ACX, a company that works with Audible, has a system in place where authors and narrators can connect and contract with each other to make audio books. This can work in one of two ways. You can either decide to Royalty Share, meaning the narrator takes on all costs of producing the book, and then you both split the royalties 50-50; or you can Pay for Production, which means exactly what it sounds like: the author pays the narrator outright (flat fees seem to range from $200-$400 per finished hour of book), and then the author gets all royalties (after Audible takes its cut, of course).
You have to try and weigh the rewards and risks, of course, for both. A 6-hour book will cost the author roughly $1800-2000 to have made, if paid outright. It will probably price around $25.00, and at 40% royalties, you'd have to sell 180-200 audio books to make back your initial investment. If you're confident in that, you should choose to Pay for Production. If you're not sure how well or how fast your book will sell (or you don't have the money to shell out upfront), then Royalty Share is probably a better option.
Having taken all of this into consideration, and based on my past experience, I'm happy to say that I've just contracted with a new-to-me narrator to produce After Paradise in audio, and that will be coming out before the holiday season, so if you're an audio book fan, get ready! I'll also tell you how you can get my book FREE just by trying a 30-day trial at Audible, which is kind of cool for both of us.
And even though it's weird to hear my written word spoken out loud, it's kind of neat too. I'll share a clip here when it's finished!