Showing posts with label audiobook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label audiobook. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30

How To Record Your Own Audiobook: Setting Up A Home Studio

How To Record Your Own Audiobook: Setting Up A Home Studio
"I Giovani e la Musica" by SuperUbO under CC BY 2.0

I've wanted to make an audiobook for close to a year. I think it would be a great way to introduce my work to a new audience (I heard that only 95% of books are made into audiobooks) and some folks like it when authors read their own work.

I think I need to just jump in and DO IT. Go through the short stories I've written and record one. If it turns out ghastly I don't have to inflict it on the world, but if it's half decent it might make a good blog post or podcast. :)

Anyway, what has gotten me thinking about recording an audiobook again is a recent blog post by the singular Elizabeth Spann Craig, Getting the Hang of the Business End of Things in which she shares a link to Jeff Bennington's post, Creating Audio Books is Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. (What a great blog title!)

Audio Creation Exchange (ACX)

Jeff talks about (If you know what ACX is, or you don't care, skip to "Making An Audiobook," below.) ACX stands for Audio Creation Exchange and was launched by Amazon-owned Audible in May of last year.

What is and what can it do for you? This is from their website:
ACX is a marketplace where professional authors, agents, publishers and any other Rights Holders can post audiobook rights to both new frontlist titles and to backlist titles that were never published as audiobooks. At ACX, those rights get matched with Producers, which include audiobook publishers, narrators, engineers, and recording studios. The result: More audiobooks will be made. (The Basics,
I first became aware of ACX because Neil Gaiman has his own line of books over at Audible: Neil Gaiman Presents. His audiobooks are sold through Audible and produced through ACX. Neil Gaiman has written a number of articles about his experience:

Neil Gaiman's audiobook record label (An interview with Neil Gaiman)
ACX - if you’re a writer, an actor, a producer (A Tumblr article by Neil Gaiman)

Making An Audiobook At Home

Before a writer can take advantage of ACX, or any other technology designed to help us sell audiobooks, we have to produce the darn things! And ACX will help with this, by either matching you with professionals (you either pay them outright or share royalties) or through umpteen tutorials on how to do the work yourself.

Since I'm a do-it-yourself kind of gal I'm going to try doing the recording myself. But it's nice to know that, if I fail miserably, I can turn to the talented folks at ACX.

Now onto the good stuff: How to record an audiobook yourself in a studio you cobble together.

What you need to make an audiobook at home

The number one thing you want to do is cut down on noise. Here are some tips on how to do that from the professionals over at ACX:

Reduce noise
- NO fridge nearby.
- NO heading system nearby.
- Hang blankets over the walls and put a rug on the floor to minimize sound reflection.

Office Equipment
- Desk for your computer.
- Stand for the script.
- Something--for instance, a blanket--to absorb the sound on surfaces.
- A chair that's comfortable and won't creak.

Recording Equipment
- Laptops get noisy when they heat up. Whemn this happens shut the computer off, take a coffee break, and let it cool down.
- Don't record directly to your computer's hard disk. Use a fast peripheral drive with lots of capacity.
- Become obsessive about backing up your work.
- Use a pop filter or shield. This deflects and minimizes sounds that can distort the recording. Sounds such as t's, f's, th's and w's. It will run you about $40 but you can also make your own.

You have a choice here, high tech or low tech.
- high tech: A large diaphram condesor mic is the standard for the industry and costs between $400 and $600.
- Low tech: A USB powered snowball mic will do the job if you want a lower cost solution.

The bottom line:
Research it and find out what is available in your area. Go to audio stores, try out their microphones, ask questions, and find a balance of price and performance that suits you.

These tips have been taken from: ACX: Setting up a Home Studio and Want To Narrate Your Own Book?

I've concentrated on setting up a home studio cheaply so I didn't mention some higher priced options a home narrator may want to consider. I highly recommend ACX's series of YouTube videos on how to record your own audiobook.

Here are the first two videos in the series:

This series continues on YouTube here: AudibleACX.

I hope you've been inspired to do an audio recording of your work! Or, if you have done an audio recording, I'd love to hear about your experience. Did you set up a make-shift studio at home, and, if so, perhaps you have some tips you'd like to share. :-)

Links to articles on recording an audiobook:
Podcasting on the iPad
How to record an audiobook at home
- Joanna Pen: How to Podcast (I love Joanna's advice: Just start!)

