How to Record an Audiobook Yourself

Your readers have read your words, but there are others who want to hear them. And so, you decide to create an audiobook.

You have two options: record it yourself or use a service.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through a step-by-step process of how to record an audiobook yourself or use a service to get your book published.

How to Record an Audiobook Yourself

Gather the Right Equipment

Before recording your audiobook, you’ll need to have the right equipment. If you’re not recording in a studio, make sure you have the right equipment.

  • Computer: Preferably a desktop, but a PC or Mac will do.
  • Headphones: They’ll help you hear your own voice as your record.
  • Microphone: A large-diaphragm condenser mic is ideal for recording an audiobook.
  • Pop Filter: These help block out popping sounds due to the impact of air on the microphone and plosives during recording.
  • Professional Interface/Preamp: These convert your microphone signals into a format your computer and software can recognize.
  • Recording Software: You can use software like Studio One, Audacity, Logic Pro, Sound Forge, Reaper, etc.

Steps to Recording Your Audiobook

#1 Create an account with ACX, Findaway Voices, or any of the many audiobook aggregators, and familiarize yourself with the Audio Submission Requirements.

#2 Set up your home studio. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment as listed above. Your recording area should be the quietest part of the house— a place where your microphone won’t pick up sounds from outside. If you live with other people, kindly ask them to cooperate by not making noise, or record when nobody’s at home.

#3 Before you start recording, take some time to get familiar with the recording software you’re using. Understand the technicalities of how you’re supposed to set up the software before recording. Before you hit record, ensure the following:

  • The microphone should be about six to 8 inches from your face. The rule of thumb is that if you have to yell, move back, and if you have to whisper, come a little closer.
  • Leave a pause before and after each chapter/recording.
  • If you make a small mistake, mark it with an audio cue like a “beep” or “oops” and continue on. For larger errors, delete the range and redo.
  • Create separate recordings for each chapter (including the opening and closing credits).

#4 Edit your recordings. Remove any awkward pauses and weird breaths. After this, export 192 kbps MP3s at 44.1 kHz.

#5 Upload your files to your audiobook aggregator, and they’ll take it over from there. If there are any issues with your files, they’ll contact you.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Before recording, mark any complicated sentences in your chapters and practice them. That way, you’ll know where to focus more when reading your script.
  • Pace yourself when recording. Don’t go too fast or too slow. Read every chapter at the same pace.
  • Avoid loud and/or deep breaths, popping sounds, clicks, and smacks if you’re not using a pop filter. It’ll make your editing job a lot easier.
  • Avoid dairy or spicy foods before recording. Drink lots of water.
  • Before each chapter, record a demo and compare them to the tone of your previous chapter to ensure you’re using the same tone, speed, and volume.

Using Services

You have two options here: choosing an audio engineer or going through a full-service production company.

Hiring Audio Engineers or Producers

If you’re going to hire an audio engineer, then make sure you tick off the following checklist:

  • Experience with Audiobooks: Recording and producing audiobooks is a unique process. Just because someone is experienced in music recording and production doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good with audiobooks. Ask for samples to make sure they’re qualified to do the job.
  • High-Quality Portfolio: Listen to samples of their work using headphones. Headphones allow you to hear certain background noises (like conversations, construction work, etc.). Look for clarity of voice, good pronunciation, and high audio quality.
  • Finished Products: Never judge a book by its cover, and in this case, by an audio sample. Look for the engineer’s finished product.

Full-Service Production Company

Hiring out all your services is a big decision. So here are a few things to keep in mind when picking out a company.

  • Everything You Need. Make sure that the company provides everything you need and want for your audiobook.
  • Read Reviews. Make sure whoever you’re hiring out has positive reviews for their work.
  • Samples. Ask the company for small samples of different audiobooks they’ve published. Look for books that are similar to yours so you can get a feel of what you can expect for your
  • See for Yourself. Find published audiobooks from the company on Audible or other retailers and check for quality.
  • Understand the Deal. You need to fully understand what the company earns from your book. If a company takes royalties from every sale in exchange for a reduced rate, find out the rates beforehand so you can get the most out of your book.

Your choice between choosing an audio engineer or a company will depend upon your goals and skill set. For example, if you feel like you need to narrate your own book (or have the golden voice for it), that could save you money on hiring out narration services.

Even if you have a great voice, narrating a book is a specialized skill. Most people waste a lot of time and energy trying to do it themselves, eventually realizing it takes time and a steep learning curve.

In our experience, we’ve realized it’s much better for authors to hire a production company to do the narration and production, which ensures a quality product.

If you are looking for a company that’ll provide end-to-end services needed to record, produce, and publish your audiobook, consider PublishEdge. They’ll produce a finished product that includes professional narration, production, and distribution for worldwide reach. Check out PublishEdge for more information. It typically costs $250 per finished hour. About 9000 words equal to a finished hour. So, a 63,000-word manuscript could cost approximately $1750 per finished hour.

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