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Should You Narrate Your Audiobook, Hire a Pro, or Use AI?

According to sales statistics, generally speaking (pun intended), listeners prefer and will purchase an author-read audiobook. With the proliferation of podcasts, most listeners say they get “A lot more out of listening to author-read audiobooks than I do from reading a book” 

The author knows their book better than anyone and many of the top selling audiobooks are indeed, “Read by Author” (i.e. Stephen King)  For example, if the book takes place in a different country, uses a different language at times, has certain phrases that are unique or anything else that may be hard to pronounce, the author will typically be able to narrate these more accurately than a professional.  If it is a memoir or autobiography, it may also be beneficial for the author to narrate the audiobook since it is about their own life and personal experiences.

Besides cost, deciding whether to narrate your own audiobook, hire a professional narrator or leverage newer technologies such as AI, depends on various other factors too, and each option has their pros and cons.

Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision:



Authenticity:  Your personal connection to the material can bring an authentic and genuine tone to the narration.

Cost Savings:  If you have the necessary voicing skills, narrating your own audiobook can save money compared to hiring a professional narrator.

Author Engagement:  Listeners appreciate hearing the author narrate their own work, as it adds a personal touch and insight into the author’s intent.


Narration Skills:  Not everyone is comfortable or skilled in narrating.  Professional narrators can deliver engaging performances, and if you lack experience, it might affect the overall quality of the audiobook.

Time-Consuming:  Narrating takes a significant amount of time and effort.

Recording Environment:  Achieving professional audio quality requires a controlled recording environment. Background noise, echoes, or poor acoustics can negatively impact the final product.  Our studios have a welcome and creative environment with appropriate acoustics to create engaging recordings.



Narration Expertise:  Professional narrators have the skills to bring your story to life. They understand pacing, tone, and character portrayal, enhancing the overall listening experience.

Time Efficiency:  Hiring a professional can save you time. They handle the narration, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your work.



Cost:  Hiring a professional narrator will add additional expense, this could be significant if they are well-known or have a significant body of work.

Lack of Author’s Voice:  Some listeners prefer hearing the author’s voice, and using a professional narrator may remove that personal touch.


While off the shelf AI narration is not new, what is new is the ability to now sample the reader’s voice and then use that to read the entire book leveraging AI. There can be a stigma or perception issue with AI narration, as some audiences may view it as less professional or less invested than human narration.  With more recent hardware and software advances, Phase 3’s AI Voiceover Solution has the ability to record the author’s voice and then use that to read the complete book all with more control over tone, pitch and context nuances. 


Cost-Effective:  AI narration is more affordable than hiring a professional human narrator, making it a budget-friendly option.

Consistency:  AI provides consistent voice quality and tone throughout the audiobook, avoiding issues like fatigue or variations in human performance.

Customization:  Our AI tools allow for adjustments in tone, pitch, and speed, enabling a degree of customization to match the desired style of narration.

Time Savings:  If you have a particularly long book, AI allows for easy creation of longer material more quickly.


Lack of Emotion and Nuance:  Some AI voices can lack the emotional depth and nuance that a skilled human narrator brings, which can affect the listener’s engagement and experience.

Authenticity:  Some listeners may prefer the authenticity and warmth of a human voice, finding AI narration less appealing or engaging.

Pronunciation Issues:  Some AI systems may mispronounce names, technical terms, or uncommon words, potentially disrupting the listener’s experience.  

Lack of Adaptability:  Some AI systems may struggle with adjusting the narration style based on the context of the text, which a human narrator can do instinctively.


Our AI Voiceover Solution addresses all of these issues above with the latest and most improved capabilities.  In fact, most listeners have now been unable to detect any difference between the original recording and the AI voiceover.  Feel free to contact us for some samples.

With our AI Voiceover Solution there are two choices – use an off-the-shelf voice or have your voice cloned. Cloning the author’s voice is more expensive than using an existing voice, but cheaper than hiring a VO artist.


Ultimately, the decision depends on your comfort level, skills, budget and the overall goals for your audiobook.  Some authors successfully narrate their own audiobooks, while others benefit from the expertise of professional narrators.  Newer technology such as AI narrated books allow even more options when executed correctly.  Phase 3 Studios will guide you through this process and help you choose which is best for the goals of your project and for your budget. Whichever option you choose, prioritize the quality of the final product to ensure a positive listening experience for your audience.

Ready to get started?  Contact our Phase 3 Studios Audiobook professionals to get your audiobook started today.




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Let us walk you through the process and bring your book to life.


Welcome to Phase 3 Studios, the leading destination for crafting high quality audiobooks for self-publishers. With over fifteen years of experience, our nationwide network of studios provides an inspiring and comfortable atmosphere for nurturing a creative performance.

At Phase 3 Studios, we take the reins of the entire process, seamlessly guiding your audiobook journey from discovering exceptional voice talent, recording, editing, mastering and ultimately, distribution. Our distribution capability includes platforms like Audible, Apple Books, Spotify, Google and many others.

We’ve had the honor of working with multiple New York Times best-selling authors, affirming the trust they place in Phase 3 Studios—a testament to the quality of our services. The opportunity is yours to get started—reach out to us and let’s start the realization of your audiobook dream today!


How long does it take to create an audiobook?

When we produce an audiobook, we work as efficiently as possible to ensure both a smooth and timely production.  For an average six-hour audiobook, production time is typically between 6 and 8 weeks from first day of record.  This would include recording, editing, proofing, mastering, QC approvals and submission to distributor platforms.  The timeline can also be affected by factors such as casting, talent availability, studio availability and any other unforeseen delays.

I don’t have the funds to do this at the moment. Is there another way or payment options?

As with all business ventures, an initial investment is required and producing an audiobook is no different.  Standard payment terms are 50% at the start and the balance due prior to distribution.  We do accept credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, and other payment types including Venmo and PayPal.

Plus, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to recoup your investment and start making money with your audiobook.


We provide top quality talent and gear to make your project the best it can be.


We have studios located across the country for easy access to professional recording.


Top publishers trust us to deliver a quality experience for the author and quality book delivered on-time.

Endless Possibilities. Guaranteed Smoothness.

Three decade’s experience working with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, over hundreds of projects. Meticulous attention to detail and an artisan-like approach to our craft set Phase 3 Studios apart. We bring all of that to your audiobook project, no matter how large or small, executed with our signature “guaranteed smoothness”, for award-winning results on your project.

Whatever your audiobook needs may be, Phase 3 Studios has got you covered. We are committed to delivering excellence and exceeding your expectations. Don’t hesitate – give us a call today to embark on your audiobook journey with us!