Audiobooks: Do You Hear What I Hear?

By Kristy Horine

Multi-published Kentucky author, Hallee Bridgeman, looked at audio books for several years before she seriously pursued them. Her first audiobook was published in early 2018, after she had 19 books already in print. Hallee agreed to answer a few questions about her audiobook process.

Q:  How did you know where to begin with audiobooks?

A: I researched through different author social media groups, asked questions, and read articles.

Q:  How did you find your voice artist?

A: I have a unique situation in that my voice artist is a good friend. He has been a voice artist for years, owns a radio station, and was looking at getting into audiobook production about the same time I was looking into getting my books done. I was intentionally seeking out a male artist, so he was my first choice.

Q: Did you have to do all the editing and production yourself or does another company handle that?

A: The voice artist is in charge of all editing and production. I listen to the first draft of recordings while reading along. As I encounter things read wrong, inflections wrong, voices wrong, I provide a detailed list per chapter. The fixing of problems is called “pickups” – when the artist implements all of the pickups, I listen to it all again and make sure the changes were correct.

Q: How much creative input did you have in the process?

A: It’s my book. The artist should want to record it in a way that I envision it in my mind. If he cannot then he isn’t the right voice for me.

Q: Were there any surprises along the way? (Positive or negative)

A: I was surprised at how much my writing has improved after listening to the way the audiobook sounds. I’m way more conscious of overused words and dialogue tags, etc.

Q: If you could do it all over again, would you and why?

A: I definitely would – and I would do it sooner. Right now, it takes hours and hours to produce one book. He is keeping up with my current production, but there are several books written before that he hasn’t had a chance to get to record yet.

Thank you, Hallee, for sharing your wisdom and experience with us! 

In addition to this interview with Hallee, there are multiple resources on audiobooks available to writers. As stewards of the words God has given us, it is wise to find out more about this growing field.

According to author and speaker, Amy Collins, almost 28 percent of the budgets in the top libraries across the US is dedicated to audiobooks. In this video,  Amy takes the time to speak with Richard Rieman, award-winning narrator and director of Audiobook Revolution.

Richard outlines the audiobook process that picks up after the manuscript is complete. This includes:

  • Recording (self-narrated by author or narrated by a professional)
  • Editing (making changes to inflection, pronunciation, etc)
  • Mastering (putting all the cleaned up audio files together into one cohesive form)
  • Uploading files to an audiobook platform.

Richard advises that authors understand the audiobook process takes time. The average narration rate, he says, is 9,300 words per hour. This means that a 90,000 word book can take upwards of ten hours just to record. The entire process could take ninety days or more.

But Hallee and Richard would probably both agree that audiobooks are the wave of the future. It’s a sentiment that podcaster and author, Thomas Umstattd, Jr, repeats in this audiopost  from the Christian Publishing Show. Thomas takes listeners on a history of the oral tradition, the popularity and forecast for both podcasts and audiobooks, and encourages writers to begin the audio process now.

As a writer, are you are headed in the traditional direction of publishing, going indie with self-publishing, or braving the auditory waters of audiobook publishing? If so, we at Inspired Prompt invite you to look back over May’s posts. Visit as often as you’d like, or need. We pray your stay has been an inspiring one.

Click to Tweet: Multi-published Kentucky author, Hallee Bridgeman, looked at audio books for several years before she seriously pursued them. Find out what Hallee and others have learned about #audiobooks: Do You Hear What I Hear via @InspiredPrompt

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