Audiobooks

Adventures in narration Part Two: What do I need? (material, home studio & software)

So you’ve decided you wanted to start as an audiobook narrator.

But what do you need? Microphone? Stand? Software? And why do you need all this material?

Well, you want the sound to be as clear as possible before you start editing and mastering your tracks. ACX frowns upon and rejects over-edited tracks.

You can see ACX’s requirements of the files here: ACX Audio Submission Requirements.

Material

This is the material I’ve been using:

(please note that those links are Amazon affiliate links – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com)

  1. Blue Yeti Silver Edition
BLUE Yeti Silver Edition, Mic Only (988-000103)
Purchase on Amazon

I’ve searched and read lots of reviews for microphone, and hesitated a lot. But I ended up buying this BLUE Yeti Silver Edition for less than $150 (if you decide on this one, please note that sometimes they have different prices for different colors).

Krystal Walcher also has a list of material on her website, which I found very useful when I was looking and looking and looking…and I thought about going with her microphone.

Others said you absolutely should not use a USB mic to record audiobooks, that it wouldn’t be good quality enough. However, I read a lot of other reviews and posts promoting USB mics for audiobook narration.

What you definitely shouldn’t use is your computer build-in mic or a bluetooth microphone. Trust me, the first time I tried recording (before actually researching) I used my computer build-in mic. Talk about wasted hours 🙂

The price for this Yeti mic is one of the factor that tilt the balance in its favor. At the time of its purchase, I was also receiving 15% back on such purchases with my Amazon credit card…so I went for it and have not regretted it. One of the downsides is it’s a bit difficut to adjust the pop filter on it and it didn’t fit right in a sound box I had also purchased, but except that it has worked perfectly for me. I also bought a pop filter and a foam windscreen to ensure even better sound quality.

2. Professional Foam Windscreen

It helps filter out hard “p” and “t” sounds and helps keep unwanted noise out.

Professional Foam Windscreen for Blue Yeti (less than $15 on Amazon).

3. Pop filter

Microphone Pop Filter For Blue Yeti and Any Other Microphone Dual Layered Wind Pop Screen With Flexible 360° Gooseneck Clip Stabilizing Arm By Earamble (Less than $10 on Amazon).

(from their description):  Banish the dreaded hissing and lisping sounds that come when pronouncing the letter “”S”” and blocks those ugly “”plosives”” that follows “”B”” and “”P””.Swivel mount for easy installation.

4. Headphones (mine are Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black)

Headphones help you during recording to notice if your mic is picking up any unwanted noises and they are definitely a must when you master and edit your tracks.

Personally I chose the Tascam TH-02 headphones because the reviews were pretty good and they weren’t very expensive (less than $30).

Home studio

I set up my home studio in the closet of a guest bedroom, using blankets to put against the wall, and soundproofing foam squares against the door. I added pillows above. And I also put blankets by the windows in the room. This didn’t cost much at all.

This is how my home studio looks like 🙂

Again, I got my inspiration from Krystal (I mention her a lot but I actually never interacted with her :-), I just found her site super helpful when I first started out narrating audiobooks).

I used those panels on the doors as I couldn’t seem to put blankets on that side :-): Foamily 12 Pack- Burgundy/Charcoal Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges 1″ X 12″ X 12″

I used the command tape to attach it, you know the one that you can remove without any traces. I need to readjust them now because they are starting to fall off. So, this mounting tape did last about a year.

Software

I personally use Audacity. It’s a free software. And I find it very easy to use.

Audacity® software is copyright © 1999-2019 Audacity Team. Web site: https://audacityteam.org/. It is free software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The name Audacity® is a registered trademark of Dominic Mazzoni

You can download Audacity on their webpage here.

I have read a lot in forums on how to use Audacity for narrating books and complying with ACX and other platforms’ requirements.

And would you be surprised if I told you Krystal Wascher is thinking about doing a tutorial on how to meet the ACX audio submission requirements using Audacity n January 2020 ? 🙂 If you scroll down at the end of this link, you should be able see more information.

Personally, on top of the forums, I used this book:

The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook (Stressed-Out Writer’s Guides).

The ebook is only $3.99 (and is in Kindle Unlimited).

I found Kirk’s chapter on how to set up your settings for Audacity recording and editing/mastering very very very helpful.

In my next post in my “Adventures in Narration” series, I’ll go a bit deeper into what it has been for me to be a narrator. I’ll share some bloopers, how I organize my days, and answer a few questions I’ve received.

Do you have any questions for me? Don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments or send me an email at: authorelodienowodazkij@gmail.com

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FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT auf Deutsch :-)

Mein Buch Fear Me, Fear Me Not wird auf Deutsch übersetzt…und ist jetzt schon vorbestellbar: Fürchte mich, Fürchte mich nicht.

