My Experience Recording An Audiobook In A Studio: 8 Key Tips

Are you interested in recording an audiobook for a book you’ve written or plan to write? Perhaps you have a dream of seeing your book available on platforms like Audible or Google Play.

Or perhaps you’ve heard some great audiobooks and are wondering about the process of reading an audiobook. You may even want to become an audiobook narrator.

In this article, I’m sharing my personal experience of recording an audiobook.

Recording an audiobook tips

I’m the 4-time bestselling author of the books, Choosing To Prosper: Triumphing Over Adversity, Breaking Out of Comfort Zones, Achieving Your Life and Money Dreams, and the 3-part Clever Girl Finance series.

And I’ve had the chance to record these four books I’ve written in an audiobook recording studio. Today, these audiobooks are available on various audiobook listening platforms.

Through writing these books I have gained a good amount of experience that I’m more than happy to share as you pursue your own goals of becoming an author! (I also get asked a ton of author questions about audiobooks!)

8 Tips for recording an audiobook in an audiobook recording studio

There are two ways in which you could record your audiobook. One option is to buy a microphone and set up a makeshift studio at home. Another option is to go to a formal recording session at a professional audiobook recording studio.

While the tips in the article focus on recording your book in a professional studio, they are definitely applicable if you choose to record your book at home on your own.

That said, let’s get into the key tips for recording your audiobook based on my personal experience!

1. Come prepared to your audiobook recording session

From the first day of recording my very first audiobook, I realized very quickly that I needed a few things in order to make the experience more comfortable. And so, I created my very own audiobook recording checklist. On it, I have the following:

  • Water and snacks
  • Tea, honey, and my own mug
  • An insulated bottle for hot water
  • Hand cream
  • Chapstick
  • Comfortable soft clothing

While these items might seem trivial, they really improved my audiobook recording experience and made it feel less tedious.

The water keeps me hydrated, and the tea and honey soothe my throat, especially as the hours wear on. I’d also rather use my own tea mug than a disposable cup which won’t keep my tea warm longer than a couple of minutes.

I take my own insulated bottle of hot water just in case the studio doesn’t have a kettle or microwave. And there’s nothing worse than dry lips (and dry hands) when recording a book for hours and having to swipe through pages on a digital device, so you need chapstick and hand cream.

And lastly, wearing comfortable soft clothing is extremely important. For one thing, you want to be comfortable, and for another, the microphone in the soundproof booth picks up everything.

The last thing you’ll want is to have the sound of rustling clothes in your recording. I also minimize how much jewelry I wear to avoid any “clinking” sounds.

Since you’re putting so much effort into preparation prior to your recording session date, you want to make every effort not to strain your voice, as well.

2. Get familiar with the soundproof booth

Professional audiobook recording studios are usually set up with soundproof booths. This booth essentially creates a controlled environment for sound and tone to record your book, eliminating outside noises and echoes.

Size-wise, it’s about two times the size of a phonebooth (If you remember what those are!).

In your soundproof booth, your recording microphone set up will include a pop filter and usually on a microphone shock mount or bracket. You’ll also have a tablet or computer for your book manuscript where you can easily swipe through the pages as you read it.

The audiobook recording studio booths are also usually temperature controlled and have lights you can turn on or off. Personally, I prefer the lights off because it keeps the room cooler and also it minimizes distractions. (Yup, I can still find a way to be distracted in a tiny booth!)

Finally, the booth will have a glass or plastic window where you can see outside of the booth. Typically right in front of the window, you’ll have a sound engineer present who will be working with you on your audiobook recording.

Recording your book at home? There are so many great video resources on how to build your own DIY soundproof booth at home!

3. Prepare and review your manuscript in advance

Before you start recording, you should take a look at your manuscript. Try to practice reading sections of your book out loud a bit beforehand to prepare yourself ahead of time. Make sure that you know how to correctly pronounce any names or places.

Reading the text ahead of time can help you figure out how to read it out loud. This helps you understand how to build out the narration. This means determining the best place to pause, what voices to use with various characters, and knowing when to properly use intonation.

You can even markup where to take breaths in the text, so that your breathing sounds natural and doesn’t take away from the sound of your voice reading.

You will also want to review the text to ensure it reads well. When you’re reading something out loud it’s different than when a reader reads silently. You may need to change a few words here and there to make it sound smoother, as the reader is “listening” and not “reading” your book.

4. Work with a sound engineer (and why having one is important when recording an audiobook)

When you read an audiobook in a professional studio, you are likely to be paired with an audio/sound engineer who reads the book silently along with you.

If you don’t have a sound engineer assigned, it’s a good idea to get one as they are a worthwhile investment.

The sound engineer is there to manage the tone and audio levels and also catch your mistakes. They can also help to look up pronunciations of words that you might be unsure of.

Not having a sound engineer can make managing the actual recording of your audiobook tricky. Sure, you might be able to manage audio levels on your own, but you are unlikely to catch every single one of your mistakes on your own.

And believe me, as time goes on during your reading session, you will make mistakes; some that you might not even realize!

If you are recording your audiobook at home, it’s definitely worth finding a sound engineer. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great resources to find one.

