This page includes most of the acronyms, initialisms, and terms the narrator might see in auditions and internet forums about audiobook production. Thanks to the narrators in the Facebook Indie Audiobook Producers and Narrators group for suggesting many of these entries.
Adobe Audition, audio editing software
Audible Approved Producer, a designation bestowed by ACX to narrators who are a master of the craft and consistently produce high-quality recordings
A condensed version of the book. Abridgements were common in the 1990s and 2000s to save production costs so that an audiobook did not require an unwieldy number of cassettes or CDs in the package.
Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX.com), a free marketplace between rights holders and narrators for audiobook production
Casting database developed and used by Penguin Random House Audio where narrators can create a profile
Audio Interchange File Format, a method of storing uncompressed audio data that was developed by Apple Computers
Audio Publishers Association, the audiobook industry trade association with many member benefits specifically for narrators
Audio Publishers Association Conference, the APA’s annual event usually held in conjunction with BookExpo
Free audio editing software
Awards of excellence in narration and production in numerous categories given by the APA each year after a stringent judging process.
Bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism in erotic romance book
The 5 largest print publishers in the US: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. You can see all of their divisions and imprints at this link.
Corrections found by the proofer where the narrator must re-record phrases or sentences due to mispronunciations or misreads (also known as pick-ups). Narrators usually label the re-recorded file with CRX in the title.
Dominant in erotic romance book
Digital audio workstation, which can be a hardware- or software-based system with an audio interface to record and play back sound. Pro Tools, Reaper, and Adobe Audition are examples of commercial software DAWs.
Did not finish. Audiobook listeners may use these initials in a review of an audiobook they stopped listening to because they didn’t like it.
Editors of AudioFile Magazine confer this designation on multiple titles in each issue that are considered to be extraordinary listens.
The process of critically listening to the raw audio recording and eliminating or reducing mouth noises and gaspy or cut breaths, covering extraneous background noise with room tone, and adjusting the pacing as needed to make the finished recording sound like one continuous take.
The person who does the editing. Experienced narrators tend to edit their auditions and hire an editor to edit an audiobook. You’ll find a vetted directory of editors in Audiobook Village.
Free Lossless Audio Codec, which is an uncompressed audio file format that is small like an MP3 file but has full sound resolution like the original WAV file.
Frequently asked questions on a web site or in an internet group
Female Female couple in a romance/erotic romance book
The duration of the retail-ready product. The industry rule of thumb is that ~6.2 hours of work in real time are required to produce 1 finished hour of an audiobook once the narrator starts to record. Note that audiobook prep is not included in this time estimate.
- 2 hours of recording
- 3 hours of editing
- 1.2 hours of proof listening
Findaway Voices, an audiobook marketplace and distribution site where narrators can create a profile and be cast by indie authors to narrate titles.
Processing effects (plugins)
Health and retirement part of payments to SAG/AFTRA from employer to fund those benefits to narrators
HarperCollins, a Big 5 publisher
Happily ever after, a term used by romance writers and listeners
Historical romance genre
A contract where the narrator receives payment partly by an up-front PFH rate and part over time in a royalty share contract
The opening credits where the title, author, and narrator are announced.
Literary role playing game genre
LU or LUFS
Loudness Unit or Loudness Unit Full Scale. The Loudness Unit is an arbitrary measurement which allows a person to control the audio output. The LUFS measures the loudness of audio without reference to decibels.
The final step in audio production which adds effects to make the sound most pleasing and at a consistent volume throughout the book.
Depending on context, either main character or motorcycle club romance sub-genre. Usually the narrator is the same gender as the main character in a fiction book or the author of a non-fiction book.
Male Female couple in a romance or erotic romance book
Male Female Male trio in an erotic romance book
Male Male couple in a romance or erotic romance book
A file format of compressed audio that loses some of the file’s resolution in order to make the file size smaller. Most narrator uploads are MP3 files.
Manuscript, which should have been edited for plot, grammar, and punctuation before it ever reaches a narrator’s hands
New adult genre
Original poster, a term used in internet forums to indicate the person who started the discussion.
Open Record/Roll Record
The narrator records the audio and leaves all mistakes and re-takes in the file. The narrator often uses a dog clicker to highlight the re-take in the WAV. This type of file requires more editing time — and therefore increases the editing expense — as the bad takes must be removed. This recording method is the opposite to P&R defined below.
