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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Troubleshoot Your Audiobook Production

Audiobooks are a popular option these days and make up a growing part of the bookselling market. There are more options and tools for creating an attractive audiobook every day, but if you’re a writer with limited experience in the audiobook industry, getting started can be a hassle. Even if you hook up a simple microphone and start reading your chapters in one at a time, you might not hear the professional touch you crave.

The following troubleshooting tips don’t address every angle of audiobook creation but will cover some bases often experienced by beginners.

Audiobook narration is more than simply reading a chapter. Pacing, tone, and accent all need to line up for a smooth and theatrical reading experience. You need expression, but not a distracting amount. You need to speak clearly consistently throughout, and you need an ongoing narrative voice to last through the entire work.

If you’re working with a narrator, make sure you choose someone who matches the tone you want your narrator to have, and listen to his recordings in advance so that you can know the style matches that of your book.

The first narrator to audition might not be the best. By the same token, you might not be the best person to narrate your own books despite having written every word. If tweaking your style consistently doesn’t work, consider finding someone else who can narrate.

Don’t be afraid to consider alternatives that didn’t come to mind at first. Audiobook production is an art of its own and leaves a lot of room for playful and artistic experimentation.

Not all microphones were created equal. If your recordings have any popping, fuzziness, or other audio imperfections, it might be time for an upgrade. You want to give listeners the best experience you can, and for them to take your book seriously, this is a worthwhile purchase (and will make editing and production so much easier!).

You might not notice music much when you listen to audiobooks, but including an appropriate track near the beginning and end of the recording can really bring a story to life. Sites like Audio Jungle carry a lot of stock music tracks available to fit any genre, and they can be added in easily with audio editing software. Most of these tracks are easily affordable and sound great right off the bat

When choosing a track, find something subtle that fits your story. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes when you add even a touch of music to your narration.

You might be able to produce some entertaining short recordings on your phone, but it’s lacking when it comes to the full production of an audiobook. The ability to cut around errors, pause between chapters and add complementary music is much easier if you use actual audio software to work.

This is helpful if you are recording with someone else, but even more important if you decide to take on the job yourself. Spend some time learning about your software and the audiobook recording process so that you can save time and produce high-end experiences.

Everyone stumbles when reading, at least on occasion. And sadly, you can’t simply ignore any “umms,” “uhs,” or stammers when they come out. If your recording sounds weaker or less polished than you want, you don’t need to start from scratch.

Learning different audio editing techniques now can pay off later on.

Please share your audiobook tips and tricks in the comments below, or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers for further discussion and information!


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