From the workshop Hearing Voices: Why Audiobooks Are Suddenly Chic:
I. An Enthusiastic Audience
Advocating quality audiobooks
The developing romance audio fan base
Publishers are paying attention
II. What Listeners Look for in Audiobooks
A seamless listen
The all-important production quality – what does that mean?
Why a listener returns a book to Audible
Performance true to author’s word
Ease of identifying characters
Males sound male – females sound female
III. The Importance of the Right Narrator
Right narrator can create new fans for author
Understanding of the romance genre
Dialogue between protagonists
Male versus female narrators
Solo narration versus dual narration
The problem with pseudonym
IV. Do Your Homework
Listen to romance audio in your genre
Get to know romance audio bloggers
Find the right publisher or producer
Use resources below to create best product no matter the route
V. Promoting Your Audiobooks
Romance sites and blogs
Where to find romance listeners
The right sound sample – speak up
Backlist versus new releases
Author Appearances on Blogs – Create Impact
Social Media Advertising
VI. Converting Print Readers to Audio Listeners
Necessity of listener researching their first titles – don’t expect immediate success
Group or personal recommendations
Goal – listening rather than reading first
Emphasis – it’s a process
Rapid growth of audiobook industry
VII. Resources Overview
Audiobook Publishers Association Audible/Harlequin
Audible Studios Blackstone/AudioGo
Hachette Harper Audio
Recorded Books Tantor Audio
Penguin Random House
Producers (those below allow you to work with union talent)
Antland Productions Bee Audio
Common Mode Deyan Audio
DuArt Digital/Benefit Media John Marshall Media
Eljin Productions Outloud Audio
All About Romance (likesbooks.com) AudioFile Magazine
ck2skwipsandkritiques.com Caz’s Reading Room(bookish29.wordpress.com) deesbookblog.com
Speaking of Audiobooks (likesbooks.com/blog/?cat=174goodreads.com/group/show/39149-romance-audiobooks)
Vocabulary involved in Producing an Audiobook
Per Finished Hour (PFH) – The time length of the completed audiobook. Most narrators get paid a certain rate ($190 – 250 and above for experienced narrators) multiplied by the number of finished hours, no matter how many hours they spent in the studio to record it.
Preparation – Narrators must read the entire manuscript before starting to record (unless it is simply not possible). This is the only way to create consistent characters and to understand the tone and pacing of the entire book. Preparation is included in the PFH rate. If there is a great deal of pronunciation research to be done, narrators may be compensated for that additionally.
Punch record vs. straight record – When a narrator works solo, they generally do a punch record, a nifty innovation that allows the narrator to edit as they go, keeping only the desired takes and discarding the rest. In a straight record, a narrator just stops and does a new take, but the recording continues. This generally requires a director or engineer to keep track of the takes and then an editor must spend time to remove all the unwanted takes later.
Post Production – The process which takes the narrator’s initial recording and turns it into an audiobook ready to download and/or to be burned onto CDs.
QC or Proofing – A person listens to the first pass recording and notates any errors, unwanted sounds (including distracting breaths) or other mistakes, which are then removed by an editor or re-recorded by the narrator. Some companies will put a book through two rounds of QC.
Pickups or Corrections – Re-recording the material to fix errors. One round of pickups is usually included in a narrator’s rate. Narrators should be paid extra for pickups needed due to last minute rewrites.
Room Tone – 20 – 30 seconds of what it sounds like in the narrator’s booth when he/she is just sitting there “silently” (it’s never really silent). This is used to fill in any spaces when editing, including replacing spots where there was a loud breath, noise or the space between chapters, etc.
Editing and Mastering – The final processing which includes the skilled application of compression and other magical audio applications which “smooth out” the sound and dividing the book up into appropriate sections (different lengths for download and CD).
Digital Download Only – a book that is released only in Digital form
CD printing – some publishers create CD copies of all their audiobooks; some only do a CD run for books that they expect to sell well, especially to libraries.
mp3 CD – a physical copy of the audiobook in CD form where mp3s for the entire book are provided on one CD
Print on Demand (POD) – a newer technology just being implemented that allows individual or very small runs of CD copies to be printed on demand economically.