Welcome back to How to Succeed at Audiobook Production. If you’ve been following this series, then you’ve read up on The ACX Mile, which helps you perfect the art of narration recording, perform a complete edit and QC your recorded audio, and learn audio mastering best practices. If you haven’t perused these posts, I recommend doing so before continuing on.
Now that you’re caught up, let’s move on to the fourth and final part of my series: encoding and file delivery.
Rounding The Final Corner
Upon a successful master, your audiobook production is not quite finished. Keeping that in mind, watch the final video in our series, and review the key points I discuss after.
The Home Stretch
I recommend you perform another final QC pass on your audio before moving on to encoding and delivering your audio. After putting so much effort into your production, the last thing we want to do is send an audio review notice to fix missing chapters or out-of-order audio files. The post-mastering QC pass needn’t be as in-depth as what I recommend in the article on editing; it could be as simple as verifying the volume levels are meet our specifications, that the content is complete, and that the audio files are numbered and named in the proper order.
If everything looks ready, then we can begin the encoding process. I cover this in more detail in my post, Encoding Audio with Andrew the Audio Scientist, but I’ll summarize here. That post contains a link to our instructions detailing how to encode your audiobook to ACX specifications using the free and cross-platform fre:ac encoding software.
Keep ACX’s Encoding Requirements in Mind.
All files in your audiobook must:
- Be all mono or all stereo (though we strongly recommend mono).
- Be encoded at a bit rate of at least 192kbps, and contain a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz.
- Not be encoded with VBR or joint stereo options.
Also be cognizant of ACX’s file-level requirements. The encoding options you choose can potentially cause the run-time or the file size to go over our specifications. Each file must contain a single chapter, be under 120 minutes in length, and be no larger than 170mb.
Crossing the Finish Line
Once you verify your audio complies with our MP3 encoding and file-level requirements, you’re ready to upload our audio to the ACX production manager! Here are some last-minute tips that could potentially save you from an audio review notice.
1. Be smart about your sample. The retail sample you provide will likely be a customer’s first glimpse into your work, so make this moment count! I recommend grabbing the audio from an early point in the book, so you don’t give away plot developments. Also, be mindful of the ACX sample requirements, which expressly prohibit erotic/mature content. If your book is on the wilder side, find a section that is appropriate for all audiences.
2. Double-check your book’s chapter order when uploading your files. Files arrive to ACX in the same order as they are uploaded to the Production Manager. Doing this last check will make the QA process simpler and faster, allowing us to get your title on sale more quickly.
3. Ensure your file names are clear and concise. To help ACX best understand your audio, I recommend naming your audio using a template such as:
- 01-BookTitle-OPENING.mp3 <<Your book’s Opening credits.
- 03-BookTitle-CH1.mp3 <<Chapter one
- 04-BookTitle-CH2-p1.mp3 <<Chapter two, part one
- 05-BookTitle-CH2-p2.mp3 <<Chapter two, part two
Since we are at the end of the How to Succeed at Audiobook Production series (but not the end of my regular contributions to the blog), I want to take this opportunity to thank our users, subscribers and readers for your loyal viewership.
But don’t worry, I’ll be back with more audiobook production tips soon. In the meantime, share your own with your fellow readers in the comments below!