The idea to produce an audiobook isn’t the first one that comes to mind when someone considers a side hustle. However, if you are thinking about it or the mention right now sounds appealing, we can tell you it isn’t bad at all.
Side hustles are evolving today, and part of the new ideas involve online methods, and some you may have never heard of before or maybe find too weird to give them a try.
Producing an audiobook falls here, but if we have to explain why it is such a good side hustle idea, that would be because more people are buying audiobooks instead of the regular formats.
One is how comfortable it is to just listen to the book, but people didn’t love the idea that much before. The reason why it is a favorite today lies in how people are getting more used to listening instead of reading.
Podcasts are a very good comparison and example here, and you can consider audiobooks to be a similar element today. With this in mind, do you need a book to start producing the audio? Or can you start from zero, and that’s all?
Here, we will answer the questions regarding this side hustle and help you understand how you can produce one to make money.
What Is an Audiobook?
To begin with, you must know audiobooks aren’t exactly new.
They take us back to the 30s, and besides the regular books, they were used for education purposes and quite normal to find in schools and educational institutions for the same reason.
At the time, cassettes and vinyl were the most popular formats to sell audiobooks, and it isn’t a secret that digital options are the real thing today.
Now, going to the concept, audiobooks are simply audio recordings of the text of a book you listen to instead of reading.
If you go to Amazon (the most common example we can give you), you will find the books in their regular formats but with an audiobook as an option, which is reading the content.
Audiobooks can either be word-for-word or abridged versions, and they can be listened to on any smartphone or tablet, as well as in-car entertainment systems and home speakers.
Today, they can also be downloaded and purchased in the same manner as digital music and videos. You can also purchase them online or download them free of charge from public domain websites and some illegal yet available options.
The good part is that you don’t need a library card to download audiobooks online. Most public libraries offer them. Spotify even has an audiobook section you can use if you have paid the premium or even without it but with the regular limitations of the free version.
How Can People Listen to Audiobooks?
The previous concept pretty much explains that you can listen to it with the digital options available today. After all, remember they are digital audio files that can be used on many consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and any device that supports streaming audio.
With this in mind, audiobooks that you download or purchase online usually come in the following formats: MP3, WMA (Windows Media Audio), and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding).
Although there are a few restrictions, most of these file types can be played by most media players.
When it comes to where you can find audiobooks, many websites and apps offer access, paid and free. Here are some you can consider:
- Apple Books: Download audiobooks for iOS or macOS devices from the Apple Books app without any issues. But most of them are paid options.
- Audible.com: While audiobooks are available individually, Audible offers a monthly subscription that allows you to download one audiobook per month for free. You can pay for them or use the free option and install the app on your phone.
- AllYouCanBooks.com: Unlimited access to thousands of audiobooks. The first month of your subscription is free on this paid site, and then you need to choose a plan.
- Project Gutenberg: This website is known for providing thousands of free books within the public domain.
Why Produce an Audiobook as a Side Hustle?
An audiobook is a great way to make more income through your writing. Today, many readers have smartphones and many books to read but lack time to go over the pages it takes to enjoy their hobby.
Now, if you aren’t a writer, this side hustle is still an option for you, and this is when the magic comes: You can just make one for any book.
Although most people focus on this side hustle as a way to complement their books and writing jobs (sometimes, side hustles as well), you can offer your services of audiobook production for another author.
Narrating a book is what it takes to, essentially, start your side hustle in this niche, and it can be quite easy to find a way to produce them for others.
On the other hand, if you are interested in the option because you’re an author yourself, narrating it can help ten times more to create a good masterpiece.
It has been proven that producing the story as an audiobook is much more comfortable and profitable for some.
However, consider that not all genres and book types are good to produce as audiobooks. With this in mind, how can you produce the audiobook?
How to Produce an Audiobook: 6 Steps
To go over the steps of how you can start with this side hustle, we will need to focus on a few general options. However, keep in mind that some additional elements or platforms can be required depending on your needs or how you decide to produce the audiobook.
With this in mind, this is how you can start:
Get the right equipment
Recording audiobooks is not possible with either your iPhone or the built-in microphone of your computer. At least, no if you truly want quality and people buying the digital product.
