. And it can be done more inexpensively and efficiently than ever before... even for free!

We will be focusing specifically on self publishing audio books through Amazon and Audible's ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) platform. Here are some of the major topics we'll discuss:

  • Using the FREE Audacity, open source software to record, edit, and export your audio book.

  • How to use the ACX platform to get your audio book on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

  • Selecting a good, but inexpensive, microphone for recording yourself reading your book.

  • Tips for controlling your voice when narrating your book.

I'm Dr. Heidi Thorne, MBA/DBA, a nonfiction book editor and author of over 20 self published print books and eBooks on the topics of business, marketing, and self publishing. PLUS, I already have 4 audio books available for sale on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, with more in development. And I did them all myself!

Coming soon! The course is primarily designed for PC users. However, special lectures for Mac users are going to be added shortly.

Of course, I have to disclose that while I will be sharing what I've learned from working with the Amazon/Audible ACX platform, I am not affiliated with, hired, endorsed, or approved by Amazon, ACX, Audible, or Apple/Apple Books. However, I do receive associate advertising compensation and/or royalties from Amazon, Audible, ACX and Apple/Apple Books as part of my normal course of business. Also, any products or services mentioned or featured in the course are there because I have personally used them in preparing my audio books; I am not compensated for including them.

Ready to jump on the audio content revolution? Sign up and let's get started!

Who this course is for:
  • Self published authors who already have a print book or eBook completed and want to publish it as an audio book
Course content
Expand all 36 lectures 02:59:36
+ Introduction
7 lectures 43:50

Audio content is growing in popularity. This lecture will discuss trends that make audio books a viable book content format for the future. Also discussed are benefits to self published authors who choose to produce audio books by themselves.

Preview 07:32

Before you can create an audio book, you need to understand exactly what it is. Lecture includes a brief history of the modern audio book, plus reasons why people want audio books.

What is an Audio Book?

Traditional book publishers and some self publishing platforms may prohibit their authors from self publishing their audio editions. The question deals with exclusivity. Popular platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing are non-exclusive, but others may not be. You need to check!

Do You Have Audio Rights to YOUR Book?

Some books are just not audio-friendly, especially nonfiction that more technical. Discover what types of book material would not be good for an audio edition. Also, learn how to write your manuscript with an audio book edition in mind.

How to Make Your Book Audio-Friendly Before You Write It

ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is an audio book publishing platform owned by Amazon and Audible. This lecture will discuss what ACX does and opportunities it offers to publishers and authors.

What is ACX?

Understanding how the Audible audio book listening program works is key to understanding your audio book sales on ACX. I explain the numbers you'll see on your ACX Sales Dashboard, how pricing of audio books works, and why you shouldn't be overly concerned if you see audio book returns.

Understanding Audible
Just Checking In On Your Progress
+ Software and Equipment Needed to Create Audio Books
4 lectures 19:25

An introduction to the free, open source Audacity audio editing software, as well as an important free Audacity plugin to facilitate in the audio book production process. Links to the software and plugin downloads are provided in Resources.

Preview 03:22

Tip for checking to see if you have the latest version of Audacity.

Updating Your Audacity Software

A review of an inexpensive USB microphone and accessories that I have used for my own audio book recording. (I was not compensated for any recommendation and I genuinely like using these mic options.)

Microphones for Audio Book Recording

The environment in which you record your audio book can affect the audio quality and how your voice sounds. I share some ways to reduce environmental issues that can show up on your audio recordings.

Reducing Ambient Noise for Audio Book Recording
+ How to Record Your Audio Book
11 lectures 54:56

Learning how to use your voice is a new skill for many authors! It takes practice. From my years as a public speaker and teacher, I offer my tips for developing your vocal skills for narrating and recording your book.

Recording and Controlling Your Voice

One of the toughest things to do when recording an audio book is actually reading what's there! I offer tips for improving your reading and narration skills in this video.

Audio Book Recording Tips for Reading What's There

As an author, you likely want to direct your readers to your website to learn more about you and your books. But how you handle web addresses in audio books is very different than print books or eBooks. Here are some audio-friendly tips for web addresses.

Tips for Reading Web Addresses in Audio Books

Especially if you publish nonfiction, you probably have lots of subheadings within chapters. How should you handle them when narrating and producing your audio book? I share my tips.