Other articles you might like:
- Making A Scene: Using Conflicts And Setbacks To Create Narrative Drive
- Building A Writer's Platform
- SEO Tips & Tricks: How To Make Google Love Your Blog

Saturday, May 26

Marigny: The Making Of My First Audiobook

Gerard de Marigny writes:
... I went to ACX and followed their simple directions. Within a few hours I had posted my first two novels to the exchange. Next, I had to be approved - probably just a authenticity check performed by the ACX team, but I was still excited to be accepted. I began receiving auditions from some wonderfully talented actors and production companies.

Yet, I had my heart set on one particular actor - Elijah Alexander. I contacted the production company that Elijah used for previous audiobooks he narrated, but they weren't interested in royalty-share deals. Then, in a MOST BLESSED act of kindness and support for a neo-pro writer like me - Amazon/ACX offered a stipend for the production of my audiobooks! What that means is - on top of my royalty-share deal with the narrator/production company of my choice, Amazon was willing to PAY a stipend to the narrator/producer as an incentive to get the audiobooks made! Amazon/ACX wrote to me that, because they felt my novels would be popular in audiobook form, they were willing to pay for their production.

That act may have only been a business decision on the part of Amazon but from my prospective, it was a great blessing! I'll tell you this - I have n-e-v-e-r seen or dealt with a better (super-mega-enormous-big-successful) company than Amazon, especially when it comes to partnering with small entities, like my little indie publishing house.

The stipend allowed me to contact Elijah and offer him a direct r-s deal. The stipend allowed him to record it outside of the big production house he normally utilized. The end result ... just over a month later, my first audiobook has been published! And the audiobook edition for the 2nd novel in the series (CRIS DE NIRO, Book 2 - SIGNS OF WAR) will be released in a few weeks.

So without further ado - the audiobook edition of (CRIS DE NIRO, Book 1) THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM is available at Amazon here. Narrated by the fantastic actor, Elijah Alexander - it's an awesome 9 hours of action thriller entertainment. Please check it out and spread the word about it.

... And hey, thank you all for being a part of the greatest community of talented artists in the world - the Indie Publishing community. Whether you create or support, I'm humbled to be part of the family.
Read the rest here: Journey to my 1st Audiobook, THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM!

Wow! I'm sure Amazon's act of kindness was motivated by business considerations but, still! Time and again Amazon has made decisions that have helped indies earn a living.

As readers of this blog know, I've flirted with the idea of creating an audiobook. I think it would be amazing to be able to listen to Until Death as a series of audio files but, for me, the hurdle to clear is to find a narrator with a voice that works for my protagonist, getting her to agree to undertake the project (always a plus!) and arranging appropriate payment. After reading what Neil Gaiman had to say about ACX I'm seriously considering going that route.

Neil Gaiman's words of advice to authors:
[I]f you are an author, Get Involved in Your Audiobooks Early. Get your agent involved and interested. Talk about them at contract stage. Find out if you're selling the rights, and if you are selling them then find out what control you have or whether you are going to be consulted or not about who the narrator is and how the audiobook is done.

Also, make sure that your publisher has worked out a way to give you free copies (obvious if it's out on CD, much less so if you're on download-only platform).

If you're an agent, notice that we are not living a decade ago, when audiobooks were expensive bells and whistles that meant very little, that normally wouldn't be done for anything outside of major bestsellers, when abridgments were often the order of the day: we're entering a golden age, in which there is no reason that any book shouldn't be available in professionally produced audio. Unless you know that the audio rights are going to be used and used well, keep them for your author. And if they are being sold with the book, then guard your author, and make sure that she or he gets rights of approval.

I love, am thrilled with, and am getting a huge kick out of the ACX way of doing it, where authors (or rightsholders), producers and voice talent sign up and get together and make audiobooks that Audible put up. It's there for you if you're an author, an agent, a publisher with lots of rights you don't know how to exploit, a director/producer/studio engineer, or an actor, and interested. (Right now, it's US only, but they are working on that.) (Find out more at (End of plug.)

But this isn't an ad for ACX, either. Honestly, you can do it on your own, if you want: Find a narrator or a studio; you can release it through the web; you can give it away as a promotional item, or because you can. Or you can make sure that if your publisher is putting out an audiobook that you have a say in it, and it's the book you want it to be.

