I love audio books, and tend to couple my listening with afternoon dog walks. It’s quite easy to listen to a 20-hour book in the span of a month. We all have our excuses for not making time for reading–but listening to a book can indeed help make way to enjoy more books. I recently listened to the Audible version of Rick Pipito’s book Flesh and Leftovers and his quest post today offers 10 tips for making an Audio book
From Eyes To Ears: 10 Tips for Making an Audio Book
by Rick Pipito (author/co-founder sCrypt Publishing)
Writers suffer from a curse. Most of us spend so much time working on our own projects, that we have very little room in our schedules to read the work of others. That severely depletes an audience market since every writer is a fan of someone else. Well it doesn’t have to. Audio books can fill that void. While I’m still in love with the feel of a good book and smell of the pressed paper, I find that a good audio book stimulates the same part of my mind. It was because of this that I decided to branch out into this new medium for myself.
My first attempt was fun, but it was also a learning experience on what to do and not to do. Here are a few tips to producing an audiobook for distribution on Audible, iTunes, and more.
#1: Tweak your script: You may have a best-selling novel, but even in that case there may be times where an acting translation won’t properly convey the sentence. A book is visual, so switching it to an audio format comes with some minor edits, though if you have a good book this shouldn’t be a major issue.
#2 A good narrator: Whether it is one voice or many different actors, make sure everyone is convincing. The last thing you want is something you’re proud of to sound like it’s a B-Movie. Even if it is, you still want the best quality for your audience.
#3 Keep Recording: There is no way you or any person reading will make it through 40,000 plus words without having a slip up when reading. Even the best speakers make mistakes. Don’t let that stop you. Keep the recorder going. You will keep the energy consistent and can edit out the errors later. Plus it makes for a great gag reel.
#4 Sufficient equipment: You need a computer that has some space on it for not just your audio programs, but the files too. Most important of all however is a decent microphone with a pop guard. This will eliminate the hiss of “S” and the pop of “P” in your pronunciations.
#5 Budget: Believe it or not you can do an audio book affordably. It costs about $60.00 for a microphone that’s capable of doing the job. ACX is the server that distributes to places like Audible and others. It’s directly linked to your Amazon account and is free. There are also audio programs for recording your narration that are free as well.
#6 Do it right: If you aren’t happy with how your product sounds, then don’t settle. As the author of our own works we as writers are our biggest fans. That being said, if you don’t like what you hear, neither will the audience.
#7: Managing time: Based on the tip above, it all comes down to time management. Audio book conversion is a huge task. It takes a lot of time to record, rerecord, edit, and tweak. Don’t think that it will be done overnight. It can take as long to record an audio book as it does to write the book itself. After your first it gets easier and less time consuming, but it still takes dedication to do it right.
#8 Spacing and format: An audio book shouldn’t be one large file. It should be broken up by chapter for easier navigation. There is a set rule (which you can find in guidelines for whichever server you are utilizing) of how much silent space should be before and after each track. It has to be of a certain sound quality, AND have proper introductions and endings for it all. This can be very frustrating if you don’t know ahead of time, so do your research first.
#9 Listen and Learn: Listen to your finished product at least twice before publishing. Even if you find it to be perfect you may pick up things in voice patterns or elsewhere that you can learn from for your next endeavor into audio. Mixing and Editing can be a painstaking process, and even if you think you got it all, there may be something you missed or will be aware of for the future.
#10 Share your work: We all want to get paid for what we do, and don’t worry you will. But do not be stingy. ACX even gives you codes to use as promotional material. Limit yourself to about 25 free copies to hand out, and from that 25 break it up wisely. For example: I give 5 to family and friends, use 10 for social media giveaways (to those I don’t know personally), and give 10 to people who are other writers and I know will either give feedback or mention it somewhere along the line. You want your work to make its rounds, and by doing it this way I’ve found that I make more sales than if I don’t.
My only other comment would be to keep an eye on your reviews as well. Sometimes I won’t look at what people have written, but months later I’ll see it. It can not only just help to sell your book but also to be your personal feedback to make it better next time. Happy recording!
Those are my 10 tips, but if you have other words of advice, please feel free to add them to the comments.
The pictures used in this post are for promotional purposes only and comply with fair use guidelines.