We are a Christian Network that promotes Christian books through press releases, social networking, blog showcases, and charities, including the orphans in Nepal and Wakulla Correctional.
Don't forget to check out the free books on the site - right column following book trailers.
Follow the John 3:16 Network Author Page on Pinterest
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Why Authors Should Make Their Own Audiobooks—and How Do You Do That Anyway? by Lorilyn Roberts
Making an audiobook is not as
daunting as it sounds. All you need is a computer and an IC recorder. After
installing the editing software onto your computer (that comes on a disc when
you buy your hand-held IC recorder), you can narrate your own audiobook. Basically,
the only expense involved was the purchase of the IC recorder from Best Buy, which
also included the software to edit the audio-files. The total cost was about
What is the advantage of you, the author,
recording your own audiobook? You save the money of paying a narrator. However,
it’s more than just financial. Recently I was talking about my YA Christian fantasy
book Seventh Dimension – The Door to
a friend. I asked him if he would read it and give me some feedback before I
published it. He said, “If you give me the book as an audiobook, I will listen
to it in the car when I drive to work.”
Did I want to narrate my own book? It’s
time-consuming for one thing, and would anyone want to listen to me anyway?
When I told him how I felt, he said, “I much prefer to listen to an author narrate
his own book.” He continued, “In fact, almost all of the books I’ve listened to
have been narrated by the author, including John MacArthur and Richard Stearns
(Hole in the Gospel).”
I paused when he said those two
names—suddenly the idea of narrating Seventh
Dimension – The Door seemed more appealing. I didn’t have to have the voice
of an actress to make an audiobook.
My friend continued, “The author is
just sitting in a chair reading his book—nothing fancy.”
I went home and gave it some
thought. I had narrated one chapter from my Children
of Dreams book and posted it on my website, but I would cringe every time I
listened to the recording. I’d pick it apart mercilessly—after all, I am not a
trained narrator; but I had to agree with my friend, if I were to listen to an
audiobook, I would rather listen to the author narrate his or her own book than
even an excellent narrator.
I hunted around to find my long,
lost IC recorder in my closet, eventually found the disc, and shoved it into my
computer. Surprisingly, everything worked—even the IC recorder with the three-year-old
I had picked up a few tips about how
to record an audiobook and I tried dictating the first chapter.Yuck—I sounded like I was dying—I was too
nervous. The hardest part was getting used to hearing my own voice. After a few
more false starts, I finished one chapter that didn’t seem too bad. I told
myself, with a little more practice, I would get better at it
First, go to Best Buy or another
similar store and buy a handheld recording device. I bought a Sony IC Recorder
for $39.99 (that is now three years old). Then you will need to look at the
instructions and learn how to turn it on and off. The hardest part is figuring
out how to use the thing. At least it was for me. I get frustrated with
technical gadgets that have more than one button to push.
Here are two important hints. First,
find a set of earplugs similar to what you would use to listen to music on an iPhone.
It doesn’t have to be one of those bulky ones. The earphones will allow you to hear
your voice and the sound quality of the recording. You will be able to detect
any outside noise that might be picked up as you are narrating. Turn off your
computer, an overhead fan, or anything nearby that might make any noise (even a
purring cat). The closet works quite well. Make sure you tell your kids what
you are doing so they won’t disturb you. It’s not much fun to have to start
over because your child’s voice has been included in your book narration.
Don’t narrate your book off a
computer screen. The recorder will pick up the humming from the computer. Mine
sounds like a jet engine sometimes, so I had to turn it off. I had my book
printed and bound in a three-ring binder so I could easily turn the pages
without making a sound. That cost me about $25. You can squeeze a lot of lines
front and back on an 8-by-11 sheet of paper, thus reducing the number of page
You want to split up your chapters
by recording session. In other words, between each chapter, stop and make an
audio “chapter break” or “file break.” Later, these chapters will be merged
into one or two or three files, depending on the length, but you need to break
down the book into chapters as you are narrating. At http://acx.com, the site will ask you to upload each chapter
individually. So to make it easier later, split up your files by chapter. You
will also need to make a separate file for the opening credits and the closing
credits. In the opening credits, you will say the name of your book, the ISBN
number, and some other identifying information that ACX will ask that you
provide. In the closing credits, you can say something like, “This is the end
of my book and thank you for listening.”
Now, there is a wee bit of technical
information I need to cover, but don’t let it deter you. If I can do this,
anybody can. In order to meet the audio quality for ACX, you will need to make
sure your audio recording meets professional standards. Here is a quote from
the ACX website.
