In the beginning, when I gave myself two weeks to record my audio book I hadn’t given a thought to the long editing and publication process. I thought it would take the whole two weeks to finish getting one recording from the beginning to the end of my book. However, since Day 4 was so productive, Day 5 in the studio I finally read the last paragraph. At least I thought I had. Silly me!
Major setback, SNAFU, WTF moment. The version of my book I had recorded turned out not to be the final version of my book as published! I know you are probably thinking, “How in the world did you not know/notice that?!” Well to answer your question. This was my first book ever published and I self-published it with absolutely no clue what I was doing initially. So the book had undergone many, many updates the last and most polished of which only had a few changes, mostly formatting changes, made to it. So while the majority of the story is the same, I may have switched around a paragraph or two. On top of that, I had split my chapters up slightly different in the final version than the version I recorded.
Lucky me these changes could easily be made without too much additional recording since I had the forethought to record in paragraphs instead of long sections. The fix was just a matter of moving around a few audio files and adding a couple minutes more of narration. Still the process is time-consuming and currently ongoing.
Lessons Learned Day 5
Make sure you are recording what you meant to record- It’s seriously embarrassing and extremely costly both in time and money (if you are paying a producer/voice actor) to go through what I am going through now.
I stepped into the studio ready to go. I’d warmed up my vocal chords beforehand by singing while getting ready and was able to do most of my narration with only one or two repetitions of each paragraph. My deadline was still a heavy weight on my shoulder but not because I wasn’t sure I could get everything recorded in time. My worry at this point was mostly editing. After day 3 my father spent three more hours in the studio cutting out extra-long pauses and making sure there was enough air space at the beginning and end of each recording.
It’s important to note that I did let my Dad do this on his own without my input because he wasn’t actually cutting anything important and we had strict guidelines on just how much space was needed for chapters, sections, paragraphs etc. Depending on who you are working with you may want to be a little more hands-on with the editing process and if you are doing everything on your own maybe editing as you go so it’s not some monumental task at the end.
By the end of Day 4, I’d managed a big jump from 30% to 82% complete.
Lessons Learned Day 4
Warm Up- Sing a couple of songs and stretch your body out a little helps to minimize how many takes you do and keeps your body from getting too stiff from sitting or standing for too long.
Wear quiet clothing- Bulky sweaters and jogging pants might not be the best comfortable clothes for recording unless you want to stand like a statue while recording to minimize excess rustling noise.
Edit as you go- A few small tweaks while recording can save hours of time editing later.
The first thing I needed to decide was how to produce my audio book. As I mentioned in my previous post, a professional producer and voice actor are pretty expensive. It’s one of the major factors in the high cost of audiobooks in comparison to their print and digital counterparts. Narrating my own work cuts out one cost but the cost of the equipment necessary to make a professional audio file can be just as expensive as hiring a producer. Not saying it can’t be done, it’s just a lot of upfront cost on top of my already meager budget as a self-published author. My saving grace, Big Swang Productions. A small, one man, basement operation with impressive credentials and very reasonable pricing.
With that figured out, my biggest issue was time. My whole audio book needed to be finished within a short two-week deadline and with only two-ish hours a day of recording time. Most would think that is plenty of time, to put it in perspective, it took me two hours just to get oriented with the recording space and record my opening credits and first paragraph. Once I caught on to how things worked the process sped up drastically. Overall, day one in the studio went okay. I was a little nervous and it took me a good ten minutes to relax and not sound too much like an automaton while recording. Who knew reading words could be so hard?
Lessons Learned Day One:
Have water or tea nearby- After take thirty your throat will feel like sand paper without it.
Be prepared to repeat everything until its perfect
Pronunciation and Annunciation are key- Meaning to say Claude but hearing Cloud and/or Clot can and will happen
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes- The more comfortable and relaxed you are the easier it is to focus on your performance
Have a plan/goal- Record your book in sections just as you wrote the book. It’s easier to edit by paragraph or chapter than it is as one long audio track.
Whoever said, “writing is the easy part”… Well, I’ve said it a few times myself, but lately, I feel like it’s actually the hardest. So in order to keep my brain from shorting out with writer’s worry, I’ve decided to brush off a few projects I had sidelined in my quest to maintain my writing goals. Keeping up with my blog is one of them but also creating an audiobook for my already completed work. I will be documenting my DIY audio book journey in subsequent posts, thus checking both boxes on my “To Do” list.
There are a lot of things that go into creating an audio book that a novice like me hadn’t thought about. The cost of a producer and voice actor can be insane. Still, recording one with my laptop’s microphone and some random free software just wouldn’t be a very good product. Without any clue how to edit it properly my work wouldn’t be accepted on any major audio book site like Audible.com or Audiobooks.com.
So what exactly is needed to create a professional DIY audio book? Well, there is plenty of really good information readily available through google and audiophile blogs. Since I am an admitted Amazon junky; Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) blog is where I got all my information. They did it so well I highly suggest browsing here.
The short version.
You will need:
1.) A quiet place to record
2.) A decent microphone
3.) Audio editing software like Pro Tools
4.) A reliable computer
5.) Lots of time and patience
While my brain is still on an inspiration hiatus I figured I’d spruce up my page with a little hometown shout out and shameless promotion of a local artist. I may not live in Oakland anymore but I still say HELLA!!!!!!
Crown Music Group: “I Say Hella” – Official Music Video off the upcoming Album ( Lifestyle Of A King ) Available September 23rd. RCK. Available on ITunes and Google Play
Shark Week is officially over and that means it’s time for me to get back to work. If only my brain would get on board. All my current story ideas are totally stuck in Shark territory. Sexy marine biologists in dangerously fishy situations here I come. I probably won’t be writing these to publish but hey sometimes its good just to write for yourself.
When I get in one of my writing moods nothing can tear me away from my laptop. Which is why having a fully stocked snack section on my desk is a must, otherwise I’d probably starve to death on my longer writing binges (usual two to three days long). Sleeping is generally optional and even bathroom breaks are few and far between when that masterful idea is flying from my brain to my fingers and onto the screen. So what are the best snacks to have on hand? There isn’t really an answer to that question. Everyone has their preference but here are a few criteria I use when stocking my stash:
Grab and Go/ Typing Friendly – Can be eaten with one hand or less
Mess Free/ Keyboard Friendly – Not super greasy, saucy or crumbly
Packs a Punch/ Stamina Friendly – sugar and caffeine are your friend
Mom Approved/ Body Friendly– Try to include at least one “healthy” snack
Drinks are up to you. Water is always a good idea. I am a tea drinker but I know plenty of writers are team coffee all the way.
I switch out one or two of my staple snacks each month. I have a few favorite snacks I like to keep on hand, like chocolate and dried cranberries, but its always a good idea to rotate snacks just so that you don’t get bored with them. It defeats the purpose when you are in a writing binge and you are tired of the snacks you have on hand, most likely you won’t bother eating them.