How to Record Audiobooks

 

Audiobooks

Carefully read everything on this page. 

Congratulations, it's time to record your book! Here's a reminder of prices. 

  • As of 4/30/2020 the prices are as follows:
  • Self Recording: $300 for under 80k words. $100 for every 10k after 80k. this money is for our sound engineer to edit the audiobooks sound quality and ensure it meets publishing standards. All royalties we get on the book once published will be paid back to you to cover that $300 plus an extra $50. After you've been paid back $350, pricing will return to what's in your contract. 
  • Hired voice actor: approximately $700 for under 80k words. $200 for every 10k after 80k, this price is just and estimate as it depends on the rate of the narrator that you choose. Narrators can cost between $100 to $1000 per finished hour of audio. If your book is about 30k words you are looking at about 3.5 hours of finished audio. We strive to hire narrators at about $100-$200 per finished hour--but there are other narrators at higher price ranges you may like more.  

 

Audiobook Recording Procedures: Author Self-Record

Recording Setup

This is one of the most important aspects of creating a quality audiobook. If your audiobook does not sound great, people will not listen to it—plain and simple.  

  • Proper Mic Setup, once you've purchased your mic and have it in hand, you will need to set it up following these instructions: Audiobook Set Up.   
  • Sound: The idea of any great audiobook is to sound as if you're talking to a friend. Sometimes that means you'll need to read a paragraph or two out loud before you start recording to get out any nerves. If you feel yourself going too fast, you can pause and start again. We can take pauses out, however, we CAN'T add pauses, so if you're going too fast, we can't fix that in editing. Every time you record leave 5 seconds of space at the beginning and end of each recording. You also want to maintain the same speed throughout the book. It's very jarring for readers to jump from one recording to another if speed, sound, or volume, etc. aren't the same. It's the kind of thing that can and will make people stop listening. 
  • Location is the most important thing to consider when setting up your mic. The best location is in a closet that is full of clothes, carpet, and soft surfaces. The soft surfaces absorb bouncing sound and will give you the best result. There should not be any metal or glass in the closet--think shelves, picture frames, windows, etc. If you do not have a closet big enough to record in, then you can build a blanket fort (no, we’re not kidding) or a little room out of couch cushions. The quality of your recording means that people will be able to focus on the content of your book. Here are some resources on how to build inexpensive recording booths for the best sound possible. 
  • Simple Sound Booth Setups

          Cushions

          Small Closet

  • Sending a Sound Sample Once you have your booth set up or have settled in a closet, record a 3 minute sample and email it to eclark@cedarfort.com. We will listen to your recording and give feedback. DO NOT continue recording your book until you get feedback. If the sound isn't good, you may have to re-record and it's a lot easier if you only have to re-record a sample instead of multiple chapters.
  • What you can expect feedback for: Diction, flow, breath control, monotony, and volume. Each of these will be explained below. Reading quality is the second most important factor in producing a professional audiobook.
  • Diction Diction is how accurately you pronounce each sound of a word. Are you leaving out sounds? While this is your book and audiobook, and we do not want to remove your personality, it is important that the listener can understand all the words they hear. Please use the best diction you can while recording.   
  • Flow and Breath Control These two items go hand in hand. If you make a mistake in the middle of a sentence, it is best to repeat the sentence instead of trying to insert the rest. This will ensure that every sentence has a nice flow to it. This doesn't mean stop the recording. She repeat the sentence. Also, prepare for long sentences by taking a large, but not loud, breath. Try to read ahead so you know what tone the sentence should end in. All of these things make for a great audiobook. If you need to repeat a sentence, clap your hands then pause and count to 5 in your head before you start up again. This creates a spike followed by a flat line that will make it easy for the engineer to find your mistakes. Also, mark down in what chapter and at what time the mistake was made for the engineers. Please send a list of all your mistakes to eclark@cedarfort.com when you email to let us know you've completed your book. We'll pass this on to the audiobook engineer. 
  • Monotony: Do not fall into the rhythm of ending every sentence the same way. A good narrator changes pitch often to insinuate meaning but also to keep the book interesting. For example, if you were to read a list of questions, each question should sound different to keep them interesting.   
  • Volume: We will check to make sure that your audio is loud enough or not too loud. To prevent either of these from happening, make sure your mic and screen are set up according to the directions in the training video, and keep your mouth between 6 to 10 inches away from the mic. Another good method is to make an "L" shape with your thumb and index finger. Put your thumb at your mouth and touch the mic with the tip of your index finger. Try to maintain this exact distance from the mic. It might be helpful to purchase a mic stand or a mic arm stand. Arm stands are easiest to work with, especially if you have to record in a closet, but mic stands can work too if you don't want to purchase the mic arm. You can prop the mic on a stack of books or on a box until your mouth, when sitting, is just below the mic. This will help reduce popping sounds. 

Other factors to watch for:

  • The sound of your computer fan. If you have a problem with this, you may need some extension cords to keep your computer away from the mic. 
  • Your heater, AC, busy street out your window, barking dog, or other common sounds you are used to but listeners will not appreciate. Check your recording. There should be no background noise, only silence.  
  • Moving around too much. Rustling paper, turning pages in your book, mouse clicks, adjusting your seat, someone walking by—the mic will pick up all these noises that we have learned to tune out. If they are isolated, they can be removed easily in editing, however, if they are in the middle of a word, they cannot be removed, and the sentence should be redone. And again, if you need to repeat a sentence, clap your hands then pause and count to 5 in your head before you start up again and make sure to take note of the chapter and time where the mistake occurred. It also helps to have every door in your house shut. That isolates any sounds that might come from other rooms. We also recommend recording when no one else is home. 
  • Make sure the correct mic input is selected. If you are getting a back-quality recording, it is likely because your computer has defaulted to the internal mic and not the mic you purchased. 
  • Once you are given the go-ahead to record, we'll send you the link to where you'll upload each chapter in separate files, labeled with "chapter" and the number of the chapter--nothing else, not even the chapter name if it has one. For example:
  1. Title page
  2. Introduction
  3. Prologue
  4. Chapter 1
  5. Chapter 2
  6. Epilogue 

Intro and Outro Files 

We'll also need an intro and outro file from you. If you have an introduction in your book, the intro track will not be connected to that. You can separate them by calling your introduction "introduction" and the intro track "intro." This will help us know which is which. 

Here's the script:

"This is 'Book Title' by ​Author Name published by Cedar Fort Publishing and Media, read by the author ​Author Name." 

The outro file is the same but in past tense. So, it would be "This was...."

 

If you have any questions, please contact Emily at eclark@cedarfort.com.

 

Audiobook Promo Codes

There are promo codes available for your audiobooks once they have been published that you can use for marketing purposes. These codes should be given to reviewers, especially professionals such as those in the media. With the code they can download a free copy of the audiobook. Take full advantage of these. There are 50 codes available.

You can send your promo codes to professional audiobook reviewers, get early reviews from your street team or beta readers, run a social media giveaway for fans and newsletter subscribers, and/or swap codes with your peers and trade reviews for each other’s books. 

Click here to start Audiobook Production

Contact Emily for your codes: eclark@cedarfort.com.