Making a CD? Play it Again!

So, you’ve just heard a wonderful story performance. You would like to savor it again. Or, you want to give your fans the opportunity to savor your best performances at another time. Recordings make the art of story portable. Even studio performances allow audiences near and far to feel the audible intimacy of your voice in their hearts. This is the inspiration part of the process of making a CD.

The ninety-nine percent perspiration part, the how, why and cost of making a recording is a set of practical business decisions and the ability to train yourself for the mic. One of the best recordings I have heard in a long time is Linda Goodman’s newest CD, Bobby Pins. Linda has made two DCs and agreed to share her process with Voices readers. Her latest recording studio, Treehouse Artists of Christiansburg, Va (Linda highly recommends them) also shared some tips.


The Business

  1. Money. This may be a show stopper. The primary expenses are for studio time and the editing as well as for the actual CDs. The cost for lovely artwork and the “container” for the CD (foldover, plastic, etc) can be lowered with simplification. Studio time depends on you. Pressing the CDs needs to be done well or your CD will sound awful.
  2. Figures? Could be as low as $1,500 for a very basic package. The recording studio suggested saving some out of each performance to invest back in the business.
  3. You will want to make 1000 minimum and use about 300 for PR. Are you ready to request reviews and market the CDs? Goodman says, ” A teller can give a CD to any prospective client as a documented testimony of his/her work.” She adds that a CD can help a teller become known in a new region.
  4. Where will you sell the CDs?  Will you need a tax number in your state to sell them?
  5. Select a studio that does spoken word as well as music. Ask to hear samples before you commit
  6. Plan on a 45-minute CD (approx) Most are between 30 and 55 minutes.
  7. Discuss all matters ahead with your recording studio. It would be good to visit the studio ahead if you can. The post-performance editing can also eat up dollars so try to give as clean a recording as possible.
  8. Make sure that the art complements your CD and will entice people to buy. Art costs can drive up the end cost
  9. Type of “sleeve” holder you choose can drive up costs as well


 Making the recording

  1. Select stories you are know well
  2. Resolve any copyright issues.
  3. Script them
  4. Practice, practice, practice
  5. Select public domain music if you wish to add music.
  6. Practice with the music.
  7. Be relaxed and natural in the studio. If it is your first time, book at least twice, better, a little more, the amount of studio time as your recording will be. (For a 45 minute recording plan on 2 hours minimum)
  8. Arrange a signal with the sound engineer to stop so you can cough or take a drink of water without it getting on the recording.
  9. Enjoy

Linda Goodman  www.Lindagoodmanstoryteller.comYou can buy Linda’s CD Bobby Pins on CD Baby as a CD or an MP3 recording

Interview with Linda

Linda had more to tell us about making a CD and here is her interview
Please tell us the names of all of your CDs and where we can buy them
Bobby Pins is available for purchase on my website ( for $12.00, plus $2.00 shipping and handling. It is also available on CD Baby as both an MP3 download and a CD. Jessie and Other Stories will also be available at both sites, once it is finished. I also have a book, Daughters of the Appalachians, available from my publisher Overmountain Press and from my website.

I’d like to hear a bit about what drove you to make a CD–why and how you thought it would enhance your telling career,
A professional CD is a useful marketing tool, especially if you are trying to get work in areas that are not familiar with your storytelling. A good CD may entice someone who has not heard you to come take a listen. Folks usually share CDs that they enjoy with friends. Before you know it, you run into folks you don’t know, who embrace you because they have heard your CD. Someone gave a copy of Jessie and Other Stories (when it was a cassette) to a friend, who happened to be a very successful realtor in New York City. That Realtor ordered copies from me as client gifts that she gave to everyone who bought a house from her.  She did that until cassettes became outdated. She is eagerly awaiting the CD.
People can take a CD home with them.  It most likely will not get thrown away or lost. Whenever they hear it they think of you. Jessie and Other Stories actually got air time on The Story Tree, a Tennessee based radio program that aired on NPR for a while. After Pearl (a story that was on the cassette) aired, I got fan mail from folks around the country.

Where did you get the funds to do it (grant, savings etc–) Suggestions for others on budgeting for a CD?
I pulled money from my savings account. I know many storytellers who are cash poor, and I advise them to seek grants or investors if they cannot begin saving. I did have a few folks offer to invest in both Jessie and Other Stories and Bobby Pins, but I decided not to go that route. I did not want to be obligated to meet unrealistic expectations.

Why might any teller want a CD?
A teller can give a CD to any perspective client as a documented testimony to her work. A good CD generates good reviews and good word of mouth endorsements.

How did you chose the stories you used?
I chose stories that my listeners had asked me over and over again to record.

How did  you prepare for the taping?
I rehearsed the stories over and over again. The more comfortable you are with the story, the smoother the recording session will go. You will spend less time and, therefore, less money.

How you chose the company you decided to go with?
The key is to find a producer that you can trust to give you a quality product at a price you can afford. I almost gave up on recording Bobby Pins because the price quotes that I was getting were way beyond my means. Then TreeHouse Artists presented a plan that I could easily afford, without sacrificing quality.

What else would you like to tell Voices people about making a CD/
If you want to get known outside your local telling area, a CD is a good tool to help make that happen. When I first began telling professionally in 1989, I lived in New England, and most of my work came from newspaper articles that had been written about me or from cultural liaisons who came to New England festivals from all over the country and actually witnessed my performances. I have been in dozens of festivals, but most of them are gone now, due to lack of funds and, even more so, lack of volunteers. Storytelling audiences are still buying CDs. A CD can be uploaded digitally and give you an audio presence on the Worldwide Web.
That having been said, though, there are those, mostly in the younger set, who think that CDs are obsolete. Videos on YouTube (or some other video site) are required to get into many storytelling events. Technology has changed everything.

Linda Goodman
P.O.Box 1351
Chesterfield, VA 23832



If you want to contact Treehouse, their information is:

540.254.0246      f: 540.266.3265

PO Box 6403 Christiansburg,VA  24068


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