I never thought very much about all the decisions involved with turning a book into a manuscript, beyond recognizing that at some point someone had to design the cover. Things such as font choices, trim sizes, paper weights, etc., were all decisions that I blindly consumed as a reader without realizing all of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making them. Then I joined the Ooligan team, and suddenly I got to play a part in making all of these decisions! That’s when I began garnering an understanding—and appreciation—for the beautiful beast that is the book design process. Now that I’ve stepped into my role as the manager for Ooligan’s design department, I’m learning so much more about all that goes into designing a book.
You’re probably reading this article because you either have a book that you’d like to make into an audiobook and are wondering how to go about it, or you’re just curious about the factors that go into deciding what an audiobook will sound like.
With the popularity and proliferation of digital devices like the iPhone and iPad, audiobooks and their close cousin, the podcast, have become uniquely convenient for those multitaskers looking to fill extra time during their commute or workout. This does bring up the question of whether or not this practice of listening rather than reading is a legitimate method of comprehension.
Imagine you are listening to an audiobook. The story takes place in the South, and you’re immersed in a scene of intense action. Suddenly, you hear the voice actor say “you all,” rather than the “y’all” you have been hearing up until this point. You pause, and suddenly you’re not thinking about the story. You’re removed from the world you spent the past half hour in, and now you’re thinking about the actor, maybe picturing them in front of a microphone, watching them as they make the fatal mistake. It takes you a few moments, and maybe a quick rewind, to get back into the story. How do publishers avoid these mishaps in an audiobook recording?
The written word only matters insofar as it is made available and accessible—and in this case, insofar as it can be taxed. With the Trump administration dealing with the aftermath of a trade war with China, many consumers and publication producers are licking their wounds. In an unprecedented tariff implementation, almost every form of publication is being exposed to a 10 percent tax increase that started September 1, 2019. A second wave of taxes will come in December 2019.
Ooligan author Brian K. Friesen made an audiobook for At the Waterline, and we got the chance to hear about his process and the exciting results!