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SPQ 043: Should You Outsource the Narration of Your Audiobooks?

Written by Steve Scott on February 5, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question…

Rory wants to know why Steve outsources the narration of his audiobooks instead of reading the books himself. He heard that reading the book yourself helps bond your audience to you and helps you build the know, like, and trust factor.

Biggest Takeaway…

The Answer…

Rory asks a lot of great questions and participates heavily in Pat Flynn’s Kindle group. It’s obvious he cares about his self-publishing business.

There is a big benefit to having audiobooks. Audiobook sales make up about 10 to 15 percent of Steve’s business. If you want to expand your self-publishing business, an audiobook is another asset to help you discover your brand. You can also negotiate deals with audio distributors to create extra income.

Steve’s audiobooks cost anywhere from $400 to $900, so it does take an investment to create this type of asset. He recommends doing an audiobook version of any book that is selling an average of five copies per day on the Kindle platform.

Rob Archangel and Matt stone of Archangel Ink work with Steve on his audiobooks. At first, Steve was very hesitant to get into audio and put his voice out there. Matt Stone messaged Steve a few times on Facebook and encouraged him to create audiobooks.

There are advantages and disadvantages to doing the books yourself, and there are pros and cons of outsourcing audio narration. This is why Steve outsources the narration to someone else.

  1. He’s nervous about recording his voice. Check out the very first episode to learn more about this.
  2. He is a terrible multitasker. The reason he writes about productivity is because he has personally struggled with managing all of his projects. If he had to record every audiobook, he wouldn’t have time for writing.
  3. The do-it-yourself attitude can kill the growth of your business. You need to find people who are good at things and then pay them to take tasks off your plate. “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is a great book on this topic.

That said, there is some benefit to doing your own narration. It does help you connect with your readers and build your know, like, trust factor. Another benefit is “riffing.” This is when authors elaborate on their written content when they do audiobooks. Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of completely riffing off the topics in his books. Riffing does have a disadvantage, though. If you’re planning on riffing off your content, there may be WhisperSync issues when you upload your book and your audiobook.

Doing it yourself also helps you save money. You have to pay for equipment, but you don’t have to pay a narrator or share any of your royalties. This is a good way to bootstrap when you start your self-publishing business.

Steve doesn’t think there is a right or wrong answer. He outsources his narration because he knows his limitations and would prefer to focus on the things he can do best. You need to decide what will work best for your business. If you enjoy speaking, then do it yourself. If you don’t enjoy the process, then go ahead and outsource it.

Resources and Links

Archangel Ink: Archangel Ink provides audio narration and audiobook production services for authors

Episode Zero: Listen to the first episode of SPQ to learn more about why Steve started the podcast

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: Marshall Goldsmith discusses the high-level skills needed to climb the corporate ladder

Crush It!: Gary Vaynerchuk talks about finding something you are passionate about and making money with it