So here's the deal folks, audiobook production is a lengthy, time consuming process. There are thousands of authors out there looking for a narrator to tell their story, but for a royalty deal. If you believe in the story and the power of the author's following it could be worth your time and money. I took on such a project to get my feet wet in the audiobook narration world.
More Than a Job, An Adventure is a historical fiction novel based on the author's experiences during his naval enlistment in the Vietnam era. Naturally I gravitated towards a story like this and Andy felt I could accurately tell the story he had written. Then came the hard part of producing an audiobook. For those of you first timers out there let me tell you the rough estimate of how much time, and money, I put into this. First you need the proper equipment; microphone, recording software, and more than likely some sound proofing. I spent roughly $150 on a good mic, AT2020 USB, and a stand to go with it. My sound engineer friend, Paul, gave me the rundown on good equip as well as software and told me to download Reaper. This software is similar to Pro Tools, but without the price tag. In fact I recorded, edited, and mastered my entire audiobook within their 60 day trial period. Bonus, once the trial period was up they continued to let me use it! So naturally I promptly bought their software. Once I had acquired the necessary equipment I had to get my space down to the right noise floor levels, max -60db. I spent another $150 on sound blankets to help with that. After reconfiguring my bedroom, along with a little jimmy rigging of couch cushions, I had my studio set up.
Now in order to get a good understanding of how long things will take, let's break it down. The actual recording can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half, per chapter. This will depend on the length of the chapter and how many times you mess up. Think about it, if you fudge, replace, or completely leave out a word you have to go back to the beginning of that sentence. I found that I messed up more on my first chapter of the day, but once I got a rhythm going I tended to make fewer mistakes. This audiobook came out around the 11 hour mark, but I probably had closer to 18-20 hours of raw audio before going into editing. That brings me to the next point, editing. Now that you've got everything recorded you must now go back and listen to every second of audio to find clicks, pops, breaths, and remove any bad takes. You can end up listening to the same chapter twice over once you're done. Then you have the mastering process, which I just lumped in while I was editing. Bringing the sound levels to their required place, between -23 and -18 db with peaks no higher than -3 db, while double checking for any missed errors.
All totaled I probably spent anywhere from 45-60 hours and approximately $360 to produce & narrate this audiobook. The question is, was it worth it? I now have the equipment, technical ability, and knowledge necessary to produce & narrate audiobooks. Not only that but I acquired all of these things by helping another veteran express himself artistically. So yes I would say it was definitely worth it.
For those of you still reading I thank you and would like to reward you! Audible has given me a few promo codes to help drive sales for my audiobook. The first 10 people to comment on this blog will get one for a free download of More Than a Job, An Adventure. All I ask in return is that you write a thorough review on Audible once you're done listening and share the link to the audiobook with your friends and family as well.
Thank you again for all your support!