Well, it looks like the last time I posted I was talking about recording the audiobook for Disruption. As I write this post, that audiobook has just been released on Amazon/Audible, audiobooks.com, and is soon to appear on iTunes and several other places. Between that last post and this one…wow…I’ve once again learned a lot. As I look back at the entire audiobook process, here are a few of the key learnings for me.
1. There are a number of companies offering to help turn a ‘book’ into an ‘audiobook’. After a few weeks of digging around I decided to work with Author’s Republic. Key reasons I went with them include: Their royalty process was clear and fair. They did not require I sign an unchangeable 7-year contract as some others did. Their creation process was clearly defined and they provided a lot of up-front details. They gave the option of self-narrating.
2. I had a simple recording studio already setup for other things. It is very basic, with an inexpensive XENYX digital effects mixer and a decent EV microphone on a stand. I used Audacity to capture the audio. I also built myself a little box out of foam rubber to create the “dead” space around the microphone, since I didn’t have an actual “studio” to record in.
3. It took about four days to record the entire book. Things went smoothly, but the old voice got a bit raspy after a few hours, so I had to give it a rest and not overdo things.
4. After recording the first two or three chapters I ended up starting over and re-recording. There was nothing technically wrong, but it took that long for me to settle in and find my “voice” for the book. I considered it practice time.
5. I recorded each chapter as an individual file, making notes of any goofs along the way. After all was recorded, I went back and made the necessary edits. I thought it was better to keep rolling so my voice was consistent.
6. I edited the files following the guidelines from Author’s Republic…kind of…and followed the simple process to upload them. This is where my education began to get serious. The files sounded good to me…
7. I ended up doing three edits and re-submissions before my files finally passed inspection and were accepted for full review by Author’s Republic. I have to be very honest and admit that I was the reason for the delay. First, I did not have the lengths of “dead air” correct at the beginning and ending of each file. It was clearly explained…but I just did one of those “close enough” things for that first submission. I was also told the volume was too low. I spent a couple of hours in Audacity making those corrections, and resubmitted. I was then told that they noticed a slight “hum” in the background and suggested it might be a computer fan. I had to listen hard to hear it…but yep…there it was. So another couple of hours with Audacity and I resubmitted. But…again my goof…my edit also lowered the volume a bit. So, I was then asked to fix the volume, and to change the compression for the files. I did both…resubmitted again…and this time all was accepted.
The key point in all of this was that the re-submissions could have been avoided if I had more closely followed the instructions that were easily available. But, I was eager…or something. But…and this made the entire process worthwhile…throughout the re-submissions I communicated with the same support person, who responded to my posts usually within an hour, and who also clearly explained each step I needed to take and gave me clear instructions to get things done. After my support experiences for the eBook and print version of Disruption, this support from Author’s Republic was nothing short of amazing.
For my next audiobook, I will:
– Work with Author’s Republic.
– Read and more seriously follow the guidelines they provide BEFORE submitting my files.