#Audiobook Tip – Recording Ratio #AmWriting

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Audition Caution

Before I auditioned for my first audiobook recording on ACX, I had been wondering how long it would take me to record a quality set of mp3’s for a book.  I erred on the side of caution with my first audition since I had read on the web that creating 1 hour of content takes about 2 hours of work (recording and mastering).  So , I chose one with a low 1.5 hour estimate and that was non-fictional in nature.  I assumed, correctly, that non-fiction required a more steady, authoritative voice rather than one that was more performance oriented, like a novel.  I felt that it would take me about 3 hours.  That ratio I read was a little off…

What’s Recording Ratio?

Recording ratio is just that, the ratio of time it takes to record and edit the audio versus the amount of finished recorded time there is in the book.  I recently read about a woman who landed a narration contract for a large 100,000 word novel.  The estimated listening time of that book was about 11 hours.  It took her nearly 55 hours to get it all recorded!  Granted, she admitted she had some technical difficulties in getting set up and she struggled a bit with the software she used. However, I would say from my own experience that non-fiction tends towards a recording ratio of 2 to 3 and fiction tends towards a ratio of 4 to 5.  With more experience, I think I can drive the ratio down a little bit by getting into a rhythm when recording.

Excellent #Hashtag Tool And Here Are The #Audiobook Hashtag Results

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More Hashtag Heaven

This is an excellent tool for checking out your hashtag effectiveness (here pre-populated with a check for audiobook hashtags):

https://ritetag.com/best-hashtags-for/audiobook

Personally, I really like the color coded hashtags that show at a glance how effective a particular one is.  I also find it amusing that #itunes is completely overused!

Thanks ritetag!

Great List of #Hashtags for Writers! [updated] #writing

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Hashtag Heaven!

I found this post just recently as I was thinking about hashtags and writing.  The list is perfect for writers to connect with each other and is quite extensive.  Thanks Aerogramme Writer’s Studio!

Check it out here: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/03/12/100-twitter-hashtags-every-writer-should-know/

[update] I particularly like the section on connecting with other writers.  From personal experience, #AmWriting and #Writing seem to be the most powerful.

I Discovered The Hidden but Powerful #Amazon Ecosystem for #Authors / #Narrators #ACX_com #Kindle #CreateSpace #Audible

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Having spent a little time learning more about writing, publishing and narrating my own book, I have discovered that Amazon has built up a very powerful and amazing ecosystem of services for the author.

Let me explain and hopefully, relate something useful to save you some research if you ever decide to publish your own book.  The first item to note is that this ecosystem favors the self published author, almost to the exclusion of the publishing houses, worldwide.  I have read a fair amount of virtual ink on the subject of self-publishing vs. trying to publish with a big publisher but I’m not going to cover that this time.  My personal opinion is that these days, the benefits of self-publishing outweigh the costs, especially if you are just getting started.

So, there is one main entry point in the ecosystem for the author: CreateSpace. This platform (owned by Amazon, of course) allows you to upload you manuscript and they will print your book for you.  There are many, many tricks to creating a nice book, most of them I am still learning, but generally you can fairly inexpensively create a book that gets printed on demand when each copy sells.  That book can be distributed through the biggest bookseller around: Amazon.  It can also be distributed elsewhere depending on your book’s distribution settings (again, more for another time).

But wait, there’s more! Let’s say your book is a good candidate for being published as an e-book.  If that’s the case, then you can head on over to Kindle Direct Publishing. The cool part here is that you can transfer your book out of CreateSpace and (with some formatting for the Kindle platform) publish it for download via Kindle.  Again, Amazon owns that platform.

But that’s not all! What if your book is a good candidate for narration?  Your great American novel can then be transferred to ACX (also owned by Amazon).  There, narrators can audition to record an audio reading of your book for you, the author.  However, they do encourage writers to narrate their own books.  Why?  Because readers love to hear their favorite authors’ voices.  Of course, you can also audition for narrating other books in addition to your own like I did.. but that’s another blog post.

Once you are done with your narration and it is published through ACX, it appears on Audible.  Audible is one of my favorite platforms for consuming books for a variety of reasons.  It is convenient, helps me spend my commute time wisely and it is accessible through my smartphone.

So I came up with the following very rough diagram showing how I envision these pieces fitting together.  I am sure I am missing some details and I know that CreateSpace allows you to distribute your book on platforms other than Amazon but I think it gets my point across.  Enjoy!

Amazon Ecosystem Diagram for Authors / Narrators

Amazon Ecosystem Diagram for Authors / Narrators

 

Recording An Audiobook On the ACX Platform #ACX_com

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Audiobook Recording Mic

Blue Snowball Mic (chrome)

So, I decided to set up a small home office recording studio… well, “studio” is probably a bit of a stretch, but the idea is the same.  There’s a bit of a back story that I will have to save for another time but it has to do with a very enjoyable side project of writing a book (again, more on that forthcoming).

On a little bit of a lark, I…:
1. Did some research online on how to record a book.
2. Ordered a relatively inexpensive Blue Snowball microphone and a pop filter.
3. I created a virtual machine, installed Windows, installed Audacity (a free, open source audio recording and editing piece of software) and plugged in the mic.4. I played around with it a little bit and then created an account on ACX.com.
5. I auditioned and landed a very short gig.  I have about an hour of audio to record… and it’s actually going well.

Granted, the amount of time I have is limited to work on this extra work… but I am learning so much about books, authoring, recording and the Amazon ecosystem of written/recorded material, it’s worth it.  Future posts are going to include: My book!  How to set up a recording studio (hint: get a lot of baffling material in a small room).  My audiobook!  All the ways Amazon sells authored material.

Oh yeah, one more thing, my audio recording is for this one: American Legends: The Life of John Belushi by Charles River Editors.