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10 Skills to Look for in an Audiobook Narrator

By Lin Parkin

June 24, 2014

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Have you ever started listening to an audiobook and wanted to throw your iPod out the window?

That's the last thing you want the listener to feel like doing with your own audiobook.

One of the most enjoyable, and sometimes the most distracting, things about audiobooks is the narration.

There are a variety of components that make an audiobook "good." This includes everything from the writing, proofing, directing, editing, post-production, etc. but one of the key components is the narration. It should help the listener lose themselves in the story.

What skills should the voice-over artist have in order to deliver "good" narration for an audiobook?

Join VOX Daily as we explore some of the qualities to look for that will add up to good narration.

Audiobook narration presents heightened demands on the voice-over artist that are unmatched in other niches of voice acting. It is a specialty skill that requires herculean effort with hours and hours spent in the recording booth.

Much like "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," what makes audiobook narration good may depend on who's listening. But there are a number of qualities the narrator should posses.

When it comes to narrating audiobooks you need a good storyteller who is capable of going the long haul, one who is dedicated to the project and has invested themselves fully to the story-telling.

Narrating audiobooks is a marathon that requires the ultimate balancing act of artistic and technical endurance coupled with the ability to continuously suspend the audiences' disbelief.

A good audiobook narrator will be able to:

  • Engage the listener
  • Make and keep a contract with the listener to suspend their disbelief
  • Give a consistent performance
  • Have intuitive timing
  • Develop multiple convincing character voices or use appropriate inflection
  • Be an authentic narrator with an independent voice
  • Interpret the author's intent
  • Transport the listener to a different time and place
  • Maintain a solid presence
  • Bring the story to life

When matched to those 10 criteria not only will your audiobook have good narration but great story-telling. By virtue of that fact, it will assure that your audience connects with your story, relates to the characters and has full confidence in the narrator's ability to captivate, amuse and delight.

Have You Produced an Audiobook?

What tips would you give on casting great narrators?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

All the best,
Lin

© iStockphoto.com/Yuri

Related Topics: #audiomonth, Audiobook Narrator, Casting, Production, Tips


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