The closing credits where the title, author, narrator, and all copyrights are announced. The outro may also include a sentence from the publisher about their web site, catalog, etc. so that users could find their other titles.
Public Domain, which means the book’s copyright has expired, making the book available to record by anyone without any royalties due to the author or publisher
Per finished hour, the payment rate most used in the industry for narrators, editors, and proofers. Studio time may be charged according to real hours.
Corrections found by the proofer where the narrator must re-record phrases or sentences due to mispronunciations or misreads. Narrators usually label the re-recorded file with CRX in the title.
PNR or P&R
Punch and roll, a recording technique where the narrator stops recording when they mistake, go back a 1-2 seconds in the recording, start recording at the mistake, and say the corrected sentence, continuing on with recording until the next mistake. P&R removes all the bad takes from the file in real time of recording, making the task of editing much more time- and cost-efficient. This article explains it and links to videos demonstrating it in several DAWs.
Short for post-production, the stage when the recording is edited and mastered.
PRH or PRHA
Penguin Random House Audio
The person who pays for the production. They may or may not cast the talent, schedule studio space, and hire the director, engineer, and proofer. On ACX, the narrator chosen to narrate the project is called a producer because the narrator would be performing all of these tasks. The rights holder would be a co-producer in this instance.
The person who listens to every word of the audiobook for sonic and textual clarity while reading the text. The proofer determines misreads, mispronunciations, and extraneous sounds that the narrator and editor should re-do before the book is mastered and released for retail sale. You’ll find a vetted directory of proofers in Audiobook Village.
The company or individual who acquires the audio rights to the book and releases the audiobook for sale.
ProTools, a DAW from Avid and long-known as the industry standard software
DAW that runs on Windows, macOS, or Linux
Depending on context, rightsholder, meaning the person who controls the audio rights to the title, or reverse harem, a romance sub-genre
Received Pronunciation, a regionally-neutral, middle class British accent
The background noise in your recording space, which should be as close to silent as possible. Record at least 10 seconds of room tone in each session so that your editor can copy and paste room tone as needed to cover extraneous noises in your recording.
Royalty share contract. In this type of contract, the narrator’s fee and other production costs are not paid at the time of recording. Instead, the narrator gambles that the book will earn out and defers her fee and costs to be paid from the royalties earned by the audiobook’s sale over the 7-year term of the contract. The rights holder receives half of the royalties of the audiobook and also makes money on sales of all other editions. The narrator receives the other half of audiobook royalties available and is only paid through those royalties from audiobook sales. Therefore, all of the risk for low or no sales of the audiobook rests with the narrator on a royalty share contract.
RS+ or RSP
Royalty Share Plus contract on ACX, which is that site’s implementation of a hybrid contract of a negotiated payment up-front along with a RS contract
Root Mean Square (average loudness over time)
iZotope RX7 is a set of tools used in post to repair and clean up your recordings. Some people may have older versions like RX6.
Submissive in erotic romance book
Simon & Schuster, a big 5 publisher with its own audio production offices
Studio One, a DAW from Presonus
The merged US labor union of Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television And Radio Artists to which a narrator can join.
Sound Forge audio editing software
Strong female character
When instructed to do so, the voice actor states their first and last name at the beginning of an audition recording.
Society of Voice Arts and Sciences, which produces the annual That’s Voiceover conference and confers the annual Voice Arts Awards in a number of categories including many for audiobooks
Spoken Realms, an indie distributor through which narrators can become a featured voice and publish our own audiobooks
To be listened to, an abbreviation used by audiobook listeners to note titles they intend to hear
A discussion in an Internet forum or on social media.
Twisted Wave, an Mac-based audio editor
The complete, word-for-word text printed in the book is read in the audiobook edition, with the exception of certain sections.
Universal Serial Bus connectors allow you to connect peripherals to your computer. USB microphones typically have inferior components and produce noisier recordings than professional-level condenser microphones with XLR connectors. They also can introduce delays and hums in your recordings that will require extra work to eliminate in post-production.
Virtual Studio Technology (plugins)
The uncompressed audio file format created when you save your recording
Work in progress
The audio industry’s standard electrical connector that is circular and has 3 pins. Professional microphones have XLR connectors.
Young adult genre
Other resources on this topic:
- ACX has an audio terminology glossary that lists many terms specific to the recording process.
- Narrator James Romick explains terms associated with audio recording in this article.
- This reference site of literary terms gives definitions, examples, and discussions about all the terms used by writers and publishing.