Tips for recording an audiobook

5. Find your reading zone and pace yourself

Now you start reading your audiobook! Finding your stride can be tricky. For me, the best approach is to minimize distractions and have a clear mind.

This means putting my phone on silent and turning the screen face down, so the light from calls or alerts doesn’t distract me.

I also like to take a few deep breaths to help me focus and get rid of distracting thoughts. Once I get into my zone and find my groove after the first few minutes, I’m able to establish a good pace.

It’s important that you speak at a comfortable pace that you can maintain while talking for long periods of time. Don’t try to rush the recording otherwise, it will sound hurried, and you will make mistakes.

Speak in the tone of voice that is normal for you and at your normal pace. If you need to, practice recording yourself at home prior to your scheduled audiobook recording session. This approach helped me.

6. Stay focused while recording an audiobook

Staying focused as you record your book is important because it’s very easy to fall off track! Let me explain:

A couple of hours into recording your audiobook, your brain may disconnect from your mouth, and you might start making things up and reading words and sentences that are nowhere on the page.

Then you might start skipping entire sentences, and then all of a sudden, you can’t pronounce anything properly. Not even the simplest words you were pronouncing perfectly just a couple of hours ago. This happens to me all the time.

Enter your sound engineer who helps you catch these errors so you can re-record them at the moment.

All of that said, the key to staying focused when recording an audiobook is to know when you need to take a break. Even if your break is just for five minutes to take a quick walk and brew some tea. Cues to take a break include:

  • Your throat starts getting sore
  • You are hungry, or your belly is rumbling
  • It’s a struggle to focus on the words you are reading anymore
  • You start to sound monotone

Stepping away will help you come back with a refreshed focus to deliver a recording you are happy with.

7. Split up your audiobook reading sessions if needed

When you read an audiobook, it’s a good idea to split up your recording sessions, especially for books longer than 3 hours.

By doing so, you avoid straining your voice, and very importantly, you avoid losing the motivation to keep recording. A loss of motivation can translate into you sounding monotone, which your audiobook listener will be very aware of.

Each of my reading sessions has been split into two 5-hour chunks for what were approximately 4 to 5 hour books. This gave me room to pace myself, take breaks and lunches and rest my voice.

8. Be prepared for corrections after recording an audiobook

Once the initial audiobook recording is done, the audiobook files will need to be edited. The audio tone and levels will be balanced out, dead space will be removed, and errors will be identified that you need to correct.

So it’s a good idea to plan ahead for a corrections session in your schedule. Fortunately, you don’t have to re-record the entire book, just the sentences that need to be corrected.

A corrections session should usually last only a few minutes to an hour, depending on the length of your book.

Expert tip: Make time to prepare

When recording an audiobook, make sure to take your time. Preparation is key.

Visit the studio ahead of time and make sure your manuscript is prepared, considering that your readers will be listening and not reading.

And when recording, limit distractions. Don’t be afraid to take breaks and record in multiple sessions if needed.

How do I find a recording studio?

You can find a recording studio near you by doing a quick Google search for “audiobook recording studio near me” or by looking at recording studio directories. Peerspace, for example, allows you to hire professional studios out by the hour, while you can find local recording studios through Thumbtack.

Make sure to view the recording space before you book and check what type of equipment they have to make sure it’s a good fit for your audiobook.

What is the best way to record an audiobook?

The best way to record an audiobook is in a professional studio with high-quality sound equipment. This will ensure that your audio is top-tier for listeners. Make sure to prepare your manuscript ahead of time and work with a sound engineer so that the quality of the recording is the best it can be.

You can do a quick online search to find professional studios close by. Most of which come with sound engineers or will provide you with references. Alternatively you can set up a simple recording studio at home.

Can you make money recording audiobooks?

Yes you can certainly make money recording audiobooks. If you make a recording of your own book and sell it on a recording site like Audible, you’ll receive up to 50% in royalties for each purchase.

You can also work as a freelance audiobook narrator. Narrators earn money per finished hour, or the rate of total time of finished audio. Newer narrators can earn between $10 and $100 per finished hour, while more experienced narrators can receive up to $350 an hour.

Do I need to record my audiobook in a studio?

No, you don’t need to record your audiobook in a studio. You can set up a home recording studio. However, it can be costly to set up, as you’ll need to ensure it is soundproof and invest in good-quality sound equipment.

You may need the following:

  • Quiet room
  • Microphone
  • Pop filter
  • Stand to hold your manuscript (Ideally an iPad stand to avoid paper rustling)
  • Comfortable table and chair
  • Sound proofing panels

Did you enjoy this article? Learn more from these related posts.

Recording an audiobook can be a great experience!

Recording an audiobook in a studio can be long, but it can also be enjoyable if you know what to expect and you go prepared.

Remember, at the end of the day, you want to deliver a quality audiobook that listeners will not only enjoy but also recommend to others.

So focus on pacing yourself and staying motivated through the end of your recording. Take breaks and enjoy the process as you create an amazing body of “audio” work!

If you are new to writing a book, be sure to check out our tips for first-time authors!

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