Happy Independence Day!
Happy 29th Anniversary to my husband!
It's going to be a great weekend!
Betty M Reeves - Author, Betty's Music & Publishing
|155 E. Ocla Street, Borger, TX 79007 806-898-0654 email@example.com|
I have submitted two recorded books to ACX. They are "pending audio review" which can take up to 30 business days. I will continue to produce my books, in THE STORY OF GLOPS series, for ACX. If something needs changing in the recordings, I now have the confidence that I can make the changes. I do not understand it, but I can do it.
Happy Independence Day!
Happy 29th Anniversary to my husband!
It's going to be a great weekend!
This has the best information of all in the Audacity to ACX videos!
ACX University: Setting Up Audacity: Part 4, Lesson 3
In Audacity, record in MONO, not stereo. Or save as Reduce to MONO.
Split screen for Audacity on left and book script on right, or for Audicity on lower screen and book script on upper screen.
Record narration. When you make a mistake, stop. Either record over it or start a new track to go back and fix it later. Use:
Shift Z = undo
Shift Y = redo
Shift X = cut
Shift C = copy
Shift V = paste
Shift K = copy all to end
Shift J = copy all to beginning
Export Track as [filename]_raw.wav with Encoding: 32-bit (float)
Drag and drop [filename]_raw.wav into Levalator. Keep this file in case you need it later.
Levalator will improve the file and make it much more even
[filename]_raw.output.wav will be saved wherever the [filename]_raw.wav is
Remove the old track from Audacity.
Drag and drop the new [filename]_raw.output.wav back into Audacity. You can delete this file later.
Select All (Ctrl A) and Effect >
Check Remove DC …
Check Normalize peak amplitude to Normalize to -3.0 dB
No check on stereo …
Export as [filename]_final.mp3 with Quality of 192 kdps
because an mp3 file is what ACX wants.
Keep this file, also.
Sound effects can be added, too.
If you want to add sound effects, do it with this [filename]_final.mp3. When finished, export the narration and sound effects as:
Bit-rate Mode = Constant
Quality = 192 kdps
Channel Mode = check Force Export to MONO
Click OKAY on next screen (It is about music.)
Keep this file.
The [filename]_final.mp3 for narration or the [filename]_final_wSE.mp3 for narration with sound effects is the file to upload on ACX.
"So what is The Levelator®? It's software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It's not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It's much more than those tools, and it's much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler's application window, and a few moments later you'll find a new version which just sounds better." (bold type is mine)
It is FREE and it works wonders.
The opening screen in Audacity was rather intimidating. When watching videos from ACX University, or any other video on YouTube that explained Audacity, I soon began to see the screen as a digital recorder with controls similar to the old cassette players I owned "back in the day."
ACX says that
There are all those terms and numbers that I didn't (and still don't quite) understand. My new friend, Wayne Hughes, understands, though.
kbps = kilobits per second
MP3 = a way of compressing a sound sequence into a small file (much smaller than a wav file)
kHz = kilohertz, a measurement of audio frequency in data chunks per second
CBR = constant bit rate
room tone = specific quality of background noise during a live recording
dB = decibel, unit used to measure the intensity or pressure of a sound
dB peak values = maximum sound levels before distortion
There is always a "learning curve," but this was more of a "learning curl!"
For example: 192 kbps, mp3, bit rate at 44.1 kHz, -23 dB and -18 dB RMS, -3dB peak, and -60 dB noise floor. It all looked like the combination to a secret safe or the password for entrance into an important government facility.
Consequently, my first attempt at recording my narration, of the first book in The Story of Glops series, was an unacceptable flop. That dimmed my enthusiasm a bit. Education is usually the key, so I decided to learn all I could and get help from someone who could and would help.
ACX is the Audiobook Creation Exchange launched by Audible, Inc. about 10 years ago. Audible is an Amazon company. Audiobooks produced through ACX are sold through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Each recording for a book must meet certain, specific criteria to assure excellent, high-quality audiobooks. That, in turn, leads to satisfied audiobook listeners.
My husband, Glenn, calls it my hideout, because it reminds him of his boyhood hideout made with blankets and quilts over a card table.
Attempt one: Using the entire spare bedroom as a "recording studio" failed. I used quilts, a matress pad, a bedspread, and sheets on all hard surfaces. I added an old egg-crate mattress around my laptop and Blue Yeti USB microphone. That did not deaden enough extraneous sounds. Plus, the room could not function in any other manner.
Attempt two: Shrinking the size of the "recording studio" to a corner of the room seemed like a good idea. Although it was slightly better, it was not sound proof enough for good recordings.
Attempt three: Using a closet. What about claustrophobia? I wouldn't know until I tried it. I was able to make space in a different closet for luggage that was stored in the spare-bedroom closet. Throwing away a few items, including useless, empty boxes, was painless. The closet was only three feet wide and I had no desk that would fit. I did have the adjustable stand for my music keyboard and a removable computer-keyboard shelf from a desk. Add one very small, folding chair. Perfect fit!
