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Audiobook creation

Does anyone know anything about how to produce audiobooks? I don’t want to make it myself, I’m not an actor, but all the companies who advertise have rather confusing claims and I cannot even work out if you make an audiobook that is not with Amazon, can you sell it there. 

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Replies (17)
    • I listened to some podcasts from the publishing summit with Paul Brodie. In one he had a guest speaker (who I can't remember the name of) that claimed that it's not that hard to do on your laptop. 

      You need a mic that's not too sensitive. (and a patio umbrella with a sheet to limit noise) I can't remember the brand name but he said it costs around 60$. He said everyone hates how their own voice sounds and unless you stumble over words, YOU, the author are the best person to do your audio book, it gets buyers more interested in you and your books. I'm sorry I can't remember his name but maybe you shouldn't automatically discard the possibility of doing it yourself unless you're pressed for time.

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      • Thanks Julie, I’ll look at Paul Brodie.

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      • What sort of voice do you need? Female, male, strong?

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        • I was more thinking on the lines of getting a producer. It may be too expensive but it’s worth looking at. So many people have told me they love audiobooks, even though I find them difficult to listen to myself.

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          • Unless you're an actor, you probably won't read as well as an actor would. Against that, you probably know how it sounds in your head, so you won't need the directing that an actor might. And there is the appeal to a listener of hearing the author herself. Plus, you'll save money. 

            I suggest reading a passage into your phone or laptop, and getting friends to listen, (or better still, enemies! - friends generally want to stay friends. Or pop an audio file on here, maybe.) What you're after at this stage is a view on your voice, expressiveness, diction etc. Find an actor acquantance and ask them to do the same piece, and compare.

            When I was thinking about podcasting, I looked into hiring a small local recording studio. One included a sound edit (getting out mistakes etc), and it wasn't prohibitive, but obviously wasn't free either. I found a couple of actors who have a soundproofed cupboard for voiceover work; and someone who has a working knowledge of Audicity, the free audio editing program. It's not impossible to set it up to do at home (see YouTube for how), but there is a learning curve, and it will take time, and the result won't be as good as getting experience on board. But maybe it doesn't have to be BBC quality...

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            • I just said I agreed entirely with Glyn, but - sorry, Glyn - I wonder whether actually it does have to be BBC quality. At least, it needs to be of a highly professional standard, same as the cover, same as the work itself.

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              • https://www.audacityteam.org/ (NB: With one slip of the mouse, I up-voted myself on the previous post. What a numpty. There doesn't seem to be a way of removing it.)

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                • That was what I was trying to say - it doesn't have to be BBC quality. It takes a finely tuned ear and the best playback system to spot the difference between good amateur/semipro and B B C.

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                • I used to help publishers make audio, although it was quite a few years ago now. I don't know who the companies are that advertise, but I know you could go direct to a studio. They will have a list of voice actors and you can choose a voice based on their samples. This is very expensive, good value for money for what it is, in my opinion, but pricey to pay for yourself. You will pay for studio time, voice actor time and file editing time. As Glyn said, I know voice actors have set up makeshift home studios during lockdown. I don't know what the quality of the sound is like or how much editing they do - it probably depends on the individual. I don't know how it works with Amazon, but it must be possible to create your own audio and upload, because traditionally published books are available that way, so there must be some mechanism for that.

                  This is one of my dream things to do eventually, but not nearly there yet!

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                  • Thanks, Sarah. I see Audible suggests you talk to actors and get advice. I might try that.

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                    • I'm recording an audiobook musical in a large cupboard. Yes, I am completely mad! I work with a sound engineer and it's definitely BBC quality. I'm also an actor so If you want to chat any time just let me know.

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                      • Wonderful. Let me know how it goes. I've been talking to ProAudio Voices in Oregon to see if we can do something.

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                      • Grand...may it go well!

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                        • But do you think it is good to have the audiobook too? It is a costly business but fascinating and I’m split. What made you decide to do the audiobook?

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                        • I had to do audio as the story is full of music...musical instruments as characters...and it's for kids...

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