Showing posts with label audiobooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label audiobooks. 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

Wednesday, September 7

Milton Bagby talks about recording an audiobook

I've been flirting with the idea of recording Until Death as an audiobook and, somewhere along this process, discovered Milton Bagby who is not only an author and actor but a recorder of audiobooks. Milton took the time to talk to me about making an audiobook and I thought his response deserved a larger audience so, with his kind permission, I'm posting it here. :)
Hello, Karen --

Thanks for asking about how one converts a novel to an audiobook. I personally do not have any audio equipment. I am an old radio and voiceover hand who has done about a jillion commercials and other narration work over the years, but I am not a techie. I am also something of an actor and am a graduate of the Hormel School of Drama. This helps when doing audiobooks.

I am fortunate to live in Nashville, where every other resident has a state-of-the-art recording studio in his basement and is personal friends with Tim McGraw, or wishes they were. I do all my work with a friend who has just such a studio. When we get an assignment, we split the proceeds down the middle.

My friend Bryan Talbot at Talbot Sound is a veteran of twenty years of audio production, so our work goes fairly smoothly, We average about one hour of finished audiobook for every two hours in the studio. In other words, it takes about twenty hours to produce an audiobook that is ten hours long. If you work alone, it takes much longer, because you have to record, then edit your own work. If you are new to editing, it takes even longer.

We have recently started doing projects for Amazon's Audible division on the ACX site. They pay us, at a minimum, $100 per finished hour to do audiobooks. No matter how long it takes us, we get the same fee per completed hour, so it is to our benefit to finish quickly. A 10 hour book pays $1,000, and so forth. As a rule of thumb, 10,000 words translates into an hour of material, so a 60,000 word book might be roughly 6 hours long. For a job like that, we charge $600, but we often make more with big authors and big publishers. We also have a select list of guys who don't sound like me and some topnotch female narrators who can do books in need of a woman's point of view. The work we produce is at the highest technical standard for the industry (my talents aside). Anyone interested in our work can hear samples by searching "Bagby" at under the "Narrators" search option.

I have blogged about the process of audiobooks at my blog, and I'm always happy to answer questions.

If you are adventurous and have an appetite for great labor, you can record your own book. Some people have been very successful at it. The most notable do-it-yourselfer is Nathan Lowell, who is a sci-fi writer whose books, including "Quarter Share" have all been done as podcasts sent out for free. This has netted Nathan a huge following and helped sell a ton of his books.

To record your own books, you need a decent microphone, a quiet room (no traffic noises, airplanes overhead, railroad trains outside, dogs barking, etc.), a computer with some decent storage space, and an interface like a Digidesign M-box. Here's a kit that has mostly everything you need. The M-box includes the software that lets you edit your recordings. If you are technically inclined, you will find this to be a fun challenge. If you are not, you will liken it to the Bataan Death March.

Do you have any friends who are musicians or who have a recording set-up? You might see if they will go along with you, if you plan to be the voice of your own book. Otherwise, you might post your book to the Amazon/Audible ACX site as a "share" project, in which you offer 50% of all the revenue if someone will do your book for free. Your audiobook will be offered on Audible, with the Kindle and CreateSpace versions cross-marketed on Amazon. Might be worth investigating.

Hope this explains some of the things involved. If you have more questions, please send them along. Best of luck.
Thanks Milton! I like knowing what's available for the independent author. I think that releasing an audobook version of a book could be a great way to get new readers.

Here are some links:
- Milton's Blog
- Milton's Book, Before I Sleep
- Milton's Email
- Milton's Facebook