Keeping Your Audiobook Revisions Straight

Hey, there!

Revising a 30 second spot is pretty easy – you’re usually done with everything in a matter of minutes.

Big, long term projects like audiobooks require a bit more planning and forethought.

Here’s an easy way to manage that.

So. What’s the secret of keeping your versions straight?

You record a chapter for an audiobook. You prepare it for submission to ACX, editing and normalizing/compressing or Levelating for optimal listening, export it as the final MP3, and upload it for review.

The rights holder loves it, but points out that you mispronounced a word or two, and would love to have you correct that.

You panic.

You didn’t save the original voicework, you just saved the processed tracks. How do you match them up when you do the revision?

It’s actually pretty easy.

First, commit to saving all your work in raw, recorded format, pre-normalization/compression, as WAV files. Then, you can do the pickup, edit in the revision, and then re-process and export the audio.

But for those emergencies where you don’t have the original work any longer, do this: instead of just recording the one sentence or two that you need to update, re-record the entire paragraph or half page or so that bounds each error. Then, normalize/compress that whole block, which will much more closely approximate the normalization/compression of the entire chapter, than simply editing in a few words. You can then replace the old audio segment with the new audio you’ve recorded and re-export the MP3.

DON’T reimport the MP3 output and try to insert new audio into it – the quality won’t match up, and it will sound jarring to the listener.

And – from now on – keep the raw, unprocessed work until the book is available for sale. You can then safely archive the entire production.

Hope this helps.



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  1. Great suggestions. I hae been keeping all my recordings on my laptop until getting the notification that the book is online, then I archive them on a flash drive, which frees up the space on my hard drive. I have one folder for the recorded chapters, then a separate folder for the edited, ready to upload chapters. That way I have all my work saved.

  2. Ah! Thanks, Janet and David. I like the idea of separate folders for raw and finished files. That’s helpful. Thanks. Now I just need to get in the habit of a second back up drive that I swap for the one I will store in my car. : ) Safety not only in numbers, but also location.