Editing a Full Length Audio-Book

I wrote a few months ago about starting a large editing project of editing an audiobook for one of my podcast clients. I'd never edited an audiobook before it (and keep in mind, this does not include my own voice narration) but since she knew I edited audio she asked if I could edit her audiobook.

On top of editing, I helped her choose the right microphone to record her audiobook with since she wanted to record it with her own voice. I also gave her tips for recording and her voice, like making sure to drink plenty enough water so she doesn't make saliva sounds, or always staying consistent with the audio quality and how far away she is from the microphone. These small things are very important for audio books to meet the "ACX standard". ACX is the gateway from recording your audio book to publishing it to Audible for your listeners to access. The standard requirements are listed:

  • contain only one chapter/section per file, with the section header read aloud
  • have a running time of no longer than 120 minutes
  • have room tone at the beginning and end and be free of extraneous sounds
  • measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS and have -3dB peak values and a maximum -60dB noise floor
  • be a 192kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) at 44.1 kHz

I'm sure some of that stuff didn't make any sense, but it's specific audio quality details that need to be edited and consistent throughout hours of audio.

After a few months once all the recording was finished, I got to work on the editing. It took quite a while, as my editing consisted of mostly editing the pacing and tedious breaths and mouth-click removal in the audio. 

The pacing editing was probably the hardest. I had to use a lot more of my own judgment as to what parts should be faster or slower. For example, in between chapter announcements, I wanted there to be at least 3 seconds of silence. For the actual narration parts, like in a very dramatic emotional moment, I want long spaces to add to the effect. 

After I was finished editing everything, I sent her the files to review.

She was very happy with the results, and soon had a small list of edits she wanted me to fix. Half of the edits were re-records of audio portions because she wasn't happy with how she narrated them, or because she made changes to the book text and therefore had to re-record it. I made the changes and she's now reviewing them!