What makes a good recording environment?

An office sized room with a carpeted floor, soft furnishings, material drapes and book cases is ideal. A desk with fixed leg, non squeaky chairs (no caster wheels, they creak!) and air conditioners turned off.

Put the dogs out or send them over to the neighbours for the day. You don’t need to record under blankets, in cars or closets!

What sort of recording equipment do I need?

There are an enormous number of options out there, but here is my top pick for your vocal recording rig (around $400 AU):

Shure SM58 + X2U USB Digital Microphone Bundle
USB male to male extension cable 0.5 metre
XLR extension cable 2 metre
Microphone pop filter
Microphone wind sock
Microphone stand

Out on my own here (I know), but I don’t recommend ‘podcast’ microphones. They are designed to record a 360 degree range around the microphone (omni-directional). Great in the case where you have yourself, and three interview guests around a table, but not so great for audiobook recording (too much background noise collected).

What sort of recording software do I need?

Audacity 2.2.1 is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software. You can use Audacity for recording, editing and producing your audiobook. It is pretty simply to use.

If you would like training, please let me know.

What kind of recording techniques will I need?

Set the distance between your mouth and the microphone at a splayed hand span (distance between tip of thumb and little finger)

Set at a 45 degree angle to your mouth (not directly in front or at 90 degrees). This will soften any Ds or Ps (pops)

Keep a water bottle on hand. Dry mouths can cause ‘clicks’ in the recording. Try and make a habit of drawing breath slowly. It will make them quieter on the recording.

Also try and maintain a consistent distance from the microphone when recording. It can be tempting sometimes to move closer to the microphone when you are making a significant point, then to lean back when speaking in less emphatic, relaxed tones. It is the opposite of that required for a consistent recording volume.

It is important to take a 10 minute break every hour, and drink sips within the hour. This helps to maintain your motivation and to keep your attitude ‘peppy’, preserving a fresh tone and expression. You’ll be surprised. Narrating is much more energetic than reading to yourself.

Make sure you save your Audacity recording early, regularly and often. There is nothing more frustrating than re-reading five or six chapters, just because your computer ‘froze’!¬†Audacity enables you to pause a recording, save the file, then continue recording at a future point in time on the same file.

Sample recording

The author2audio service also includes a free audio production of your book’s introduction. Simply record your introduction and along with a high resolution image of your book cover, email it to me.

I will produce the audio file, assess the quality of your recording equipment, technique and your narration style. I’ll email the produced audio file back to you as a video, and if you’re happy with the quality, you can upload it to social media, and create a post that promotes your ‘forthcoming’ audiobook or current eBook/paperback.

Readers and listeners love a ‘teaser’.