How Audacity helped me to get my audiobook published on Audible

Audible are very picky when it comes to audio quality, but a free tool helped me to succeed in getting published

Kieran Ball
Sep 26, 2019 · 5 min read

Earlier this year, I exhibited at the London Book Fair. I spoke to quite a few publishers about audiobooks and they were surprised that, as a self-published author, I managed to get my audiobooks published on Audible. Here’s how I did it.

Photo by Burst from Pexels

When I submitted my first audiobook to Audible, it was rejected due to poor quality audio. So, I rerecorded the whole book and resubmitted it. It was rejected again. I did this two more times, only for it to be rejected twice more.

I had a decent microphone, a Blue Yeti, and a very quiet room, but I just couldn’t manage to get the quality to a high enough standard for it to be accepted by Audible. That’s when I stumbled across the free software Audacity.

What is Audacity?

Audacity is the most amazing audio editing software ever, and it’s free! You can download it here: https://www.audacityteam.org/

https://www.audacityteam.org/

Whoever made it is wonderful. I use it to edit all my audio on my online courses and audiobooks. There are lots of incredible things you can do with Audacity, but in this article, I’m just going to show you how to make your audio sound crisp and clear.

Step 1 — Open Audacity

Firstly, you need to open Audacity and just double check that the correct microphone has been selected. Otherwise, it may just use your laptop’s in-built microphone to record your audio.

Choose the correct microphone

Step 2 — Record something

To record in Audacity, all you have to do is click the big red circle. Or, you can also press R on your keyboard.

Press the red circle to start recording

Audacity is quite simple to use and you’ll figure out most things just by playing around with it. Once you’ve recorded what you want, just press the stop button (the black square).

Now you have your audio, it’s time to clean it up.

Step 3 — Noise reduction

Here comes the fun bit. If you listen to your audio as it is right now (which you can do by pressing the play button), you will find that there is a slight hissing sound in the background. That’s just normal background ambient noise. However, we can get rid of that in a jiffy.

Record a few seconds of nothing. Press record on Audacity and record five to ten seconds of nothing; don’t say anything, just let the microphone record the natural background noise of the room you’re in.

Once you’ve done that, make sure the “selection tool” is selected.

Then click and drag to highlight the five seconds of slience:

Once your five seconds of silence is selected, click the “Effect” button at the top of the page, and choose the “Noise Reduction…” option:

Select “Effect”
And then choose “Noise Reduction…”

When you click “Noise Reduction…”, a box will appear. You need to click the button “Get Noise Profile” and Audacity will then know that your selection is what you want to filter out of your recording.

Press “Get Noise Profile”

Once you have clicked “Get Noise Profile”, the “Noise Reduction” box will disappear.

Now, you need to select the entire recording. So, hold down Ctrl and then A on your keyboard to select all.

Ctrl and A will select all

When the whole thing is selected, you have to go back to “Effect” and then “Noise Reduction…” to get the noise reduction box to open up again.

This time, you’re simply going to click “OK”.

Just press OK

Now, if you listen to your recording again, you will notice that the hissing sound in the background has gone. You can now delete those few seconds of silence you recorded. Simply highlight the audio you want to delete and then press “delete” on your keyboard.

Step 4 — Amplify

One thing that I always like to do is amplify my recording just to make sure it’s loud enough. To amplify your recording, you start off by selecting the whole thing. Just hold down Ctrl and A on your keyboard and everything should highlight.

Then, go to “Effect” and choose “Amplify…”.

Go to “Effect” and then choose “Amplify…”

When the “Amplify” box appears on screen, just make sure that the “Allow clipping” box is ticked.

Tick “Allow clipping”

Then, you want to put a number in the “Amplification (dB):” box. I usually put 4, but you can put any number you like. The higher the number, the louder your recording will be. Once you have chosen a number, just click “OK” and your recording will be amplified.

Enter an amplification number

If you type in a number and your recording turns out either too loud or too quiet, you can always undo and put a different number. To undo, you can either hold Ctrl and Z on your keyboard, or you can go to “Edit” and choose “Undo amplification”.

You can always undo

Hopefully this quick article has helped you to make a small improvement to the quality of your audio. I’m far from an expert at Audacity, but I have learnt quite a lot from using it, so if you have any questions, just let me know in the comments, and I’ll see if I can help :-)

Kieran Ball

Written by

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club

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