Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered How an Audio Book is Created?

Have you ever wondered how an audio book is created? I have. While I was writing my first children’s book, I often thought about the interactive books with tapes that I used to listen to with my own children. What if I could create a CD to accompany my book? Of course I could! To make a long story very short, I’ve put together the basic steps I followed in creating the CD for my first book. It worked out so well that I also created CDs for my second, third and (just recently) fourth books.

• First, plan the entire content of the CD. For a children’s book, the story narration is the key element. Also, a song would be nice. And background music. How about some interesting sound effects?

• Write the entire script including every word and every pause. Decide who will read the story. Most people prefer to hear the author reading the story, so be prepared to practice, practice, practice.

• Locate a reputable sound studio and meet with the audio engineer to work out the details. How long will it take to record? Will he/she adjust the sound levels and timing, add the sound effects, delete any unwanted sounds and create the finished product? Be aware that it’s not as easy as simply strolling into the studio, reading your book and waltzing out with a CD in your hand.

• What music will you use? Music is protected by copyright laws, so you will need to write your own words. You may be able to use the tunes from old nursery rhymes that are now in the “public domain.” Just be sure to do the research on the song you choose to make sure it’s available.

• Who will sing the song? Finding musicians was relatively easy even though I live in a small town. I called music schools and local bands and was amazed at how many talented people live nearby.

• Be prepared for a lot of fine tuning at the end. This is where the audio engineer can provide the same “magic” that a graphic designer provides for illustrations.

The process was a real exercise in creativity and quite a learning experience! And I can’t wait to do it again! By the way, how do you like my “non-union” chorus of grandchildren and friends?

Bobbie Hinman

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