Information for Authors and Audiobook Publishers
FAQ about audiobook production with Stephanie Murphy, Voice Actor
Welcome! Thanks for visiting this page.
I narrated my first audiobook in 2012 and since then I have produced more than 150 titles, most of which are available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. I am an American English-speaking female audiobook narrator. I have a warm, lower-register vocal quality and an engaging, storytelling delivery style. I help successful authors who want to bring their book’s message or story to life in audio.
My favorite genres to narrate are: non-fiction – especially books about health, science, medicine, self-help, emotional well being, meditation, psychology, money, technology, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, food, animals, gardening, permaculture, and homesteading. Fiction: lesfic! LGBT romance especially featuring women characters.
I’m always looking for great new audiobook projects! Here is some more information for authors and audiobook publishers about working with me…
Q: Where can I hear some demos?
You may also request to listen to any of my audiobook titles for free by going here. Please also check out my audiobook links located here on the front page of my website.
If you’ve heard my demos and are already familiar with the audiobook production process, you just want to ask me to narrate your title right now – here’s where you can skip right to getting in touch with me!
Q: How is audiobook production financed?
A: There are two different payment structures for audiobook production.
1) Royalty Share.
Under a royalty share agreement, the audiobook rights holder (usually the author or publisher of a book) pays nothing up front for the production of an audiobook. The audiobook producer (typically, the narrator) is compensated from the sales of the book.
A royalty share agreement can be easily entered into via ACX, the audiobook creation exchange (a division of Audible.com). Under the terms of an ACX royalty share agreement, 60% of the sale price of an audiobook goes to Audible/ACX. The remaining 40% is split equally between the rights holder/author and the audiobook producer/narrator, effectively earning each of them 20% of the price of each audiobook sold. Audible/ACX administrates payments and automatically tracks sales, and pays out monthly.
Royalty share can be an excellent way for independent authors to finance production of an audiobook, because they pay nothing up front. However, audiobook narrators/producers assume all of the risk under a royalty share agreement. If the audiobook does not sell, they do not get compensated for their investment of work to produce the audiobook. Experienced producers will look for indicators of strong audiobook sales potential before accepting a royalty share project, such as: book reviews, Kindle sales statistics, and author’s marketing plan and social media.
Many producers have costs associated with audiobook production. These costs usually include outsourcing of audiobook proofing, editing and mastering services. Some producers may accept a royalty share project, but also ask the rights holder to pay a stipend to cover their production costs. Typically between $50 – $150 per finished hour.
2) Pay for production.
Under a pay for production agreement, the rights holder retains all of the royalties from audiobook sales, after Audible/ACX takes their share of 60%. This provides the rights holder/author with 40% of the sale price of each audiobook sold.
The audiobook producer/narrator does not receive any royalties from audiobook sales. They are compensated for the audiobook production through an up front payment at a rate per finished hour of audio. Typically these rates range from $200 – $400 per finished hour for experienced non-union audiobook producers.
Q: What are your rates for audiobook production?
A: I offer pay for production (per finished hour) rates, and I also accept some royalty share projects on a limited basis.
More about pay for production (per finished hour) rates…
I offer production and delivery of a finished audiobook, formatted according to Audible/ACX specs, for $400 per finished hour. Titles are subject to my approval and availability. Please inquire to start a discussion about producing your audiobook.
For pay for production projects, I require a 50% deposit at the start of the project (calculated based on the estimated length of the audiobook.) The balance (calculated based on the actual finished length of the book) is payable after the audiobook is completed and approved by the rights holder/author. Payment must be completed before the audiobook is released.
*Please note that while I provide finished, ready to use audiobook files, I do not produce audiobook cover art. If your book is going on Audible, you will need to have cover art produced according to Audible/ACX specs. See cover art specs.
For short titles under 3 finished hours in length, a rate of $500 per finished hour may apply.
For textbooks, titles heavy on technical language, or for certain subject matter, eLearning rates may apply.
Please inquire for a quote on your project.
Royalty Share – more information…
I accept royalty share projects on a limited basis.
Please be prepared to show me why your title is exceptional and would be a great project for royalty share! Kindle sales data, book reviews, and your social media and marketing plan will all be considered.
