June 26, 2019

Audiobook 101

By Nick Nixon

Audiobooks are the hottest things on the market. Many people say they don’t have time to read. They can listen to audio books in their cars to and from work, on road trips, at the beach, on an airplane, cooking dinner or soaking in the tub. 

There are online videos on how to narrate your own book, and sources that will narrate it for you…and you get to choose the voice that fits your book. Online seminars and workshops are available with tips and training. Right now, there is a shortage of qualified narrators. 

ACX is the largest source for turning novels into audiobooks and hiring narrators. They also offer to help authors narrate their own books. Other sources offer the same services online. And there are some that will help narrators find projects, but there is a fee for this, which can be paid annually or monthly. One is Voice 123. They are sort of like paid agents. 

There are two ways a narrator can be paid: Charge the author a fee, based upon the number of hours it will take for the narration and editing of the finished product. Or, make a deal with the author to split 50/50 what he makes selling the audiobooks. Some narrators will do both.

The most prolific audiobook narrator is Scott Brick who narrates about 50 books a year in his home studio. He also teaches workshops and seminars and has online videos available. He says a successful audiobook narrator should have a little actor in him or her. He was asked how a man does women’s voices and how does a woman do men’s’ voices. His answer was they don’t. In a conversation between a man and woman, he reads the man's voice a little louder and the woman’s voice a little softer. And it helps to read one a little faster than the other. The reader will catch on. 

Most audiobook narrators work from home studios. All need you is a computer with audio recording software. I use GarageBand, which is recommended by many. However, there are other good ones out there too. You also need a good microphone, a puff screen for the mic, a mixer, earphones, speakers and a music stand for your copy. You do not have to break the bank to buy what you need. The size of the room does not matter. Set your equipment up in a corner. You can also add a few of those egg crate foam sound deadening panels to the two walls near your equipment. They do not have to go floor to ceiling. You can also use drapes and blankets. If you feel the need to somewhat enclose your recording space a little, you can attach the foam panels to some sheets of foam core and create a movable screen. You can order the foam panels in three different colors and the foam core from Walmart. The cost is reasonable.

As you can see from the picture of my equipment, there is a window in the background with an air conditioner in it. I cover that before I record. 

The first thing you need to do is you if you are considering narrating your novel is go online and look at everything you can find on narrating audiobooks. There is a lot available to you.  
After retiring from a career in advertising, Nick Nixon began writing crime fiction novels, inspired by his love for old black-and-white film noir movies of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. THE FRAME, his first book in a series of Peter English, PI mysteries, will release late October 2016. Nick also writes and illustrates children’s books, as well as recording them. He enjoys spending time with his family, good music, good books and classic cars. Three Fun Facts about Nick Nixon: 1…He has five children and fourteen grandchildren. 2…He writes humor columns and does cartoons for various publications. 3…He draws caricatures. Nick’s social media links are:  Blog  Website:   Twitter nick_nickwits  and on Linkedin  His books include his today release,  THE FRAME, Candy MoonCandy Moon Choo Choo and Looking Through the Rearview Mirror: Drawing From the past to inspire the future (Anthology) (Volume 1) 

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