After listening to numerous audiobooks on the Audible site, have discovered listeners will sometimes upload a book because of the narrator rather than the author. A good narrator can elevate an ordinary thriller. A bad narrator can spoil a great story. Some narrators get it right. Others can drive potential listeners away by bad practices. What are the common pet peeves caused by narrators of audio books?
How to Improve Sales of Audio Books on Audible
|Great Book Narration|
A great book, good studio microphone and perfect recording are far from enough to create a good customer experience when it comes to listening to audio books. Books in audio form are complex, having gone through many stages before arriving on the audible store. The thriller must have a brilliant plot, great editing, a compelling cover design and blurb. Then there is the recording equipment. A dead room free of background noise, a studio quality microphone and sound editing software.
How Not to Narrate Audio Books on ACX
But even when everything is perfect, the audio book can fall at the last hurdle with the voice narrator. Audible allows the customer to rate an audio book in three parts: overall, performance and story. The last thing a narrator needs is poor rating for performance. So let’s look at the most common irritations for listeners when it comes to audible books.
Monotone Reading in Audible
Some narrators forget that, like musical instruments, the voice box can express different notes. Not varying the pitch may result in a monotonous narration that is devoid of emotion, nuance or expression. This can lead to a dull listening experience, rather like listening to a robot. The listener may liken the audio book to-text-to speech on the Kindle. The culprit might be nerves, the narrator sounding stiff. Voice exercises prior to recording might help loosen things up.
Good Audio Book Narration
Any noise other than the voice itself can put the listener off. I’m not talking about background noises such as birds or traffic, but sounds from the voice artist, which might be swallowing between words, breathing, lip-smacking or gulping. No matter how soft, these oral sounds are, they can be off-putting and may result in a low star rating for narrator performance.
Who’s Speaking in the Audio Book: Mistakes of the Narrator
Not all attributes to who the speaker is will be ‘he said’ or ‘she said,’ so the narrator would do well by adopting different voices for various characters. Audible customers often complain that they don’t know who is speaking, as the narrator uses the same voice for every character. Some narrators have a natural flair for creating a different voice for each character. Doing so effectively can really help the listener get engrossed in the story.
Bad Narration of Audible Books
But the voice artist can also go too far the other way, hamming it up when it comes to accents, nuances and voice quality. An overly-booming voice or a sickly sweet whine can result in a listening experience that equates to watching a cartoon. It would be hard to get engrossed in the story if the listener cannot believe in the characters.
Patronizing the Listener of Audio Books
Some narrators can really irritate the listener by using a tone of voice that patronizes rather than engages. A sickly sweet tone suited more for kindergarten, or speaking too slowly can insult the listener’s intelligence. Care is needed to get the tone and pace right (not too fast, not too slow). This will lull the listener into the story without the obtrusion of condescension.
How Not to Narrate for Audio Books: Regional Accent
Another peeve is a narrator failing to convince an accent. One example is an American narrator trying to do a British accent or vice versa. The narrator would do better not to attempt an accent that does not convince, but differentiate characters by means within the comfort zone. Some listeners dislike Americanisms inserted within British books, using words such as ‘candy’ or ‘jello’ instead of ‘sweets’ and ‘jelly’.
Getting the Man or Woman’s Voice Right
A woman narrating an audio book may overdo the baritone of a male character; a male character may not achieve the soft tone of a female. Overdoing the tone of voice can be off-putting and fail to convince. The best thing to do is to differentiate the character tones in a subtle yet definite way.
Immersible Reading Abridged or Unabridged
If the words spoken by the narrator are in any way different to the Kindle version of the book, the words will not be in sync. Immersible reading or whispersync for voice would be made impossible. This would be a shame, as the customer is robbed of reading choice. Books that are ‘unabridged’ as opposed to ‘abridged’ means the words are the same as the audible version and reading in sync with the voice is kept intact.
How to Increase Audio Book Sales
More Tips on Creating Audible Books
What is an audio interface and why the audio book creator needs one
Essential sound equipment for narrating books
The best microphone for voice acting
A home studio for audio book recording
Tips for voice narrating