Audio books are recordings of material that has been previously printed. For multi-taskers or commuters, the audio book is one way to keep up with their reading. With the affordability and accessibility to recording technology, you can record and distribute CDs that are not under copyright protection without the expense of paying royalties to an author or publisher.
Instructions for Producers
Choose a book for conversion to audio book format. Since copyright will protect most books published after 1920, you should select one published earlier that have lapsed out of copyright (ref. 4). The U.S. Copyright Office can provide more information about specific literary works. Translations are also protected by copyright.
Hire an engineer, producer, and audio book performer. A professional engineer and producer can maximize the production values of the audio book recording. The audio book performer should have experience with voice work. The performer needs to be able to perform multiple voices and attend all rehearsals.
Book a recording studio in coordination with your producer. A studio will give the recording the clarity that audio book customers expect. An average book takes fifteen hours to record and will probably take eight to twelve dates to record, since the performer's voice will fade after two or three hours.
Conduct rehearsals for the audio book recording. With a recording date in sight, you should direct the performer, refining his pronunciation and tone during the reading. During rehearsals, make cuts like dialogue tags ("he said," "she said") and other unnecessary exposition.
Record the audio book. The engineer will manage the studio controls, and the producer will manage the production values of the audio book. You should focus on the performance of the audio book reader. Review the audio book recording to make sure the audio book meets your expectations.
Distribute the audio book online and at physical locations. You can upload the audio book to iTunes and other music distribution sites. You should also burn the audio book to CD and distribute it to music stores and other relevant businesses.
Instructions for Performers
Take lessons with a vocal coach. You should be able to switch between pitches and volumes easily and have a good sense of how to create tension when reading a book.
Hire an experienced audio book producer that can work with you before you get into a professional studio. Since studio time is expensive, you should solve any problems with your enunciation and pronunciation in advance. Your producer can also offer you feedback on the tone and pace of your performance.
Record a demo that demonstrates your voice acting skills. You should read from a book out-of-copyright and hire a professional engineer, so that the production quality is adequate. Select a book that highlights your strengths. For instance, if you have range between personalities and genders, find a book with a variety of protagonists.
Negotiate a contract with any audio book producer that is interested in your work. Your contract can include royalties for each copy that is sold, as well as an advance payment.