Photo by Gavin Whitner

So, you are an independent author thinking about creating your own audiobook. You have spent time looking into distribution and feel that you have a solid plan and a great product. You have also recently realized that you don’t have the budget required to hire a professional service to create your audio. And finally, you think you have some killer acting skills that are going to surprise family and friends and delight potential listeners. You are ready to begin recording.

                But first, check out some basic tips to consider when recording your audiobook:

  1. Be sure your “studio” set-up is always the same. Little changes to the room you are recording in (an open door or a closed door, the position of your computer or chair, the distance between your mouth and your microphone, etc…) can all have an impact on the consistency of your sound across multiple recording sessions. Take a picture of your studio set-up so that you can recreate it for every recording. When using a microphone, as opposed to a headset, be sure to put an X on the floor with tape so your chair stays in the same spot for every recording. 
  2. Be consistent. If you are recording a book with quotes and have elected to speak the word “quote” before reading a quote, or have elected not to read captions, or to read every caption, etc… Make sure you follow your own rules consistently, sticking with them from start to finish of every recording session.
  3. Make sure your pace does not fluctuate too much. You would be surprised by how the time of day, your mood, and other factors can impact the speed at which you record your audiobook. Take a moment before your session begins to listen to your last session and practice matching the tone and pace before you start recording again.
  4. Avoid using character voices. Unless you are the VERY rare person who can naturally pull off different voices, accents, genders, etc… during a recording. Be yourself and read as yourself. Your listeners will appreciate you as a narrator a lot more if you don’t distract them from the content with silly accents, and strange voices. Keep it simple.
  5. Do not mumble. Practice speaking and enunciating every syllable when reading. The way we speak is often too casual for others to understand every word. In life, understanding speech happens with the aid of body language, topical familiarity, or someone simply saying “what?”. In an audiobook, you are narrating a story to a stranger that really wants to hear it. Be sure to pronounce all the letters clearly (without sounding robotic or unnatural.)
  6. Listen as you read, so that your passion and energy is not manufactured. This is key. When executed in a forced way, your listeners will be turned off by random tone/emotional changes that do not feel real. If you are comprehending the text as you read, your energy will naturally be appropriate and timely without having to think about it.