Friday, December 21, 2012

Do-it-yourself Audio Book, part 3, Editing

And now to edit 10-12 hours of recording.

 There are several programs you can use to record. We used Garageband, and in this article GB will represent whatever program you use. There are probably other programs more suited for audiobook, but GB is what I own and have used for years in my music. It is simple and very well designed.

I first went through and cut all the long pauses, page turns, loud breathing, and discussions I mentioned in part 2. I listened to all the repeats and chose the best ones, and mixed cuts when needed. In GarageBand, you can actually isolate a nose squeak in the middle of a word, and remove it.

Some chapters took longer than others to edit due to how many deletes it required. After editing all, I scrutinized each chapter again and found many more noises to edit out. I figure I spent three 3-4 times more time in editing than in recording.

One of the major problems I next faced was when I sent my song from GB to iTunes, was that the volume reduced. (It is annoying to turn the volume to max on an audiobook and still not be able to hear.) After several attempts using every method I knew to raise the volume, I googled the question, (isn't Google great) entering "reduced volume sending GarageBand to iTunes." I found others' posts about the problem, and the solution is to go to GarageBand--Preferences--Advanced-- and uncheck Auto Normalize. Problem solved! The volume stabilized in the transition.

When importing the chapters from GB to your computer's iTunes, choose "Share" from the menu-- then, "Send to iTunes" in the drop down menu. A setup box will appear. Title your project, and then for Compress Using choose MP3 encoder, and for Audio Setting choose Higher Quality. Comprendo? MP3 and Higher Quality is required for the Internet. (Don't laugh at my simply instructions. I had to go back and redo it correctly.)

My son-in-law recorded the beginning and ending announcements. He has impeccable diction, which I love, and is essential for a good recording. The beginning and ending must be in separate files. To enhance them, add background music as a theme--something that fits the style of your novel.

I chose the intro music at  and bought it for 99¢.  You'd think a composer would record her own music, but to tell you the truth, they offer great stuff and it took the stress out of finishing my project. Jewelbeat is also where I found the music for the book trailer for my novel The Star Prophecy.

Now, I assumed Chocolate Roses was ready to sell on Amazon and would be simple to upload. Ha, ha! Was I wrong! I searched Amazon's site for a way to upload my audio files, and found NO way. Amazon does not let you upload your audiobooks directly.

Again, Google came to the rescue. I searched for "How to upload an audiobook to Amazon" and found that I had to go through  They format your recording and put it on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. Aha! Ask and it shall be given.

ACX is a self explanatory site and did a great job of walking me through the process so I understood every step. Individual chapters upload individually, so each must in a separate file. If you get the notice that your "bit rate" is not high enough, go back to GB and make sure you chose Higher Quality as noted above. (Remember I had to go back and remix. Blush.) It took over an hour to upload all the chapters. Be ready with your beginning and ending credit recordings, and an audio sample, too, for promotional use. The audio sample can be the first chapter.

After uploading Chocolate Roses in its entirety, the completed product totaled 5 hours and 32 minutes. ACX immediately sent me an email saying to approve my audiobook for quality would take 2-3 weeks, which meant they would check to see I did it right.

The notice about the wait was a surprise, but with relief of having the project finished. After three weeks, I received an email telling me Chocolate Roses was now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audibility. 

Listen to Chapter 1 here.


  1. This is so helpful! Now I just need more hours in my day so I can record my books. I think you're a genius, Joan! And you're quite a composer... I listened to your beautiful Christmas song. Creativity just pours out of your pores! (ha ha)

    1. Thank you, Shirley. Like you, I wish I had more hours in my day! We do the things we have to, then get to the things we want to do. My problem is the want-to list is too long. Wish I could do all the things you do.

  2. Very nice post. Enjoyed reading it.
    One thing you might want to consider for your next book is to export your files as AIFF and run them through the Levelator (A free program that helps fine-tune the volumes.) Once that is done you can add background music and so on and then export that to MP3. I believe ACX requires 192k while places like only require the familiar 128k.

    Once again, great post. Really enjoyed it. I like your idea of using a giant cardboard box as a sound booth :)

  3. Thank you Kenn for your suggestion. Every bit of knowledge helps.