While I have a warm-fuzzy feeling that our reputation has gotten this far out in the wild, this is the Audacity help forum. This is the place you go to share your experiences and help others to get Audacity working. It’s not a help desk and it’s not a course on how to record sound or produce audiobooks.
Yes, we are familiar with the ACX guidelines, but there is no single way to get there. Everybody does it differently because everybody’s situation is different. Some work, some don’t. I would hire a recording studio. That will let you walk in with a script and walk out with a perfect, finished sound bed all ready to edit and polish in Audacity for ACX submission.
After you get the first few books under your belt, then you can try to record them yourself in your apartment, with an eye to your hired studio if it doesn’t work out. Self Recording is much more difficult than people think.
There is a studio across from where I sometimes have breakfast. It’s called “Voice Over Studio,” and I can imagine they had you in mind when they built the place. You don’t need room for a five piece band. You just need a very quiet, well-behaved booth space with cooling, a chair and lights, to record sound with no noise and no echoes. Those two kill home recordists.
I moved this topic to the “Audiobook production” board. There are many posts here about how to go about meeting those aims and how to take those measurements. Note that it’s dB, to be perfectly correct.
It would be interesting to find out what they charge and whether an engineer is included or optional. I suspect that the cost will be way beyond Nick’s budget, but hole-in-the-wall recording studios do exist all over the place so it might be worth doing a bit of searching.
Nick: There are whole novels worth of material here of experiences in setting up a home studio and meeting these requirements, I suggest you spend some quality time browsing through the archives. It can be done but will take some learning, some trial and error, and probably spending more money on equipment than you had hoped.