Audiobooks · Books · My Books · My Thoughts

My Adventure Continues—Audiobook!

A young man joins me on my adventure!

My new adventure has taken over! On November 29, 2021, in my blog post, “Audiobooks—My New Adventure,” I alerted you about my new adventure of recording audiobooks. I don’t know if you’re a consumer of audiobooks, but this market is growing like crazy, so I’m jumping in with both feet!

Two months later, I have recorded and released my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story, the nonfiction booklet of how my granddad put our ranch together during the depression when many others were losing theirs. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and what a pleasure it was to reread this little gem!

Why I picked this one to be my first?

After finishing the audiobook training, I started with the shortest book I had, so this one won! It’s more the size of a chapbook. I didn’t want to do one of my sizeable books, in case the process became too difficult, but it was a breeze, thanks to good training I received.

What was the process like on this new adventure?

At first, I didn’t know whether to record everything and then take the audio through the editing and adding the effects process on Audacity, the app suggested. So, at first, I did a couple of recording and then did the editing and adding the effects. But I realized, once I started recording and got into “the zone,” I didn’t want to stop.

So, then I changed my plan—I finished recording the rest of the book and did the editing and adding effects. As I focused on the editing, I became more proficient at finding the places where I breathed and deleted them more easily.

I had such great instructions on doing the effects in Audacity. It really became a checklist of twelve steps to do for each recording, and it went quickly. I just wanted to make sure I did each step, so I took it slowly and methodically.

As a final run-through, I sat with the book in hand and listened to the audio to make sure it matched the book. It did!

How to get my audiobook out to the world?

My training taught me to put it out to two sites: acx.com and findawayvoices.com, and it warned me it could take three to four weeks for publication.

First, I tried acx.com, an affiliate of Amazon, and I had trouble because my book didn’t come up in my list of books. I spent several days and emails before that problem got solved—I could use the ASIN number (Amazon Standard Identification Number) off of the Amazon.com listing.

Each site had a different setup for uploading the files. Because we have a horrible internet connection, I saved each chapter as a file. You could save it as one file if you have a fast speed connection.

Each site warned the files had to be uploaded in the order you wanted them to be on the audiobook. I liked findawayvoices.com’s set-up for uploading because their system stopped any chance of uploading the files out of order.

For acx.com, it took about a week and a half to two weeks to go live! And how excited I was! I’m still waiting for any distributors from findawayvoices.com to go live.

What is my current audiobook project?

At the beginning of the year, I made a schedule for recording my books:

  • Let Me Tell You a Story—January
  • Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?—February

I was right on schedule for February, but recording Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? has gone much quicker than I thought it would. Today I finished recording Chapter 25, Christmas 2020 with Charles Dickens, so I’m way early. Last Wednesday, I recorded nine chapters! I couldn’t believe it!  

Since I have thirty-one chapters in the book, I only need six more chapters, Appendix A and the closing credits to finish the recording. I plan to finish the recording on Monday or Tuesday of this week. Then I can easily finish the editing and adding effects by the end of the month.

What are my future plans for this adventure?

Here’s the rest of the schedule I made earlier:

  • When Will Papa Get Home?—March
  • This Tumbleweed Landed—April

With my speed of recording so far and the length of both books, I might record both books in March. I don’t want to rush, but I do want to get as much done before the heat of the summer hits. I can’t stand recording when it’s hot outside in my closed in little recording studio (really our walk-in closet)!

What about my two longer books?

In my November 29, 2021 blog post, I wrote, “Two of my books—A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir and Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo are too long for the audiobook format.”

I’ve rethought that stance. A writing friend suggested I do a set for my longer books. What do you think? Would you buy an audiobook set of Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, specifically?

What have I learned about this adventure?

Both the audiobook training, Audiobooks Made Easy, by Derek Doepker, and Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasts and Voice Technologies by Joanna Penn helped me initially. But here are some tips I learned in the actually recording:

  • Take off anything that can make noise while recording. The earphones fit snugly over my ears, so I took off earrings and the chain I use for my reading glasses.
  • Drink room-temperature water before recording. I drank some ice-cold water once and my voice crackled.
  • Use your laptop or iPad instead of paper to read from. When I first recorded, I printed up pages of my script. Then, when I shuffled through the papers, it added a noise I could easily eliminate.
  • Have a file system for your recording files. I created three folders for raw audio files: original recordings, and duplicated edited files, and effects files. Then I created another file for the mp3s to be uploaded to the different sites for distribution.
  • Use an external hard drive. My laptop has limited storage space, so I bought a 2 terabytes external hard drive and save to it.
  • Wear supportive shoes. After standing still in the same place for nearly an hour, I realized good shoes helped how I felt afterwards.
  • If you are going to offer a .pdf for your audiobook buyer, make sure you have the URL correct before recording. For my first book, I posted on my website all the pictures that were in the book so the buyer could go there and see the visuals included in the book. For the Coronavirus Reflections book, I have created a personal reflection journal the consumer can download to respond on.

