Today, we’ve got a crash course for ACX rights holders on choosing the right narrator for your book. How does an author know which voice is best to bring their work to life? We’ve got 5 tips below that you can use to hone in on the perfect producer for your title.
1. Better the narrator reads a little too slow than a little too fast.
Proper pacing for your title can be hard to nail down. Romance will have a different pace than action books or adventure novels. Different scenes within your title may require a slightly different read based on the content. But overall, it’s better for your narrator to err on the slower side than rush through the material, leaving listeners in the dust.
Listen to the following example of a passage read too quickly:
Notice how it’s hard to distinguish between dialogue and descriptive text. The poor listener is left in the dust, with no time to comprehend what’s being conveyed to them.
Now, let’s listen to the same passage read a little too slowly:
The pacing is a bit deliberate perhaps, but at least the listener can settle into the story and process what’s being read.
2. Character voices should sound natural, not over the top and “cartoonish.”
Another aspect of narration that will quickly turn off listeners is ridiculous sounding character voices. When in doubt, understated is best. Narration that hints at a new character speaking is better than a jarring change in tone. Here’s a clip of a silly, distracting character:
Yeesh! Who could listen to that for the length of an entire book? Now, let’s listen to the same clip with a more measured, understated read:
Much better. Notice how the narrator subtly hints at a change in tone, trusting the reader to pick up on the change in character. (Thanks to Victor Bevine for providing the audio examples above.)
3. Check to see if the narrator has other audiobooks on Audible, and read the reviews.
Proper pacing and character voices are definitely an art, and you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re new to audiobooks and unsure what sounds best. If that’s the case, we recommend you take advantage of the combined knowledge of Audible’s listeners! If the narrator has books already for sale on Audible, check the reviews of those titles. The “What Members Say” section can be found on each title’s product detail page, under the “Publisher’s Summary” section.
Note that Audible has ratings and reviews specific to performance, not just for the story itself. You can also scroll down further and read opinions from individual Audible Listeners. Many are as attached to their favorite narrators as they are their favorite authors!
4. Ask for your fans’ opinions.
Author Hugh Howey linked his fans to the ACX sample search and asked for suggestions. If you’ve already started receiving auditions, you can download them from ACX, post them to your website using a service like SoundCloud, and poll your readers with easypolls or another free online polling tool.
This is also a great way to build some advance buzz and get your fans excited for your upcoming audiobook!
5. Trust your instincts
You know your book better than anyone. If something doesn’t sound right to you, it probably won’t sound right to others. If you’re unsure about a particular voice, use ACX’s sample search to invite a few of our 15,000 narrators to audition for your book. We’re confident that the perfect voice on ACX, ready to narrate your title!
How do you find the perfect voice for your title? Tell us in the comments!