I recently decided that as a useful way of proofing my new novel manuscript, I would do a reading of it. Let me expound my reasons for you.
It’s a 160,000 word novel, and after reading it through several times, over what feels like many, many months I just can’t face the idea of reading it in my head again.
I’ve purchased a shiny new microphone. After some research I settled on a RODE NT-USB, which, as its name suggests, has the advantage of connecting to one’s computer using a USB port, which makes things simpler. In addition to that it comes with a built-in pop screen and offers a very impressive level of quality. Yeti microphones are another popular option, but the RODE was my personal choice.
I’ve got a YouTube channel. So far I’ve only really got one video of note up there, a Wind in the Willows complete illustrated audiobook that I put up in 2013. As of now, it’s got about 78,000 views, which I’m pretty pleased with. The reasons for that solid number (I suspect) are the fact that there is a fairly large and stable base of people using You Tube to look for audiobook, and a fairly large proportion of those looking for Wind in the Willows, which means that a video that can distinguish itself (mine offers completeness – it’s the whole book, unique illustrations for each chapter, and is read in an English accent that works better than it might for, say, Huckleberry Finn) will attract a certain, stable number of clicks. Mine gets about 100 views per day, give or take 20. So that’s good and dandy, but I’m also trying to promote my new novel, and you have to use the tools you’ve got, after all. So I’ve decided to put out a preview on my channel, and hopefully a small number of people will come by and decide to give mine a look.
But, you cry, how do you make your new audiobook?
Well, having had some experience before, might I first refer you to the point above about the choice of microphone. The Wind in the Willows audiobook was recorded using a small voice recorder with a kitchen sponge stuck on the end to act as a pop screen. It worked… adequately, for what it was. I guess. Not great, anyway. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve got a feeling that some of the dislikes my first effort received (fortunately a small number compared to the likes) were due to sound quality, which is perfectly listenable-to, but not exactly studio.
So you’ve got a microphone. Good start. You will also need: some writing; a computer; some software to record audio; some software to edit audio; some software to turn audio into a video; some software to make imagery to go with the audio on the video, and; somewhere to put up the video when you’ve made it. Got all that? Smashing.
My setup is somewhere between hobbyist and rank amateur, so I’m rolling with the following:
- A RODE NT-USB microphone
- My novel
- A six year old Dell laptop with dodgy screen hinges
- Audacity (which is free) for the recording and editing
- Windows Movie Maker (also free; stop laughing at the back there) for making a video
- GIMP (free – you see a pattern) for creating video imagery
- The aforementioned YouTube channel for uploading the gourmet AV experience these ingredients serve up
Other than that, the main thing is to be aware than recording in a dynamic and listenable way is quite tiring, physically, and going from laying out your equipment to clicking the “Publish” button on your platform of choice typically takes many, many times longer than the actual run-time of the video.
This is what I’ve come up with: https://youtu.be/xbOMAEsCHMg
Please take a look and let me know what you think. This is very much still a learning experience, so any advice you can offer is well appreciated. And if you’re wondering, the novel will be available very soon!