How Do I Find the Right Narrator(s) For My Audiobook?

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You know you want to produce an audiobook, but you’re worried you’ll end up with a recording you don’t like. Choosing the right narrator(s) will help you love your finished audiobook.

Here are some guidelines for selecting your narrators:

Do you feel confident that your narrator(s) understand your vision for each character?

During the audition phase, while there might not be time for your narrator(s) to read your whole manuscript, they should at least have a solid understanding of the plot and who the characters are. At Squeaky Cheese Productions, we record sample dialogue that gives you one or more interpretations of each character, so you can choose the one that most reflects your vision for the character. Not every audiobook producer works this way. But whatever approach is used, make sure you feel confident your narrator(s) understand your vision for each character.

Are your narrators passionate about your writing?

If you’re going to get a faithful interpretation of the characters in your story, you want to look for narrators who are into your story. During recording, the microphone will transparently capture how your narrator(s) feel about the characters and the storyline. If your narrator is bored, the lack of enthusiasm will show up clearly in the final audiobook. You must hire narrator(s) who are engaged with your writing.

Can your narrator deliver the best narration structure for your project?

Historically, audiobooks have been performed by one narrator. More modern approaches use two or more actors to portray multiple characters. You want your narration structure to deliver the best experience for the listener.

Listen to audiobooks in your genre to get a sense of what’s out there. Your narrator(s) may be able to help you decide on the best structure for your project.

Do you know what to expect?

Ask prospective narrators to describe their process. Some narrators take your manuscript and, three months later, hand you the finished audiobook. Some, like us, involve you throughout the process. While you won’t be present in the recording studio, we send periodic updates so you can hear how the project is progressing. Make sure you understand your narrator’s approach to creating your audiobook.

 

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2 thoughts on “How Do I Find the Right Narrator(s) For My Audiobook?

  1. michael.rost says:

    Excellent post! Thank you for this post – I wish I had read this earlier… I recently completed an audio book (The Journey Home, pen name: Gabriel Bron), finally hiring the perfect narrator, who nailed your criteria here. I would say a key point to emphasize is to conduct the audition process carefully, being willing to put off hiring anyone (not just “the best of the lot”) until you find the right person. It’s kind of a pricey proposition to get a pro, but it’s worth it if you believe in your book!

    • Squeaky Cheese says:

      Michael, you’ve shared a valuable piece of advice in your kind comments. While it might be tempting to simply go with one of the first narrators who audition, if they haven’t checked all the boxes for your project, then they might not be the best fit. You want the voice of your story to create a movie for the ears. Congratulations on your book and the excellent reviews you’ve received!

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