So you've got the kit, you've found a space, you can record...woohoo! but now you have to get that recording to fit with the audio specifications of your publisher...here's the thing...the better your initial raw recording...the easier it is to Master. It really isn't a step worth rushing...and the best way to get to that place, is to practice...mic technique you all know...but have you ever actually sat and read a chapter that's two hours long, with whispering and shouting and love-making and fighting ? The listener must hear the whisper, doesn't want broken eardrums on the shouting, no clicks or 'lip smacks' on the love making and for goodness sake no audible movement in the fighting
...Mastering (the putting together of technical processes to get your Audio within the correct parameters and give the listener a smooth and comfortable experience) can sort some of this...but the more you master (process), the more you lose audio quality...so the best mastering is your performance. The best performances can portray all these things and need very little engineering attention...so practice 'whispering' but audibly, practice 'shouting' but quietly, practice 'love-making' wherever you like...I mean carefully! and practice fighting with focus. This really is the best way to make the technical aspects less scary and complicated...BE the master, don't rely on mastering.