This is probably the second most common question I get after, “How did you get into Audiobooks“. And the answer varies so check out below why it varies and what all goes into it!
Before answering how long it takes to do audiobooks, a better place to start is what all goes into audiobooks! So after you have signed contracts and you have the book in your hand (or rather on the ipad) the Prepping starts.
Prepping means I am getting the book ready to record. I read through the entire book beginning to end. While I’m reading, if it’s a fiction book, I write down new characters as I come across them and any information about them I get, such as an accent (which may need to learn) or personality traits which helps me to figure out how to voice them. I also write down words I need to research the pronunciations for (this is more common in non fiction books in my experience) and anything else that I might need to figure out before hopping into the booth. I also love to work with my indie authors on how to pronounce certain things, especially in fantasy books where they’ve made up their own words and names.
After I’m all prepped and feel confident, I’m ready to to record!
This is by far the best part of the process. I get into my booth and dive into this new world. Now, you’d think if it was a 4 hour book if would take me 4 hours to record … but that is not accurate … at all! Because we mess up all the time. We have to go back and re-record sentences or paragraphs and I can only narrate for so many hours at a time before my voice needs a break. It often takes twice as long to record, but this can vary depending on the book. Some books and authors just flow of the tongue better than others, which is rarely any indication of the authors level but more so a particular author might speak more like me naturally so it comes out easier for me.
At this point, the book is sent off to an editor/proofer, or at times, are done by the narrator themselves. I do edit/proof a number of my books but I’m so grateful to hire out when I can as this is the part of the process that takes the absolute longest! In general, this is a 2-3:1 ratio. And again, this can vary per book as well. Proofing is where the audio is compared against the text for word accuracy as well as any weird sounds or pauses that may have been missed while recording. Editing consists of cleaning up the audio for things like gross mouth sounds (because there are many) and many other things. Then mastering to make sure it will pass all the specs needed for the various platforms. This is a very high level overview and a lot more goes into but it gives you the basic idea.
So to make a long story short, most of my books take anywhere from 3-4 hours per finished hour. So a 4 hour book will take me 12-16 hours on average.