Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Record Your Own Audiobook: Give the gift of your writing for Christmas

Last year a friend, Rebecca Cook, asked me to write a 30-page Christmas story that she could record as an audio book to be used as a Christmas gift.  I decided to give it a try and the result was a delightful gift we shared with friends and family. 

Rebecca narrated the story and her nieces and nephews gave voice to the elves who bravely faced the computer glitch that threatened Christmas. (They also created the artwork for the CD cover!)  I was lucky.  Because Rebecca records audiobooks professionally, she already owned the required recording software and the skill to edit our book.  

But being a professional isn’t a requirement with the technology available today.  If you are interested in recording an audiobook yourself, just write your story, find a free recording software program on the Internet and start recording.  Asking your friends, students, children, or grandchildren to record different characters makes the book even more special.  You can upload the book and send it to others or make a CD to wrap as a gift under the Christmas tree. 

I found some great advice for writers who want to record their own book on  The article, written by Guy McDowell, outlines the steps needed to make your own videobook.  Check it out at:

A couple of tips from Guy McDowell:
We’re going to talk about taking something that you’ve written or read, and putting it into sounds so that you can either listen to it yourself, or share it with others. We’re also going to do this on the cheap.

Tools Needed
Headphones (The over the ear kind are best.)
Microphone (Preferably one with either foam over it or a pop filter.)
Sound recording and editing software (I like Audacity, but there are other Audacity alternatives.)
Something written (After all, it starts as a book.)
Pencils, maybe even colored ones.

Let’s move forward assuming that you have your recording software installed and have gone through the rudimentary tutorial that probably accompanies it. You’ll probably find that in the menu under Help. Let’s also assume that you have plugged in your headphones and microphone, and tested them out a little bit.

We’re also going to assume that you have chosen, or maybe even written, the book that you want to record. I want to take a little bit here to talk about the book you’ve chosen. Let it be something that, if no one else ever heard your audio book, you’d listen to it at least once a year. Let it be something that, if your descendants should hear it one day, it says something about you and what you believe in. That’s my take on it anyway. Just a suggestion.

Prepping Your Material
Re-read the book, with your pencils nearby. You could use sticky notes or something else if you want. As you go through the book, make notes about how you want things to sound. Think of these as stage directions. I suggest using a coloured pencils so that you have a visual cue as to what you want to do or sound like when you read a certain part. You know, maybe red for anger or blue for sadness. I think you understand where I’m going with that.

Also take a few seconds to just record the ambient noise in the room that you’re recording in. Record the silence. It comes in handy later to fill in gaps or to lead into or out of speech, instead of maybe rustling papers, or coughing.

Check out the rest of Guy’s advice at:

1 comment:

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

So fun! This idea fits perfectly with this month's WNI writing prompt to make a gift of your writing.