Tag Archive: #Audible


Audio Recording Links:


Hello again everyone. I recently had a request to the links regarding to all my posts here about doing audio recordings. As I started to gather the links, I quickly realized that they were all seriously scattered throughout the blog, as I’d done them over the course of 13 months. Plus, there were a number of other entries in between which made them even more difficult to find. 

So today’s entry mainly consists of all the links for easy access to anyone who wishes to look over the details and suggestions I had about audio recordings. So far there are only eight entries, but I am planning on more in the coming months. 

ADVENTURES IN AUDIO RECORDING

LINKS:

Part I: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/07/27/adventures-in-audio-recording/

Part II: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/08/09/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-ii/

Part III: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/08/25/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-iii/

Part IV: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/09/14/adventures-in-audio-recording-iv/

Part V: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/09/27/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-v/

Part VI: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/10/18/adventures-in-audio-recording-part-vi/

Part VII: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2019/11/15/adventures-in-audio-recording-vii/

Part VIII: https://musingsof2creativeminds.com/2020/02/22/adventures-in-audio-recording-viii/

I hope you find this helpful and until next time, keep writing and recording my friends.


Sorry for the long delay in posting here, but as you’re about to find out we’ve been VERY busy.

First off I am proud to announce Helen’s 2nd solo book “Forever Haunted” is now live on audio at both Audible and Amazon for just $17.46 or 1 Audible Credit. Once again I am the voice of her main character Rafael Jones (along with every other character). This is my 2nd full audiobook narration and I’m thrilled to help bring her characters to life once more. And yes I am still “Chief, Cook, and Bottlewasher” for the audio. The recording and editing process took longer than I’d hoped, but I learned some new tricks (through trial and error) that I will be sharing with you all in future posts. I’ve gotten things down to a checklist I keep on hand for myself of how to edit the audios for pacing speed, volume, pauses, etc. which I did not do the first time when I recorded “Forever’s Too Long”.  And with the amount of time that passed between that audiobook and this one, I forgot a lot of editing techniques/tricks that I had to relearn and change. 


Again, I will be sharing a number of those tips and tricks with you in the very near future.  In the meantime here is some more about the new Audiobook:


Bookcover Blurb:Life isn’t easy, but it’s easier than adjusting to being dead. Rafael Jones is still learning about his new diet, powers, and limitations when he’s asked to certify that a house isn’t haunted. But when it turns out to have the ghost of a murdered flapper, his new mission is to locate the missing gangster who killed her, the magic mirror that helped the killer disappear, protect his client, and stop a new string of murders.Magic and mystery collide in the summer of 1947, and our detective is digging up answers to questions going back as far as the end of WWI.


Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Haunted-Detective-Book/dp/B08XZRC84S/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Audible Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Forever-Haunted-Audiobook/B08XZQ7TCW?qid=1615055966&sr=1-2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=83218cca-c308-412f-bfcf-90198b687a2f&pf_rd_r=Y853QBMXKK8YE0H638Z6

And of course, here is an audio sample:

In addition to getting “Forever Haunted” edited and sent to Audible, I have already begun recording her the third book in her ever-growing series, titled “Forever in Deep”

I’m pleased to say I’m already about 1/3rd of the way through with the recordings, and most of it is already edited. Lord, am I so glad I wrote down those editing notes to myself, it goes much quicker now, but that’s something that comes with experience.


I’ve also been busy with getting the 2nd draft of “The Pass” (my collaboration with Rich Caminiti) to the final stages. I have only to insert a few scenes into it, and that will be going out to beta-readers for inspection and comments. Once we’ve heard back from them, we will begin the 3rd and final draft, with hopes for an October release later this year.


“But what about the Para-Earths Series?” I hear some of you ask. Well, work has been continuing on both “The Door” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”.  Admittedly, the work has been slow on both of them, but they are still happening. I’m also in the process of getting some of the completed novels prepared for audio recording so they can join the ranks of Audible. But of course, everything takes time and there are only so many hours in the day. And of course with m Fibromyalgia, I have only so many “spoons” to work with in a day. So I ask that you all please be patient. I might be recruiting a couple of more voices for the Para-Earth books to make them more of an ensemble cast recording, but we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been so slack on getting new postings up. The narrator work takes a lot of time and energy, but I have already been approached more than once about voiceover work for other people, which would be paying jobs for me. Which would be most welcome. I do hope that my audio narrations will lead to bigger things like some voiceover work for animations, podcasts, or streaming series. One never knows. But time will tell.


And now I must get back to writing and recording. So until next time, which I promise won’t be too long, stay safe and keep recording and writing my friends.


