Diary of an Audiobook Author (almost)

June is National Audiobook and to celebrate, I fully intended to launch the audiobook version of Public Speaking Super Powers. I hired an audio engineer. I verified which of my microphones would be best to use. And I purchased a mini-sound-proofing device to help make the sound crisper. This was all done by February. Plenty of time to get this all done, right?

Then I started working on the script.

Diary of an Audiobook Author (almost)

If Public Speaking Super Powers had been a straightforward narrative, this would be no problem. However, it is not. It is an educational nonfiction book. To better serve the readers, I have footnotes and references to resources online. None of this reads well.

So, the script is taking longer to complete than I thought it would. This is especially so since I started packing for an out-of-state move around the same time, was looking for a fulltime gig, and had just signed a new client. The logistics were nightmarish. But I plugged away, pushing myself to complete the script in time.

However, by March (we moved in May), I made the hard choice: There just wasn’t enough time to complete the script and record all the audio files in time. Therefore, I’ve pushed the launch date to next June.

But, in the meantime, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned so far along the way. Some of it I kind of already knew; some of it was news to me.

Audiobook Techy Stuff

If you are not a whiz at audio engineering, hire a professional. There are people who are very good at this and many of them hire a reasonable fee. My audio engineer, when all is said and done, will probably come in under $600.

You can use free software to record your audio files. I use Audacity and love it. It does have a learning curve, but I didn’t find it all that steep.

The most important thing is a good mic. You want one that can capture the richness of your voice. And you want to use it in a quiet place so that it doesn’t pick up ambient noise. I’m using a Blue Yeti.

The Script

Because you don’t want to be turning pages and therefore risking having the sound of those pages end up on your recording, you want to read from a digital version of your book.

In most cases, you can pull up your e-book and go. However, if you’ve got footnotes, special characters, or provide links, you might consider doing what I’m doing and re-work your script to better include these perks.

  • Supply a PDF download companion to the audiobook: In this PDF you can embed links, list footnotes, and add in other goodies that are not well communicated purely through your voice.
  • Modify your text to include a reference to this PDF: In some cases, this may simply be adding in your intro a comment to the effect of, “This book comes with a companion PDF which includes [LIST WHAT IT INCLUDES]. You can download this document for free at http://yoururl.com/yourpdf.pdf.”
  • For footnotes, add in a footnote sound: Since I have several footnotes throughout my book, I thought it would be prudent to help my readers know when they can reference the PDF for the additional information. Again, in the intro, I added the sentence, “You will know when to look for a footnote when you hear this sound effect: [FOOTNOTE SOUND].”

In addition, there are things you can write and be understood that just don’t sound right when reading aloud. So, with all this tweaking of the original manuscript, I’m taking more time than I thought. Keep these things in mind when you work on your own audiobook.

Please comment belowI hope you found this information helpful. If you’d like to follow along on my journey to audiobook authorhood, please subscribe to my RSS feed using one of the buttons below. You can subscribe using an RSS reader or by email. I’ll be popping in with updates periodically.

Do you have questions about creating an audiobook? Ask them in a comment below and I’ll answer them. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out and respond, as well.

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