Handling Subheadings in Audio Books

Should you self publish your Kindle eBook edition or audio book edition first? In this lecture, I share a publishing sequence that can improve both your eBook and audio book editions.

Should You Self Publish Your Kindle eBook or Audio Book First?

While background music sounds like a nice idea for audio books, it actually can complicate the project dramatically. Considerations for background music are discussed.

Should Your Audio Book Have Background Music?

Though many of these requirements will be discussed in more detail throughout the course, you should be aware of file requirements for your audio book before you start recording.

ACX Audio Book Submission Requirements

Print books and eBooks have a LOT of extra material that would not be reader friendly in an audio edition, particularly front and back matter. I explain what front and back matter are and offer some suggestions for handling it in an audio book.

Handling Front Matter and Back Matter for Your Audio Book

In this demo video, I explain the basics for using the Audacity software to record your voice reading your book.

Preview 04:46

The Mac OS Catalina update created incompatibility issues for Audacity. The biggest problem is that you cannot record directly into Audacity! Yikes! So in this video, I offer a workaround that uses the Apple GarageBand app.

For Mac Users: Known Issues with Audacity Recording

Though this course is geared for self published authors who are doing their audio DIY (do it yourself), if you ever get to a point where you feel you're incapable of doing it, you may consider hiring help. But you need to do it right so you don't lose your rights and royalties. Here are some cautions to be aware of.

Hiring Talent for Your Audio Book: What You Need to Know
+ Editing and Preparing Your Audio Book for Submission to ACX
11 lectures 50:50

In this demo, I explain the basic audio editing tools available in the Audacity software.

Basic Audio Editing Functions in Audacity

If you want to record audio clips outside of Audacity, you'll need to import those clips in order to edit and prepare them for your ACX audio book project. Here's how to get them into Audacity.

Importing Audio into Audacity
For Mac Users: Editing Issues with Audacity

Bloopers and mistakes are inevitable when recording audio! In the demo, I explain how to edit out mistakes and major extraneous noises.

How to Edit Bloopers and Mistakes from Your Audio Files

Background noise can be very distracting for audio book listeners... and it can cause your files to be rejected by ACX. In this demo video, I explain techniques for reducing background noise from your computer, as well as how to add necessary silence at the beginning and end of each of your files.

Reducing Noise and Adding Room Tones to Your Audio Files

This demo will explain some of the final audio quality edits that will be necessary to make your audio files ready for submission to ACX. Doing a pre-submission file check using the Nyquist ACX Check plugin for Audacity will be reviewed, as well as dealing with challenges you may encounter during this phase.

Audio Quality Edits and the Nyquist ACX Check Plugin

The Nyquist ACX Check plugin is accessed and used differently on a Mac than it is on a PC. This lecture includes instructions for installing and using the ACX Check plugin on a Mac.

For Mac Users: Using the Nyquist ACX Check Plugin for Mac

This demo will show how to export your Audacity files to MP3 files for ACX submission.

Exporting Your Audio Files to MP3 Files

In early 2020, ACX introduced the ACX Audio Analysis Tool. Find out what it does and how it can help speed up your audio approval process.

ACX Audio Analysis Tool

No design skills? No cover artwork? No problem! ACX's Predefined Cover Tool has got your audio book covered. It's pretty basic, but it's serviceable if you don't have the skills or ambition to create an audio book cover yourself.

Using ACX's Predefined Basic Audio Book Cover Tool

If you want something more elaborate than what ACX's Predefined Cover Tool offers, you could use the free Canva graphic design layout program. Also discussed are ACX requirements for custom audio book covers.

Creating Custom Audio Book Cover Art Using Canva
+ Marketing and Promoting Your Audio Book with ACX
2 lectures 09:24

Though this is really a marketing question, you'll be asked to choose between exclusive and non-exclusive distribution for your audio book that you self publish on ACX. I explain what each means so you choose which one is right for you.

Understanding Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Distribution for Audio Books

ACX offers a couple of tools that help authors spread the word on their audio books and make some additional money. However, the promotional terminology used on ACX is different than for other online marketing. The differences and opportunities are explained in this video.

ACX Promo Codes versus Bounty URLs
+ Closing Thoughts and Thank You!
1 lecture 01:11

Thank you and going forward thoughts from your instructor, Heidi Thorne. Plus, in the Resources are links to other courses Heidi offers that may interest you.

Closing Thoughts and Additional Resources