Hey Audiobook/Audible fans, Helen’s first book “Forever’s Too Long” is now on sale for 1/2 price (regular price $14.95 – now only $7.47) over on Amazon.

If you love vampires, noir/mystery detectives set in 1947, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. And a little FYI, I did the narrating and am recording on her 2nd book (coming this December) as we speak.

So come and grab your copy, or gift one to a family member or friend. Just click on the link below to purchase:

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Forevers-Too-Long-Forever-Detective/dp/B08B2S7MKG/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

What listeners are saying over on Audible: 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User

5 – Stars

Good plot with smart characters

Nice to have a story that isn’t based on the inattention or inability of the protagonists. 

Please continue releasing the series!


5 out of 5 stars
06-25-20
OVERALL – 5 Stars
PERFORMANCE – 5 Stars
STORY – 5 Stars
 

 

Good plot with smart characters

Nice to have a story that isn’t based on the inattention or inability of the protagonists. Please continue releasing the series!
 
 

                                

And so it has finally happened, after months and months of researching how to make an audiobook, getting the equipment, rehearsing, learning how to control one’s voice for quality, pacing yourself, being sure of clarity when you speak, consistency in volume, learning how to edit the recordings and meet ACX’s requirements, and finally getting your work made available on Audible. This in and of itself is a huge achievement. But no one tells you about what comes next…

Waiting to see the audience’s reaction to your work.

I don’t mind telling you all that I was a nervous wreck. It’s one thing to have friends, family telling you that it sounded good to them. But what about strangers, people who listen to Audible books all the time who have become ‘experts’ on how an audiobook should sound and make them feel? That is the moment of truth for any voice actor. So seeing this review sent my spirits soaring. I’m still well past the moon and coming close to Mars… ooo, I think I can see the Mars Rover’s from here. Thank goodness their not aiming up with their cameras, God only knows what the techs down at mission control would think.

Now, I just want to say a few things about reviews over on Audible. As you can see in the top of this post, Audible has not just one but three review criteria, allowing the reviewer to cover not just the story but other aspects of the audiobook, including Performance. This of course is the big one for voice actor/actresses. Seeing what the listener thought of how good a job I did narrating/performing the piece meant the world to me.

Now, I’ve listened to a number of audiobooks, many done by professionals like Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Derek Jacobi, James Marsters, as well as others whose names I had never heard before. And many of them were excellent. I really got caught up in the story. However, I’ve also run across one or two where the performer did a great job in enunciation, volume, clarity, etc. yet felt very ‘flat’ at the same time. They had used a monotone voice throughout the piece which was unfortunate because the story itself was very good. But I never got swept up in it, even in the more exciting dramatic moments.

I’ve covered bringing life to your performance in my previous entry about my “Adventures In Audio Recording” (Link: Adventures In Audio Recording Part VII). So I really did my best to make sure that I avoided those pitfalls in my recording, and it feels great to know I succeeded. I’m already hearing back from another listener who is still enjoying the audiobook and kept complimenting me on the different ‘voices’ I created for the various characters and (like the reviewer shown here) is eager for the upcoming audio installments of this book series. (My wife has two more books for me to record already, and is working on a fourth book in her as I write this entry).

So where do I go from here? Well, I’m doing more research to fine tune my recordings to an even higher level. I take the quality of my performances very seriously and want them to be as good as they can be, not only for myself but for my wife Helen. These books are her creation and I want to make sure I give them the kind of performance they deserve. I also hope to make my vocal talents available to others in time, and I want to give their works the same level of professionalism I give hers. But first I want to get a few more books under my ‘vocal’ belt so to speak.

Of course, as many of you know I have several books that I wrote with her in our Para-Earth Series, that are slowly being recorded as well. With luck (and a lot of hard work) I hope to have one of them ready for release on Audible just in time for the holiday season. Or at least, I hope it will work out that way. Life tends to get in the way sometimes, especially with this Covid-19 business (more about that in a separate entry).

In the meantime, I already have 1/3rd of her next book “Forever Haunted” already recorded and hope to have it completed by the end of the month. At which point I’ll start the editing process and get it submitted to ACX to be released in late September/early October. With a name like “Forever Haunted” you just know something ghostly is involved and Halloween is just the perfect time of year to release such a piece.

In the meantime, you can expect more installments in my “Adventures in Audio Recording” to be showing up on this blog. I’m also preparing a blooper video of my recording efforts for your enjoyment.

The phrase “Practice makes perfect” really comes to light when you see this video. Hopefully, some of you who are making your own audiobooks for the first time will find that it’s okay to have a mishap or a dozen. It’s just part of the process.

Until next time, take care and keep writing… and recording my friends.

