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Nicola

Questions You'd Ask An Audiobook Narrator

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I am now an audiobook narrator.  I wondered, what would an author want to know in order to trust the narrator with their pride and joy? 

Do you have experience that you are willing to share?  

Have you listened to audiobooks?  What stands out as being exceptionally good? What puts you off?  

What type of voice would you choose for your story?  

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I would want to hear this narrator's three most recent recordings.

Some audio books, such as those by James Patterson, use multiple narrators and a few sound effects. In this way, they almost sound like the old pre-TV radio dramas.

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Excellent questions, Nicola! I love listening to audiobooks and consume a lot of them every month. I eventually want to have my books available as audiobooks, so this is something I'm thinking about.

 

I like it when narrators have taken the trouble to learn the pronunciation of unusual names and words. I appreciated listening to Anna Karenina recently because the narrator knew how to say those Russian names and French terms. I like it when reading is done with expression and clarity. It doesn't have to be theatrical; in fact, I don't like it when a book is produced as an audio play and music on an audiobook annoys me. Although I'm not a fan of multiple narrators or sound effects, I bought a version of Dune which has all those elements because it's all that was available at the time.

 

Some narrators are able to do different voices and accents, but that only works when it's done well. Rob Inglis's narration of The Lord of the Rings is a standout example of this for me, but my material is nowhere near that complex.

 

As a recent example of straight reads by female narrators who I really enjoyed, Judy Kaye and Mary Peiffer's readings of books in the Kinsey Milhone series are exactly what I'd be looking for.

 

For non-fiction it's a lot simpler: just reading with clear diction and not rushed.

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23 hours ago, Nicola said:

I am now an audiobook narrator. 

Congratulations!

 

9 hours ago, EBraten said:

I like it when narrators have taken the trouble to learn the pronunciation of unusual names and words

And when narrators have obviously read through the book enough times to know how to read each section, each line of dialog, and (very important to me), not only to pronounce the unusual names and words, but to pronounce the ordinary ones. 

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From a listener: tone quality. Some voices are too monotone or a tone too high or too low for a car moving on the highway. Listening to a book in the living room is not the same as competing with highway noises.

 

In a book, each character has a voice through vocabulary, grammar, etc. While those exist in an audio book, it's hard for one reader to carry through with those distinctions.

 

For an American audience (which is not all the same), different regional accents can be hard to understand. A Bostonian and a Mississippian speak differently.However, it's hard to change the way you talk. You are who you are.

 

Good luck! I pray that this works for you.

 

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21 hours ago, Steven Hutson said:

Some audio books, such as those by James Patterson, use multiple narrators and a few sound effects. In this way, they almost sound like the old pre-TV radio dramas.

Thank you for your input.  I won't be going that fancy for now.  But I have learned that people refer to specific narrators when they want to site a specific style, so I'll look up James Patterson to hear his style.  Thank you for the reference!

 

9 hours ago, EBraten said:

Judy Kaye and Mary Peiffer's readings

More names to look up, thank you!  I like to keep it simple, though I do have different tones for different voices.  

 

12 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

Some voices are too monotone or a tone too high or too low for a car moving on the highway.

This is very interesting!  I'll have to take my voice on the road!  

 

14 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

For an American audience (which is not all the same), different regional accents can be hard to understand. A Bostonian and a Mississippian speak differently.However, it's hard to change the way you talk. You are who you are.

Isn't humanity wonderful!  We take a common language and explode it into tribal/regional distinctions.  On the tiny island of Britain, there are hundreds of accents and even dialects.   

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