Should You Turn Your Novel Into an Audio Book?
As the owner of an “indie” recording studio called Straight to Audio Productions, I'm often approached by writers who want to know if they should turn their novels into audio books. The popularity of audio books is on the rise so there is definitely an audience for this form of media. However, there are a couple of things I would encourage writers to consider before heading down this path.
Authors who are working with an agent or publisher should consult with their representatives before making any plans to produce an audio book. For self-published writers or those who don't have a broker, there are a few key matters to deliberate. First, decide who your audience is. This might sound like a silly issue, but the answer will give you a better understanding of how to best proceed. For example, if you have written a short story which may only be of interest to a small group of listeners, you might want to record it yourself. If you believe your story has mass appeal and you're willing to invest some money, you could hire a professional to produce it for you. Chances are, there is a studio in your home town which can help you accomplish this, or you can utilize some of the services available on line.
The good news for do-it-yourselfers is that the cost of producing audio books has dropped dramatically. Like many studios, I use ProTools to edit my productions. ProTools is remarkably user-friendly and offers lots of features to help editors achieve broadcast quality audio. Want to try before you buy? Check out the free editing programs offered by Audacity or Cool Edit Pro
If you're not oriented towards audio editing, there are lots of great companies to do it for you. I highly recommend ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) ACX connects writers with narrators and studios. This is a great place to listen to potential narrators and shop around for the best studio to produce your audio book. Better yet, if your product meets the standards of ACX, you can apply to sell you work as an mp3 download on Audible.com
Once you have hired the talent to voice your project and a studio to produce it, the next thing is to figure out is how to deliver your audio book to listeners. With Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book, I produced it in “wave” format which any cd player will recognize. Jitters was 6.5 hours long which meant it required six cds to accommodate the wave format. The discs were professionally replicated and professionally packaged. The product looked fantastic, but this was an expensive route to take.
When I produced Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book, I tried a different approach. Once again, I had my product professionally manufactured, but this time I did it in mp3 format which greatly reduced my cost. Yikes! is10.5 hours long which would have required at least ten discs to be available in wave format. I believe many audio book fans are listening on devices like iPods so making Yikes! available as an mp3 seemed to make more sense anyway.
There's never been a better time than the present to turn a novel into an audio book. The cost of producing audio books had gone down while the quality of sound has improved. Through programs like Audible.com and Amazon.com it's easy to make the finished product available to the public. Better still, both Audible.com and Amazon.com offer lots of free tutorials to help you increase the size of your audience. The only other piece of advice I can offer is this: enjoy the journey!
Written by: Adele Park
Adele's WorkWHEN MARIJUANA AND REALITY TV COLLIDE . . . Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book by Adele Park
Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is the story about a marijuana enthusiast named Blue McKenna who gets involved with a reality TV show as a means of curing an apocalyptic case of writer's block. A conglomerate of kooky contestants invades the polygamist community of Navel, Utah, to compete in a reality show called Yikes! Participants include Steven Finch, a loveable stoner who developes a conspiracy theory involving a rock band called the Rectal Surgeons, and Randall Smoot, a member of the Gay Mafia.
The New Wave of American Audio Books
Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is 10.5 hours long and available in mp3 format on Amazon.com and Audible.com. Yikes! is very unconventional, not just because of the sticky topics it tackles, but also because of the unique way in which it was produced. Mainstream audio books usually have one narrator who does the voices for all the characters. Yikes! features a cast of 11 actors who portray each individual character in funny, engaging narratives.
Yikes! is the second production in the Quirky Audio Book Series. WHEN RADIO AND POLYGAMY COLLIDE . . . Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book won a 2011 Audie for Multi-Voiced Performance from the Audio Publishers Association. Finalists in this category included The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra and Room by Emma Donoghue. Jitters
was also honored with a spot on funnyman Jimmy Fallon's Do Not Read List.
Adele Park worked as a TV and radio reporter, news anchor and on-air personality for more than 15 years. During that time, Park earned several top journalism awards from The Associated Press, Colorado Broadcasters Association and Utah Broadcasters Association. Park also worked in the print media. Her articles and photos have been published in a variety of magazines.