Audiobooks should be recorded in 16 bit / 44.1 kHz wav file
format, which is considered CD quality and is best for archiving. Once you have
fully produced your audio file it should be saved as a 192kbps mp3. This is the
format that you will upload to ACX. Generally, audiobooks are recorded by one
of two methods.
It’s not as bad as
it sounds. First, if you have bought a new device for recording that is not the
cheapest thing hanging on the Best Buy sales rack, chances are it will record
at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz or better, so you won’t need to worry about what all that
jargon means. How can you determine if yours does?
On the editor
software that came with your IC recorder, you should be able to tell. Once you
upload your audio-files (chapters) from the IC recorder to your computer via
the cord included in the box (assuming you have inserted the disc into the
computer and installed the editing software already), you should see your files
listed similar to how mine are listed: file name, mode, user/artist, message
name and recording date. You want to look under the mode, and it should tell you
something that looks like this: SP (44.1kHz …) If you have that, you can keep going.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
discovered that while I had no issue with the 16 bit / 44.1 kHz, I did have an
issue with the 192 kbps (the number that follows the 44.1 kHz). 192 kbps is the
minimum standard for CD sound quality. I exhaled deeply when I read this
because Seventh Dimension – The Door was
not recorded at 192 kbps. What could I do besides re-narrate my whole book? If
this is an issue for you also, be patient. You can fix this, and I will tell
First, though, in
order to remedy this, you need to download your chapter narrations onto CDs. If
your book is more than 70 minutes long, you will need multiple CDs. I needed
six for Seventh Dimension – The Door.
Do this now so you will be set up for the next step. (If your recording was
done at 192 kbps, you can skip the next two paragraphs).
After your book is
copied onto CDs (make sure you label the CDs in order), reinsert your first CD
back into the computer.
Here’s how I found
out how to do this. I went to YouTube and did a search for “How do I convert an
audio file to 192 kbps?” I found a video recording by a knowledgeable DJ who
showed me how to do this using iTunes.He had to repeat himself a few times because he forgot some steps, and
on his third repeat, profusely apologized for his not-so-perfect video. By the
third time, though, I actually “got it” and could do it myself.
Here is how you
can convert an audio file to 192 kbps. Go to iTunes through your
computer—everyone has iTunes loaded on their computer that I know of, but if
you don’t, now is the time to download it off the Internet and install it. Once
you are ready, click the iTunes icon on your computer and you will be taken to
a screen that will have iTunes Library in the upper right-hand corner. In the
left-hand corner, you will have an option in your library for music, podcasts,
books, apps, and audio CD. You want to click on CD. You might need to use the
up arrow or down arrow to get to the option for CD.
Now go back to the
right-hand corner, and underneath iTunes Store will be a down arrow for import
CD. Click on that. A small new screen will open up with some options. For
import, choose MP 3 encoder. For the setting, use high quality, 192 kbps. Go
ahead and check mark for “error correcting when reading audio CDs” and then
click okay. iTunes will now convert and import your audio files from your CD for
your book at 192kbps. You will need to do this for each disc.
Now you have all
of your audio-files—opening credits, each chapter, and your closing credits—uploaded
on your computer at 192 kbps at 44.1 kHz.
You are ready to
go to http://acx.com and upload your audiobook one chapter at a time. Initially, of
course, you will need to create an account with ACX and enter some other
preliminary information, but you are well on your way to creating an audiobook
you can sell.
After you upload
your audiobook, ACX will review your audiobook and make sure everything is in
order. Once ACX approves your recording, they will distribute it for you on
several sites including Amazon.
One other minor
detail I don’t want to forget to mention is that the cover of your audiobook
needs to be square and not the traditional book size. ACX will reject any cover
that is not sized correctly, so make sure you do that ahead of time. You don’t
want to get “stuck” like I did. When my book cover designer does my next book cover,
I will ask her to create a square cover also so I will have it when I narrate
and upload my audiobook.
More and more
people are listening to audiobooks, particularly those in the upper
socioeconomic classes. You can listen to audiobooks through iPhones, iPads,
Kindles, computers, and CDs. Audiobooks are another way to add to your passive
income. As my friend told me after listening to my audiobook, “I feel like you
have been with me all week in the car,” there is something intimate about
hearing an author’s voice read his book. It’s another way for readers to
connect with the author personally and feel like they “know” you through your