Audiobook creation is often look at as an afterthought; something that can be accomplished easily and quickly once your book’s pub date is around the corner, or just passed by. But that’s far from the truth. It’s a huge production that requires professional quality equipment and expertise, and a substantial investment of time and money.

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Fortunately, SparkPress author Alane Adams recently embarked on this mission, turning her popular middle grade fantasy read, The Red Sun (Book 1 in The Legends of Orkney), into an audiobook. She experienced many ups and downs, but the end result was well worth the work—read by Disney star Karan Brar, he has promoted her book to a Twitter following of over 1 million fans.

And with Book 2, Kalifus Rising (September 2016) right around the corner, Adams is only looking to perfect the art of audiobooks.

Read on to check out her five important tips for creating your own.


1. Don’t Try This At Home!

You want your audiobook to represent the best of what your book is. Trying to save money and record at home is bound to lead to outside noises and skips in the recording. Also, the file uploads have to meet the quality requirements of ACX with each chapter individually recorded. My advice: Find a professional recording studio in your budget.

2. The Voice Talent

One of the biggest questions is: who is going to narrate your book? Some authors think it would be fun to read their own book, but my advice is to find an experienced narrator who can really bring your book to life. You may want different voices for your characters that are out of your skillset. I worked with a young Disney actor who had years of experience acting. Fortunately, companies like ACX have hundreds of voice talents to choose from.

3. It’s Harder Than It Looks

Reading an 80,000-word book out loud is exhausting! It takes enormous concentration to speak clearly and succinctly without skipping words or stumbling. As your narrator gets tired, more mistakes are bound to occur. Every time a mistake is made, a mark is made in the recording and the actor has to restart the line or paragraph. Consider even if your narrator is highly experienced, they are bound to make at least one mistake per page which is hundreds of mistakes! Three hours per day recording time is ideal, four is pushing it, with plenty of scheduled breaks in between.

4. Attention To Detail

When I scheduled the narrator, I thought I would pop in the first day and that would be that. Boy was I wrong! Someone has to listen to every single word as its read aloud and make sure that the narration is exactly as written and that the pronunciation of names and places is consistent. When we read out loud, we tend to guess what the next words are, and so often, a reader gets ahead of themselves and misses the line or drops the tone when it should be rising. You will quickly curse every tongue twisting compound sentence in your novel by the end of it!

5. One More Time

When your audiobook is finished, it’s time to start over from the beginning. Yes, you will listen to every single word with the book in front of you, preferably with noise-canceling headphones on, to make sure everything is perfect, making sure the splicing and patching sounds smooth, and you didn’t miss anything. Once you find all the mistakes, you will note the time stamp and page number and go back and redo those parts, or have the sound engineer fix them. From there, you will only have to listen to the parts you made changes to.