Over the last few months, I’ve started narrating audiobooks. It is SO much fun! I got started in this interesting niche as a result of my own writing projects. I’ve written one book and I’m working on several more and I decided I wanted to offer audiobook options for all of them. I really had absolutely no idea how to create an audiobook. Would I have to hire some big company to manage the process of creating an audiobook? Would it cost a ton of money? I had no idea, so I started investigating.
I discovered the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) page and information about hiring freelancers to narrate and produce audiobooks. ACX also has lots of great information about setting up a home studio, including the equipment that is required. I noticed that there are thousands of authors looking for narrators on ACX at any given time. I read all about DIY narrating and after learning about how to set up a home studio and the best starter microphones and equipment to buy, I decided to narrate my own book.
I got my equipment, bought some crazy foam acoustic panels to absorb sound, and set up a little narrating nook in an unused room. The sound wasn’t quite right, it was kind of echoey. I tried another location, inside a closet. The sound was perfect. No background noise, no weird echoes, nothing distracting. Success! I started narrating my book, then decided my little studio works so well I might as well narrate books for other authors. Not only can I help authors create a product that many book lovers really want, I’d also get to read books as part of my job! Win-win!
Learning how to narrate and produce audiobooks is not trivial. You have to spend at least $500 for equipment and foam to insulate your recording area. You have to install recording software and learn how to use it. Then you have to learn how to use the software to edit your recording, which is actually more time consuming than the recording session! You have to learn to deleted awkward pauses, weird mouth smacking noises, and any other odd noises. You have to learn how to remove low background noises. You have to learn about the strange technical requirements for audiobook sound files, including things like RMS levels (really the amplitude, or volume of the recording), the peak level of your recording, and noise floor.
I personally love stuff like that. I worked as a technical writer for years and loved the process of learning new software and playing around with it. I’ve taught myself how to expertly record and edit book narration files so you won’t have to!
However, if you DO want to record your own book, I’m going to start blogging about how to DIY your own audiobook based on my own experiences learning how to narrate great audiobooks.