How to Turn Your Novel into an Audiobook

ACX_LogoInspired by my many hours of listening to audiobooks on my daily commute (see Audiobooks as Leisure Time Part 1 and Part 2), I decided to turn The Smith Family Secret Book 1, one of my own self published chapter books, into an audiobook.

ACX is Amazon’s audiobook platform. ACX stands for Audiobook Creation Exchange. Once published, your audiobook will be available on

case-study-gaimanNeil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and Fortunately, the Milk, uses ACX to record his own novels, and has even created his own audiobook label called, “Neil Gaiman Presents“.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but, as I discovered, the process is easy and fun. There’s nothing quite like hearing your story come to life through the interpretation of an actor.

If you are interested in turning one of your own books into an audiobook, here’s what you have to do!


Create an author account with ACX.


Find your book on and claim it.


Enter a few details about your book, and what kind of narrator you might be looking for.


Listen to all of the auditions! This step is the most fun. Every producer will have a different interpretation of your story. I found that I knew whether or not the narrator was going to work for the book in the first 30 seconds or so. I was open to having a male or female narrator, so that expanded my audition results a bit. Ultimately, I decided that a young male voice would work best.

TIP #1

If the auditions you receive are close but not quite right, don’t settle. There are many narrators on ACX and one of them is bound to be right for you.

TIP #2

Don’t be afraid to search the narrator database and invite actors to audition for you. This is how I found my narrator, Maxwell Glick. I heard his samples, emailed him with an invitation to audition, and voila! A perfect match.

TIP #3

If you are deciding between two different narrators that would be perfect for your project, check them out online and see what their internet presence is like. I perused Maxwell’s Twitter, Facebook and his website. He was very active, and had a whimsical quality to his posts and tweets that was appropriate for my story. This could be a deciding factor for your choice.


Make an offer. The offer form is very easy to fill out. I recommend chatting with your producer beforehand, to see when they might have availability and check dates before you send the offer over. This saves time and a lot of back and forth. You can offer either a 50/50 royalty split, or a flat fee per finished hour. Wait for your producer to accept the offer. When they do…


AudiobookYour narrator will complete the first 15 minutes. Listen to it closely to make sure the tone, pacing, voices are what you are expecting.


Once you approve the first 15 minutes, your narrator will record the rest of the book and upload it to your ACX account. You will also have to decide on a five minute segment to be your retail audio sample.


Once the full narration has been uploaded, I recommend listening to all of it. This might take some time, but it is well worth it to make sure that your story is being told exactly the way you want it.


Upload your cover. When you decide that you are going to make an audiobook, get the cover going right away. It will be your responsibility as the author to upload the cover before the audiobook can be released. Whereas a novel cover is usually a rectangle, audiobook covers are square.


yckAg6jqiHit “approve audiobook”. At this point, it will be pending audio review for quality control. This can take anywhere from 10 – 14 business days. Then, do a little dance. You’ve published an audiobook!

Creating an audiobook of your novel can be fun and easy. And, if you are interested in narrating your own audiobook, like Neil Gaiman, ACX has plenty of resources to get you started.

Happy Listening!

SFS1 Audiobook Cover Art9COMING SOON!

The Smith Family Secret Book 1 Audiobook on!

by Alison Potoma

Read by Maxwell Glick


    1. That’s a good question! I really don’t know the answer to this. I just thought I would give it a try and see what happens. I know that many books published by big houses have audiobook companions right away.


  1. Really enjoyed your post… you make it sound so simple! I would love to do this for my books… they have quite a lot of Irish names and placenames which I know can be difficult for people. This would solve that problem. And I totally get the idea of the story coming to life! How exciting!

    Do you have any info on royalties and sales, marketing etc?


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