Making an audio book has proven to be a viable way to earn money. You don't even need to have published your own book and, according to Steve Gillman, author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money," you don't necessarily need to have a college degree to succeed. Understanding some basic guidelines for making audio books, knowing the right contacts and gaining insight into the industry may be all you need to get paid for making audio books.
Choose your market. Your success in getting paid will depend partly on understanding what you can offer and to whom. Public speakers, evangelists, poets, authors -- anyone who voices their thoughts to a captive audience -- have specific markets that they appeal to. Find or create material that caters to this market.
Choose your work source. If you have written your own work, such as a book or play, consider this as material for an audio book. If you are a public speaker who's done a number of speeches varying in topics, consider recording these or using your already-recorded talks. If you have no work to your name, find another's work that isn't yet in audio form.
Make a recording. Demonstrate why an audio book publisher should consider not only your content, but also your voice. If you're reading work that has characters and drama, act out the work with your voice instead of merely reading the words. Use a digital recorder and transfer the recording to your computer; then burn a CD demo to send to publishers. Or record directly to you computer with a microphone and make a CD.
Contact publishers. James Alburger, in his book, "The Art of Voice Publishing," recommends making a demo of you reading excerpts -- no more than three minutes each -- from three different works to send to publishers and letting them decide if they need your talent. Or pick one work, such as your own or another's, and record a few excerpts from this and send to the publisher. "Writer's Market" and "Writers Weekly" give specifics about publishers and how to offer your work to each.
Be creative and practical. James Alburger notes that the audio book market is a fast-growing and evolving market. Observe trends and note ways that you can appeal to needs. Since people are becoming busier than ever, many seek ways to "read" while driving their cars. Others simply don't like to read but love to listen. Think about what these types of audiences want to hear. Approach smaller, local publishers first.
Find audio book publishers directly at the Audio Publishers Association. Find free audio recording software for your computer from the website CNET. Be confident with publishers. According to "The Art of Voice Acting," the mentality "this is how I can make you money" pleases publishers more than "how can you make me money?"