Narration Creation: Recording Time

Posted June 8, 2012 by Emily in Uncategorized / 13 Comments

Narrators bring the stories we love to life. But what does it take to prepare and record an audiobook? I asked a group of narrators four questions about the audiobook process. This series is based off of the Blogger Confidential series.

How long does an audiobook narration take? (Average being 7-9 hour narration) How often do you have to take breaks?

“The majority of narrators work at a 2:1 ratio. For every hour of recorded material, it took your narrator two hours to record it.

Breaks? What’s a break? LOL. I take tons! The typical recording day is six hours. I break every hour or so for a few minutes, and then well, we all gotta eat right? So I lunch as well. Almost sounds like a regular office job. Only I get to tell stories and make up goofy voices.” Khristine Hvam, narrator of Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Iron Fey series

“This depends so much on the length of book, style of language the book uses and the speed of narrator! An average book takes a couple of days of recording in the studio. Twilight Series was probably the longest I have recorded so far, each one took about a week to finish. I love drinking lots of water and tea during recording, which helps the voice! Every few chapters we take breaks to rest the voice and the mind!”  Ilyana Kadushin; narrator of the Twilight Saga; Glow

“I’d say your average 300-400 page book takes 2-3 full days. More or less, depending on the difficulty of the book; whether or not there’s a lot of foreign terms, etc. I usually take a break mid-morning, lunch, and mid afternoon.  It still amazes me how fast the time goes sitting in a  little room, with nothing but a lot of words and a microphone.” Luke Daniels, narrator of This Dark Endeavor; Unwind

“For a book that is 350 pages it will take me about 4 days 6 hours a day with a lunch break as well as 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day to get water, tea, coffee. Breaks are imperative to keep my stamina up.” Therese Plummer, narrator of the Firelight series; The Immortal Rules

“We like to estimate that it takes 2 hours to record 1 hour of a finished recording. This includes time for us to take breaks and mess up and look up pronunciations or accents we may need for the book. The more prep we do and the more rested we are, the faster it goes!” Tara Sands, narrator of The Dead-Tossed Waves; Revived

“A book that is about 7 – 9 hours would take me about 2 to 3 days to record. Starting at 8:30 and going until 5 with an hour lunch and various bathroom and snack breaks. A grumbling tummy is not my friend in the studio, so snacks are a must.” Nick Podehl, narrator of the Chaos Walking trilogy, Shelter

“In a pro studio with a director and engineer, I have about a 2:1 ratio (2 hours of recording to 1 finished hour). Recording at home with an engineer outside my booth takes longer, and engineering myself takes even longer than that. There are benefits to each method and I enjoy them all, but my favorite way to work is in the studio with a great director. I tend to take a short break every hour or two – just long enough to clear my head and go back with renewed focus.” Amy Rubinate, narrator of Shadows on the Moon; The Selection

“I usually spend three to four days in the studio for a 7-9 hour book. I spend a week or so before that to prepare the book on my own before I go in to record. I take breaks when I feel like I need them, usually about every hour and a half. If I am on a roll and things are going smoothly I might wait a little longer or if I am tired or just not as sharp for some reason I’ll take them more often. I know it’s time to take break when I am messing up a lot or I have to pee. You DO drink a lot of water doing this job so…” Amanda Ronconi, narrator of How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf; the Soul Screamers series

“I can record about 100 pages per day (a day being 9 am – 5 pm). It takes me approximately three days to record a nine-hour book. I take breaks every couple of hours and about thirty minutes or so for lunch.” Caitlin Davies, narrator of Awakened: A House of Night Novel; Little Vampire Women

“The rule of thumb is a 2-1 ratio. That is, it usually takes about 2 hours to lay down an hour of recorded text. I’m a little slower than that, but that’s the ballpark. Every company is different in their scheduling, and some offer 2- 4 hour sessions, while others work in 6-hour blocks. Also, many companies use different methods of recording, and some take longer than others. So, it can take anywhere from 3 days to one month to finish a book, depending on the practice.” Carol Monda, narrator of The Seven Realms series; the Cass Neary series

“This varies hugely from project to project depending on a book’s length and complexity, but anywhere from one to four days per book is a pretty typical range for the sessions I’ve experienced.” Kate Rudd, narrator of The Fault in Our Stars; Tithe

“An audiobook narration can take me any where from one four hour session if it’s a smaller children’s book or a voice in a multi-narrator cast to four or five 8 hour sessions when it’s a detailed harlequin, sci-Fi, fiction, or nonfiction project. I believe I can do about an hour of recorded minutes in real time an hour and a half, if I am well acquainted with the text and really feeling it and in a flow that session. Like any project, every day’s energy is a variant, so some days recently I’ve moved slowly and taken many breaks, sometimes we get off to a slow start technically and don’t click in – the engineer and I, and maybe we’ll leave early, especially if we are working late at night. Then, the next day, we’ll hit our stride and roll for four hours straight! Like in basketball, (I’ve been watching the Celtics), it’s a lot about momentum. If I am feeling really in it even if I think intellectually to break, my energy may know that it will disperse and unfocus if I get up and leave the booth. So sometimes it’s like I see in basketball, you can really lose the momentum of a run after you take a time out. Flow is like hang gliding; once you catch the wind current it’s not often possible to find that same streak again after you temporarily drop out. I like to work straight as much as possible. I am really excited by the pursuit of being efficient. I play a game with myself to see how many pages I can do in an hour without any retakes or stops. I like to imagine carving out the actual shapes of the letters of each word with my voice. I think reading for great distances is an amazing practice of physical, imaginative, and intellectual mindfulness. A meditative juggle so to speak.

I take breaks to get tea for my throat and water every few chapters, so about every 50 printed pages, on a typical day when I am not in an extremely good flow. Also, I take breaks whenever my engineer has to hit the WC .. of course :)” Jessica Almasy; narrator of The Summer I Turned Pretty, Unraveled


13 responses to “Narration Creation: Recording Time

  1. Really interesting post! I just started listening to my first audiobook this week and am loving it! Although I'm listening in the car and I get annoyed when I get home and have to stop "reading"! 🙂

  2. Interesting post! It's great to hear about what happens behind the microphone. I enjoy audiobooks more and more and I was always wondering about how it works.

    • If you go to you can find out to some extent how it works by making audiobooks! Obviously it's very different to these professionals who work in studios, but it's still enjoyable. (and I'm not being paid to say this since librivox is not for profit 😉 )

  3. I'm amazed that the professionals can record so quickly! It takes me months to record an audiobook. Granted I'm not a professional, and don't get paid.

  4. This is such an awesome feature! I had planned to do something a little similar, but just didn't make it happen this year. I got caught up in other things. I love reading all the answers!
    ~ Jen @ A Book and a Latte

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