The following is a list of audiobook requirements as outlined by audiobook retailers. Audiobooks listed online go through a two to four week quality control check and Amazon, iTunes and Audible may reject audiobooks that do not meet these standards.
Using a professional voice or recording in a professional studio with a sound engineer is the best way to ensure your audiobook will not be rejected by the audiobooks retailers.
If you choose to record your own audiobook, Rebel Press cannot guarantee your audiobook will be accepted by audiobook retailers.
Your submitted audiobook must:
- Your submitted audiobook must be consistent in overall sound and formatting. Consistency in audio levels, tone, noise level, spacing, and pronunciation gives the listener an enjoyable experience. Drastic changes can be jarring to the listener and are not reflective of a professional production. This distracts from the listening experience and may lead to poor reviews and reduced sales.
- Each uploaded file must be free of extraneous sounds such as plosives, mic pops, mouse clicks, excessive mouth noise, and outtakes. Extraneous sounds can distract listeners from the story, and outtakes sound unprofessional. Each can elicit bad reviews and bad reviews can hurt sales.
- Your audiobook must include opening and closing credits that match the title’s cover art. At a minimum, the opening credits must note the name of the audiobook, the name of the author(s), and the name of the narrator(s). Closing credits must, at a minimum, state “the end”.
- Your audiobook must include a retail audio sample that is between one and five minutes long. This sample should start with narration, not opening credits or music. The sample must not include explicit material. This sample is used by customers to preview your audiobook.
- Each file must contain only one chapter or section. We upload each file individually. Both the opening credits and closing credits must be separate files. This ensures listeners can easily navigate between sections, and that skipping forwards or backwards moves them forward or back one section.
- Each file must have 0.5 to 1 second of room tone at its beginning and 1 to 5 seconds of room tone at its end. This space is required to ensure titles are successfully encoded in the many formats made available to customers. It also gives listeners an audio cue that they have reached the beginning or end of a section.
- Each file must contain the section header, if contained within the manuscript (e.g., “Prologue”, “Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”). These announcements help the listener understand what section of the book they are listening to without having to look at their player. If a section header is found to be missing during the QA review, you will be contacted to make revisions which could delay the release of your title. Be consistent – a listener may think content is missing if most headers are read but some are not.
- Each file must measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS. Put simply, all files must fall within a specific volume range. By keeping all files within this range – not too loud and not too soft – listeners won’t have to constantly adjust the volume of their playback device.
- Each file must have peak values no higher than -3dB. By leaving this headroom you’ll reduce the possibility of distortion, which can reduce the quality of the listening experience. This headroom is also needed to ensure files are successfully encoded.
- Each file must have a noise floor no higher than -60dB RMS. Noisy files that contain background sounds and other distractions make it difficult for listeners to focus on the material.
- Each file must be 192kbps or higher 44.1kHz MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR). Before going on sale in the Audible store, titles are encoded in the following formats that customers have the option of downloading. 192kbps (or higher), Constant Bit Rate MP3 files are required so this encoding process works without error. You may upload 256kbps or 320kbps files if you’d like, but the difference in quality heard by listeners will be negligible.
- All files must be the same channel format (All mono or all stereo files). Submitted audiobooks may not contain both mono and stereo files. Stereo files must not be joint-stereo. Mono files are strongly recommended. Before being added to online stores, submitted audiobooks are encoded in a variety of formats that listeners have the option of downloading. Titles submitted with both stereo and mono files will cause errors during this encoding process and the title’s retail release may be delayed. We recommend mono for all of your files as this may prove to be the smoothest path that also allows for audio consistency.
- Each file must be no longer than 120 minutes. Files over 120 minutes are not supported. If a section will be over 120 minutes long, find a good break in the narration and split the section into two files. A secondary section header must be included on continuations. If the section began with a header, such as “Chapter 2”, we recommend starting the second file with “Chapter 2 continued”. This will help ensure listeners can easily navigate from section to section.
- Each uploaded file must be no larger than 170MB. Files larger than 170MB are not supported. If a file will be over 170MB, find a good break in the narration and split the section into two files. A secondary section header must be included on continuations. If the section began with a header, such as “Chapter 2”, we recommend starting the second file with “Chapter 2 continued”. This will help ensure listeners can easily navigate from section to section.
- Your submitted audiobook must be narrated by a human. Text-to-speech recordings are not allowed. Audible listeners choose audiobooks for the performance of the material, as well as the story. To meet that expectation, your audiobook must be recorded by a human.
**WAV: The most common uncompressed audio format. You should record, edit, and master your audio as WAV files until you are ready to convert to MP3.
How To Create Your Recording Space
- Isolation from outside noise (No noise from cars, airplanes, or nested birds)
- No home noises like boilers turning on, air conditioners, TVs in other rooms, dogs, or kids
- A low noise-floor
- A dead room
- A comfy chair that won’t creak
- A script stand
- A microphone (preferably a large-diaphragm condenser)
- Mic stand or desk mount
- Mic Shockmount
- A Pop filter
- XLR Cable to connect a microphone to an audio interface
- Audio interface (such as an MBox)
- A reasonably fast and quiet computer
- External Hard Drive (solid-state drive preferable as they are typically quiet and fast)
- Recording/Editing Software (such as Audacity, Twisted Wave, Wavelab, or Pro Tools)
- Material to deaden sound
- Lighting that is easy on the eyes (Avoid fluorescents or anything with a dimmer)
How to Record and Submit Your Audiobook to Rebel Press
- Audiobooks should not be recorded until there are no more changes to your book. This is typically done when your book goes to print.
