For authors who want to use their own home equipment to narrate an audio version of their own books, or if you want to record your kids reading their favorite stories for posterity, you can do it with a microphone, and iPad and GarageBand.
At the link, you’ll find an interesting how-to breakdown on DIY audiobook creation by Geoffrey Goetz. Learn at the link!
The post brings up a question that isn’t much dealt with in this particular article. It’s not a how-to question. It’s a should-you? Would you be comfortable putting a DIY audiobook up for sale on iTunes?
Standards for what’s acceptable vary.
A comedian friend refused to sell a recording because the audience wasn’t on mic. Without their reactions, he didn’t feel the funny was legitimized to the listener (even though he killed.) He thought selling that recording would be “mercenary”. Meanwhile, another professional comedian performed a special for an audience of two: Her parents. (The review was on the Slate Culture Gabfest and they loved it.)
I record author readings on the All That Chazz podcast. I do the podcast for free, but I’d worry about production quality if it were on iTunes. But maybe I’m being too shy or plain wrong about that. Maybe I’ve been indoctrinated with historic audiobook rules instead of looking to the future.
Do you need a full studio to produce something to sell? A video engineer friend of mine announced recently that he’s ditching the heavy, $6,000 camera and making movies with an iPhone now. You can produce high production values with relatively inexpensive equipment. New tech can often deliver higher production value than what the richest Hollywood studios had a few years ago. If you can rise to the occasion in employing that tech, you could come pretty close to par. The first no-budget Paranormal movie comes to mind.
Back to audio:
On Podiobooks, audiobooks are given away free. There are still hoops to jump through, but since it’s free, few listeners really expect perfection. Up the capitalist foodchain, if you go with ACX, you’ve got professional voice talent and an expensive production that’s still much cheaper than it used to be and you maintain control of your art.
As the bar to entry has lowers through easily accessible technology,will the audiobook production industry undergo an influx of independents as has happened with the book industry? Audio purists will likely be resistant to that idea.
We touched on this issue in a post last week: Experts recommend their services and condemn all intruders in their realm. This isn’t just in publishing. To illustrate, let me paraphrase an old medical adage: If you go to a surgeon for advice, his advice is going to be, “I’ll cut you” Every specialty is predisposed to recommend their intervention.
Could we sell a DIY recording on iTunes (through CD Baby)? Yes.
Should we? Before we rush to judgment, consider that independent musicians reach professional standards from their garages and basements all the time. People who call themselves “Indie” in the music and film industries get much more respect than Indies in the book industry. Musicians and filmmakers are called brave, innovative and entrepreneurial. In the book industry, outdated views still hold with the term “vanity press”.
I can’t fathom why this is so. I’m not pretending. I’m publishing.
See on gigaom.com
- How To Record An Audiobook Step By Step (bennesvig.com)
- Those are the Audiobook of the Year Nominees? Really? (literatehousewife.com)
- ACX Success Story: H.M. Ward (acx.com)