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Making Tracks: A Writer's Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them)

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It used to costs thousands of dollars... ...now you can do it at home... ...and bring it to market... ...as good as—or better than—the professionals! Once expensive to produce and troublesome to consume, audiobooks now represent the second fastest-growing segment of the book industry. No longer stranded on dark shelves in the back of the library, they now come straight to your It used to costs thousands of dollars... ...now you can do it at home... ...and bring it to market... ...as good as—or better than—the professionals! Once expensive to produce and troublesome to consume, audiobooks now represent the second fastest-growing segment of the book industry. No longer stranded on dark shelves in the back of the library, they now come straight to your ears through online bookstores, smartphone apps, and music services. As consumer demand grows like never before, how can you as an author grow your audience? Delivered in a witty, easy style by multiple-award nominated producer J. Daniel Sawyer, Making Tracks gives you the lowdown on today's audiobook landscape. From narrative technique to studio design to production management, you'll learn everything you need to go from zero to full production, including: How to access the worlds biggest audiobook markets Industry history and business practices How to choose your production style How to leverage your audiobooks to build your stable of true fans All about audiology How to pick your equipment How to build your recording booth Tried and true go-to-market strategies Where to find music, sound effects, and voice actors Professional standards, and how to achieve them How to make your voice sound like a million bucks And much, much more... Those audio rights you used to sell to publishers now have real cash value. Learn how to make the most of them in this entertaining, accessible volume. Don't miss out on the other publishing revolution!


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It used to costs thousands of dollars... ...now you can do it at home... ...and bring it to market... ...as good as—or better than—the professionals! Once expensive to produce and troublesome to consume, audiobooks now represent the second fastest-growing segment of the book industry. No longer stranded on dark shelves in the back of the library, they now come straight to your It used to costs thousands of dollars... ...now you can do it at home... ...and bring it to market... ...as good as—or better than—the professionals! Once expensive to produce and troublesome to consume, audiobooks now represent the second fastest-growing segment of the book industry. No longer stranded on dark shelves in the back of the library, they now come straight to your ears through online bookstores, smartphone apps, and music services. As consumer demand grows like never before, how can you as an author grow your audience? Delivered in a witty, easy style by multiple-award nominated producer J. Daniel Sawyer, Making Tracks gives you the lowdown on today's audiobook landscape. From narrative technique to studio design to production management, you'll learn everything you need to go from zero to full production, including: How to access the worlds biggest audiobook markets Industry history and business practices How to choose your production style How to leverage your audiobooks to build your stable of true fans All about audiology How to pick your equipment How to build your recording booth Tried and true go-to-market strategies Where to find music, sound effects, and voice actors Professional standards, and how to achieve them How to make your voice sound like a million bucks And much, much more... Those audio rights you used to sell to publishers now have real cash value. Learn how to make the most of them in this entertaining, accessible volume. Don't miss out on the other publishing revolution!

43 review for Making Tracks: A Writer's Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them)

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.F. Penn

    With audio a growing market, it can be difficult to fathom all the complexities of hardware, software, studio setup and editing as well as how to actually read or produce an audiobook or podcast. Dan Sawyer has many years experience producing his own audiobooks and helping others and he brings that knowledge to this book in order to help us authors break through the difficulties. This book will help you understand how the process works, as well as how to do it yourself or hire professionals to h With audio a growing market, it can be difficult to fathom all the complexities of hardware, software, studio setup and editing as well as how to actually read or produce an audiobook or podcast. Dan Sawyer has many years experience producing his own audiobooks and helping others and he brings that knowledge to this book in order to help us authors break through the difficulties. This book will help you understand how the process works, as well as how to do it yourself or hire professionals to help you. It's a fantastic investment in understanding how to exploit audio-rights. A must-read for every author-entrepreneur.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hiemstra