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Well, after all these months of posting about making an audiobook, it’s finally happened… I am now the newest voice actor over on Audible!

To be honest, the reality of it is still kind of sinking in for me. We got the word on Tuesday, the day before Helen’s and my 31st wedding anniversary. And it just seemed so perfect in so many ways. As you all know Helen wrote “Forever’s Too Long” as her first solo novel, and she had me do the artwork for the cover. We’ve always been a team and we’ve always support each other in so many ways, so seeing this culmination of her writing skills, combined with my penchant for voices become a reality on the eve of our wedding anniversary just seemed so appropriate.

To be honest, I’m still in shock over here. The idea of being the voice for an audiobook had been simmering in my mind for about a year or two before I actually tried it. A co-worker of mine who knew and loved our Para-Earth books kept telling me I’d be a great reader for audiobooks. Then about a year later, just before Helen completed “Forever’s Too Long” we put together a trailer for her book (which you can see by clicking the link just below) where I supplied the voice of the lead character.

 

This trailer got even more people enthused and asking for an audio version of the book. I was still hesitant though, but then we held an online book release party where I went into character again (because the entire book is told from the protagonist’s point of view) and did some live reading from the book. The result was everyone insisting we should turn it into and audiobook and that I should supply the voice(s) for the entire thing. Helen was already keen on the idea, but this was the final tipping point for me.

 
From there I did a LOT of research about how to create an audiobook (which you can all read on this blog site). Just type the words “Adventures In Audio Recording” (don’t use the parenthesis) in the search function at the top of the blog and you will be given the entire list of all the entries covering equipment, technical requirements, etc. I’ll also be creating a separate page just for those entries here on the blog sometime soon. 
 

I’ve still got more tips and learning experiences about creating the audiobook to share with you all. But just knowing that I did things right and that I “made the cut” with Audible, has been a real achievement and a thrill for me.

You can listen to a sample of the book both at Amazon and at Audible. The cost is 1 credit for Audible members, or $14.95.

AMAZON LINK: Forever’s Too Long – Audiobook

AUDIBLE LINK: Forever’s Too Long – Audible


Finally heard back from ACX. Two issues came up. I didn’t leave enough “Room Tone” (silence) at beginning and end of every chapter. They want .5 to 1 second of silence before first word spoken, then 1-5 seconds of silence after last word spoken. Easy fix.

The other issue, I included the closing credits and the last chapter in one file. They wanted them separated, another easy fix.

Otherwise, they had no other problems with the files. Volume, clarity, technical requirements of the audios themselves, all of that was fine.

I will be making these corrections, if I haven’t already dealt with them on my own. After that… still going to follow our own path at this point and make CD’s and downloadable MP3’s from our websites.

and

Why?

Because Audible has an “exclusive” clause that says only they get to produce the audios, and they do not make CD’s. They only produce Audible versions, and as we’ve been told by others NOT everyone can afford the monthly Audible charges every month.

Will our path be an easy one? Not really. But we’re hoping that people will spread the word once we have the audios up for sale. We’ll have to promote ourselves, which would still be true if we went with Audible. Oh the books would be in their catalog along with 100’s of others, so what would be the difference?

Reviews? Reviews can be left at our website under the comments section for each product.

A lot of people think that just because they got their book/audio on a big company’s site that they are set and don’t have to do anything else. But that’s the BIGGEST mistake one can make. No matter where your works are for sale, YOU still have to do most if not all the promoting to get the word out. Or hire someone to do your marketing. In this day and age “If you build it they will come…” is seriously overrated. YOU have to put in the work to get people to find out about your work.

And that is exactly what I’m doing here and now. Letting people know the CD’s and MP3’s are coming. I’ll be creating a “Store” button here on this site very soon and populate it with CD’s, downloadable MP3 files, PDF’s, and the option to order a signed print copy of any of our books.

ALSO… I will be continuing the “Adventures in Audio Recording” Series, in order that those who still wish to create audios can succeed in making Audible quality files ready for submission to ACX or other audiobook outlets.

Until next time, take care and keep writing and recording my friends.

After our last entry asking about making other options available such as CD’s and downloadable MP3 files of our books for audio, we’ve learned that if we go with Audible they have the “Exclusive” right to produce the audio. It also clearly states in the agreement that neither we, nor anyone else, can create audios of the books in ANY format.

                                  

And this does not just apply to us. At our local library we found some of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” on CD. However, it seems they were all made before the books were transferred to Audible. Since then no new CD’s have been made. Allan even went as far as to check on Amazon and found the only  CD copies available are used ones for the earlier books. There do not appear to be any CD’s for the more recent installments of that series, only the Audible version.

