Today I share a guest post by Stewart Storrar from Voquent, an online voice-actor hire service.
Given the online book marketplace, most authors will eventually ask themselves whether they should produce an audiobook. With audiobooks growing in demand, the question ‘how to find a narrator for an audio book?’ has become increasingly relevant.
When looking to get an audiobook produced, you will need to find the perfect narrator voice to work with to make your book a success. However, finding that voice and creating the final audio file is no easy feat.
One option, of course, is to voice the audiobook yourself. This option may seem attractive to those just beginning to break ground into the audiobook market, but without the right equipment and computer applications, creating a successful, high-quality audiobook can be challenging.
The high cost of professional equipment and the computer applications that one would need to create a professional sounding audiobook to compete in the audiobook marketplace is why many authors are now outsourcing this task. Just like you would outsource editing to a professional editor like Tahlia Newland, authors are now beginning to outsource audiobook production to audio experts like Voquent.
What are the benefits of professional audiobook production?
The most glaring benefit to professional audiobook production is by far the level of quality you can attain. A higher-quality production will often translate to more sales. After-all if it doesn’t sound right, nobody will want to listen to it!
An experienced narrator, recorded professionally, will be pleasing to the ear and enhance the listening experience. This fact is what can drive an audiobook listener to either purchase or pass up on your book. A similar concept applies to music. You wouldn’t buy a horrible sounding song.
Another benefit of hiring an expert is that you won’t need to invest in professional equipment yourself. In most cases, a full, professional set up would cost thousands of dollars. That is assuming you know how to use the equipment you’re buying. Learning to use this professional equipment is just as important as buying it; this takes years of refining your knowledge base.
Professionals have access to education and the equipment to do all of this for you.
So how do I get my audiobook professionally produced?
It all begins with you. You know your book inside and out, and you know how to speak to your target audience. Use these facts to help you start your journey towards finding the best voice for your book.
The voice you will need will depend on the type of book that you have written. If you have a non-fiction book, then a narrator would perhaps suit your book best. If it is fictional, with dozens of characters to voice, then a versatile voice actor may be a better fit.
For fiction, you can choose a voice that will narrate your whole book from the third person. However, a more creative approach is to hire a talented voice actor that can give each character a unique voice. For non-fiction, this isn’t applicable, and experienced narrators are the go-to for that book type.
After deciding if you need a narrator or voice actor, you now need to determine the speaker’s language and accent. If you are a native English speaker in an English-speaking country, then using a native English language speaker may be the best choice. However, providing your book in other languages or accents can grow the audience massively and provide your audiobook with a unique feel.
If you are sticking to English, you may want to choose an English-speaking accent that matches the content. If your primary audience is in England, then using an Australian accent may not sound like the best option. But if your books setting is Australia, it would make it more evocative.
Nailing the accent will give your book a unique flair and a personality that relates to you, as well as your content.
What are the main areas to consider when choosing a narrator’s voice?
The first thing to consider, which affects everything about the voice you will need is the genre of your book.
In the first instance, the delivery style of the voice and potentially their gender. However, it varies wildly. Let’s take a romance novel as an example.
You may want a deep, sexy male voice for a female audience, but equally, a female voice may work best so that the reader can see themselves within the confines of the story. The highly subjective nature of genre determines delivery style. Similarly, you may want an old, authoritative voice for a high fantasy novel; to provide the feeling that an old sage is narrating the story.
After thinking about your genre and gender of the voice you want, we next delve into the more granular aspects of vocal style.
The first significant aspect to consider is tone. Do you want a formal or informal tone? Perhaps you want a comedic style to match the comedic undercurrent of your novel? Or maybe an eloquent or conversational tone may suit your audiobook better? Deciding on tone, again, depends on the genre and audiobook purpose. A conversational tone may be better for narrating a fictional novel from the third-person perspective. In contrast, if you audiobooks acted, an eloquent tone can be used to differentiate between a narrator and a character voice.
There are also other aspects that authors may not consider as important, such as pitch or pacing, which can give your audiobook a different feel from other books competing with yours on the market. Most authors tend to stick with a standard, neutral pitch for their audiobook. That said, different pitches can help to tie characters to stereotypes. e.g. a low tone could denote a villain. Non-fiction audiobooks will need a neutral, standard pitch and equal pacing to help with the digestion of the information if your audiobook is an e-learning book.
For those looking to target international markets, thinking about nativity may be considered when choosing a voice. Finding an audiobook narrator local to an accent or language you want is certainly a bonus. Native speakers can apply a level of intricacy to a language that non-native speakers cannot. Likewise, a native accent will always sound better than a non-native accent imitation.
Helping you narrow these different fields down to get exactly the voice you want for your audiobook is what Voquent specialize in!
Deciding to produce an audiobook is not a light decision to make, but it could be the best decision you make as an author. Choosing to get your book converted into an audiobook will open your writing up to a whole host of different audiences and improve the reach of your hard work.
Just as the decision is not easy, it is not one to rush. Take time to consider the tone, pacing, pitch, delivery style, and gender of the kind of voice you want. Be sure to conduct an in-depth search and locate that vocal style you feel will do your book justice.
Finally, avoid using semi-professional equipment at all possible. While it may seem like a cost-effective way to cut corners, it will show. Make sure you give as much attention to your audiobook’s production as you have put into writing your original manuscript.
So, I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best on your audiobook production journey!
Thanks Stewart. I always think that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and hiring professionals is necessary if you want a good product.