    Audio fascinates me. When I was a pre-teen, my favorite book was the Boy Engineer. As a kid, I was always building things. In about the third grade I built my first telegraph. About that time, my parents gave me a crystal radio kit and I began listening to The Joy Boys, Ed Walker and Willard Scott, on WRC radio through my ear phones . My fascination with the show went on for years and my dad actually took me down to the studio one time to meet them. Later in graduate school, I spent a lot of Sat Audio fascinates me. When I was a pre-teen, my favorite book was the Boy Engineer. As a kid, I was always building things. In about the third grade I built my first telegraph. About that time, my parents gave me a crystal radio kit and I began listening to The Joy Boys, Ed Walker and Willard Scott, on WRC radio through my ear phones . My fascination with the show went on for years and my dad actually took me down to the studio one time to meet them. Later in graduate school, I spent a lot of Saturday evenings listening to a Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor . Daniel Sawyer’s book, Making Tracks, taps into this same fascination. Although I have never purchased an audiobook, most of the senior citizens that I know have. Commuters and road warriors are two other obvious listening groups. Successful authors that I know are sensitive to the audiobook market because it opens up an entirely new reading market for their content . They often end up being addicted to podcasting for the same basic reason and because much the same equipment is needed. Interestingly, the audiobook industry started out as a government program to produce audiotapes to aid the blind (xvii; 22). Now, instead of tape, many books are entirely electronic (13). Audiobooks require a bit of time and effort. Sawyer estimates that production of an audiobook requires 4 to 8 hours of work for each hour of finished audio. Reading at a rate of 8,000 to 9,500 words per hour, that means that an 80,000 word novel is somewhere between 33.6 to 80 hours of production work—recording and editing, assuming that you know what you are doing (3). If you are producing an audio drama, not just a simple reading, a lot of different roles are required—much like producing a movie. Think of the production including: a casting director, a Foley artist (sound effects person), a music director, director, production engineer, art director, and post production engineer (9-12). Details. Details. Details. My head was spinning as I began reading…A recent book trailer shows this kind of workmanship . Daniel Sawyer describes himself as “a longtime award-nominated audio/video producer and tech journalist-turned novelist” . He writes in 6 parts divided into 18 chapters, including: Part 1: The Business. Part 2: Managing the Production. Part 3: Acoustics. Part 4: The Equipment. Part 5: Production. Part 6: Post Production (vii-xiii). Sawyer’s discussion is detailed and engaging. Under manage the production, Sawyer cites 5 points of vocal production: 1. Posture. 2. Diction. 3. Breath control. 4. Hygiene. And 5. Inflection (48). Now is a good time to refresh the lessons that your voice instructor gave you in school. For example, the best way to read is standing up. Received pronunciation (BBC English) is a middle-class, Ohio accent. Sawyer suggests that speaking a mouth full of marbles is a good cure for “mush mouth” (49). Speak with conviction with good annunciation! (59) The list of helpful hints goes on and on. Sawyer’s instructions on how to pick and use a microphone is priceless. He suggests, for example, that book readers probably want a dynamic microphone which uses a small magnet vibrating back and forth inside a coil (102). By contrast, a condenser microphone uses a charged piece of foil to pick up sound (101). The dynamic microphone is more durable and sounds more personal than a condenser microphone. Daniel Sawyer’s Making Tracks is a gold mine for audio book producers, but others with sound production may also want to pick up a copy. Microphones, cables, sound boards, and sound-editing software are all discussed in plain English. Making Tracks is interesting reading. Read more reviews at: T2Pneuma.net. REFERENCES Edward L. Throm. 1960. The Boy Engineer: A Popular Mechanics Book. Illustrated by Evelyn Urbanowich and Robert Pious. New York: Golden Press.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ronn

    I was in the market for an audiobook version of my short story collection recently, and I wanted to find a resource that would help me understand exactly what I was getting into. This book is highly technical, and it is geared toward professional narrators in training, or for authors who want to record their own audiobooks. It covers everything you need to know: the state of the audiobook market, barriers to entry, proper recording technique (even hygiene), selecting the right equipment, editing I was in the market for an audiobook version of my short story collection recently, and I wanted to find a resource that would help me understand exactly what I was getting into. This book is highly technical, and it is geared toward professional narrators in training, or for authors who want to record their own audiobooks. It covers everything you need to know: the state of the audiobook market, barriers to entry, proper recording technique (even hygiene), selecting the right equipment, editing, mastering, and all other aspects of the business side of audiobooks. It's a must-have for anyone looking to do their own audio. If there's one thing I took away from the book, it's that I don't have the time, resources, or patience to do an audiobook myself. I'm glad I spent the money on this book to learn that rather than jumping into it and finding out first-hand. Let that be a warning to anyone else considering doing their own audio. But for an author like me looking to outsource my audio, there wasn't much for me here. But I have a bit of an audio background, and I can definitely say that Sawyer's advice is sound, especially with recording, production, and post-production. This is why I gave it five stars, because it's perfect for its intended audience. What would have made this book a six star book though, would have been a section on marketing your audiobooks and getting them out there. With the rise of ACX, most people are outsourcing their audio these days, and the key issue for them is how to get the book in front of prospective readers, especially if they're under a royalty-share agreement, where the responsibility falls on both the author and narrator to promote the book. I haven't seen a (good) book on this topic yet, if there's anyone who could do it right, it's probably J. Daniel Sawyer. And it fits in with the book's target audience, too. That's a minor suggestion for an otherwise great book. This was a good read, and if I ever decide to do my own audio, this is the book I'd reread.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steven Pemberton

