9 Useful Tips for Recording and Editing Audiobooks
Recording Quality Is Important
Before anything else, one must ensure the quality of the recording is the best it can possibly be. You will want to use a quality microphone, with a pop filter, recorded in a quiet room with adequate acoustic treatment. There are many resources online on how to build a budget vocal booth setup at home.
Since you will most likely be recording your audiobook over the course of many hours, the consistency of the recording is very important. This includes the room, the microphone position, the narrator’s distance from the mic, posture and even mood! For example, you may sound enthusiastic one day and make a great recording. But the next day you may sound bored and unenthusiastic. When these are edited together the listener will hear a noticeable shift in the tone, recording quality, narrator enthusiasm, etc. So make sure you record in the same way every, single, time.
Don’t Forget The Credits
Oftentimes audiobook submissions are rejected by ACX due to missing opening and closing credits. Be sure to introduce the book by stating the title, name of the author(s), and name of the narrator(s). ACX also requires a “The End” statement and/or closing credits to signify the end of the audiobook to the listener. Don’t forget to include this either.
Edit Your Files Into Logical Sections
Before submitting to ACX, your files will need to be broken down into sections. One file for each chapter, introduction, about the author, forward, etc. Make sure to leave 1-2 seconds of silence at the beginning of each file, and 3-5 seconds of silence at the end. This ensures proper encoding to different formats, and gives the listener a queue to when a chapter is ending or a new one is beginning.
Read The Titles
Each of these sections will also require a title be read at the beginning of the file. For example; Forward, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. Make sure to read the chapter, title, or section name at the beginning of each file, followed by a 2-3 second pause before continuing.
Edit Out The Mistakes
You will want to make sure your audiobook recording is free of mistakes, re-do’s, noises, long pauses, or anything else that may need to be edited out. Audio editing can be a very tedious and time consuming process, and many audiobook creators choose to outsource their audio editing needs and hire a freelancer or an audiobook editing service. This can be a much more cost effective choice for someone who doesn’t have hours and hours to do the editing themselves. It can take up 3 hours to edit only 1 hour of audio. So you can imagine how long it might take to edit 10 or even 20 hours of audio!
Use Compression, EQ, and a De-Esser
You won’t want to submit a dull and lifeless sounding recording to ACX. Adding compression and EQ will help give you that professional broadcast-ready sound. Additionally, a de-esser may be needed to control those harsh sibilance sounds. Hiring a professional audio engineer may be a smart move, since audio production can be a difficult task. But there are many resources online, including YouTube tutorials on vocal production, compression, and EQ techniques.
Create a Sample File
ACX requires a 1-5 minute sample clip of your audiobook to play as a preview on the audible website. People love hearing a preview before they buy an audiobook, so make sure to include this. You’ll want to use a section of the actual book, and not just the opening credits. Really give them an idea of what your book will be like to listen to!
Ensure Proper Encoding For ACX Submission
This might be the most important, and most overlooked step in the process. And also the number 1 reason for audiobook submissions to be denied. Improper formatting!
Make sure your files are:
Normalized to -3dB peak
A loudness of around 12-18 dB RMS
No longer than 120 minutes per file
Encoded to 192kbps mp3 (constant bit rate)
At least 1-sec of silence at the beginning, and 2-sec at the end of each file.
Getting your audiobook recorded, edited, and prepared for release can be a time consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! Hopefully we’ve answered a few of your questions and helped you on your journey to releasing your first audiobook, and making your first sale as an audiobook author. Still need help producing your audiobook? Check out TheAudiobook.pro for more info on how to hire a professional audiobook editor.