You can use audio to promote your book or to create companion products that complement your book. For example, this newsletter also is available as a podcast, which promotes our various products. For those creating Web sites, we created an audio product called “How to Select, Register, and Protect a Great Domain Name” which is a great companion to our book Web Business Success. After all, when you are putting up a site, getting a domain name is one of the first things you’ll need to do.
Of course, like anything computer-related, there’s a learning curve with audio. In fact, I spent most of today trying to figure out what equipment I need to successfully record audio over my phone line. I’m still at a loss, which is testament to the fact that audio stuff gets confusing really quickly.
However, creating a basic audio recording on your computer is quite simple. You need:
1. A microphone that plugs into your computer.
2. Software that you can use to record your voice.
Many computers come with a microphone that plugs into the little microphone jack on your computer. Some newer microphones plug into a USB port. I prefer a headset/microphone combination. Unfortunately, at this point I need to invest in a new microphone because I snapped the band on my old headset. (Right now, it’s being held together with packing tape, which is pretty sad.)
For recording, we have been using a software program called Audacity, which is remarkably good. It is open-source software, which is a huge point in its favor because it costs you nothing to try out and use. Plus, there are versions for Windows, Mac and Linux users. You can download it here:
Podcasts and most downloadable audio are saved in MP3 format, so you’ll also need to download the separate LAME encoder add-in, since exporting to MP3 is not built into Audacity. You can get the encoder here:
Getting your microphone to work on your computer depends on your setup. I’ve written about it in the past, but the process evolves with the hardware, so you’ll want to consult the instructions that came with your microphone.
Once your hardware is set up and your software is installed, you can just open up Audacity. You’ll see a big red button, and not surprisingly, you click that to record. Do a few test recordings and see how your voice sounds. Just click the big green play back button to listen to your recording. Before you know it, you’ll have your first podcast or audio product!
Intimidated by Computer Stuff?
Check out our Logical Guides series of computer tips books, which cover Windows XP, Office 2003, computing, and the Internet. The information in our “Logical Tips” computer books is based on articles that originally appeared in Susan Daffron’s Logical Tips newsletters. The articles were syndicated in newspapers and online for more than seven years. Now the tips have been updated, revised and compiled into four books. If you can’t decide, check out the Book Bundle, which gives you more than 500 pages of tips for one low price.