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  • Writer's pictureTom Dheere

Audio Books: Getting It Right The First Time! – GKN Weekly Update 6/18/13

Let’s talk about audio books, shall we? I’ve got four in the pipeline right now; one full length and three short stories. We’re talking about fifteen finished hours total, which translates to about thirty hours in the booth and thirty hours of editing. Like I’ve said before, I outsource all my editing now. The shorts are due mid July and the full length one (the Harlequin novel I mentioned last time) is due at the end of July.

That’s thirty hours of recording in six weeks which should be no problem at all. How do I know there will be no problems? Well, I don’t. There always a chance something screwy will happen. The trick is to make sure you minimize the potential for screwiness. That’s why I have an audio book production checklist. Its the bomb, yo!

What is the deadline? That’s easy enough. Not many of us are full-time audio book narrators so doing them is often a “squeeze them in between the cracks” sort of endeavor, so you gotta make sure you have enough time to bang it out.

Can you send me the script as a PDF file, times new roman 12 point font double-spaced with line numbers? This one is pretty important. Your script needs to be easy to read and navigate. If you have a tablet, use iAnnotate so when you prep the script so you can mark it up with character notes, pronunciation help, etc. I’ve learned from experience that the format of the script needs to locked and line numbers are critical for when you need to do those dreaded retakes and have them edited in!

May I contact the author? So far, I have never had an author or publisher say no. Everyone has been super-nice and the authors I’ve worked with have been thrilled their work is being made into an audio book so they’re happy to help with the production. Just be careful that the author doesn’t get TOO involved in the process. You don’t want them micro-managing.

Can you send me a pronunciation guide? Trust me, nothing is worse then when you’re in the groove and your recording session screeches to a halt because you don’t know how to pronounce Thalassocratic or increate and spend who-knows how long looking it up. BTW I have to utter those words pretty soon!

Would you like me to send you a sample of the first fifteen minutes? This is standard practice for many publishers. You want to make sure that your pace, tone, and characterizations are spot on before you bust out the whole thing and they or the author have an issue with your reading. If you’re working directly with an author, I strongly recommend it.

Can you send me the intro and outro? Don’t guess, do it the way they want it!

Are there any dialects I need to do? I love doing the dialects. The more the better! It makes me feel like a one-man band. Most of the authors and publishers I’ve worked with have given me a lot of license. Some provide me with audio or video clips so I have a good point of reference. One author sent me a YouTube clip of him at a reading. Hearing him with his Missouri twang was a huge help!

Can you recommend any resources so as to give me insight into the locations or characters? Often you don’t get anything, but one in a while you strike gold. If an author sends you something; an article, a photo, a painting, use it! If you can visualize while you’re narrating what they were visualizing when they were writing, some really great stuff could happen…


This checklist is a product of trial and error, more error than I care to admit! My #1 day-to-day goal in life is to minimize drama, roadblocks, and BS. Take a bit of time before you start any endeavor.  Look at it thoughtfully and come up with a plan. Your life will be MUCH easier!


Hello and Happy International Sushi Day! Are you like me and refused to try sushi most of your life because of that scene in The Breakfast Club? “You won’t accept a guy’s tongue in your mouth and you’re gonna eat that?” Now I eat sushi every chance I can get. I missed out for soooo long!


Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin-it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring. S. J Perelman


I just saw “Argo” on Netflix. It was a great film, but when I did some research on it I found out they took a lot of license to make America look like the heroes who did all the work and make other countries look not-so-great. That sort of thing ticks me off!

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere; GKN News…


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