We are living in the era of the back story.
Who you are and what has motivated you to write is almost as important as your book’s story. And people want to hear that story told by you! So how do we get your voice out there?
This article will help you record your author’s note easily, without complex equipment in your home. I’ll help you include your book cover and a head shot, then attach your recording to make a short video (with subtitles) for your audience. You can display your ‘ListenIn’ video on your:
- PR media releases
- Amazon book page
- Book website
- YouTube channel
- Social media posts
It’s a great way for your readers and listeners to ‘try before they buy’, hear insights from the story’s creator and gauge your readership’s interest in an audio version of your book.
So, what do you need to do to record it…?
(I’ll use the Apple iPhone in our example)
Find a quiet place and time at home, and close the curtains. Take your Smartphone and your ear pods to your home office or lounge room along with your laptop or iPad.
Tip: A lapel (or ‘lavalier’) microphone is an affordable, superior alternative to your ear pods. Check out this link for more information.
The room you choose will ideally be carpeted, have plenty of soft furnishings and perhaps book shelves – preferably small with plasterboard walls and ceilings. These room characteristics describe a ‘dead’ room, helping to minimise any echo in the recording.
The only other important room consideration is ‘noise’. Background noise can ruin a recording. Despite the usual public perception of ‘magical powers’, no sound engineer can easily or successfully remove undesirable sounds from a recording, without altering the narrator’s voice. The best way to treat noise, is not to record it in the first place!
Aside from the obvious need to pick a time at home where there is little or no activity inside or outside the house (late evenings are often ideal), you need to make sure the following things are turned off – just for the duration of the recording:
- Central heating and cooling (any fans)
- Desktop computers near your recording position (more fans!)
- Smartphones and other devices (set to silent)
So, our environment is set up and we’re nearly ready to record.
I always feel a practice ‘run-through’ helps deliver a better performance, and will assist you to decide whether you wish to stand or sit while narrating, and alert you to those phrases that might ‘trip you up’. Try saying:
“No drill dentistry at the local shopping strip”
Not just once, but five times in a row without error. It’s easy to say it with your inner voice (the one that pronounces everything perfectly when you’re reading), but not so easy to get your tongue around!
Standing while you narrate affords you the same advantages of standing while public speaking:
- Better projection of your voice
- Diaphragm breathing
- Freedom to gesticulate and move around
All these factors contribute to a more persuasive and enthusiastic narrative full of intonation, pausing for emphasis and engagement, but you have to wear socks and keep in mind…
Your listener is hearing you through tiny little speakers at the beginning of their ear canal. If you use your ‘shouty’ public speaking voice, it will likely be intolerable.
Tip: My suggestion is to imagine yourself enthusiastically sharing a ‘semi-private’ story with a friend at a small gathering. Just loud enough to be overheard by interested others, but not so noisy as to draw the attention of the entire gathering!
Now you’re well practiced and standing in your Ugg boots, let’s set up your ear pods for recording.
The following image illustrates the positioning of your ear pod microphone on your clothing. I strongly suggest attaching it to your lapel with a safety pin or clamp. Tuck away the ear pieces and excess cord down your shirt.
Tip: Make sure the microphone is attached well away from any zippers or harsh surfaces, and can’t brush against them (the ‘scratching sounds’ become the loudest noise in the recording and can’t be removed during editing :>(
Tip: remember when recording not to move your head around too much. Maintaining the distance between your mouth and the microphone will result in a nice consistent recording volume.
Finally! Time to record.
Plug your ear pods into your Smartphone and open the ‘Voice Memos’ app, then hit the big red record button. Keep still and silent for 5 seconds, then begin your narrative by announcing the section, book title and your name. e.g.
“Author’s note from ‘No way to behave at a funeral’ written and narrated by Noel Braun.”
If you have chosen to stand, then you’ll have one hand holding your iPad, and the other one free for swiping to the next page and also using it to gesticulate (which really helps bring out the intonation, drama and emphasis – the ‘actor’ in you!) Your smartphone will be in your pocket recording away.
Once you have finished the piece, keep still and silent for 5 seconds, then hit the (now square shaped) record button again to finish.
The following video illustrates how to use the Voice Memos app to make your recording, save and send it via email from your iPhone. Make sure you send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and yourself.
The final step is to email me a square image of your book cover and a head shot (minimum size: 1400 x 1400 pixels, minimum resolution: 72 DPI – your graphic designer can help you with these). Feel free to send two or three other images that will help convey your book and author introductory story.
Within the week, I’ll send you a ‘ListenIn’ video, just like this one below made for our author and communications expert: Leah Mether
Want to discuss your audio book? Here’s how we can help