How to become an audiobook narrator – Part 2 – Recording

In last weeks’ post, we talked about the equipment you’ll need to become an audiobook narrator. This week, we’re going to detail the process of actually recording an audiobook broken down into four major steps:

  1. Recording
  2. Post Processing
    1. RMS Normalizing
    2. Graphic Equalization
    3. Compression
    4. Normalizing
    5. De-Clicking
    6. De-Essing
  3. Visually editing out breath sounds and mouth clicks
  4. Final editing
    1. Mouth clicks
    2. Timing & Spacing
    3. Converting to Mp3 format.


Every audiobook publisher will have a set of “standards” that they want their audiobooks submitted in, including standards for RMS, peak values, noise floor and format. Here are ACX’s. You’ll need to learn enough about your DAW software to record and postprocess the recording to meet these requirements. Once you’ve learned how to “set” your recording equipment, you’re ready to start reading.

After reviewing the book and discussing with the author, you’ll decide how you’re going to “voice” the characters. Some authors want a reading, some want a performance and some want something in the middle.

Now you start reading. You’ll make mistakes which you hear, immediately going back & making a correction. It’s very easy to mispronounce a word or to insert your own speech patterns i.e. “I really do want to go” when the author wrote “I do really want to go”. We laughingly say that narrators are “just the monkey behind the microphone”, but there is some truth to that statement. Our job is to read what the author has written, even if it sounds clunky to our ear. The only exception to that is obvious grammatical errors or typos which we correct on the fly. It’s a good idea to discuss that before you start on the book. Even professionally edited books can contain mistakes.

Once you’ve completed a section or a chapter, you need to listen to it while reading the script to catch the errors that you didn’t hear yourself make. There will be some, though you will improve with practice.

Next week we’ll discuss postprocessing your audiobook files.

#DrWhodunit, #MarkBielecki, #audiobooknarration, #audiobookrecording, #DmitryDemidov

Photo by Dmitry Demidov from Pexels