I have just finished recording all of my nonfiction books except for Price Theory and the two SCA books coauthored with my wife, and all of them are, or in one case shortly will be, up on Amazon as audiobooks. A number of issues arose in doing it, so I thought I would ask for opinions.
The first is the problem of headers. In a printed book, a head or subhead is usually centered, often bold face or larger print, with blank lines above and below it, making it obvious what it is. None of that exists in an audiobook. The header is simply a word or phrase, distinguished by not being a sentence. It can be set off a little, by a longer silence before and after, but that happens for other things as well. How can one make it obvious to the listener what it is?
One possibility I haven't tried would be to have someone else record the headers. Alternatively, I could use my recording software to add reverberation or change the pitch of my voice or something else along those lines. Would that work, or would it just sound odd and confusing?
A similar issue arises for quotations embedded in my text. The simplest solution is to use "quote, unquote" to mark them, but that feels a little clumsy. What I did for the most part was to change my voice tone, I think adequately, away from my normal recording tone. For one book, Future Imperfect, which has quite a lot of quotations in it, I got other people to record some of the relevant passages for me. That seemed to work particularly well when the quote was from a female speaker or someone with a British accent, but I have not yet gotten any feedback from people who bought the audiobook as to whether they liked it.
Also, any other thoughts on audiobooks, especially from anyone here who has listened to one of mine? Recording a book is a lot less work than writing one, but now that all of them are recorded I may have to go back to work. One possibility is another novel, tentatively titled "The Long War" and set in the same world as Salamander and Brothers but starting about fifteen years earlier. Another is putting together old blog posts as a book. A third is working on more of the essays for my collection of short literature with interesting economic insights in it.