Thursday, 5 February 2015

Release of Audiobook Blood and Water Three Short Stories by Charles Jay Harwood

My first audiobook Blood and Water 3 Short Stories has just been released as an audiobook on, Itunes and Amazon. Learning how to produce talking books has been an interesting experience, involving experimentation, research into the best recording equipment to use and the craft of using the voice.

A First Audio Book

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My first talking book consists of three short stories told via different voices and attitudes: a young girl running away from home, a middle-aged man, stuck in a dead-end job and a boy with learning difficulties. This meant thinking about using different voices to reflect the viewpoint of the narrator. The three stories, by the way, are entitled Blood and Water, Dead Letter Room and What Simon Knows. Each story lasts roughly ten minutes, bringing the total recording time to just over half an hour.

The Recording Experience

The setup was kept as simple as possible: an audio interface with two outputs. I used Scarlett Solo with large diaphragm condenser mic and pop screen. A small space was used for the recording in a location away from the busy road at the front. To rid of sound reflections, soft fabrics were used around the walls. This would create a dead-sounding space. Audacity free sound editing software was invaluable for editing the recording. A PC was used to wire the whole arrangement together.

Teething problems were inevitable – plosives for one. The mic was moved in different positions and a pop filter used, but plosives continued to sneak through. I also learned not to compress the recording too much, or the voice could sound horribly metallic. A lot of trial and error took place over the first few weeks.

Journey into Recording an Audiobook

The recording took around a month, as test recordings took place. The mere shifting around of the mic affected the sound of the voice, and experimentation informed on how best to position the mic in relation to the speaker. The script was read through several times before the final recording was submitted to Audible.

Audible were very helpful, providing feedback for a sample recording. This was used before the chapters were uploaded onto Audible. The final lesson learned was to be patient. Audible take a week or so to process your audiobook before it appears for sale.

On the whole, producing an audiobook is a great experience. Look out for other audio books by Charles J Harwood to follow in due course. In the meantime, find articles to help other hopeful audio book narrators on what I learned during my experience in recording my first ever audiobook.

What I Learned about Recording Audio Books

Ten hot tips for audiobook narration
The best mics for recording audiobooks
How to prepare the script for audio book recording
A cheap recording studio
Convert your Wav files to MP3 for Audible

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