So what does that mean for us? That is where the tough decision is being made. After much researching, Allan has learned how to make MP3 Files for sale and download from Helen’s web page. She is still in the middle of constructing the store for that website, but we will keep you all appraised of how it is coming along and when things will be available for sale.

Her first novel “Forever’s Too Long” is already recorded and up to ACX/Audible standards. However, we both want to add a few new touches to the files, like adding some intro and closing music, as well as the occasional sound-effect here and there where it just seems appropriate (like someone bumping their head – without giving any of the plot away, it just seems appropriate for the particular scene in question, trust me on this).

The MP3 downloads will be in Zip File format, and if this is a problem for anyone please let us know.  (NOTE: We will be experimenting with non-Zip MP3 Files as well, just in case some people need that style.) 

Payment Options:

-Payments will be accepted at Helen’s on-line store through PayPal (which takes credit cards these days).

-Personal checks will also be accepted in which case the file(s) will be e-mailed to you as soon as the check is received and deposited.

 

What will be available at the online store?

                                   

CD’s

MP3 Downloads 

Signed Trade Paperback Copies

And finally…

PDF’s for those who don’t do Kindle/Nook


*NOTE: Kindle/Nook/Kobo and other e-book versions will still be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, other online outlets. 

 

But what about the Para-Earths Books?

We will also be slowly setting up a store here on this blog to cover our Para-Earths Series which of course includes: 

            

*NOTE: Signed paperback copies and PDFs will be posted shortly.*

Audiobooks in the forms of CD’s and dowloadable MP3’s are already under way, starting with the our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” (of which 5 of the stories have already been recorded and edited) and “The Bridge”. Voices have been lined up for many of the characters, while others have yet to be cast so please bear with us.

And rest assured that all new Para-Earths tales are on the way as well.

As of today “The Door” is weighing in at over 60,000 words and still growing.

We are also pleased to let you all know that “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” novel, is also under way and is currently sitting at 6000 words. This story will be a full-length novel taking up a couple of weeks after the events of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

A third novel “The Misty Mountains” will feature Jonathan Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle (who both made their 1st appearances in “The Ship”) will be teaming up with “The Professor” (aka Otto from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”) is also in the works. This adventure will be taking place in the hills of Santa Cruz California.

So we have a lot going on here and much more coming your way. As always we thank you for your support and patience while we bring all this and more to you.

Until next time, take care and keep writing everyone!


While waiting for Audible to approve/reject our submission, we have heard back from a number of people who say they don’t do Audible. Some prefer CD’s because they cannot afford Audible’s monthly charges.

So this got me and Helen thinking about offering CD’s, even if Audible accepts our books. We are also considering the fact that some people do not have a convenient CD Player these days, or may prefer audio files for storage. For them, we are thinking about selling MP3 audio files that people can order from this site so they can download the entire book into their own device of choice.

So please take a moment and let us know which of the following options that would be of interest to you. We are simply seeking feedback which would be a huge help to us in deciding what path(s) to take as far as making our audios available to people, so your responses are VERY important to us.

NOTE: you CAN vote for more than one option from the list below:

 
A – Audible?
 
B – Audiobook on CD’s?
 
C – MP3 audio files that you can download to the device(s) of your choice?
 

Please leave your votes in the comment section so we can see your responses, and as always we thank you all for your continued support for this blog and our works.

Keep writing everyone!

 

Audio Options

CAN YOUR HEAR ME NOW?

Everyone knows that typing in all caps means the person is yelling/screaming at you over the internet. Naturally, most folks will tell the user to please lower their volume/tone as no one likes being screamed at. This is even more true when it comes to a person listening to an audiobook. If the narrator telling the tale is too loud or too soft it can really take the listener out of the story and annoy them to no end. And don’t expect good reviews on Audible either. I’ve seen reviews that praise the story but tear into the performance with a vengeance. This in turn can ruin your chances to be hired to do audios of other peoples’ books. 

So today we’re going to get into volume and consistency in our recordings. Now if you’re renting studio space and have someone else doing your editing, you’re probably going to be okay. But if you’re like me and doing your recording in the comfort of your own home/studio, as well as taking care of the editing afterwards, you have your work cut out for you.

Recently I was burning some CD’s (using CD-R discs and Windows Media Player) for my mom who is not a computer user, thus she cannot go the Audible route. But she does love her CD’s, so being the dutiful son I went to work burning her a copy of Helen’s solo novel “Forever’s Too Long” (Available at Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF). Now this audio is not yet available in Audible because it is still going through Audible’s “Review Process” (a topic for another entry in the “Adventures in Audio Recording Series”).

