About this audiobook calculator

Hey there!

Briefly — you are going to record your audiobook and need an experienced audio engineer to take care of the technical side of it. Great, I got your back! Jump right down to the bottom of this page, play with the calculator and estimate the budget (you’ll get a price for three alternative options). Something still is unclear..? Don’t hesitate to contact me.

Okay, now a little bit more of details.

Unlike Findaway’s calculator this one is all about the audiobook post-production procedures (meaning, it gives you an estimate on the engineering part of the project):

So, if you are an indie author-narrator or a professional narrator seeking for an engineer to work with, this is a good place to start!


You’ll find two versions of the calculator — first one allows you to get an estimated budget if you know the words count, and a second one allows you to do that if you have already recorded your book or you are not sure about the words count.

Now, below you can see some explanatory things on how this calculator works. Again, if it seems boring (and I get it), scroll down to the end of the page and play with the calculator. Want a bit more of details..? You always can get back to those explanations.

By the way, if you are totally new to this area and trying to wrap your head around it, maybe you’ll appreciate this check list for newcomers. Good luck!

Formulae behind

Option #1 — it’s being used if the audio is not recorded yet:

(Words Number/ 9,300) x 1.2 x Time Ratio x Rate = Estimated Budget

Option #2 — this one is used when the audio has already been recorded:

Recorded Hours x Time Ratio x Rate = Estimated Budget

Words Count and Recording Time

It is known that the average speech tempo for audiobooks in English is around 155 words per min (or 9,300 words per hour). If you know the total count of words in your book, you can etimate the running time of the future audio version of that book. Let’s say, 25k words book would take something around 25,000 / 9,300 = 2.7 hours.

Coefficient 1.2

It is almost inevitable that you make mistakes, false starts and that sort of things during the recording session. From experience (in avg) they add something around 10 — 30% of the time that would’ve been taken for “clean” recording, without those mistakes. And that is why this coefficient is being used in this formula, please be aware of this fact.

And by the way, this is exactly why numbers in these calculators differ, so please take it in consideration.

Time Ratio or how much time you need to process one recorded hour

  • Technical mastering (noise reduction, EQing, loudness normalization, etc) usually may take 1/2…2x of the running time. In other words, 1 hr of audio stuff usually takes 1/2…2 working hours (there are many nuances, which I cannot predict now). This statement is being used in Option #1.
  • Mastering and editing (all that above and a bad takes removal) usually takes 2…3x of the running time. In other words, 1 hr of audio stuff usually takes 2…3 working hours. This is being used in Option #2. And here’s important thing — all the bad takes have to be marked with sonic cues. Here’s what I mean.
  • Mastering, editing and proof listening (all that above and a final proofing or making sure that the recording matches the script) usually takes 3…5x of the running time. In other words, 1 hr of audio stuff usually takes 3…5 working hours. This is being used in Option #3.

Engineer’s Rate

Please don’t forget about engineer’s rate. My current rate used in this calculator is US$25/hr.

What else?

Like I said, there are many nuances to this process and it may be that the real budget is going to be pretty different. It may be higher or lower… So, please don’t make hasty decisions and have fun!

Ready to discuss your project?

If, upon the calculation, you want to proceed by discussing your project or you want me to process a test sample, please drop me a message.

You can use:

  • The Contact Form right at the top of this page (̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶c̶t̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶, w̶h̶e̶r̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶p̶p̶e̶n̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶s̶c̶r̶e̶e̶n̶… t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶’̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶i̶g̶ ̶r̶e̶d̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶t̶o̶n̶),
  • Regular email and send me the direct message to s.vdovitski@gmail.com,
  • Linkedin.

Here we go!

Option #1. Based on a words number (taken from manuscript)

If you have already recorded your book, please use this one:

Option #2. Based on hours number (actually recorded time)

And just once again, if you have noticed discrepancies between a ‘word-based’ and an ‘hour-based’ versions of calculator, please don’t be confused… it just makes sense. I have explained that above. Please re-read the formula explanation.

If your recording is kinda “echoey” (it has a lot of room reflections and you want to get rid of them not being too bothered by acoustic treatments of your room) check this out and let’s discuss your project!