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15 Little Life Hacks

A face made for audiobooks

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This is what I spent all day today doing.


My first day recording my audio book. Notice the pre-prepared table full of voice goodies.
I’m happy to announce that we sold the rights to the audiobook version of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Even better, I’m doing the recording myself…which I thought might be an interesting story to tell.

It turns out that the publisher that bought the audio rights (they’re different than the book publisher) wanted to get this onto the market as quickly as possible using a professional voice actor. But I know you guys — and I talked to a ton of iwillteach readers on the media tour — and it would just be weird to have some dude reading my book. The publisher wasn’t convinced. It turns out that lots of authors think they should read their book, only to get in the studio and have the voice of the Kool-Aid Man after his bachelor party in Vegas. So get this: They made me audition by reading pages of my own book. This is when I knew I had not arrived.

Anyway, apparently it went ok, because I’m in studio for the next few days recording the audio book. I knocked out 65 pages today and the entire thing should be out in a few weeks. I’ll be releasing tons of audio excerpts as soon as I can.

Interesting notes about recording an audiobook:

  • They typically estimate 3 minutes per page. I’m currently doing 2 minutes per page, about 4-6 hours/day
  • Anytime there’s a mistake, we start on the prior sentence, rather than coming back later and re-recording
  • There’s a separate set of audio editors and proofers who will literally compare every recorded word with the text in the book. If I ad-lib at all, a producer notes it so it’s not flagged as a mistake
  • The microphone is extremely sensitive. “You know when you were on the radio for NPR?” they asked. “That was nothing compared to this mic.” If you crack your knuckles, it gets picked up clearly. If you move, the sound of your shirt gets picked up. I told them I’m going to wear a nylon track suit tomorrow to make them start crying.

More to come. As usual, I’m cataloguing interesting stuff I read in my money bookmarks and there are a bunch of new videos on my YouTube page.

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  1. This is great news. I plan on buying it for my brother ASAP!!

    I’ve also recommended your book to several of my coworkers. They are straight out of college, have been working for 6 months, and still have not taken advantage of the ESPP and 401K match, etc. They still think the word “invest” is scary.

    BTW, it took me a while to realize why you had this picture of this gorgeous lady on your page. I was like, “Yes, Ramit, I approve. Can we get this more regularly?”

  2. Really cool post. I’d personally like to see more of your thoughts on doing all this different media stuff.

    And dude, blow up that picture of Megan Fox. It’s too small.

  3. Loved the post title 🙂

    This recording stint actually sounds like a stressful gig!

  4. Maybe it’s just me but audio books not read by the author are a major deterrent. I’m glad you’re sticking to your guns on this one. Voice actors just can’t put the original enthusiasm and passion of the author into it. It’s a big disconnect.

  5. “The microphone is extremely sensitive.” This reminded me of a netmeeting that I attended. The presenter’s speech was full of static. I figured it was just a bad connection. We later found out that it was his shaggy beard that made the scratching noise on his headset mic.

  6. Good news.

    How do you handle data in an audio book? I’ve been thinking of doing an audio for my book.


  7. Elizabeth Feuer Link to this comment

    Hmm. You’re taking 2 minutes per page and usually it’s three. I guess that means we’ll have to listen at warp speed?

  8. Well, as a voice actor myself I know there a ton of great talents out there for this kind of work, and i’m bummed that someone in my field didn’t get an opportunity to bring life to your words. (And no, they would not necessarily sound like ‘the Kool-Aid man after his bachelor party in Vegas’ although they could if that’s what you wanted them to do) Still, love that the book will be available as an audiobook, too! Congrats!

  9. Hmmm…I haven’t bought the regular book but I would probably buy the audiobook. I run in the mornings and I like using that time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts so that would be perfect.

    I like fiction audiobooks read by a pro – but for non-fiction stuff I prefer having the author read it. That’s just my opinion.

    Good luck with the recording, don’t wear the nylon track suit – I want to listen to a clean recording 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing this interesting insight into the process of recording an audio book.