How to create a basic audiobook with Audacity.
There are many free Audacity tutorials on the web. This is for an author that does not want to spend money on studio-grade microphones or building a soundproof room. As YouTube has demonstrated, a lot can be accomplished with basic tools. You can download Audacity for free, here.
You will need at the least, a set of over-the-ear headphones with a built-in boom microphone. You don’t want to try and record with the microphone that is built into your webcam.
Also do not expect to get it perfect the first time. You are going to make mistakes and practice makes perfect. Don’t start with a 100k word novel. For your first few experiments, record a page or three of short story or poetry.
Once you finish a few minutes of finished product, you can proudly upload it to share with the world.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn. It’s actually a fun process.
1 Setup Script
1.1.1 Review your document, line by line.
1.1.2 If you plan on using alternate voices, highlight and color-code all of the quoted lines.
1.1.3 Don’t forget Author, Publisher, and Copyright information at both the start and end of the story.
2 Record Chapter(s)
2.1.1 Start a blank Audacity window.
2.1.2 Click the red ‘record’ button and say nothing for ten seconds. Let it record the background (ambient) room noises.
2.1.3 Start reading your script.
2.1.4 Take your time! Read slowly and distinctly. Your goal is clarity and ease of understanding.
2.2 Screwing Up
2.2.1 You WILL screw up! Don’t worry. If you cough, stumble, mis-pronounce, or just read the wrong line… Stop speaking and let it record blank for at least five seconds. Then drop back at least one full sentence and start over. Errors like this can be taken care of in the post-production phase.
2.2.2 If you are interrupted by a knock on the door, your telephone or shots fired, just stop the recording until you answer it or return fire. The “Stop” button has the little yellow square symbol.
2.2.3 If you have stopped, when you are ready to start again, hold down the Shift Key when you click on the Record button. That will append the next sequence right where you stopped.
2.2.4 At the end of each chapter, save your work, clear the recording window and start the next chapter. Be SURE to Save-As with a NEW filename for each chapter. For example, MyStory01, MyStory02, MyStory03, etc.
3 Post Production
3.1 Noise Removal
3.1.1 Unless you’ve spent the time and money to build a soundproof studio, all rooms have some form of background noise. This includes the cooling fans in your computer, your HVAC system, and thousands of noisy things just outside your window.
3.1.2 Remember I told you to record ten seconds of nothing at the beginning? This is where that will pay off.
3.1.3 Use the mouse to highlight that ten seconds of blank a the start of your recording. Notice how it is a small, wiggly line?
3.1.4 From the menu, select Effect/Noise Removal.
3.1.5 Click “Get Noise Profile” button.
3.1.6 Press Ctrl-A to select the entire recording.
3.1.7 From the menu, select Effect/Noise Removal.
3.1.8 Click “Ok”. You have just removed the ambient background noise from your recording.
3.2 Volume Adjust
3.2.1 Press Ctrl-A to select the entire recording.
3.2.2 From the menu, select “Effect/Amplify”.
3.2.3 Click “Ok” and the automatic setting should set everything to a full volume.
3.3.1 Pressing the “Home” button on your keyboard should return the cursor to the beginning of your recording.
3.3.2 If it is a long recording, you may want to use the magnifying glass (zoom) tool to select just the first 30 seconds.
3.3.3 Click the “Play” button and listen carefully. When you come to one of the places where you screwed up, stop the playback in the middle of the blank spot and highlight the area back to where you started that sentence.
3.3.4 Press the “Delete” key on your keyboard and that section will go away. You might have to adjust the spacing so the new sentence starts smoothly.
NOTE: If you make a mistake, you can press Ctrl-Z on your keyboard to “Undo”.
3.4.1 The same keyboard commands used in Word Processing work in Audacity.
3.4.2 Highlight any section of your recording and press Ctrl-X to cut, Ctrl-C to copy, and Ctrl-V to Paste.
4 Final Production
4.1 Create MP3
4.1.1 Once you are satisfied with your overall recording, from the menu, select “File/Export”.
4.1.2 Choose the MP3 option and give your new recording its final name.
This might take a few minutes since it is converting from the AUP (multiple files) native format of Audacity into a single, consumer MP3 file.