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Should I Narrate My Audiobook
Summary: This article looks at the pros and cons of narrating your own audiobook.

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This article looks at the pros and cons of narrating your own audiobooks with a focus on voice, cost, and time.

Whether you are releasing your audiobooks on your own site, ACX, Findaway Voices, or another source, you will need to weigh the options for creating the files. This article will list the pros and cons of each to help you decide if you will hire out the production or handle it in house. Consider these factors.

Fiction or Non-fiction

The genre of the book is a large factor. For a non-fiction book, it is more customary for the author to narrate the book if able. Since non-fiction tends to be more education-focused, it makes more sense to listen to the author, in their own words, teach the material. Sometimes this is not possible, but a recording production studio can help an author to read the manuscript and ready the production process.

A fiction book needs to be more performed and less read. A person listens to a fictional story to escape the world for a while, so the production quality needs to be higher. You may, as an audio, still have what it takes to narrate and produce your audiobook, but the skill level is higher.

The Components

Audiobook production is a two-step process. You need a narrator and a producer. Many audiobook studios will take on both burdens, but you may consider if you can cut your costs by either narrating or producing. Future articles will cover how to produce an audiobook.

The Pros of Self-Creation

With the basic considerations out of the way, lets consider the specific pros for narrating and producing your own audiobook:

  • People like to hear the author: It is true that the narrator to the story does connect to the listener, and if your listeners hear your voice as the narrator, a better connection is made to your audience.
  • You know the story better: Nobody knows your story like you do. As an author, you will know better where to make emphasis and inflection in ways that a hired narrator will not be able to pick up on.
  • Lower Cost: The almighty dollar may make your decision for you. The up front cost to produce an audiobook can be thousands of dollars, and that could be prohibitive. However, you can split your audiobook royalties to save upfront costs, you just make less per sale.

The Cons of Self-Creation

There are also many good reasons you should not narrate your own audiobook:

  • Do you have the voice: It takes a certain ability and strength of voice to narrate an audiobook. It is no easy task, and a fiction book needs to be performed in addition to being read.
  • Very Time Intensive: The time investment to record and produce your audiobook is intense. It may take reading each chapter of your book two or three times to get it right. The stops and starts can be frustrating. The production takes about twice as long.
  • High Cost: Just as we mentioned above, if you are self-producing, the cost is low, but here, we trade off the time for cost. If you do not produce your own book, you will be splitting royalties with a production team or paying a high up-front cost.


No one can tell you for sure if you should produce your own audiobook or if you should hire it out. Hopefully these considerations will help you make up your mind.