Listen Up: Adding Audio, Music and Sound Effects

credit: Sheila Scarborough

Why add audio to my book?

Adding sound to your novel or non fiction publication is a  new way to enhance your work.  The benefits for adding audio are varied, but let’s focus on three:

  • Set the mood.  Including sound effects or or music to express the theme of the story is an essential part of story telling when it comes to movies.  Well-executed, it can serve the same purpose for a written story.
  • Offer context.  If you’re referring to a historical speech, you can include a clip of it to share with your readers.
  • Increase Accessibility.  Offering audio segments with your written work could benefit readers with poor or strained vision, or those learning a new language.


  • Add a soundtrack to the your story.
  • Include audio interviews you conducted as part of your research.
  • Add novel commentary (where you got specific ideas, what you struggled with, etc.)
  • Sound effects such as traffic, creeping up the stairs,or farm animals have particular appeal for young readers, but they are certainly not restricted.
  • Attach your audio book copy of your story to your Sumbola publication.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you’re recording anything yourself, ensure background noise is as minimized as possible.  Heavy breathing, fans running, and rush hour traffic will distract from your intended sound bytes.
  • Keep in mind copyright.  Always ask for permission and always give credit where credit is due.

What are your ideas for adding audio?  Let us know in the comments or tweet us @sumbolacosi.

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