Adventures In Audio Recording - Part VI
Okay, so now that we've got all the technical parts of recording covered and how to meet ACX's requirements, we're ready to record and submit, right?
Yeah, what the 10th Doctor is saying. There are a number of other non-technical requirements that we have to pay attention to, in order to submit our audio successfully. First off, you need to include opening credits. These are as follows:
-The title of the audiobook
-The subtitle, if there is one
-Written by (Name of the Author)
-Narrated by (Insert your name here)
All of these need to be included in the very first file. Now you can submit this as a separate file, or as part of the first chapter.
Speaking of chapters, each chapter should have its own sound file. When you submit to ACX you'll be submitting an entire folder of files to them. And each file can only include one chapter, no matter how short. UNLESS... the chapter is so long that the sound file is going to be longer than 120 minutes. In that case, you'll be breaking that chapter up into more than one file. Remember, no single file can be longer than 120 minutes. ACX is very strict about this.
And since we're discussing credits, there should also be closing credits at the end of the final chapter or at least the spoken words THE END. I myself prefer something like this. "The End. You have been listening to "Title of the Book", written by "Author Name" and narrated by "Your name here".
You'll also want to have a separate file to submit that will be a sample of your work so the audience can get a taste of what awaits them inside your audiobook. Do not include anything that contains the opening/closing credits, music, or anything explicit. The sample can be anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes in length. So choose wisely, remember this is part of your 'hook' to get listeners to want to hear the entire story from start to finish.
Another requirement ACX asks of submissions is 2-3 seconds of silence or "Room Tone". Remember where I mentioned having several seconds of silence where we used the "Noise Reduction" function, this is where that section comes into play again. Originally we used it to clean up the entire file. But now we need it as a lead in before any speaking takes place in a file, and they also want another 3-5 seconds at the end of each file. This is a requirement that can and will get you rejected, so make sure each of your files has this 1/2 to a full second at the beginning and 3-5 seconds of "Room Tone" at the end.
Be careful of making sure each file is consistent in pacing, vocalization, sound levels, clear speaking, etc. Try to avoid loud mic pops, mouth noises, breathing, etc. (most of which we covered in the previous entries where we covered the technical requirements). Still, try to make sure there is a definite consistency throughout all the files so as not to irritate the listener. People love being drawn into a story and then jarred out of it because of a mistake someone made in the recording. This WILL lead to bad reviews and poor ratings of all your hard work. So take the time to make sure every file is clean and consistent for your own sake.
Next up, Mono or Stereo channel formats. Whichever format you choose ALL the files associated with the audiobook in question must be in the same format. I myself stick to Mono which makes my life so much easier. I personally don't really know the difference between the two, but Mono is what I use and I keep things consistent that way.
Finally, ACX has one final rule... the narration must be done by an actual human being. Text-to-speech is not allowed. Audible listeners are expecting a performance by a person, so ACX will only accept that and nothing else.
So, we've covered technical issues, and the submission requirements for ACX, which means we're done right...
Sorry about that, but there are other things we need to discuss and take into consideration. And all of it falls under "Performance". How good a narrator are you? Can you bring life to the words and characters or not? How fast should you be reading? What about pauses for the end of a sentence, etc., etc. Are you putting emphasis in the right place for the story?
We'll go into all that in our next installment. But if you feel you've learned all you need, perhaps you're already an actor or someone who's just a natural at loud readings. If you are, then best of luck to you and go get 'em!
As for everyone else, I'll see you in a couple of weeks. Until then keep writing and reading my friends.