What is an audio book?

At its simplest an audio book is a spoken version of a written text, possibly read by the author. It can be any genre of fiction or non fiction, poetry or prose; it can be a full length novel, a short story or play, an articles, an essay or treatise. As long as it includes the spoken word and expresses an idea, thought or concept, it can pretty much be whatever the author desires. There are no limits other than imagination. Sound effects, incidental music, soundscapes, stereophonics, etc, etc are all there to be exploited. We believe that as an art form, the audio book has massive untapped potential.

How do I make one?

To make a simple audio book, the only requirements are: the text (make sure you own the copyright or that copyright has expired); a basic microphone and computer/laptop or MP3 recorder; a quiet room; and a voice. However, to produce truly excellent audio content, we recommend that excellent writers collaborate with excellent actors, directors, engineers, etc. As the ratings of your titles improve, it is likely that you will come to the attention of other high performing members. We have created a forum where members can exchange ideas, share tips and resources, and help, support and critique each other. See our ‘starting a project’ guide for more information, or download the free beginners' guide written by our very own actor, writer, director and audio book producer Gurmeet Mattu:


What is the market?

The Audiobook market is considered to be one of the fastest growing areas within publishing and digital technology. The links below take you to recent articles on the expanse and potential of the audiobook. It is clear that to date the market has been dominated by professional publishing houses whose model appears to be adapting existing written word books that have a proven appeal. Because of the relative expense and complexity of publishing audiobooks against traditional print books, this is understandable from a business perspective. However, it perhaps means that the medium has lacked something of the dynamism and creative experimentation of the D.I.Y attitude that has transformed other art forms over recent years. By opening up the potential to create audiobooks to anyone with an Internet connection, aims not just to exploit the existing audiobook market, but to disrupt, transform and expand that market. Other media forms continue to balance the demand for free content from consumers with the need of content producers to generate income, whilst still allowing easy entry into the market for new voices, and our aim is to do the same.

We hope entrepreneurs will see the potential of and use it as a platform for their own businesses. If you have a passion for new literature and a creative, entrepreneurial streak, why not take the first steps to becoming an audiobook impresario by creating your own virtual publishing house within with your own brand, your own quality standards, and your own following?. We are here to help in any way we can.

What might I earn?

We don't yet know what percentage of D.I.Y audiobooks will successfully generate income, or indeed, quite how that income will be generated.  We do know that popular web content attracts advertisers and that can be translated into revenue for producers.  Other potential income streams might come from paid for downloads, radio and television commissions, etc. If you're serious about turning your creative output into an income, please share your thoughts and experiences in our Forum area.

Starting a project

The Basics:

The first step is to register with and complete your profile, which gives a summary of your skills, expertise and experience, as well as links to any existing content which showcases your previous work. You can also indicate the type of contacts you are hoping to make, the type of offers you will consider, and what you are hoping to achieve.  You can then wait for offers to arrive or take a more proactive approach, including starting your own project or actively canvassing for opportunities.

In a little more detail:

1) We recommend that every project should have one or two people who drive it forward, that person is generally referred to as ‘the producer’. The producer is the person who ensures that the concept is realised, and that an end product is delivered. You may be an actor/producer, a writer/producer, an artistic director/producer, or simply a producer. You should be resourceful, opportunistic, and persuasive; you should be able to recognise talent and know how to get the best from people; you should have an entrepreneurial approach and see opportunities that others miss and know how to leverage them. It may be that this is you but you have yet to realise this potential. If it is definitely not you don't worry, every project will need willing supporters and contributors, and writers, actors and technicians can all add value without taking a lead role.

2) Select a project. The starting point for most projects is likely to be the text. Look at the writers who are members, or if you prefer look at text where the copyright has expired or contact a favourite author to ask permission to translate a text. For beginners, an achievable project such as a short story, poetry anthology, or short play is recommended. Once you have cut your teeth and have some experience and credibility under your belt, you may decide that an epic novel is the project for you. For writers, there is much advice available online about writing or adapting for radio, and we would recommend that you refer yourself to guidance before starting to record.

3) Score the text for audio inputs. Will you use music, sound effects, multiple voices? What or who do you need to achieve these?

4) Identify and approach potential collaborators, either by scouring our Forums, searching through Makers' profiles, or identifying existing work that showcases ability.  Explain the proposed project, stage of development, and terms on which collaboration is sought. As a minimum, collaborators should be given credit on the finished audio book and a copy for their portfolio, but may also expect a share of any income the product might generate. Terms should be clearly negotiated at the outset and realistic expectations on all sides will help to ensure that projects are achievable. Do not commit to something you cannot deliver, as poor feedback from collaborators will damage reputations.

5) Collaboration on can be commenced on three different basis:

5.1) For fun only. This requires little contractual negotiation, and is best suited for purely amateur projects, or projects undertaken as learning opportunities with little prospect of attaining commercial success. Should a project developed on this basis become a surprise hit, terms can be renegotiated with all listed contributors. It is recommended that contributors to such projects agree percentages of ownership of the finished title at discussion phase – although in reality, such issues are unlikely to materialise.

5.2) Profit share. Where a project is intended to generate income, but where individuals are not paid in advance for their participation. The project lead will be required to divide the project into 100 x 1% shares, and to divide those shares according to the agreements reached with contributors. Share agreements should be retained by all parties. Distribution of royalties will be the responsibility of the project leader.

5.3) Professional engagement. Where participants receive payment for participation, but (in most cases) do not receive royalties from any future profits. We recommend that site users do not restrict themselves to professional participation until such time as they have a proven track record of professional standard delivery. Professional contracts can be as simple as an agreement reached by email. As in any professional exchange, it is each party’s responsibility to spell out exact expectations, rights and responsibilities before work commences.

6) Commence recording. Free recording software such as Audacity is readily available and comes highly recommended. Files can be emailed between parties easily and multi-tracking allows the overlay of music, sound effects, etc. If collaborating actors are local to one another and a recording studio and the services of a sound engineer can be arranged, so much the better. If not, resourcefulness, creativity and clever editing will be required to create a seamless product.

7) Market the finished product. lists books for free, allowing you to test your product and generate a following.  Take every opportunity to market your productions and to raise your profile; be creative, contribute to forums, review other audio books, and anything else you can think of which will make your work stand out from the crowd.

8) Be the first. This is a new approach to creating audio books, and as with other disruptive web services, we believe early adopters to have the potential to secure a foothold in the market which later arrivals might struggle to achieve.

Who owns the work?

The Makers own the work.  Agree amongst collaborators to post on when completed, or market, sell or give it away through any distributor you choose.

What else can I do?

If you've spotted a new opportunity for the community, please share your ideas with us - either by using the contact form or by starting a conversation in our Forum area.  We welcome feedback from our users and are always looking for ways to improve our service.