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Audiobooks: What You Need to Know

Audiobooks have been gaining popularity over the last 10 years, but they really escalated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Now, audiobooks are on the rise faster than ever. According to Edison, Audiobook usage increased by 70% in 2022 from 2021. And nonfiction is rocking the industry, with 78% of audiobook listeners being adults and taking up 65% of the total audiobook revenue in 2022 (findings by Market.US, a research and data company). 

If you’re an author, turning your book into audiobook format is a great way to reach new “listeners” in addition to your readers. (Although, at Burning Soul, we still call it reading.😉) In 2022, the audiobook industry brought in $4.2 billion, but by 2032, they’re projecting the industry will be worth around $39.1 billion. (!!!)

Let’s explore creating audiobooks and the six things you need to know so you can expand the reach of your message and get your book in front of audiobook listeners everywhere. 

1. Preparation

  • Understand Your Book: Before you start recording, familiarize yourself with the content. Understand the tone, style, and pace of your book. This will help in deciding how to express emotions and nuances while narrating.
  • Practice: Read your book out loud several times to get comfortable with the narration and catch any tricky phrases or words.
  • Prepare Your Voice: Keep your voice clear and healthy by staying hydrated, avoiding dairy products before recording (they can create mouth noises), and doing vocal warmups.

2. Setting Up Your Recording Space

  • Choose a Quiet Room: Find a quiet, well-insulated space to minimize background noise. Carpeted rooms, or those with soft furnishings, can help reduce echo.
  • Proper Equipment: Invest in a high-quality microphone and headphones. A pop filter (a screen placed between you and the microphone) can help reduce plosive sounds (“p” and “b” sounds that cause distortion).
  • Comfortable Positioning: Make sure you’re comfortable before you start recording. Adjust your chair, stand, and microphone to suit your preferred recording posture.

3. Recording

  • Pacing: Maintain a steady pace while narrating. Don’t rush; give your listeners time to absorb what they’re hearing.
  • Expression: Convey emotion and tone in your voice to keep your audience engaged.
  • Consistency: Try to keep the voice, tone, and volume consistent throughout your recording sessions.
  • Pause: Make good use of pauses. They can be used for dramatic effect or to indicate a change in subject or scene.

4. Editing

  • Software: Use audio editing software like Audacity (which is free) or Adobe Audition.
  • Remove Mistakes: Cut out errors, long pauses, or unwanted sounds.
  • Noise Reduction: Use the noise reduction feature to minimize any remaining background noise.
  • Consistent Sound Levels: Make sure the volume is consistent throughout your recording.

5. Uploading Your Audiobook

  • Choose a Platform: Decide where you want to distribute your audiobook. Audible (ACX), Findaway Voices, and Kobo are popular choices. Note that 49% of audiobook listeners use Audible, and they largely own this sector right now.
  • Follow Guidelines: Each platform has specific guidelines for the technical aspects of your audiobook file, like the bitrate and sample rate. Make sure your audio file meets these criteria before uploading.
  • Metadata: Provide accurate and thorough metadata (information about your book, like title, author, and genre). This will help potential listeners find your audiobook.
  • Cover Art: Use a high-quality image for your cover art. Make sure it’s in the specified format and size.

6. Marketing Your Audiobook

  • Promotion: Consider promoting your audiobook through social media, your website, or email newsletters.
  • Reviews: Encourage listeners to leave reviews. Positive reviews can help increase your audiobook’s visibility and credibility.

Recording your own audiobook can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to producing a high-quality audiobook that your readers will enjoy.

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