Jeffrey Kafer, a voice-over talent also does audio books. He agreed to answer some questions about audio books via email:
What exactly is an audio book?
An audiobook is quite simple a book that has been narrated, usually by a professional narrator. They come in 2 flavors, abridged and unabridged. At SpringBrook Audio, we only work with unabridged books. We believe in telling the entire story.
Can an audio book be a stand-alone product?
It always is. The entire book (or an abridgment) is contained in that single audiobook. Just as an ebook is the entire book in a digital format for your e-reader or computer, an audiobook is the entire book in a narrated form.
What are the steps to getting an audio book produced?
The production of an audibook from our standpoint is fairly time intensive. For every hour of audio produced, there is is about 5-6 hours of work. So your typical 10 hour audiobook takes between 50-60 hours to fully produce. Here’s why:
Step 1: Read the entire book once to get an idea of the story. This is especially important for fiction, so the narrator has a clear idea of the characters. Besides, authors are famous for introducing a character on page 30 and then describing how he talks on page 300! We need to know these things before we start recording.
Step 2: Record the book. Counting mistakes and breaks for water and rest, this is a 2:1 ratio of work to finished product.
Step 3: Edit the book. This is where the art comes in. Editing an audiobook is critical to the pacing and story-telling.
Step 4: Quality control. I have a seperate person listen to the chapters after I edit them and follow along in the book to make sure every word is correct. This is a very important part of the process to ensure that the every one of the author’s carefully placed words is done correctly.
Step 5: Mixing and mastering: If any intro or music is added, this is the step. Then we do a bit of audio engineering magic to make the book sound good and follow any constraints the distributors may have for file size, length, compression, etc. This is all the technical stuff.
As an author, you don’t need to worry about any of that. You simply hand off a PDF and a few weeks later, you get a finished audiobook. This frees up your time for writing, marketing, PR, etc.
As the author should I be the one reading my audio book?
Nine-nine times out 100, absolutely not. I’m biased, because my primary job is an audiobook narrator. but I’ve listened to many books narrated by the author and they usually stink, with a few exceptions. Remember, audiobook narration is very different from simply reading a book. There are nuances and pacing issues that you can only learn from experience and training. But most importantly, audiobook narration, even non-fiction, is acting. The author is not a professional actor, any more than they are a professional cover designer, website creator, or editor. If you want professional results and have your book taken seriously, you need to have all of these things professionally produced. I wrote more about this on my blog post, 7 Reasons for Hiring a Professional Audiobook Narrator
How can I best market my audio book?
The same way you market any book. Remember, an audiobook is merely a format. However, there are some ways you can be creative. As a narrator I like to help out with some of the marketing of books I narrate. I do live webcam readings over the internet. I have my own Twitter and Facebook followers. So you get an extra bit of marketing oomph when you have an active narrator alongside the author.
And like any other format, you need eyeballs looking at your stuff (hence the need for a professionally designed cover) so the more places you can put your book, the better. At SpringBrook Audio, we distribute via Audible, Amazon and iTunes as well as our own online store. We’ve also recently partnered with OverDrive to sell ebooks and audiobooks to libraries. I think this is a marketing tool in itself. Many people who peruse library websites are looking for something new and different. I can’t tell you how many new authors I’ve personally discovered (and subsequently purchased books by) from simply checking out an audiobook from the library.
Jeffrey Kafer – Professional, award-winning voice overs and audiobook publishing jeffreykafer.com | audiobookvoiceover.com | seattlevoicetalent.com. Recent clients include: Honda, BrightHouse Networks, AOL, Capital One, and more!
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JeffreyKafer | Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-Kafer-voice-overs/246171453996 | LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreykafer
Photo found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/22365494@N04/