AmazonKoboiTunesHugendubel

“Die Wendungen in diesem Buch haben mich total überrascht und ich bin begeistert!” Ein spannender Roman für Fans von Sixx-Filmen und Criminal Minds…

Die siebzehnjährige Cheerleaderin Erin Hortz sollte sich eigentlich auf den größten Wettbewerb ihres Lebens vorbereiten, der ihr Ticket aus ihrer kleinen texanischen Stadt sein könnte. Aber da ihr Vater in Verdacht steht, ein Serienmörder zu sein, fällt es ihr schwer, fokussiert zu bleiben. Erst recht, wenn es um den ehemaligen Football-Star Dimitri Kuvlev geht: der Bruder ihrer besten Freundin Nadia, ihr Dauerschwarm, derjenige, der einen Platz in ihrem Herzen hat.

Einst interessierten sich Universitäten aus dem ganzen Land für den 19-jährigen Football-Superstar Dimitri, doch nach einem Unfall weiß er nicht, was er mit seinem Leben anfangen soll. Die einzige Person, die ihn zu verstehen scheint, ist die, mit der er eigentlich nur befreundet sein wollte, zumindest bis er alles in Ordnung gebracht hat: Erin.

Als Nadia nach einer Party nicht nach Hause kommt, wissen Dimitri und Erin, dass sie sie finden müssen, bevor es zu spät ist – auch wenn das bedeutet, ihr eigenes Leben zu riskieren und alles, was Erin lieb ist.

AmazonKoboiTunesHugendubel

Andere Bücher schon auf Deutsch verfügbar…

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Thank you! $360 raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society…

Thank you SO MUCH! I’ve just realized that I forgot to update you all here on the results of my TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT campaign.

For all orders of TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT in September, I donated $1 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I raised $90 that way…but this was matched by the wonderful Sam, Katy and Katie, meaning we’ve raised $360 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Again, thank you SO much! ❤

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Adventures in audiobook narration…(Part 1 – Say what?)

Microphone on blackHave you ever listened to an audiobook? Have you ever thought about recording one? 

I personally really enjoy listening to audiobooks. The Chemical Engineer and I always listen to audiobooks when we go on road trips. I also like listening to audiobooks when I do things around the house. I get them from Audible or the library. I was so happy when I realized Overdrive/Libby carried audiobooks.

Some of my own books (you know, the ones I write :-)) are even available as audiobook. I have worked with amazingly talented narrators (like Jennifer Barragio, Kasi Hollowell and Tiana Hanson.) I mean, listen to this excerpt from LOVE IN B MINOR…Love it!

Why did I start narrating?

I did theater for a while when I was (much) younger and I always thought teaching was a bit like theater: modulating my voice, getting the audience as engaged as possible 🙂 Maybe that’s why I decided to dip my toes into the audiobook market as a narrator.

I mainly record in French. So, if you’re an author reading this and you’re thinking of expanding your work to the French audiobook market, I may be able to help 🙂 

It is something I can do from home and I can organize my own schedule. Since I’ve been on treatments on and off for the past two years and had to quit my job as Adjunct Faculty, I’ve tried many different jobs on top of writing. I did some transcription with Rev.com. It was interesting, even though my pay per hour was really minimal. I’ve listened to audiobooks for a while and had been thinking about trying my hand at recording. 

It hasn’t been smooth sailing. But, the main reason is that when I first tried, I did pretty much everything wrong. I had the wrong equipment. I didn’t have the right software. And I thought I could just master the files so didn’t work on setting up a proper studio.

Major fail.

And then fast-forward a year and I decided to really try. 

I wanted to test the French audiobook market with the French version of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT (LA PEUR DANS LE SANG). I decided to hire an audiobook narrator for the male POV and I decided to record the other parts myself.

So…what are the first steps in narrating?

The first step? Go back to the beginning. What do you know about narrating? What does it entail? 

What is audiobook narrating?

There are different ways and processes. Are you going to work from home? Are you going to rent a studio or work for a company?

I personally want to have the flexibility of working from home but I also find the process in an external studio pretty fascinating 🙂

Here are a few resources that you may find interesting and show different perspectives.

At the time of my research, the audiobook narrator Krystal Wascher was running a free class on audiobook narration which went over a lot of details. I found that extremely helpful.

I also went back to my theater classes and teaching techniques to see how I could modulate my voice. I read out loud. I listened to more audiobooks.

Do you want to know more?

In my next post, I’ll go over the equipment and software and how I set-up my studio and then I’ll go into where I got my first jobs (in addition to my own books).

If you have any questions for me, I’ll add the answers to those questions in another post on the topic. Don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments.

And I’ve created a website for my narration work: http://www.elodienarration.com

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Are you learning French? German? Italian? Or maybe Portuguese?

For the past several years, I have published bilingual books: one page in one language, one page in another language. Maybe it stems from my years as language learner or teacher.

I wanted to find a way to help people who are learning a foreign language to find new ways to enjoy that language. It also shows how translation isn’t word per word, how crucial it is to have the context and the magic of words, the importance of their meaning.

And I know some people learn better by listening than by reading or sometimes they need both, so I published an audiobook with one chapter in English and one chapter in French…

How did I do it? Some of my translations were done on Babelcube. I also have worked with translators on Upwork. I did some of my own formatting and for some of the books I’ve used freelancers on Upwork to do the formatting for me. I designed the covers for those books, only using inspiration for the French version of One, Two, Three for the English/German version of Love, Live, Dance.