After making sure all the files were in MP3 format (an Audible Submission Requirement), I burnt (copied) them onto CDs and then began running the discs through my CD player to make sure they were working. To my delight they worked beautifully, to my horror the volume levels between chapters was…

Yeah, the volume levels from one chapter to the next was shall we say NOT exactly even. Mind you I’m not saying they were off the scales or anything. Mind you I wasn’t blowing anyone’s hair back or anything like that.

But the volume was varying enough that at times a listener would need to adjust the volume up or down to hear properly. And let me tell you, if I were the listener I’d be getting damned annoyed if I kept getting caught up in the story and then pulled out to adjust the volume every so often.

So here was a new problem I hadn’t counted on. While technically each chapter met Audible’s technical requirements, this varying volume level from one chapter to the next was definitely going to be a problem. A problem that could easily get the book rejected by Audible. So there was only one thing to do, I had to fix this problem. But how? I’m still quite the newbie when it comes to recording audiobooks. The answer was simple, it was time to hit YouTube once again for advice on how to adjust the volume on each individual chapter so they lined up just right.

TO BE CONTINUED….


Okay, so now that we’ve got all the technical parts of recording covered and how to meet ACX’s requirements, we’re ready to record and submit, right?

Yeah, what the 10th Doctor is saying. There are a number of other non-technical requirements that we have to pay attention to, in order to submit our audio successfully. First off, you need to include opening credits. These are as follows:

-The title of the audiobook

-The subtitle, if there is one

-Written by (Name of the Author)

-Narrated by (Insert your name here)

All of these need to be included in the very first file. Now you can submit this as a separate file, or as part of the first chapter.

Speaking of chapters, each chapter should have its own sound file. When you submit to ACX you’ll be submitting an entire folder of files to them. And each file can only include one chapter, no matter how short. UNLESS… the chapter is so long that the sound file is going to be longer than 120 minutes. In that case, you’ll be breaking that chapter up into more than one file. Remember, no single file can be longer than 120 minutes. ACX is very strict about this.

And since we’re discussing credits, there should also be closing credits at the end of the final chapter or at least the spoken words THE END.  I myself prefer something like this. “The End. You have been listening to “Title of the Book”, written by “Author Name” and narrated by “Your name here”.

You’ll also want to have a separate file to submit that will be a sample of your work so the audience can get a taste of what awaits them inside your audiobook. Do not include anything that contains the opening/closing credits, music, or anything explicit. The sample can be anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes in length. So choose wisely, remember this is part of your ‘hook’ to get listeners to want to hear the entire story from start to finish.

Another requirement ACX asks of submissions is 2-3 seconds of silence or “Room Tone”. Remember where I mentioned having several seconds of silence where we used the “Noise Reduction” function, this is where that section comes into play again. Originally we used it to clean up the entire file. But now we need it as a lead in before any speaking takes place in a file, and they also want another 3-5 seconds at the end of each file. This is a requirement that can and will get you rejected, so make sure each of your files has this 2-3 seconds at the beginning and 3-5 seconds of “Room Tone” at the end.

Be careful of making sure each file is consistent in pacing, vocalization, sound levels, clear speaking, etc. Try to avoid loud mic pops, mouth noises, breathing, etc. (most of which we covered in the previous entries where we covered the technical requirements). Still, try to make sure there is a definite consistency throughout all the files so as not to irritate the listener. People love being drawn into a story and then jarred out of it because of a mistake someone made in the recording. This WILL lead to bad reviews and poor ratings of all your hard work. So take the time to make sure every file is clean and consistent for your own sake.

Next up, Mono or Stereo channel formats. Whichever format you choose ALL the files associated with the audiobook in question must be in the same format. I myself stick to Mono which makes my life so much easier. I personally don’t really know the difference between the two, but Mono is what I use and I keep things consistent that way.

Finally, ACX has one final rule… the narration must be done by an actual human being. Text-to-speech is not allowed. Audible listeners are expecting a performance by a person, so ACX will only accept that and nothing else.

So, we’ve covered technical issues, and the submission requirements for ACX, which means we’re done right…

 

Sorry about that, but there are other things we need to discuss and take into consideration. And all of it falls under “Performance”. How good a narrator are you? Can you bring life to the words and characters or not? How fast should you be reading? What about pauses for the end of a sentence, etc., etc. Are you putting emphasis in the right place for the story?

We’ll go into all that in our next installment. But if you feel you’ve learned all you need, perhaps you’re already an actor or someone who’s just a natural at loud readings. If you are, then best of luck to you and go get ’em!

As for everyone else, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. Until then keep writing and reading my friends.

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