    I saw this book recommended in a thread on The Passive Voice. I was keen to read it, as I've had requests for audio editions of my own books, and wanted to know what might be involved. It turns out I already knew most of what's written here, from prior experience with recording and mixing sound, but it's good to have it reaffirmed by an expert. I found the book to be a well-written and comprehensive guide to audiobooks, whether you want to do everything yourself or hire a team of specialists or a I saw this book recommended in a thread on The Passive Voice. I was keen to read it, as I've had requests for audio editions of my own books, and wanted to know what might be involved. It turns out I already knew most of what's written here, from prior experience with recording and mixing sound, but it's good to have it reaffirmed by an expert. I found the book to be a well-written and comprehensive guide to audiobooks, whether you want to do everything yourself or hire a team of specialists or anywhere in between. It's an ideal length and has just the right amount of humour to lighten topics that might otherwise be rather dull. One subject that might be usefully expanded upon is how to write your book in a way that makes it easy(ier) to read aloud. In the section on editing, the author discusses how to create a good version of a difficult phrase or sentence by cutting together pieces from different takes. I've been there and done that, but I couldn't help thinking, "If a sentence is so awkward that you (or your actor) can't say it in one take, maybe you should rewrite it so you (or he) can." Easier said than done if you've already published the book, perhaps. Still, the above comment doesn't detract from this excellent reference. I will doubtless be re-reading it when I actually attempt to record one of my own books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ian King

    Dan - You are the MAN! This book is EXCELLENT!! Very helpful, you know your stuff. I was at first skeptical about buying this book as it was more than I wanted to spend - but I tell you, it was worth every penny. I am working on turning some of my own works into audio books and was not sure about MANY things, but Dan has really helped me with this publishing. Highly recommended! Press BUY - you won't be disappointed! (Okay now Dan - pay up for my review, he he - just kidding. I am genuinely thri Dan - You are the MAN! This book is EXCELLENT!! Very helpful, you know your stuff. I was at first skeptical about buying this book as it was more than I wanted to spend - but I tell you, it was worth every penny. I am working on turning some of my own works into audio books and was not sure about MANY things, but Dan has really helped me with this publishing. Highly recommended! Press BUY - you won't be disappointed! (Okay now Dan - pay up for my review, he he - just kidding. I am genuinely thrilled.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    M.A. Brotherton

    The most indepth book on audiobook production I've found so far. It goes deep in the technical details and I highly recommend it for anyone considering doing narration work. The most indepth book on audiobook production I've found so far. It goes deep in the technical details and I highly recommend it for anyone considering doing narration work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Micah Joel

    An incredibly thorough treatment. I will refer back to this every time I need to so something with audio.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris Lester

  9. 5 out of 5

    H.R. Baker

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Stieffel

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Clair

  12. 5 out of 5

    Margot Tesch

  13. 5 out of 5

    M.L. Buchman

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucie LeBlanc

  15. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Hansell

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric Lieb

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Anderson PhD

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chylene Ramsey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sean Cameron

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sherrod

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Thompson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mariana Llanos

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jan Springer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doc

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Wells

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tof Bsa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue Baiman

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bo Hammond

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vinci Amorim

  31. 4 out of 5

    Crassenstein

  32. 5 out of 5

    J.

  33. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Gilmore

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jim Keeler

  35. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  36. 5 out of 5

    Nowick

  37. 5 out of 5

    Constance R Anderson

  38. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  40. 4 out of 5

    Kaylene

  41. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

  42. 5 out of 5

    Iain

  43. 5 out of 5

    Bill Willis

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