HOW TO RECORD AN AUDIOBOOK?

Audiobooks are a modern, efficient way of getting more “reading” done in the finite number of hours we can allocate for all the books we want to read. Research indicates that the average person reads one book a month. The average audiobook is under 12 hours in duration. Listening to books in audio form effectively reduces the time spent per book, and increases the number of books you can ‘read’ per month or year. 

With the quality of voice artists and narrators available these days, audiobooks serve as fun, productive “activities” that help improve our knowledge of literature, our grasp of ideas, and also save us time. This is perhaps why writers are increasingly opting to have their work turned into audiobooks, sometimes even daring to go a bit further and record his/her book in their own voice.

That might sound complicated, but with the right knowledge and equipment making your own DIY audiobook is surprisingly easy. (Professional recordings, publishing and distribution are separate challenges, which we’ll cover in a future blog. Spoiler alert: that’s where companies like Timbre Media come in.) In this blog, we’ll tell you how you can record your audiobook in a few simple steps.

How to record an Audiobook?

How To Record an Audiobook In Few Simple Steps:

1. Create an Outline Of Your Book

As you begin, you have the result of your passion in front of you: the book you’ve spent months, if not years, writing. It’s now time to give voice (your voice) to the story you want to tell. Right off the bat, what you need to create is an outline. This outline will help you map the flow of your book’s content as you progress with the recording. It ensures that you speak into the microphone fluently, without faltering, and understand the story from the perspective of a listener, whether it be the topics or subheadings in a self-help book or the various acts and stages of a novel.

2. Recording Software & Hardware

Once you have your outline in place, you can proceed with the recording process. We assume you are recording on a home laptop or desktop that allows you to install software. The first thing you need is reliable audio recording software that produces high quality audio. This software ranges from limited-use freeware (Audacity) to expensive audio suites that make the entire recording process a breeze. Familiarize yourself with the recording software of your choice or check out audiobook production services from Timbre Media.

You should also consider investing in a good microphone, many of which are easily available with a quick Google search. We cannot emphasize this enough: a good microphone makes a huge difference in output quality and is always money well spent. Most professional studios use XLR microphones with pop filters and stands. You’ll also need to connect the mic to the computer (either directly via USB or through a mixing board), such as a USB2 multimixer.

3. Home Studio A Complete Noise Free Room

Clean audio requires that there be no disturbances when recording. What you need is a quiet corner of your home. Keep in mind that good microphones are very noise sensitive (even the one on your mobile phone), and many a time capture the most unexpected sounds: mouse clicks, your breath, a vehicle driving by on the street below, or even noise from ceiling fans that is louder than usual. One of the most common mistakes is swiveling in your chair when recording: all those squeaks from the chair get recorded too! So ensure that your home recording studio is a space where you will not be disturbed, and one that shuts out all extraneous noise.

4. Start Recording Your Voice

Record yourself voicing the outline that you have prepared. Try to speak naturally and fluently. Cadence and emotion are important for a good audiobook. You may falter, but be patient with yourself. The more you record yourself speaking, the easier it will become. Once you’re satisfied with what you hear, proceed to the book.

When recording, save your file at regular intervals. Each chapter in your book must be saved as a separate audio file. You'd be surprised how often people forget to save their recordings!

5. Exporting Audio File

When you have finished, you can stop the recording and export it as an audio file. The most common audio formats are .MP3 and .WAV in stereo. We suggest saving your audio as WAV files if you have enough storage on your computer, or as 320kbps MP3 files if you are short on storage (audiobooks are typically 192kbps but we recommend that your backup of the recording be in higher quality 320kbps, which can then be converted to 192kbps as required). This file, after editing, is what gets uploaded on websites where you are going to sell your audiobook.

6. Add Metadata

Metadata is a crucial aspect of audiobook production and distribution. This is essential for SEO and helping your audiobook reach its target audience on every platform. This includes the book’s title, the author’s name, images that will represent your audiobook in search results etc.

First, you need to create an account with ACX. ACX is part of Audible.com, an Amazon.com subsidiary. They help build and manage audio content that gets sold on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. To create your account, you’ll need to share bank information for royalty payments and to find your book/title in the Amazon database. 
Below is a sample of the metadata used by leading audiobook publishers and distributors. We've removed the more technical details, but this will give you an idea of what the industry standards are:

Opening Credits:
[title of audiobook]
Written by [name of author]
Narrated by [name of narrator]

Closing Credits:
This has been [title of audiobook]
Written by [name of author]
Narrated by [name of narrator]
Copyright [year and name of copyright holder]
Production copyright [year it was recorded] by [company name]

  • File type accepted: MP3 (192 kbps or higher)
  • Submitted audiobooks may not contain both mono and stereo files. Stereo files must not be joint-stereo. Mono files are strongly recommended.
  • Each file must be comprised of a single chapter, episode, or story. Note that each file will typically become a “track” that a customer may use for navigation.
  • If the audio has no chapters, split the audio into segments that are no longer than 2 hours each, but no shorter than 30 minutes each (when possible).
  • Each file should be preceded by a three-digit number that denotes the order in which the files should appear. The file names should appear as: 001_title.mp3, 002_title.mp3, 003_title.mp3.
  • Each uploaded file must have between 0.5 and 1 second of room tone at the head, and between 1 and 5 seconds of room tone at the tail.

Image or Thumbnail Requirements

  • Images must be no smaller than 2400 X 2400 pixels in size.
  • The resolution of these images can be no smaller than 72 dpi.
  • Image types allowed: JPEG, TIFF, PNG
  • Images must contain both the name of the title and author(s)
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