How to Start an Audiobook Business

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Audiobook companies typically work in tandem with publishing companies. While major publishing companies typically have their own internal departments to handle audiobooks; smaller, independent publishers are more likely to outsource this aspect of the business, which could be the gap your company could fill. If you prefer your audiobook business to be independent of a publisher, books in the public domain are a good place to start.

Form Partnerships

Trying to partner directly with authors to produce audiobook versions of their printed or electronic books can be difficult, as the publishing rights are often through the agent or the publisher. In order to access a wide range of titles without worrying about encroaching on publishing rights, partner directly with an independent or small publisher to provide their audiobooks. To prove yourself reputable enough to earn a contract with a publisher, create a professional website for your business. Record some excerpts of books to include on the website as work samples. Payment options vary from publisher to publisher, but you could opt for a flat fee for each audiobook produced, royalties from the sale of the audiobooks or a combination of the two.

Finding Talent

A critical aspect of the success of an audio book is the narrator. Your talent needs will differ for non-fiction and fiction audiobooks. A non-fiction narrator needs a clear, fluid voice able to express the emotion and highs and lows of the text. A fiction book needs a voice actor with a great deal of range, able to encompass the span of characters in the book. Voice talents can be found through local performing arts agencies. Hold auditions, either at your home studio or a public space like a park, to evaluate potential voice actors. Once chosen, voice actors can be paid a flat rate per project, or a per hour fee.

Finding a Location

A recording studio is the optimal location for an audiobook business, but these can be expensive to lease, or even to rent by the hour. Another option is to rent office space in a quiet building. A corner office with minimal neighbors is ideal. Discuss your noise-related needs with landlords to see if they have an office location to suit you.

Equipment and Software

When setting up your recording studio, your equipment needs will be fairly light. Typically, you will need a microphone along with a computer and recording and editing software. A headset with a microphone is ideal for comfort, clarity and the ability to keep your hands free to access the script.


If you partner with a publishing company, a good deal of the promotion of the audio books occurs through their channels. However, it can be helpful to promote the books yourself as well through social media postings. Tweeting links to the audiobooks you created, for example, can help boost attention and sales. Share the Facebook page of an author and include purchasing information for the audiobook.