If you consider yourself to be more of a “talker” than a “writer,” then you can use VoiceBase to dictate your rough draft. All you need to do is upload your recorded files to your VoiceBase account-or record while you are in your account-and use their human transcription services to turn your verbalized concepts into a written rough draft.
There will be holes in the organization and message that will need to be filled during the developmental editing stage, but a transcription-produced rough draft with holes is much better than a book concept that is always talked about and never documented.
If you are interested in using VoiceBase to help you write the first draft of your book, you will want to complete the following steps:
- Use your book’s table of contents to organize your dictations. Revisit the table of contents you created for your book and jot down a few keywords, dates and names that will remind you of the information you want to include in each chapter. The table of contents and the notes you have just added will remind you of the points you want to cover in your recording and will help you stay on topic.
- Create your free VoiceBase account. All you need is an email address and an idea for a password to set up your free VoiceBase account. The free account allows you to upload up to 50 hours of audio or 5 hours of video for your book. If you need more space, you can register for a premium plan for only $7.99/month. Click here to set up your free account now.
- Click the “Record” button on the top right of your dashboard. This will open a new window that allows you to choose the speaker and/or webcam you will use to record your message through your computer. Follow the on-screen prompts to begin recording your message. If you do not have a speaker or webcam on your computer, you can use another recording device and click “Upload Media” to import the file into VoiceBase and follow the remaining steps as described. If you do not have access to any recording devices but you have a smartphone, look up their free app to record directly from your phone. If you do not have a smart phone, I recommend that you create a free account with FreeConferenceCall.com and call into your conference line from any phone to record yourself dictating your book on the conference line. VoiceBase and FreeConferenceCall are partners, so you will still be able to get a machine transcription but you will need to follow the instructions provided at FreeConferenceCall.com.
- Limit each recording to a single chapter topic. Start each recording by saying the name of the chapter you want the information to be categorized under and begin talking. It is not realistic to expect that you will have only one recording for each chapter, but it saves you more time and money later if you stay on topic for a single chapter within each recording. When you are ready to dictate information for a new chapter, you will need to start a new recording.
- Use your chapter numbers and keywords to help you organize your files. After you record the information for chapter one, name the file something descriptive like “Chapter 1-The first time I met my mentor.” This may not be the chapter title, but it will help you distinguish this part of chapter one from another part that you may record a week later.
- After your recording is complete, VoiceBase will begin generating your machine transcription. The software will immediately detect the length of the recording and let you know that the machine transcription process is beginning. You do not need to wait for the machine transcription to be complete before you move on to record another section of your book. Once the machine transcription is complete, you will have access to a list of keywords that serve as place markers in the recording. If you click on a specific keyword, it will highlight all the different places in the recording when that word was used. This is especially helpful when you break up your recording sessions over a long period, because it allows you to quickly recall what is already included in the text. By counting the frequency of certain keywords and noticing the keyword groups, you can also use this to help you find information that can be grouped into paragraphs, chapters and even book sections.
- Continue recording your book dictations until you have all the information you want to include for your book. When you notice that you are starting to repeat yourself on your recordings, you know that you are reaching your “saturation point” and that you have run out of new information to share at the time. You can always add more information during the later editing stages, so don’t put pressure on yourself by expecting yourself to complete the entire book within your rough draft while you are using this dictation method. Unless you are dictating a polished message that you have delivered dozens of times before, this dictation method will only give you more substance to fill in your outline. This is okay because the issues will be addressed during the developmental editing stage.
- Order the human transcription for your book files. Click on the name of one of your files to open a new page featuring your recording information. Look for the green button labeled “Order Human Transcript.” There are several pricing options that are related to how fast you will receive the transcription back and the level of accuracy required (the lowest level of accuracy is 95%) You will notice that the rates start at $1/minute of audio-this is one of the lowest rates on the Internet that comes with an accuracy rating. It will be best if you order the transcription in a “Word RTF” format.
- Celebrate the completion of your rough draft. This draft is heavy on the “rough,” but it does represent a large step towards publishing your book.
- Begin your developmental editing process. During this process the transcriptions will be grouped into similar chapters and analyzed at the paragraph and chapter level to define the book’s vision and organize the content in a way that clearly reflects that vision. Because your rough draft is a combination of multiple independent files, I recommend that you partner with a developmental editor to shape the transcripts into an easy-to-follow book.
Question: Are you interested in dictating your book? Why or why not?