Friday, March 17, 2017

Audio Books 101

Picking a Narrator


Learning What Not to Do
Don't choose the first Narrator who comes along. Listen, listen and listen some more.  If you're not an avid audio book listener, you're going to need to first get used to the idea of listening to a story.  A suggestion would be to get an Audible subscription for a couple of months and just get used to hearing a book.


A Narrator can boost or hurt the sales of an audio book. Some narrators do funny voices or try to sound like a woman when they're a man. I prefer a good reader over someone who tries too hard. The trick is finding someone who knows what they're doing that you can afford. 

My Experience as an Audio Book Listener 
Audio books have been so much a part of my life that I should be an expert on the subject. For over 18 years, I traveled with my husband in his 18-wheeler.  I would make a guess that we've listened to at least 22 thousand hours of audio books. We listened to every audio book we could get our hands on to make the time go by faster so that number could actually be higher. Truckers are a huge audio fan base because they spend so much time behind the wheel.  My problem is, I write romance and most truckers :) are not romance fans.


Finding a Good Narrator
Find a Narrator you like and then buy at least one of their audio books. This will be the best way to learn what they sound like. If the audio is 10 hours, which most good audio books are, it will take you at least an hour to get into all the voices and the story.

The best are expensive, but there are great Narrators on ACX who will do the royalty split. If I had all the money in the world, Scott Brick would narrate all my books. The man could read the telephone book, and I would listen. I spoke with him once on Facebook and it was like speaking with a movie star. :) If you would like to learn more about Scott, check out his website here and you can find some of his featured audio books here

Brad Pitt, Elliott Gould and Burt Reynolds are all great to listen to. I know -- I know we may not be able to afford the best as we first start out. I suggest you find someone who is good, clear and cares enough about their work to get most or all of the breath sounds out while reading and editing. And, do find and listen to a previous audio book by said narrator.



Points to consider. Can you understand the narrator and do they pronounce the words clearly? It's kind of like trying to find the perfect model for our book covers. We want to hear the perfect person portraying our characters but what we really need is someone who sounds close to their age and is a first-rate narrator. These qualities will capture and hold the audio book customer’s attention.


When you listen to an audio book, if the narrator is good, the tone in their voice can change and you will soon hear each character's voice that is in the story. A female narrator can become a man or a male narrator can become a woman.  A good Narrator will bring each character to life.  I want to stress that a few short audio samples will not be enough to help you choose a narrator. After you have received samples from your ACX narrators, buy an audio book of each one you're considering. Listen to each choice and see which one best represents the way you see your characters.

In closing, you can never be good at something unless you understand the process. So, read, listen and learn all you can. 

I hope you found this article helpful.  I'll be doing a blog post soon on my favorite narrators from ACX. Please check it out. 

Here is an audio sample of my book, