How do you choose a narrator
for your audiobook?
BY KAREN ROSE SMITH
I delved into the project of developing some of my novels into audiobooks, never realizing what type of
challenge this could be. I listened to hundreds of narrator samples on ACX.com, attempting to decide which
voice will best convey my hero or heroine, emotion and multiple characters. This can be a difficult decision to
make from a ten-minute audition sample. With two audiobooks for sale, two more “in the can” waiting to go
live, as well as four other audiobooks in various stages of production, I’ve developed a set of guidelines that
help me. Maybe they will help you.
1. Choose an audition sample with multiple characters and emotion as well as narrative.
I usually upload an audition script that includes three characters so I can tell if I can distinguish voices with
the narrator. I also upload a scene containing dialogue, narrative, and emotion. This is a true test of a narrator
in a short script. It makes a difference to me if the narrator only reads the minimum required or all the
pages I uploaded. That is a sign that shows me if the narrator is willing to go the extra mile. That could be
vital in working together, whether for deadlines or editing concerns.
2. All recording equipment is not created equal.
You will have varying levels of expertise in not only the telling of the story but in the equipment narrators
use to tell it. The first thing to do is buy a set of studio
headphones. (I found mine at Sears.)