Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

How (and Why) I Recorded My Audiobook in a Studio Instead of Pretending My Closet is a Studio

Click to buy this amazing book.
Click to buy this amazing book.

I only get a few minutes of actual paper book reading per night before I begin watching automotive videos on YouTube in preparation for sleep. I’m hoping to have a dream in which I can afford lots of cool cars. So far, no dice. What’s worse, I also can’t afford them in real life.

I realize that I am not alone in my preference for audiobooks, which is why I’ve been pushing this year to get some of my work recorded.

My best-selling book is a mostly serious non-fiction account of a mountain I climbed called “How To Mount Aconcagua,” so I started with it. I recorded it at my house using various methods, and then got it into ACX, which is Audible’s portal for lowly-but-plucky DIY authors like myself. You can read about that process here.

Here I am in my “studio” having the time of my life.

Closet Audio

Just kidding, I hated it. I have some recording gear and some knowledge, but both are bargain basement quality and out of date. I was also forced to use a “computer” and computers are assholes. They can barely be trusted to turn typed characters into internet letters. Ask them to accept a microphone input and turn that into an audio file and you’re likely to spend your whole day downloading drivers, calling support, and possibly murdering yourself.

Because I kept costs low and recorded HTMA myself, though, I’m already seeing a profit on my time. I’ve sold a couple of dozen copies, which is nice, but I believe I’ve also seen a drop in paper book sales. I’ll wait until more data is in to post those results, but it seems like people who would have bought the dead tree version have instead opted for the audio option.

Honestly, that’s fine with me. I just want to make a living making work. I don’t care if I have to come to your house and shout it through a trombone as long as there’s sufficient remuneration for my time, travel costs, and trombone polish.

On To the Next Project: Ten Thousand Gods

I, my editor Garret Marco, and my cover designer buddy Bear Roberts all worked hard on Ten Thousand Gods. I wanted top quality results for the audiobook. More importantly, I wanted someone else to have the responsibility of forcibly wrenching usable audio from the jaws of these pigheaded computers. So, I went to a real studio.

Here’s Paul, the gentleman who, for reasons that are unfathomable, has chosen to wrestle with computers as a profession.

2016-01-06 11.14.48

It cost me $160 for four hours of Paul’s time. I don’t yet know how many copies of Ten Thousand Gods I’ll have to sell to recoup that cost, but it was already worth it. For one thing, he has a real-deal studio with audio treatments on the walls, plus top quality mics and preamps. I didn’t have to touch a single computer, unless you count touching my phone to take the above photo.

You can listen to a sample of the recording Paul helped me get on the Audible site here.

I also investigated having someone else record the audiobook for me in whatever method they choose to do so. You can invite narrators to send you samples of themselves reading your work on ACX, then, if you like one, offer them the job. But frankly, I didn’t love any of the auditions I got, especially not for the price they wanted to charge. I liked a few, but they wanted over $100 per finished hour of audio, which would have meant added cost to me.

On top of that, I like the idea of reading my own books. I read aloud a lot as I’m writing to make sure I like the flow, so I know exactly how I want everything to be presented. Hopefully, you’ll give it a listen and enjoy my work.