- Professional voices read from ebooks or electronic copies of a book. Request the ebook from your project manager.
- Audio not recorded in a professional studio is extremely difficult to edit. Rebel Press will not edit out mistakes (mispronunciations, background noise, etc). Record your audiobook in small sections, making each section perfect. This may be by paragraph, section, page, or chapter. Rebel Press will compile the sections to create one file for each chapter.
- Please send a sample to your project manager to review before recording the whole audiobook.
- Files should be saved as following:
Author Last Name – Book Title – Chapter # – recording number #
Where Chapter # is the Chapter number associated with the book and “recording number #” numbers each recording in order, 1, 2, 3, 4,… however many recordings it takes you to complete a chapter.
Example: Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 1.1
This would be the first reading in chapter 1. The second recording would be titled:
Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 1.2
Regardless on how the author breaks up the recordings in each chapter.
Other sections should be named as they are named in the book (i.e., Dedication).
Please put each chapter’s files in a folder titled by chapter and send to your project manager via dropbox or google. Please send completed chapters together if you are recording your audiobook over several sessions.
Overview of Naming and Organizing Files
|Folder Name||File Name||Notes|
|Sample||0 Adams – My Great Book – Sample||This is a sample between 1-5 minutes long. Select which section you want to be used as the sample and save as Sample.|
|Opening Credits||1 Adams – My Great Book – Opening Credits||Title of Audiobook
Subtitle if applicable
Written by [name of author]
Narrated by [name of narrator]
|Dedication||2 Adams – My Great Book – Dedication||If there is a dedication section|
|Acknowledgments||3 Adams – My Great Book – Acknowledgements||If there are acknowledgments|
|Chapter 1||4 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 1.1
5 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 1.2
6 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 1.3
|Save each recorded file in chapter 1 as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3…|
|Chapter 2||7 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 2.1
8 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 2.2
9 Adams – My Great Book – Chapter 2.3
|Save each recorded file in chapter 2 as 2.1, 2.2, 2.3…|
|Closing Credits||10. Adams – My Great Book – Closing Credits||Must say, “The End.”|
Once we list your audiobook online, Audible has license to use, reproduce, display, market, sell and distribute your Audiobook in all formats for 7 years.
Yes. If you want to distribute your audiobook on CD, we will hire a 3rd-party vendor on your behalf to create the CDs and packaging.
No. Each audiobook retailer independently prices your audiobook. Audible generally prices audiobooks based on length. For example:
- Audiobooks under 1 hour are typically priced under $7
- Audiobooks between 1 to 3 hours are generally priced between $7-$10
- Audiobooks between 5 to 10 hours are generally priced between $15 and $25
Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
We have two options for audiobook creation.
Option 1: Hire a professional voice and producer
The first step is to select a voice for your audiobook. Your account manager will ask you about the type of voice you envision for your audiobook. They will ask you to send links to 3 to 5 samples of audiobook voices you like and what you like about that voice. For example, you may state that you like a male voice with a deep tone, British accent who sounds mysterious and sophisticated.
They will then reach out to our network of professional audiobook narrators and select voice actors who have characteristics you are looking for and the availability to work on your audiobook project. The account manager will send you samples of available voice actors to choose from.
Once you have approved your book for print, we will send your book to the voice out to begin recording your book. When they are done recording, they will send us the recordings to list on Amazon, iTunes and Audible. It takes 4 to 8 weeks for the online retailers to approve the audiobook for distribution and to create the online listings.
Option 2: Author records their own audiobook
Some authors want to record their own audiobook. If you choose this option, you must follow the Audio Submission Requirements for Audiobooks Recorded by Authors Guide. The audiobook retailers have very strict guidelines and quality control measures for audiobooks. We require you to send us sample files before you record the whole audiobook. We will guide you through the process and edit your audio files to improve the quality, but cannot guarantee the audiobook retailers will accept your audiobook.
Once your audiobook is ready for distribution, it takes 4 to 8 weeks for the online retailers to approve the audiobook for distribution and to create the online listings.
We do not start creating the audiobook until you have approved book for print. This is because you want every word in your physical book to match your audiobook.
Just like physical books and ebooks, this can depend on many factors. The more you promote your audiobook, the more you may sell.
Audiobooks with Exclusive Distribution Rights
- Non Audible membership sells: 28% of the retail price set by the online retailer
- Audiobooks bought by Audible members using their membership credits: 28% of a price that is calculated by Audible. Audible calculates this price based on membership sales.
- Audiobook books by Audible members not using their membership credits: 28% of a price that is calculated by Audible. Audible calculates this price based on membership sales.
Audiobooks with Non-Exclusive Distribution Rights:
- Non Audible membership sells: 17% of the retail price set by the online retailer
- Audiobooks bought by Audible members using their membership credits: 17% of a price that is calculated by Audible. Audible calculates this price based on membership sales.
- Audiobook books by Audible members not using their membership credits: 17% of a price that is calculated by Audible. Audible calculates this price based on membership sales.
Most of our audiobooks are listed with Exclusive Distribution Rights.
- Audiobook cover art
- Audiobook listings and online distribution management
- Custom ISBN number
- For those who select to hire a voice actor: professional voice actor and producer
- For those who select to record their audiobook themselves: coaching, editing and mastering