Monday, June 18, 2012
Making a podiobook a guest post by Weston Kincade
Scott, thanks for having me.
So far as A Life of Death is concerned, it seems to be the most popular of my books and has been since its release. The podcast I created onPodiobooks.com took a great deal of time and as with everything I do for the first time, I tried to make it so perfect, getting out all the abnormalities and such, that I over-edited it. The Promo can be found here. Editing audio is not my forte, but I'm getting better. If anyone with a good reading voice, experience recording and editing audio, and a desire to re-record the book approached me requesting to make a better recording, I'm not sure I could say no. But while the current version isn't the best recording, it seems to be good enough that many people are listening. A Life of Death averages around 300-400 downloads on Podiobooks.com a month and has accumulated about 6,500 downloads since I put it out October 17, 2011. However, since iTunes doesn't tell me how many downloads have been used through their service, those downloads aren't reflected in the numbers I mentioned.
The process itself was more difficult than I initially imagined, but fun just the same. I had to get a new computer microphone. After researching recommendations of other podcasters, I wound up with a Snowball Mic. It's worked very well. I'm happy with it and would recommend it to others. My wife, a band director and graduate student, has even threatened to steal it from time to time. I know there are other good mics out there, but this is the one I know about. For anyone interested in recording a podcast or audiobook, I have a few major recommendations that I learned from the experience.
One: I recommend doing a double tap (not the video game or movie pistol shot that kills zombies) with your knuckle or finger on the desk or surface where the mic is sitting. You do this after you make a mistake. It registers a double spike on the audio recording, making the mistakes easy to find and cut out later. Without stopping the recording, reread the messed up sentence until you get it right, double tapping each time you make a mistake and restarting that sentence. This saves you time when editing. This also works well if you live places that have periodic noises like fire engines, airplanes, motorcycles, trains, etc. As soon as these occur, you will have to stop, double tap, and wait for the sound to pass before restarting. I live a couple miles from a naval base where they do aircraft simulation and test work. Try doing a recording with a good mic and random jets flying overhead because of the local Airshow taking place that weekend. It was a great learning experience.
Two: Don't over-edit for noise cancellation. This can wreak havoc on your recording and make you sound like a robot without an ounce of humanity. Who wants to listen to the robot from Short Circuit doing a dramatic reading of Shakespeare or the latest Potter-esque novel? Not me. Just thinking about it brings the old electronic closing song from Doogie Howser, M.D. to mind and sends shivers down my spine. While I grew up loving that show, the eighties soundtrack and robotic voice isn't what you want. While I managed to avoid that in my final recordings, it was only after trial and error.
Three: Pick your recording location very carefully and try to set up wall coverings that will cancel the echo of your voice. Bare walls will echo and the mic will pick it up. Large, open rooms are bad about this too. Not to mention, if you live with other people, you need to pick a place where you can have complete silence. I had to rerecord an entire episode because my roommate came home and began watching Pawn Stars two rooms away. I was so focused on my reading and recording that I didn't notice until the chapter ended. By that time, I just hoped it was too quiet to pick it up, or it could be edited out. A couple hours later, I discovered in editing etc . . . that I would have to redo the whole thing. Talk about time wasted, but yet another learning experience.
Overall the experience has been good though. I intend to make it even better when I have the time, but time is one of the things you can never get back and never have enough of. Either way, the Podiobook is getting the book to a wider audience that I hope will enjoy it. I've seen sales increase some from putting the serialized recording up on Podiobooks.com for people to listen to for free, but it's hard to know how much is due to the recording. In the end though, I mainly just want to get my books into readers' hands, or ears. Readers have said great things about A Life of Death, in its podiobook form and print/ebook forms, calling it a must read and worthy of far more than 5 stars. I'm happy that people are enjoying my books and hope they will continue as I write more.
I do periodic giveaways and am even giving away t-shirts, signed print copies, stickers, large bookmarks, and the opportunity to publish your character art in upcoming memorabilia and your very own version of the cover for the upcoming sequel to Invisible Dawn, Salvation, Book Two of Altered Realities. I've had some great submissions so far to both contests, but the deadline for them all, art and giveaways, is June 30. Then, I'll put the art submissions up on my site and we'll have a week of voting for each novel's character art and the Salvation cover. In the end, there will be a winner for each category.
Come by and join in on the fun. There are plenty of prizes to go around.
Weston's Summer giveaway has some very cool prizes stop by his blog to enter and check it out!!