Create an Audio Version of Your Book
Congratulations. Your book is complete, but there is one more thing that I highly recommend you do—create an audio version of your book.
Before I get into the process, let me first say that the creation of an audiobook can be a completely different animal. However, I have simplified this process for you, 5-Hour Author style. The one and only goal here is to give you the easiest and most effective way to create a quality audio version of your book. Once you’re done, you’ll have all the media covered with your new book—you’ll have multiple digital book formats, a paperback book and an audio version. Creating multiple media options will make it even easier to distribute your book, which will ultimately allow you to reach more of your ideal clients.
Don’t ignore audio. Although more people prefer to read books, there’s a large segment of people who will actually listen to your book, and if they like it, they’ll also get a copy to read or vice versa. Then there are the audio enthusiasts who simply prefer to consume information in audio format. There are plenty of people in this category who want what you are SELLING, but they will never hear your message unless it’s on audio. So let’s get started.
Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Make sure you are 100% done with your book. This sounds obvious, but you don’t want to record your audiobook over and over, starting from scratch every time you make a change. Or have to send your recordings off to an editor every time you make a change. So the best practice is to make sure you are done squashing any bugs, and you have made all your minor tweaks, etc.
Step 2: Just record yourself reading your book, one chapter at a time. Practice reading each chapter out loud and lock in the nuances of the timing and punctuation before recording. This is important because how you read in your head and reading out loud have entirely different punctuation and timing. So the best way to pull this off without major modifications is to read your own book instead of hiring a narrator. You know your content inside and out, so reading your own book out loud will come naturally for you.
I recommend that you use your computer to record the audio. You don’t need to get fancy, BUT I strongly suggest using a high-quality, studio-style microphone and finding a small, quiet room or even a closet so you can get the best acoustics without all the fuss. Another tip is to do your recording at night when there are fewer noises. The audio will be an hour or two long, and of course you’ll use it with your digital and paperback book—as an educational tool, lead generator, add-on or bonus, etc. For example, you can embed it on your website or share a download link when someone gets a digital or paperback copy of your book.
When you record your own audiobook, you’ll create a deeper connection with your ideal clients because they will appreciate the authenticity, enthusiasm and emphasis that only you (and your voice) can bring to your book. Also, when you read it yourself, you’ll find it natural to improvise in the cases where the printed word and spoken word are not in sync. So don’t get hung up on whether you have a radio voice. Just read the book and be yourself.
Tools I use.
I am an Apple user, so the tools I use to record audio are GarageBand and QuickTime. Another tool I use is Audacity; it works on Mac and PC. Then I export or convert the file to MP3 format.
When it comes to microphones, there’s no shortage of opinions on what microphone is the best. But everyone tends to agree, there’s NO one size fits all. There are many factors to consider when selecting a mic to record your audiobook. These factors include:
- Where you plan to record audio
- How much background noise you’ll be competing with
- Your other recording tools
- Your voice type
But the mic is not the only part of making great audio. The other half of your sound quality is about HOW you use the mic—AKA working the mic. For that reason, I prefer inexpensive but good-quality portable microphones. The one I use is Audio-Technica’s ATR2100 USB Dynamic Mic. It’s an excellent microphone that doesn’t need an elaborate setup. Plus it reduces any unwanted sounds caused by room noise and background noise.
Some people believe you will get a better recording experience from condenser mics. But they are sensitive to external sounds and need a more controlled recording environment. Compared to dynamic mics, I found you’ll need to spend more money on the mic and have an elaborate setup to notice any difference in sound quality.
If you would like to distribute your audiobook on iTunes, Audible and Amazon, a little post-production will be needed to polish the audiobook before you put it out there. I recommend finding someone who’s familiar with the editing functions of Audacity, GarageBand or QuickTime and who can prepare the audio files to meet the required specifications for those platforms. The good news is that once you have completed the light editing of your audio files, there’s a one-stop service to publish your audiobook on all these retail sites.
Introducing Amazon’s ACX.
If you would like to get massive exposure for your audiobook through Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon.com, then your best option is to use Amazon’s ACX platform www.acx.com. Without question, the ACX platform is the easiest and most comprehensive way to self-publish audiobooks. With ACX, you’ll get a professionally produced audiobook, one that has multiple chapter breaks and one that is formatted for iTunes, Audible.com and Amazon.com. Plus, it’s simple to do. Just claim your book title on ACX, upload your recordings and start promoting your audiobook. That’s it.
I realize that recording an audiobook can still be a daunting task. So if you do prefer to have someone else narrate your audiobook (professional voice talent), then ACX makes this a piece of cake too. You can find professional narrators, hold auditions and make a deal to get your audiobook produced directly on ACX.