Finally,

Elderly woman joins me on the my adventure

I love adventures and this is one for sure. I hope to have four of my six books on audiobooks by this summer, and then hopefully the other two finished by the end of 2020. Do you buy audiobooks? Audiobooks are for any age! If you’d like to sample my first audiobook, you can at https://laradasbooks.com/sample-my-audiobook/


~Valentine’s Day Special at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft. 40% “This Tumbleweed Landed” paperback until February 16, 2022.

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with my interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Bette? meme

~Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Books · My Thoughts

Audiobooks: My New Adventure!

Girl listening to audiobooks

Audiobooks? Do you listen to them? Seven years ago, after I published my first book, my cousin asked me if I had thought about producing an audiobook—that she would love to hear my words in my voice. I bought a mic and played with it, but I realized I needed more instruction. Then I got busy with writing five more books, and I forgot about audiobooks.

For the last couple years, I’ve heard repeatedly I needed to have my books in audiobook format! So, I jumped in!

Here’s Some Interesting Audiobooks Statistics:

More than 45 percent of American adults responding to recent annual surveys now claim to have listened to an audiobook at some point in their lives. . .”

https://www.statista.com/topics/3296/audiobooks/#dossierKeyfigures

“In 2020, the association’s report says, more than 71,000 audiobooks were published in the United States, up 39 percent over 2019.”

My New Effort

So, in December 2020, I bought a video training program to learn how to do audiobooks, Audiobooks Made Easy, by Derek Doepker. Excited, I viewed the first couple of videos. One of them identified what equipment I needed, so I bought it all immediately:

  • Microphone
  • Microphone stand
  • Music Stand
  • Pop filter
  • Ear phones
  • 2 TB external hard drive to save to because my laptop has limited space

The boxes came in and I gathered them together in a pile in our walk-in closet. Then my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? took over my life! Every time I walked by the stack of tech supplies, I winced and thought, “I have to do the training so I can get going on my audiobooks.” But I had no extra time.

Then this summer, Lin, my husband, gingerly asked one day, “When are you going to use that stuff?”

Embarrassed, I defended my time commitments with my new book and then promoting it and promoting my other books.

He encouraged me, saying, “I was just wondering.”

That became the impetus to get me going. I set up a schedule to finish the training and wrapped it up.

I had been mulling over in my mind where to record. We have a large walk-in closet off of our bedroom, so the back end became LHM Recording Studio (Lin’s name suggestion). I had 3 seven foot poles I used in a Native American unit as a teacher to make a lifesize teepee for students to read inside. Remembering them, we used one to hang up a quilt to cut down the size of the space.

Quilt I hung to record audiobooks
LHM Studio

Next, I recorded several two-minute samples to send to Derek to see how my sound was. Yes, I said several, because it was a learning curve. After a couple of samples, Derek suggested I review the videos on editing, so I did, and it helped tremendously.

As I continued, I had an embarrassing moment. The microphone has a blue light that comes on whenever I plugged it into my laptop. Because of the blue light, I thought it was on. I had never checked to see if it was on. No, it wasn’t! How it recorded any sound was mind boggling, but it did faintly.

Then when I set up my pop filter in front of my mic, I followed the picture on the box of the pop filter. It had the mic pointed straight up, so that’s what I did. I took pictures and sent them to Derek. He questioned why I had the mic pointing up instead of towards my mouth!!

Larada recording audiobooks wrong
See mic pointed straight up instead of towards my mouth!

Finally,

I sent a sample to Derek, and he gave me the go-ahead! Yahoooo!

I plan to finish Let Me Tell You a Story, using a schedule of two chapters a day. Then I will record my current book and hopefully do a couple more of them. Two of my books—A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir and Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo are too long for the audiobook format.

Another great resource: Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasts and Voice Technologies by Joanna Penn.

What’s your thoughts? Would you be interested in one of my audiobooks? Let me know!


Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

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