Which one of my books do you want to see next? And in what language pairing?

Are you learning French?

KindlePaperback AudiobookApple BooksKobo

Est-ce que vous apprenez l’anglais? Are you learning French? Ce livre peut vous aider…This book can help you…
Une page en français, une page en anglais. One page in French, one page in English…

Elle pensait être sur le chemin de la gloire. Elle pensait avoir le monde du ballet à ses pieds. Elle pensait que ses rêves allaient se réaliser. Mais en une petite semaine, la vie de Natalya va être complètement bouleversée.

She thought she was on her way to the top… She thought she had the world of ballet at her feet…She thought all her dreams would come true. Within a week, Natalya’s life will be changed forever.

KindlePaperbackKoboiBooks

Are you learning French? Est-ce que vous apprenez l’anglais?  This book can help you with that: one page in French, one page in English… Ce livre peut vous aider: une page en français, une page en anglais. 

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.  They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Il enchaîne les conquêtes. Elle est la sœur de son meilleur ami. 
Ils ne devraient pas être ensemble. Mais cet été, la tentation est trop forte.

Are you learning Italian?

Kindle PaperbackKoboGoogle Play

Stai imparando l’inglese? Are you learning Italian? This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in Italian…Questo libro può aiutarti: una pagina è in inglese e una in italiano.

She thought she was on her way to the top. . .Sixteen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya has one dream and one dream only: becoming the best ballerina ever. Within a week, Natalya’s life will be changed forever.

Credeva di essere sulla strada per il successo. . .La sedicenne Natalya Pushkaya ha un solo e unico sogno: diventare la più grande ballerina di sempre. Em uma semana a vida de Natalya vai mudar para sempre.

Are you learning German?

KindlePaperbackKoboiBooks

Lernst du Englisch? Are you learning German? This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in German … Dieses Buch kann dir dabei helfen: eine Seite auf Englisch, eine Seite auf Deutsch…

She thought she was on her way to the top…Sixteen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya has one dream and one dream only: becoming the best ballerina ever. Within a week, Natalya’s life will be changed forever.

Sie hatte sich schon auf dem Weg zur Spitze gesehen…Die 16-jährige Natalya Pushkaya hat nur einen einzigen Traum: die beste Ballerina zu werden, die es je gegeben hat. Innerhalb einer Woche ändert sich Natalyas Leben für immer.

KindlePaperbackiTunesKobo

Lernst du Englisch? Are you learning German? This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in German … Dieses Buch kann dir dabei helfen: eine Seite auf Englisch, eine Seite auf Deutsch…

Sie hat alles verloren. Kann sie noch an Liebe glauben? She lost everything, can she still believe in love?

KindlePaperbackiBooksKobo

Lernst du Englisch? Are you learning German? This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in German …Dieses Buch kann dir dabei helfen: eine Seite auf Englisch, eine Seite auf Deutsch…

Sie ist die kleine Schwester seines besten Freundes. Er ist der größte Casanova von allen. Sie sollten nicht zusammen sein. Aber dieser Sommer ist zu verlockend. 

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.
They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Are you learning Portuguese?

KindleKobo iBooks Google Play

Está aprendendo inglês? Are you learning Portuguese? 
This book can help you with that: one page in English, one page in Portuguese… Este livro pode te ajudar: uma página em inglês e outra em português…

She thought she was on her way to the top… Sixteen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya has one dream and one dream only: becoming the best ballerina ever. But…will she make it? Within a week, Natalya’s life will be changed forever.

Ela achava que estava a caminho do topo…Natalya Pushkaya de 16 anos tem um sonho apenas: se tornar a melhor bailarina do mundo. Mas ela vai conseguir? Em uma semana a vida de Natalya vai mudar para sempre.

French/German versions 🙂

KindleiBooksKobo

Est-ce que vous apprenez l’allemand? Lernst du Französisch? Ce livre peut vous aider…Une page en français, une page en allemand…
Dieses Buch kann dir dabei helfen: eine Seite auf Französisch, eine Seite auf Deutsch…

Elle pensait être sur le chemin de la gloire. Natalya Pushkaya, seize ans, a un seul rêve : devenir la meilleure ballerine du monde entier. Mais en une petite semaine, la vie de Natalya va être complètement bouleversée.

Sie hatte sich schon auf dem Weg zur Spitze gesehen…Die 16-jährige Natalya Pushkaya hat nur einen einzigen Traum: die beste Ballerina zu werden, die es je gegeben hat. Innerhalb einer Woche ändert sich Natalyas Leben für immer.

What languages do you want to learn?

Which one of my books do you want to see next? And in what language pairing?

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Only 15 more books to reach my goal :-)

As you probably must know, because…well, I did talk about it a little bit 😉 I am running a release month campaign for my newest book TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT.

As September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month I’m donating $1 to the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society. Annnnnnd two of my friends are also donating $1. So for each book sold in September, $3 will be donated to the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society. Our goal is to reach 100 books.

So if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, don’t hesitate to grab one! The ebook is only $3.99!

Amazon  Kobo –iTunes – B&N  Google Play Buy a paperback copy on Amazon.

THANK YOU ❤