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What’s involved in editing and production?

I aim for high clarity, quality, consistency and completeness during editing and production. I can use your recording if you wish, but prefer to record you myself. The largest factor in the final audio quality is the standard of the original recording. You just can’t “unbake the cake” (or can you?)

Love this:

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Editing usually takes 5 to 6 times the recording duration (in our example 40k word count, about a week). During that time, I cover the recording from top to tail cleaning up re-records, pops, clicks, pacing and heavy breath intakes. I also label each section of audio according to your book’s table of contents and each headed section.

I use a series of audio production tools like: equalisation, RMS normalisation, noise reduction and auto ducking. These help to produce the best possible sound for your audiobook.

Within a week, I’ll send you a sample of the mastered recording. I can also break your recording down into ‘Sound bites’. Quotes and excerpts that can be used for podcasting, creating sales lures or promoting your message on social media.

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Once the editing is complete, I prepare each book section with its own MP3 audio file. Those files may then be used to distribute your audiobook to many online stores including Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Audible and Spotify.

Listen to an audio sample here:

Here’s a link to a book on audiobook production:

Recording an audiobook

If you decide to author narrate, I come to you in your home, office or book a studio. Your carpeted dining room or office with high ceilings and soft furnishings is ideal – it’s familiar, has good acoustics and is generally soundproof enough. I bring all the audio gear with me and join you for the entire recording.

It seems to help to have someone to tell your story to – kind of a one man private audience. It helps you perform and engage. Just being there to answer questions, stop for a chat, note down quotable quotes, time stamp mis-reads and desk check pronunciation.

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Book prose that works well when written, can sometimes trip you up when spoken. It took 7 goes to nail: “No drill dentistry in the local shopping strip” and don’t get me started on pronouncing the names of Polish researchers!

I often suggest beginning with an author interview to help you warm up your voice. It becomes useful later as social media content for audiobook promotion. A 40k word count book will generally take around 7 hours to record.

An array of interesting articles on aspects of audiobook recording and production here:

https://cchogan.com/audiobook-tips-a-short-guide/audiobook-articles-and-resources/

Should I self-narrate?

Your voice is a valuable, recognisable addition to your brand. It is also of course a big part of who you are and how people perceive you. If you are an expert, coach or speaker in your field, then it’s almost a no brainer. A great example is Hillary Clinton’s audiobook ‘What happened’ where she muses on the results of the last US election/debarkle. Who else’s voice would you expect to hear? It’s her story to tell.

And it’s a big story!:

The author’s voice

The avid reader’s ideal is curling up on the sofa with a good book. Does this sound familiar? The feeling of escape, the holding of the book, the smell of the pages and the immersion of your inner voice and imagination. We construct and voice our own version of the author’s intent.

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But life gets in the way sometimes. The couch opportunities can be few and far between. We’re travelling, walking jogging, keeping house, mowing lawns or stuck in the peak commute – SWT – sheer weight of traffic. Even as a passenger, the spectre of being ‘car sick’ keeps our head out of a novel. We miss lectures, are verbal learners and speed readers and listeners.

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And don’t forget the communication premium that comes with the storyteller’s voice – dramatic effect, intimacy, familiarity, intonation, pausing and expression. It’s the reason we suggest authors narrate their own writings – they are after all, your words, meanings and feelings.

On bringing authenticity and emphasis to your book reading:

https://www.bookstr.com/should-authors-narrate-their-audiobooks

Many times published author and narrator of some 1,300 audiobooks talks about his experiences in this article:

The primacy of listening

In the 16th century, the development of the printing press was perhaps a key factor in the reformation of the Christian church – used to great effect by protestant’s like Martin Luther. Accessibility came in the form of free printed ‘flyers’, bible passages translated from Latin and of course public speeches and debates. Yet another chapter in our very human quest for freedom of thought, speech and access to knowledge.

In those times, literacy was a skill taught only to the elite and powerful. Despite this, communication through storytelling has carried knowledge across generations without the need for reading or writing. We first start understanding our world by hearing about it.

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We now consider literacy a fundamental human right, but you really can’t master it in the early years of life. We learn to listen, then talk, then read, then write. Again, listening is our earliest – almost innate – learning tool on the path to literacy. We just have to start there first, then we can use all 4 skills in combination.

Read about the ‘Socratic method’ and storytelling perspectives in this article:

https://www.forewordreviews.com/articles/article/listen-its-the-sound-of-audiobook-success/

Audiobook sales trends

Now. Did you know.

International audiobook audiences are growing year-on-year at 40% in the UK, 30% in the US, where sales in 2016 were $1.7 billion and $2.5 billion in 2017?

Annual audiobook sales growth is approaching 20% in Australia.

And from the last annual Small Press Network conference. They officially welcomed self-publishers as members and predicted that audio books are expected to be the next growth format.

And the book giants are right behind it. Here’s a recent article about the Amazon Echo:

https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/13/amazon-echo-free-audible-book/

and the day Amazon bought Audible:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-13/amazon-turbocharged-audible-s-domination-of-audiobooks

The publication triangle

So I guess it’s about taking advantage of rapidly growing international demand and a changing publishing trend. Why not use ‘traditional’ storytelling to share your experiences, expertise and give voice to your brand.

Along with your book and eBook, an audiobook could be the third essential piece in your publication triangle.

But why stop there…? What’s old is new again. Audiobooks on vinyl:

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8221202/wax-audio-group-hachette-vinyl-audiobook-series