Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Make An Audiobook. Part 1 of 3

I recently published the audiobook of Chocolate Roses, my LDS modern retelling of Jane Eyre. I learned a lot with each step of the process. There are easier ways to make an audiobook (such as hire a recording company who specializes in audio books), but I don't have big bucks for such things. My talented sons can figure out anything electronical, so I went on the hope that I inherited from them some of their ingenuity, and plunged ahead.

Each time Amanda Freeman volunteered to read in Sunday School class, I noticed how effortless reading seemed to her. She also acts and sings---is theatrical all around. Even her hair is a striking statement (beautiful dark long ringlets against fair skin.) I discussed recording my novel with her. She had previously entertained the idea of becoming a professional reader, and so she agreed to do the project.

I first tried to convince my publisher to finance the recording. He/she wasn't interested in expanding his business at the time to include audiobooks, so they assigned me the audio rights to Chocolate Roses.

Now I was on my own. I had recorded singers for my music site, so I'd had some experience in recording. I had limited funds, and renting a recording studio and a technician was out of the question. My son Ted has a small soundboard and a microphone, and I have a computer, so there had to be a way to do it myself. After discussing the idea with my sons, I did some how-to research on the Internet.

First, I made a sound booth out of a large cardboard box I found at a local appliance store. I removed one side panel, cut up an old foam pad and literally sewed it to the cardboard with heavy string, lining the entire inside (top and remaining three sides.).

Wah-lah! Dee-Lux soundbox.

I found a small room--windowless and in the center of the 1st floor of a two story building. Even though noisy jets pass overhead on their way to Sky Harbor Airport, the room was virtually soundproof with its solid door. Plus, we were practically alone in the building. Another plus was the rent was free. (An oxymoron, I know--free rent.)

I borrowed my son's soundboard and microphone. The first day at the building, he made sure the equipment was set up right and refreshed me on how to run the software--GarageBand that came with my Mac. (The second morning I did the set-up myself.) I sat at the soundboard outside the room. Wires ran from the box and under the closed door into the room where Amanda sat facing into the padded soundbox on a table. A towel covered the table to reduce sound, the microphone rested on a rolled pillow placed inches from her mouth.

So, with spirits and hopes high, we began. Two rookies in the recording business, we learned a lot in those two days of recording. My next post will include a list of do's and don'ts learned by trial and error. 


  1. This is a great idea and I think you put your thoughts together well.

    1. Thank you, Arizona. Making the audiobook was a lot of fun.