You see, audiobooks need to be clean, and with a phone, it won’t be possible to achieve this. Even less with the mic, you use on your computer. So, if you want to consider this side hustle, you do need to invest some money in this equipment: spend money on the following:
- A good mic: Be sure to have it on a sturdy table in a quiet area since it picks up background noises easily. However, some software can help you with this problem when you’re recording. For this alone, you can expect about $100, and it will be worth it.
- Pop screen: Reduces plosive sounds to make sure the audio isn’t affected by your pronunciation or mistakes, and you would need to repeat everything again. This can cost only $5.
- GarageBand and Audacity are free programs that you can use to record. You can also use OBS Studio despite it being for video and broadcasting mainly.
Find a Good Setup
Place your equipment in a room or area that can be used as a recording studio. You will need to dampen hard surfaces and ensure that no background sound or any detail will affect the final result.
Make sure to cover areas in front and behind you. The best way to cover your recording space is with soft coverings like curtains, blankets, and duvets.
Be sure to keep your pets away from the recording area, shut off the HVAC vents, and turn off the washer, dryer, and dishwasher before you begin recording.
It is normal to have interruptions but to avoid making your time go to waste, prepare everything before every time you need to record as any audiobook narrator would actually do.
Get ready to record
Recording will always be the hardest part. Considering that audiobooks involve reading for several minutes until you get to the end of a chapter or specific part, you need to be well-prepared to resit all that time.
So, to lend you a hand, these are some tips you can follow to get ready for your recording session:
- Make sure to avoid salty food since it can make your mouth dry much faster, and you will require water in shorter periods of time.
- Lip balm can help you hydrate, and although it is for your lips only, it will help with how dry your mouth feels.
- Make sure to keep water at hand and drink before you feel completely dry.
- Re-read the paragraphs that you recorded yesterday if you are recording for several days. Listen to the same section again and find the threat and keep the rhythm for the new recordings. This will set the tone for your recording and help to ensure that your audio is more consistent.
- Record at the same time every day if possible. Your voice changes throughout the day, so it is important to record when you feel more comfortable and based on how much you used your voice during the day.
Send it to an audio engineer or edit it yourself
Many freelances decide to offer their services in this area. However, it isn’t that hard to use tools online or a few free software. You just need to go over some videos and learn the tricks.
We started in this side hustle with some free websites that had the tools to fix volume, add effects, or just clean the background.
Whatever it is, you can use some free options to start and very low rates in freelance you can find in Fiverr for this.
Modify your cover for ACX standards
ACX requires a different size cover (square, rather than Kindle rectangle), and your cover cannot be stretched too straight. This is easy. Many Fiverr freelancers can do it for $5, or you can also take the time to cut the image and prepare it according to the standards.
This marketplace is considered the top for selling your audiobooks.
Create an ACX account and upload it
For royalty payments, make sure to enter your bank account details and tax information!
With this account, you will download each m4b file to ACX and submit it for approval. The previous issue with the cover is also included in this step as it needs to be done by this time.
To grab the attention of potential customers, some people think that uploading a sample of a chapter that is three minutes long is a great option.
Uploading photos to Facebook will make it easy to upload your finished audiobook to ACX. Make sure to name each audio file according to the chapter number.
ACX approves most audiobooks within three days, and sales start in about 8 to 10.
Do You Need Talent for This? + Earnings
Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a genius to produce an audiobook. All you need to worry about is to have the right equipment.
If you aren’t confident about how you can record yourself or the right way to do it, you can just listen to some examples and watch a couple of videos.
It isn’t something you cannot learn, but it does take some time if you are already having a hard time with how to set your space, equipment and if what you have tried so far doesn’t feel appealing to you or friends you ask for reviews.
Now, as people who have tried this option before, we can assure you it is easy once you get the hands-on it. The first audiobook will be a bit rusty, but the next ones will have a more mature you for this.
With this in mind, how can you earn with sales?
You would be surprised, but audiobooks are actually more expensive than regular ones, or most of them are at least. In the worst case, none of them cost less than the original format, as the audio version is quite valuable based on how much a song costs.
You can find some prices on Amazon and ACX where you will publish your audiobook and notice that many audiobook listeners are willing to pay for yours.
The average price goes from $15 to $20, and you can sell many in a month. Yes, everything will depend on your audiobook sales, but it is possible to make about $150 to $200 the first month, and this goes up the next few ones.
Of course, it depends on how well-received the audiobook is as well.
To summarize all this, we are confident you will have a good chance with this, and keep in mind that not much investment is actually required for this side hustle idea.
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