I have chosen the novel I want to turn into an audiobook! So, what now? Do I jump right in and start recording? I think not. Now is the time for me to start researching. Much like writing a novel, in order to avoid copious amounts of time editing and fixing past mistakes, you need to have a solid foundation or plan to start.
First, I researched which platform I wanted to use to publish my audiobook. There are several out there including ACX and Findaway Voices. Both give you the option of uploading your own recordings or finding a narrator and producer to create the audiobook for either a royalty share or per hour fee. From a casually glance Findaway voices seems to have more reasonable rates than narrators and producers on ACX but other than that I don’t see much difference in each platform. Since I am opting to record for myself, I am cutting out the narrating and production fees altogether.
I am going to use ACX. Mostly because I am familiar with their process from my first attempt at creating my own audiobook. Second, because I just don’t feel like learning another system. I know that is terrible of me but I have a limited amount of “quiet time” to get my work done so using the familiar is a benefit for me. With my platform chosen I can now look up what their requirements and recommendations are for creating an audiobook.
Your audiobook must meet certain requirements to be submitted:
Consistent in overall sound and formatting.
Audiobook must be comprised of all mono, or all stereo files.
Audiobook must include opening and closing credits (in separate tracks).
Audiobook must be narrated by a human; text-to-speech recordings are not allowed.
Each uploaded file must contain only one chapter or section.
Each uploaded file must be no longer than 120 minutes.
Each uploaded file must contain a section or chapter announcement at the beginning of the audio file.
Each uploaded file must have between 0.5 and 1 second of room tone at the head, and between 3 and 5 seconds of room tone at the tail of each track.
Each uploaded file must be free of extraneous sounds such as plosives, mic pops, mouse clicks, excessive mouth noise, and outtakes.
Each uploaded file must measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS.
Each uploaded file must have peak values no higher than -3dB.
Each uploaded file must have a noise floor no higher than -60dB RMS.
Each uploaded file must be 192 kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR).
Each uploaded file must be 44.1 kHz.
Each uploaded file must be no larger than 170MB.
I know that sounds like crazy a lot. Especially if you aren’t familiar with audio recording. Thankfully, ACX has an audiobook academy to help you ensure you meet all the criteria. I highly suggest checking that out before starting your recording. It will definitely save you some headaches later.
This is the point where you will probably start to freak out and think about shelling out the dough for someone else to do the work. That is perfectly okay and totally your choice. I, however, am determined to do this on my own. So now that I have an idea of what it required by the publishing platforms I can start looking at what equipment, software, and other things are required for producing a quality audiobook.