I also consider projects that match well with my personal interests. LGBTQ romance featuring lesbian or queer women characters, non-fiction self-help, biochemistry and metabolism related science books, and cryptocurrency titles all interest me.
Please inquire if you have a title that matches any of these categories, and think I would be a good fit as a narrator!
*Please note that royalty share projects may be subject to longer production timetables than pay for production projects.
Q: Do you narrate adult material? Are there any projects you won’t accept?
A: I’m pretty open-minded, but all audiobook projects are subject to my approval and availability.
Please see my portfolio for examples of the types of projects I do work on.
Q: What is your timetable for audiobook production?
A: Please inquire for the most accurate information about availability. As a rule of thumb, plan for at least 1 week of production time per finished hour of the audiobook.
For most titles, I can produce the audiobook within about 1 week per finished hour of the book. So, for an average length audiobook of 8 – 10 hours, I could complete production within 8 – 10 weeks of beginning the project. Production on pay for production titles can be significantly faster. Production on royalty share titles can sometimes be slower than this rule of thumb.
Please note, I sometimes book months in advance for audiobooks and I may not always have availability to start production immediately. Please inquire to check availability. Production schedules for royalty share projects are subject to change. I do my best to communicate with rights holders/authors about changes in the production schedule.
Q: How do I calculate the length of my audiobook?
A: Use the word count to get a ballpark estimate.
Approximately 9000 words is 1 finished hour of audio. Actual length may vary. Pay for production rates are based on the actual final length of the audiobook.
Q: What’s the process like to produce an audiobook through ACX and get it on Audible? What do I need to do to get started?
A: ACX makes the process of audiobook production easy for independent authors. There is very little the author or audiobook rights holder needs to do. Here’s how to get started, step-by-step.
- If you already have a published Kindle version of your title, register an author/rights holder account on ACX. It may take a few days for your bank account information to get approved (which you need in order to receive royalties!)
- Then, claim your title via ACX (basically, verifying that it’s yours and that you hold the audiobook rights.)
- Next, post a title profile on ACX. If we have been communicating by email and I’ve agreed to narrate your book, please be sure to write in the description section in your title profile that you already have a narrator.
- Make me an offer to produce via ACX with the dates and payment terms we’ve discussed. Here’s my profile on ACX.
- I will accept your offer. We’ll both receive an email, and the book will appear in our “in production” tabs on ACX.
- Send me the full, final version of the manuscript in Kindle, pdf, or word document format.
- You may want to get started on creating cover art. See cover art specs.
- I will read the full manuscript, make notes, and start on audiobook production! I will produce a sample of at least the first 15 minutes of the audiobook. I usually try to cover any main characters in the “first 15” sample, even if it ends up being longer than the first 15 minutes of the audiobook. The purpose of this is so we can check in with each other about how it sounds. This is your chance to make changes or requests, before I produce the rest of the audiobook.
- After you approve the “first 15 minutes” sample, I will go ahead and produce the rest of the audiobook. I hire an audiobook proofer to screen the audiobook files and make sure it’s true to the script. When I have completed production, I will ask you to listen to the audiobook files. The audiobook should be completely or nearly error free by the time you are listening at this stage and my hope is that you will be listening for enjoyment and to hear the finished product, rather than to proof for errors. This is your last opportunity to make any changes or corrections before the audiobook goes out for publication.
- When you approve the final production, we both click our “I’m Done!” button on ACX. After a QC and posting period of approximately 2 – 3 weeks, the audiobook will become available for sale on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes! Sales will be automatically tracked through our ACX sales dashboard, and royalties will be paid out by Audible monthly.
Once the audiobook is published, authors/rights holders are responsible for audiobook promotion and marketing (and they tend to have bigger followings and more marketing tools, like author pages on Amazon/Audible, than narrators do.) I often help with promotion by sharing the audiobook on social media and my website. The rights holder and the narrator both have the opportunity to request 25 promotional codes good for a free copy of the audiobook, that can be given out to potential audiobook reviewers. Always take advantage of this! For more about audiobook marketing, Karen Commins shares an excellent guide for your audiobook marketing strategy.
Q: I’m with an audiobook publisher. Will you join our talent roster?
A: Maybe! Here’s how to request.
If you think I’d be a good fit for your roster, please contact me. Tell me about your publishing company and any specific projects you have in mind for me.