Let me be your Audiobook professional.
These standards are universal so that your Audiobook can reach listeners across various distributers.
1. All audio must be human-narrated and provided as MP3 files.
Although this is coming up for debate in the audiobook world, right now this is a rule with almost all audiobook distributors. The need for the human nuance cannot be duplicated by bots (for now), and there have been found to be some rather unethical people out there tricking narrators looking for work into giving their voices to people that use software that can read a script and use that person’s voice to produce the narration.
So that means the voice you hear from my work is ME! 😁
MP3s are the most common audio for just about everything! Be sure your default player is set to play MP3 so you can listen and monitor production.
2. Chapters, credits, and any introductions must be standalone files no longer than 120 minutes each. If the book has no chapters. I must split into segments of 30-120 minutes each.
It’s easier to track and make necessary changes as needed. Some can allow you (the rights holder) to make notes and ask for edits or suggestions as the production progresses. I like working on a chapter (in order!) then sending it through as it’s completed so that any future chapters can be congruent. Let’s say you find that a name of character or place has been mispronounced, you identify the Chapter, time location of the word, and request an edit (hopefully before that happens I’ve preread the chapter and have sent you a request to spell out how this word is phonetically pronounced – ie. “Liam” is pronounced “Lee’-um” -close enough). Then, I go back to correct it, and then from then on, I’m aware of the pronunciation in the future when that word pops up again.
Also, the chapters can’t go on and on and on to the point that there’s no break for the listener, or the chapter drones into oblivion to the point the listener may lose interest. 😪 Therefore, if the book has no chapters, I must split it into segments of 30-120 minutes each. This is something usually found in non-fiction books (generally informational or training materials). I will consult with the copyright holder if necessary.
3. Opening credits must be included and include only the title, the author, and narrator names.
That’s it. Nothing else. I cannot change this.
4. Ending credits must be included.
I will announce, “This has been (title). Written by (author). Narrated by L. S. Quail.” I must then announce the copyright holder (publisher) with the year of MANUSCRIPT copyright – “Copyright (year) by (original rights holder).” Then followed by audiobook production copyright – “Audiobook production copyright (year) by (rights holder).”
And, hey! Give me your website address (if you don’t have one… get one!). Let me know if you have Facebook and Twitter (again… get them!). Why? Because… advertisement, baby! 😉 “To learn more about (author), visit www.(your website).com. You can also follow (author) on Facebook and Twitter (and any other social media pages you may have plus any Youtube or such video/podcast media sites you may use).” If under a different rights holder, I can also direct them to the rights holder website if desired. I will also introduce my own – “You can learn more about the narrator, L. S. Quail, at http://www.lsquail.com, or follow L. S. Quail on Facebook and Twitter.”
That is all I’m allowed for end credits.
5. There are many technical requirements I must follow for the audiobook productions themselves that do not involve the rights holder or the author.
These are general rules involving vocal and background noise levels involved in the production. That is where my personal equipment, studio, and knowledge come in. Without the hardware and software, or the knowledge to use them, I can’t do anything for you. Without the studio, well… I may as well be standing on I-75 giving you traffic updates.
And just so you know…
I cannot add copyrighted sounds, materials, music, or page-turning sounds.
Page-turning sounds are not necessary because some audiobook customers don’t have the material to read in front of them (plus a whole slew of other reasons why this wouldn’t work). So, why the annoying sounds?
If you want music or sound effects, that would be something the rights holder would have to produce into the audio themselves (I produce voice material).
I don’t do PowerPoint productions.
But I can read the script for them.