#Publishing: 10 Tips for Making an Audio Book by Rick Pipito

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.

 

Image of books written by Rick Pipito

 

#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.

 

Picture of Rick Pipito

 

#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.

 

Author: JeriWB Guest

If you would like to write a guest post on a writing or literature related topic, please contact me. Aim for 800 words and be keyword specific.

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32 Comments

  1. Interesting! I never thought about doing this myself! What wonderful tips and I do think this format has grown, particularly with commuting time so long in so many cities.

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  2. I really enjoy listening to audio books, but the idea of recoding one is very daunting. I like the suggestion of breaking up the work into chapters, which makes the whole think more manageable as well as the suggestion to keep on recording.Some day maybe:-)

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  3. Great advice. At my last job I had to do a lot of presentations – the advice I got was amazingly similar. Particularly spacing.

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  4. Wonderful tips Jeri! I’ve been wanted to experiment with audio books for sometime and I’m hoping to make the time to give it a try this fall so this is great timing!

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    • The easiest free program I’ve used is Audacity. It’s fairly simple as long as you have some concept of how editing works. 🙂

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  5. What an interesting idea. I have a friend who records books for the blind and he specializes in books with a lot of intricate formulas because most readers won’t do that. Now that sounds terrible to do but a nice thing for him to contribute!

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  6. Thanks for another great guest post Rick. I think the best part of listening to Flesh and Leftovers was how you included your singing talents as well. It was a nice surprise.

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    • No, thank you, Jeri. I’m glad you liked it. It was a learning experience, and as I mentioned with the next one I’m doing it all on my own. The conflicting schedules and some issues I had along the way made it difficult to manage, but “Blood, The Second Helping” is on its way, so stay tuned 😉

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  7. Wow, what a wealth of tips, thanks Rick. Just how would you edit out mistakes like maybe, using the wrong word? Are there VA’s that do this?

    Jeri one omy non-author friends suggested I consider doing this so I appreciate the tips.

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    • Patricia, you’re most certainly welcome. Editing out the words can be tasking, so try to get a good long run. Basically if you stumble too much in narration, redo it until it is at least a little more error free. It’s easy to do in most editing programs as you can see the wave line for the sound. As you listen you begin to learn to read how the line works and you can literally highlight and splice that section out or insert a new word. You should have seen some of my files, but it’s a lot of fun doing it and worth it in the end.

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  8. Have never listened to an audio book. I’m kind of stuck on reading printed books on paper that I have purchased in a bookstore or borrowed from a library. I’ve read very few books digitally, one of which was your book of stories, Jeri. Maybe I should loosen up and try this. After all I have a dog I walk twice a day.

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  9. This is awesome information. I give yet another idea. However, I think I need to complete my current projects first. 😊

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  10. I listen to audio books, mostly the bible. I have not considered recording an audio book.

    I would like to allocate more time to reading as it will expose me to various writing styles and help to develop my writing skills.

    Great post as always!

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  11. Thanks Rick for these great ideas. I’m not looking to write books but I know my friend listens to them all the time. She has trouble seeing so to her they are a godsend. There are so many good books out there that the idea more of them will be turned into audio books is terrific.
    Jeri, thanks for the intro.

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    • It really is a whole other market that has been around for years, but ever increases in popularity. Its something worth looking into for all authors at some point.

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  12. Very interesting… ★🌟 ☀ Progression leads to excellence… Hence, one can not fail if following these steps!.
    Thanks so much for sharing, Jeri and Rick! Best wishes. Aquileana 🙂

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  13. I’ve often wondered about #1 as I listen to an audio book. I would think that some things can be conveyed better while reading out loud, and don’t need to be spelled out as much. Thanks for this behind-the-scenes glimpse!

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  14. Great Information! I have looked into making my books audio, and went as far as to record myself. GAH! I’m a horrible story teller. Then I looked into the costs of getting it done professionally. Way over my budget.

    You provided some great information. It’s too bad I have a really bad speaking voice.

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    • Denise, I know what you mean. I hesitated at first, but then decided to work my voice into different levels and pitches. I have a specific narration voice that is not my own typical speaking voice, but not out of comfort for me either. It gets more difficult when trying to make all of the characters have individual voices, and even worse when I’m trying to portray a female. I do get to do some really fun things with it though, so it’s like a movie when its all done. Don’t give up. Try different things. You may end up liking it 😉

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      • When I went on the AXC site (I’m sure I got that wrong), they stated NOT to do it at home, to go into a recording studio. That’s why I abandoned the idea. I appreciate the encouragement. I’ll have to look into a microphone with a pop guard and audio software.

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        • It says that, but most studios start from a home, and as long as you don’t have background noises and a place where it doesn’t echo, you can still do it. ACX makes sure the quality is good because they are linked directly to Audible and iTunes, so they can’t put it through if it isn’t up to the right quality. I encourage you to still try and if you have any questions feel free to contact me. 🙂

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  15. I love listening to audio books on a driving trip. It makes the time go faster. Good for you for doing it. It seems like alot of work and hard. I bet you are glad you have another area to market your books in. Thanks for the tips and good luck with your success!

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  16. I have never thought of doing an audio book, but those are wonderful tips you provided. I might try this myself, I can many opportunities for an audio book, which are not available for a print or e-book.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  17. Those are great tips! I’ve thought about doing an audiobook version for my novella, and have even taken steps to start recording some of it. The problem I have is that I always sound like I’ve got a stuffy nose. I might have to hire someone to do the recording for me. 🙂 But I’ll definitely keep this post on file as a reference.

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  18. Those are great tips for making an audio book. If my voice didn’t sound so funny recorded I would try and create one for my site.

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  19. I think audio books are becoming more popular. For me they are great listening to them while in the car or on an airplane. I think it helps if you have a soothing voice. Mine is deep and I really don’t like it so I think for me I will pass on doing an audio book.

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  20. I hope you all don’t hate for what I’m about to say. I think one of the biggest mistakes authors make is narrating their own book. As a professional voiceover, one of my skills is audio-book narration. I can say this, unless you know what you’re doing, don’t narrate your own book. If you’re working with a $60.00 mic (OMG, really) and a pop filter you’re cheating yourself. Voice Over is a profession, people study and work for years to achieve the required skills. A popped “p” and and hissing sibilance will be the least of your problems. Nothing is worse than listen to a poor quality recording of the voice from someone who thinks all they have to do is, “read the book”.

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    • Pamela, of course I don’t hate you. You are absolutely right. I did it because I have years of experience and a degree in sound engineering. My point was that it can be done in the right circumstances with minimal expense and still be enjoyable. Most people don’t have a budget to hire professional actors. I made that mistake in the past, but have moved on to narrating my own because I can separate myself from the ownership of it. I am the rare case of having acting and sound engineering under my belt. Most do not, so for that I’m happy for your input. 🙂

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  21. As always very interesting and informative. I have played around with audio but not for a book; a film. It is a technical subject and you are right, it all comes down to the narrator. If the voice sounds detached from the words then you may as well scrap it and start again.

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  22. Thank you, Jeri and Rick, for a great post! I LOVE audio books. I was listening to them when they were on cassettes 😉 I’m a walker and so that is also a great time for me to listen to books. Rick, even if an author decides not to follow through on an audio book, making the effort might help with writing. I always read my stories aloud as a way of editing, but I’m thinking now that recording and then listening to my own reading might be another editing layer.

    I’ve also listened to a couple of writers, in particular, Scott Sigler’s podcasts of his novels, which you can now find at bookstores. Thanks for the tips, Rick. I’ll have to file this post away on Evernote 🙂

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