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Tips Narrators Can Use From An Audiobook Reviewer Perspective


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 27, 2012

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Woman smiling, listening to audiobook on an MP3 playerAre you interested in recording audiobooks?

Want to know which pitfalls you should avoid before you began?

Paul Alan Ruben, a Grammy award-winning audio book producer/director, has authored an excellent article on reviewing audiobooks that shares valuable lessons that may save you from a career blunder.

Audiobook Market

As you may know, the audiobook market is one of the most significant areas of growth where work is concerned in voice over. Narration is required for all kinds of books spanning a wide spectrum of genres. With the relative cost effectiveness of audio publishing, audiobooks are often released at the same time as a works' print publication. The demand for audiobooks has increased dramatically over the last decade as more and more people consume audiobooks for pleasure, self-development and work.

That being said, there are many people who seek to review audiobooks not to mention those who want to record. Fortunately for us, Paul Alan Ruben has provided a resource for both!

Seeing Audiobook Narration Through A Reviewers' Lens

Paul Alan RubenPaul Alan Ruben has produced and directed award-winning audio books for every major publisher since 1987. He also trains professional talent to be audiobook narrators. When I came across an article he had written shared via The Voice Acting Hub, I thought it would be a perfect fit for readers of VOX Daily.

The article Not For Librarians Only: An Audio Book Reviewer's Template, contains a wealth of information and audio examples geared toward budding audiobook reviewers and critics. The article also serves as an interesting course of study for those who'd like to record audiobooks or who want to improve their craft as an audiobook narrator.

Ruben drives home his points using audio examples featuring the narration of working talent including Simon Jones, Maggi-Meg Reed, Barbara Caruso, Holter Graham, Beth McDonald, Barbara Rosenblat, David Ledoux, Oliver Wyman, Thérèse Plummer, Tristan Layton, Chuck Stransky, Yelena Shmulenson and Dennis Boutsikaris.

His hope is that reviewers will regard his template's performance markers - from chewing the syntax to the here and now - as malleable assessment tools whose collective bias sheds informative light on the process of critiquing the narrator's capacity to emotionally connect to the listener.

Narrators Recommend Ruben's Audiobook Reviewing Template

"Though the article is aimed at reviewers, it really underscores the need for both the actor and the listener to be skilled at understanding literature in depth. As a former English teacher, I spent many hours with students trying to help them better explain why they liked a book (or didn't) in more specific terms. To do this requires creative, critical thinking as well as literal comprehension (difficult to measure on, oh let's say a standardized test, by the way). Paul has laid out a very helpful rubric for grading a performance here. He's an excellent teacher." - Diane Havens

"I appreciate the audio examples and thoughtful method of describing what was going on with the Narrator's dance with the words. It has made an impact on me." - Kathleen Keesling

"I disseminated the information I needed from it, processed it, and have put it away to use on my next audio book!" - Robin Rowan

What Tips Did You Find Most Useful?

If you've read Paul Alan Ruben's article, be sure to comment with what you found to be most valuable. You can visit Paul Alan Ruben's site to read the piece below:

Not For Librarians Only: An Audio Book Reviewer's Template

Best wishes,


©iStockphoto.com/Stígur Karlsson


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