With the right equipment, it is easier than ever to produce your own audio book. Below are five tips you can use to jump start the process and open the door to a new world of readers—audio readers!
Overview of the recording and editing process
Tip 1: Recording equipment and software
You can purchase a good USB mic, plug directly into your computer and use Garage Band on a MAC to record your book. No really, it is that simple! A Blue Yeti USB Microphone is an excellent and affordable option. It plugs directly into your computer via the USB port and works right out of the box to record professional sounding audio.
When it comes to microphones, you could spend hundreds of dollars, even thousands, but the best mic in the world will not eliminate the editing process. A good mic does improve the editing process and provide for a better initial sound, but my suggestion is put more time in to preparing your studio.
Tip 2: Preparing your homestudio
Your hard, smooth walls are your worst enemy in a sound studio. Echo and reverberation will make your recording session a nightmare. Purchasing some acoustic panels from Amazon will provide sound reading surfaces that will dramatically improve your audio recording.
Curtains can also help control those sound reflections. Adding curtains to your winds makes sense, but you might also consider hanging curtains on freestanding frames in the middle of your room too. The smaller the recording space, the better!
Tip 3: Recording your book
The best mic and acoustic panels will not fix a bad read. Audiobook narrators are actors. They use consistent vocal intensity, vary vocal dynamics, add life and depth to the read…the things required to hold the attention of the listener.
The best book read by a bad narrator will not sell any audio books. If you’ve never acted before, then consider hiring a professional who works on a flat fee, per finished hour rate (PFH), to read your book. Some companies out there offer a royalty option to read your book, but that means you will sacrifice 50% of your income and control of your book. Finding an artist to read your book for a flat fee gives you full control of your book and income. Price range for a good narrator range from $125 to $400 per finished hour of read time.
At Zenith Exhibits, we offer audiobook production for select book types click here to learn more.
Tip 4: Audio editing 101
Now that you have your book recorded, you need to edit it. Honestly, this is where 75% of the work happens. Removing those extra sound artifacts you did not notice while reading takes time. Removing heavy breadths, the sound of the A/C or room fan, the dog that barked across the street…all those sounds have to be removed. Your audio also needs to be balanced with the correct loudness for audiobooks. There is an industry standard.
I use Adobe Audition and Isotope RX 10 for editing, but there are much less expensive options on the market. Audacity is noted as a free multi-track audio editor and while I have never used it I have friends who love it.
Another option would be to record your book and hire a producer to edit and master. Although I would argue for not much more money, you could hire the professional narrator to read the book too!
Tip 5: Publishing your audiobook
There are hundreds of audiobook publishing houses in the marketplace, but the best do-it-yourself option is ACX on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Your book is probably published on Amazon anyway, so adding an Amazon Audible option to the book purchase makes total sense. For ACX, you need a cover art for your book and the pre-recorded audio files mastered to audiobook standards. Amazon Kindle gives lots of information on audio level requirements.
Another great option is to distribute your book via podcast channel. Instead of trying to sell your book one at a time, you can get a sponsor to cover the costs upfront and distribute you book for free to podcast listeners. Right now podcast book production is slightly edging out audiobook purchases.
Zenith Exhibits can help you with any of the work you don’t want to deal with. We would love to audition to narrate your book, provide the editing and mastering service all at one flat fee price. We can also help if you’d like to publish your book via podcast. Call (208) 209-7170 to start a discussion and see if Zenith Exhibits is a good option for you and your business goals.