I used the same quilts, matress pad, bedspread, sheets, and egg-crate mattress on all surfaces, over, under, and side to side. Voilà! One small, 3' x 4.5' dead-sound room. Although it is not very pretty, it is effective. As for claustrophobia? The door knob is only 12" from my left shoulder, and I take frequent breaks from recording.
No solution yet.
I am moving on to the next project, which is making audiobooks.
I have tried several times to get this blog to appear on Author Central, also. I even re-entered each separate blog, here, for Amazon to recoginze. Even though the pop-up said the blog was connected to Author Central, it has not shown up. Of course, I have to wait a day or more to know if the most recent attempt works. It is not a matter of "drag and drop" or "copy and paste." If it were, I would do that.
I will keep working on it. In the meantime, does anyone have any words of wisdom to share with me about how to get it done?
Balaam: The Story of Glops, Short Story 5a is ready for you and anyone else who wants a FREE copy.
This is the back-cover blurb:
“How can I get rid of these people before they start a war?” King Balak asked himself. He was talking about the Israelites.
God’s people rested in the country of Moab after forty years of wandering. They had won many battles against other nations. Balak, the king of Moab and Midian, hired the prophet, Balaam, to put a curse on Israel so the immigrants would go away.
Some imaginary glops became friends with the prophet’s donkey. Together with Balaam, they went to the king. Amazing events took place during and after their trip. Read this short story to find out how God stepped in to make Balaam do what God wanted.
This is a short story in The Story of Glops series.
Get your own copy and tell your family, friends, and acquaintances about the FREE short story. You wil find it on my website: bettymreeves-author.com
It has taken two years, but I have finally learned a few "key" steps to get better rankings on Amazon. This is important to me, because all my books are sold on Amazon.
When people talked about "algorithms" on Amazon, I had no idea what they meant. Wikipedia says, "An algorithm is a finite list of instructions, most often used in solving problems or performing tasks."
I was still puzzled. When I learned that a recipe was an example of an algorithm, I began to understand. In cooking, I had to follow the recipe in the correct order.
1. Gather the ingredients. There was no need to go to the next step if I did not have all (or most) of the ingredients. I did my fair share of substituting one ingredient for another, though.
2. Preheat the oven. Such a simple but necessary step. If this step was overlooked, the oven would not reach the proper temperature and the mixed ingredients did not cook properly or in a timely fashion. I learned from experience that turning the oven to a hotter temperature than recommended, to make up for lost time, would not solve the problem.
Amazon has become the #1 search engine for books. If someone wants a book about a particular subject, the person types the subject into the search bar. Books that Amazon thinks are the best matches will be shown. Chances are strong that the person will click on one or more of the books shown and possibly make a purchase.
How can an author of a particular book, one of millions in a particular genre, get Amazon to show that one book to someone searching for books in that genre? Algorithms.
Only Amazon knows all that goes into its algorithms. Apparently, it is a closely guarded secret. Certainly, one important factor is the sales ranking of the book. More sales, better algorithms, more exposure, better ranking ... Somehow, they must be tied, or looped, together.
It's been a year or longer since I watched "Dancing with the Stars." The show was based on the premise that a well-known person was matched with a professional dancer, and they became a dancing couple. Weekly, they competed with other such couples, until one couple proved to be the best dancing partnership in the dwindling number of contestants. Ideally, the best couple won. Popularity played a part, especailly at first, until the dances became harder and the weaker couples were eliminated. It was more than a popularity contest. Hard work and skill were involved.
To get a book noticed by Amazon so that buyers notice the book, the author needs more than popularity. People who are much smarter about this than me, specifically the people at Reedsy who send free, weekly emails, say that "keywords" are extremely important. To Amazon, keywords are more important than the words in the book's title, subtitle, or back-cover blurb.
Having placed my books on Amazon and filled out the forms, I already knew that authors are allowed only seven keywords. Here's the "key" to this problem. We can insert more than one word in each of the seven spaces. That was welcome news to me.
In fact, we can enter up to 50 characters per keyword space. Now, that makes a difference! Instead of using "Noah" for one keyword and "Ark" for a second keyword, I could type "Noah's Ark, Great Flood, Rain, Rainbow" in one keyword space. Did you count the characters? I still had room for more, plus six more keyword spaces to go.
When I did that seven times, I knew I had a better chance of my book being noticed. If someone searched for "Noah," my book might be recommended by Amazon. In fact, it was. For awhile, my book was #1 in the cagetory of "Children's Noah's Ark Books." Amazon's rankings are very fluid, though. My book is no longer #1 in that category, but it's still doing much better than it did during the first two years that it was on Amazon.
"How do you like them apples?" (Good Will Hunting).