First, think about your vision - your goals for creating the tape and what you hope it will be.
This is the single most important step of the whole process.
Clarifying and elaborating your goals is worth the many hours of thinking, writing, and talking to people that it will require. Your primary goal will determine each major decision about your project
If your primary goal is to make money from sales of your tape, for example, then your first priority should be to decide on how you will sell the tape once it's done. A tape to sell at performances, for example, might look and sound very different from a tape that will be sold by a mail-order catalog.
When your goal is to sell tapes, the requirements of the intended retailers come first. These requirements may determine every aspect of your tape, including:
what stories are on it
whether you record with an audience
whether you use music or sound effects
what's on the cover.
If your primary goal, to use another example, is to make money by using the tape to help you book more performances, you need to determine what your potential employers will be listening for - and then to make sure that every detail of your tape is consistent with your employers' desires and expectations.
Your primary goal may have nothing to do with money, of course:
You may wish to make certain stories more widely available, even if it costs you money in the long run.
You may wish to document your storytelling skills - in order to give your artistic achievement a concrete form or as a way of taking your own art seriously.
You may be most interested in the boost that will come to your storytelling skills as a result of fine-tuning and committing your stories to a recorded form.
As in the last case just listed, your primary goal may not have to do with a product at all, but with the process of creating a recording.
Whether the payoff is in
service to your audience,
clarifying your primary goal will help you make decisions that can bring you the results you most want.
Before you set foot in a studio, you need to gather a team to help you record.
In every case, you need an engineer to operate the recording equipment. A competent engineer should also keep on ear on the technical aspects of your storytelling:
Are you popping "p" sounds?
Are you getting too far from the microphone?
Is your volume level consistent enough?
You need a second person who can judge the quality of your performance.
It's too much to expect that you will be able to perform at your best and simultaneously be able to decide whether a particular take was up to par or not.
Ideally, this second person will also be able to help you improve any below-par performing on the spot.
Some storytellers - particularly those recording long or complicated stories - use a third person, whose job is to make sure that the storyteller includes all important details in the recorded performance.
This person can also take detailed notes about the various "takes" you record, thus saving time and money when editing.
Other team members
When I record a combination of music and stories, I have a music coach present as well.
You may also need team members who will not be in the studio with you, such as people who will:
listen to demo versions of your tape before you record
help you with design and manufacture
help you with marketing and sales.
A good consultant may be able to steer you to likely helpers.