Why an Author/Writer Should Hire a Voiceover?


Audiobook has become the fastest-growing publishing format in the last two years.

In Audible alone, customers downloaded over two billion hours’ worth of programming in 2016, twice as much downloads two years before.

59% of audiobook consumers only started listening to audiobooks in the last two years, and over 42% of that in the last 12 months.

With these statistics, it is vital then for authors and writers to publish their work in an audiobook format to increase their reach.

But before they go that route, they need to make an important decision – do they hire voiceover/s or do the recording themselves.

The temptation to record your own work for an audiobook format is great, as you want someone who understands your book inside out, someone who knows how the readers (listeners) should feel throughout the book, someone who has the inside knowledge on what the outcome would be like – the obvious choice is you, the author.

Yet it takes more than an understanding of the work; there are nuances in voiceover that only a professional voice actor can bring to the table.

Why an author/writer should hire a voiceover?

An average book is about 55,000 to 100,000 words. The completed recording will take about 6 to 12 hours. The time invested to record this though will take 30 to 40 hours, even more if it involves characters.

The time you invest in recording can be used in activities that would need your attention more – publicity, marketing, etc.

Recording or narrating is not as easy as it looks. There are technicalities that would need attention that only an experienced voiceover or narrator can deliver.

Quality is essential. No matter how great the content is, if not delivered in a professional quality, no amount of publicity would help you reach your market.

Jim Dale, famous for his work in the Harry Potter audiobook series, described what an author should look for in a narrator:

“The dynamic range (the ratio of soft and loud sound), pitch and timing all contributing to the variable colour of the voice to effectively convey the character’s emotion, whether it be a frown, smile or shrug into the listeners mind. An experienced and talented recorded book narrator will be capable of accomplishing these tasks as a matter of course.”

“The basic skills for the professional narrator combine the natural sensitivity, nuances and shading to the meanings of words. It requires the correct pronunciation for both native and foreign words applied accurately and naturally, all delivered without breaking the rhythm of the narration.”

Furthermore, an understanding of what the story, context, situation or scene can be had through thorough reading of the work, and sessions with the writer, but the mark of an excellent narrator is being able to go beyond this knowledge and remove any wall to draw the listeners into your work.

Watch out for the second part of the series – How I Chose a Narrator for My Audiobook.

Do you have a book that needs recording? What qualities do you look for in a narrator?  

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