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Audiobooks are a rapidly growing part of the publishing world. Since 2012, audiobooks have experienced double digit growth per year in sales. Audiobooks are a great way to reach an audience that is inaccessible with print and ebooks. These are the commuter listeners, the stay-at-home moms listening while washing dishes and running errands, and the CEOs who listen while taking their morning run. Cedar Fort partners with audiobook creators to make it more accessible and affordable for you. An audiobook introduces your content to a whole new audience that it could not have reached before. However, an audiobook cannot revive a struggling book, but it is a great companion to a new release or thriving book.
- 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 $50 to $1000 per finished hour. 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.
- Prices may have changed, so please contact the media producer for an accurate price.
Audiobook Recording Procedures: Author Self-Record
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
Sending a Sound Sample Once you have your booth set up or have settled in a closet, record a 5 minute sample and upload it to your drive file. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not have a link for your drive yet. The media producer and Sound Editor 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. Also, prepare for long sentences by taking a large 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.
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.
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, 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. 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, upload each chapter to the drive in separate files, labeled with the chapter number--nothing else, not even the chapter name if it has one. For example:
If you have any questions, please contact our media producer, Emily, at email@example.com
- Title page
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
Audiobook Promo Codes
There are promo codes available for your audiobooks 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 the media producer for your codes: firstname.lastname@example.org.