Unlike the others I just mentioned, Podiobooks is a platform for offering audiobooks FREE OF CHARGE.
Yes – FREE!
As with ACX, there is a fairly strict set of formatting criteria that you have to adhere to, but it’s not that much of a hassle. And there’s a host of people on hand, online, to help you get it right. For the full list of requirements, you need to download the guide here. Most of the recording side of things (microphone, noise reduction, errors, levels etc.) were covered in the previous article, but notable pieces of software include Audacity (for recording and editing) and Levelator (for balancing the audio), and on the hardware front you obviously need a computer of some sort, together with a decent microphone. Mine is a Shure condensing microphone with an XLR to USB preamp… of course!
Here’s a few of the main points from the Podiobooks guide:
- MP3 format at 128kbps, 44100 Hz in joint stereo. Joint stereo is the main hassle, since most audio software only gives you the option of mono or stereo. If you’re using a program like Audacity to create your files, setting it to joint stereo is nice and easy. However, if you’re trying to reformat it in FFMpeg, I hope you have better luck than I did. In the end, I used iTunes to do the conversion.
- Intro and Outro music. This isn’t something I’d previously considered, but apparently Podiobooks listeners like a bit of music at the beginning and end of each file, together with info on what they are listening to / have listened to. I got a guy on Fiverr to do the music for me – cost $5 and is copyright free. Have a listen:
- ID tags / name. I won’t bore you with the precise requirements, but they are easily set up in a tagging programming or in iTunes (which is especially effective for the ‘Grouping’ tag, which I messed up on the first go). The naming of each file is important as well, but not onerous, mine being in the format: ‘PB-Montgomery-01.mp3’.
Once you have the first of your audio files encoded and ready, Podiobooks like you to submit it to their Mentoring Program on Google+. Here, there is a whole community ready and waiting to check your mp3 meets the various requirements. It’s a service that’s worth using, even if you’re certain your file is perfect! I was. It wasn’t.
Having been given the Podiobooks community ‘thumbs up’, you then upload the file for Evo (king of Podiobooks and the last hoop through whom you have to jump) to check. If all is well, he will set you up with an account where you can upload all your audiobook files (including cover image and blurb) ready for publication on Podiobooks. Within a few days they are live and ready for people to download either via the Podiobooks site or on their iTunes podcast.
Here’s the link to Montgomery’s Trouble in the Underworld on Podiobooks.
This may all sound like there’s a lot of red tape to struggle your way through, but be assured, there’s help at hand at every stage. And since everyone else has to walk that same path, it means there’s loads of other free, high quality audiobooks for you to listen to.