Self-Narrators: Avoid the Mistakes I made! Pt. 2

Kevin G.

Last month, I shared with you my narrating tips for those of you thinking about self-narrating your own audiobook. This month, we’ll focus on the technical and editing aspects of the process, which are just as important as being able to read your masterpiece into the microphone.
In the spirit of paying it forward and helping other novice audiobook narrators/producers embark on their journey without making all the mistakes I made, here are more of my quick tips.
The Editing and Post-Production Process
Practice Editing. You can do this while you are also doing your sound checks and practicing with your equipment before you start narrating. Make a practice recording using the settings you have decided are perfect, then immediately edit it. Editing is the most time-consuming part of the process. The ACX trainers say you should expect to spend three hours editing every one hour of narration. They’re not kidding! But, the more you do it, the easier and faster it gets.
However, there is a steep learning curve. Here’s the tip–after you are done, go back and re-record and re-edit whatever section of the text you are using as your sample track. You want this to be as perfectly edited as you can make it.
Listen with good headphones, especially during the editing and proofing process. I already suggested you use good over-the-hear headphones while narrating. The same goes double when editing. I had some family obligations that prevented me from barricading myself in my basement for the entire night, while I carefully edited in total silence, so I sat on my couch with an earbud in one ear while carrying on a conversation with my wife through the other ear (and listening to the hockey game). Bad idea. Later, during the QC process, I heard many things on my tracks I wish I had heard during the initial editing pass. If you can, use your good headphones when editing. You can take them off occasionally to talk to your spouse.
Edit immediately after recording. There are two great reasons why you should edit immediately after recording. First, this will limit the duration of your recording sessions, which is good. Your voice will start to wear down if you try to record more than (in my case) 90 minutes in a stretch. You will also get tired and make more narrating mistakes. If you do a 60-minute recording session, then immediately spend the next three hours editing what you just recorded, you will limit the strain on your vocal cords.
Second, if you need to re-record something after the edit, you will more easily re-create the same vocal inflections if you do it that same day, rather than waiting until weeks or months later.
It’s also really nice to have a finished, edited file in the can at the end of the day. You will have a great sense of accomplishment and finality that will help you move on to the next day. To the contrary, if you end the day with 3 or 4 hours of narration which still needs to be edited, you’ll be looking at a long hard stretch of editing that will seem like a much more monumental task. (At least, that’s how I looked at it.)

Read the entire article in the July/August 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

You can just click on the magazine image on the left hand side of our home page to open and enjoy!


If you would like to receive the magazine every month (for FREE!) , just sign up on our home page. Once you do, an e-mail validation notice will be sent directly to you. Just open and click the link and you're in - forever!  Each month the magazine will be delivered directly to your inbox to downlad and read!