Because otherwise it might be you writing to friends telling them not to listen to the audiobook of your book. And that would be a terrible thing indeed.
Read the rest here: Audiobooks: A Cautionary Tale

I won't quote from it, but here's a great article about Neil Gaiman over at Salon: Neil Gaiman’s audiobook record label.

I think sometimes the best advice is to stop thinking about doing something and just do it. Whatever you decide, best of luck!

Related reading:
How to record an audiobook at home
Milton Bagby talks about recording an audiobook
Auxiliary Rights: To Keep or Not To Keep?

"Marigny: The Making Of My First Audiobook," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Thursday, May 24

Auxiliary Rights: To Keep or Not To Keep?

In her Thursday blog post Kris Rusch talks about when to be DIY and when not to be. If I've retained the audio writes to my book, I could record an audio version of it myself or I could hire someone to do it for me, perhaps through a place like (I would either pay the voice artist a flat fee or a percentage of whatever royalties I make on the audiobook).

Here is the checklist Kris Rusch uses to decide whether to seek help with an auxiliary rights project or whether to go it alone:
A. What are the contract terms?

B. When does the license expire?

C. When will I realistically get to this project?

D. Can this company do things that I cannot do?

E. Is this company asking too much in rights, limitations of my ability to write, or in lost revenue to negate the benefits of doing business with this company?

F. Is there a way out of the deal if the company does not keep up its side of the bargain? (So many publishing contracts are one-sided and only favor the publisher.)

G. Will I regret this decision in the morning? (In other words, don’t get pressured into accepting; any time anyone pressures you, you should walk away.)

H. Who does this deal benefit the most? Me? My agent? The publisher? If the answer is the agent or the publisher, then run. If the answer is two-fold—it benefits me and the publisher equally—then the deal is fine. (Not three-fold; remember, agents work for you, and should get paid from your end of the deal. They should never make more money on a deal than you do—although that often happens in both foreign rights deals and in Hollywood deals.)

If you like the offer and it benefits you for where you are right now, then take the deal. If you feel any qualms, do not, and wait for the time when you can do whatever it is yourself—or wait until you get a better offer.
The Business Rusch: Time and the Writer
Making an audio book is something I've been interested in for a while; it would be great to attend Kris and Dean's Audio Workshop in November. Kris used to train radio announcers how to read and speak and they'll also cover the technical aspects of recording. For more information, click here: Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith, Workshops. You'll have to scroll down the page a bit.

Related Reading:
- Milton Bagby talks about recording an audiobook

Photo credit: AVS Audio Editor

"Auxiliary Rights: To Keep or Not To Keep?" copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Saturday, June 11

How To Record An Audiobook At Home

For months I have been toying with the idea of making an audiobook, but I didn't know how much work would be involved, or whether I could do a recording with the equipment and programs available to me. I started to research the subject and then thought, "Hey! I could do a post about this!"

The first place I looked for information was (If you would like to learn a bit about ACX, here is a link to their FAQ.)  ACX has a great section entitled: Video Lessons and Resources.  On that page are links to five video tutorials that will take you, step by step, through everything you need to set up a recording studio in your home.  The downside for me was that if I followed the advice in these videos I would have to spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment. :-(

My search continued.

The next place I went for information on making an audiobook was After clicking various links pretty much at random I came to a page titled: Postcast101 - Creating and Hosting an Audio Podcast. The information on this page is for people intending to transmit their books via an RSS feed so it contains a lot of information not applicable to me, but from what I can tell one can record an audiobook using only:

Your current Mac or PC
A Microphone

If you want to include music anywhere in the audiobook you could take a look at ccMixter.


Here are tutorials that give the nuts and bolts of how to record an audiobook:

Step 1: Creating and Editing an Audio Recording
Step 4: Levelating the Podcast
Step 5: Encoding to MP3 Format

I think I would like to try making an audiobook one day, but it looks like a lot of work. I have a new appreciation for all the folks who have done it.

UPDATE (February 25, 2013): I've written another article that builds on this one:
- How To Record Your Own Audiobook: Setting Up A Home Studio

Other articles you might like:

- Podcasting on the iPad
- How To Write Short Stories
- Michael Hauge On How To Summarize Your Novel