Mr. Mahler Begins Voicing Audiobooks

Mr. Mahlers soundproofing foam, used to contain noise when he records, sits atop an improvised stand of math books.

Courtesy of Jake Mahler

Mr. Mahler’s soundproofing foam, used to contain noise when he records, sits atop an improvised stand of math books.

Jackie Bucaro, Editor-In-Chief

Mr. Jake Mahler, junior high math teacher, recently started recording audiobooks. Both a hobby and a minor source of income, recording these books is possible for anyone with the right software and determination. 

Mahler has recorded three books, two of which are available on Audible: Resistance is Fertile, by David Johnson, and The Franklin Fi: A Personal Finance Adventure for Next Generation Investors, by Shane Dillon. The third, Sewn Together, will be available shortly. The voiceover industry was easily accessible to Mahler through a friend. “My friend Brian, who does some voice work in New York… he told me that there’s the platform called ACX… which basically [connects] people who are trying to publish books on Audible…  with producers and narrators who can do the audiobook version of it, and then they can sell them on Audible,” Mahler said. 

In order to record, edit, and produce audiobooks, Mahler utilizes a variety of software programs. “What I’ve been doing is I record it on Garage Band… I edit it on Garage Band… and then once I’ve got it edited there, I sent it to Audacity, [which] is this other free software, and Audacity is built to integrate with ACX… And then I upload it to ACX, which deals with putting it into Audible,” Mahler said.

Reading an entire book is a time-consuming process. The Franklin Fi clocks in at just over 5 hours of audio; Resistance is Fertile is well over 18 hours long. In order to record the books, Mahler tries to record long, uninterrupted segments. Mistakes within the segments are edited out later. With all that editing, recording audiobooks takes hours. “It takes a long time. Like, you have to sit there and you have to record it and if you flubbed one little word… you have to edit every little mistake out, and maybe you made a weird noise, or maybe the dog barked in the middle of a thing, and you have to edit that out… for every hour of actual edited, recorded, processed thing, it takes like three hours to get it done,” Mahler said. 

Of course, Mahler is paid for his work recording the books–although the kickback is relatively small. Right now, he receives a share of the audiobook’s royalties, but that could change in the future. “I make a certain amount per time the book is purchased. It’s possible and I might switch if I start doing more and more of these… you can stipulate that you want to get, like, an hourly rate per hour of the book and then a royalty share… I think I’ve made like $30 from the first book, but that’s 30 more dollars than I had,” Mahler said. 

But Mahler’s audiobooks are not just for profit. With a background in theater, Mahler is BSM’s theater program director and head speech coach. He brings performance to his audiobook recordings in equal measure to professionalism. “If I was to have any other job besides teaching or doing live theater, I think being a cartoon animated voice would be up there…  I like to have different voices for the different characters. I like to make the characters seem believable and real while still being unique enough to distinguish when one person is talking and another person is talking,” Mahler said. 

You can find Mahler’s audiobooks here.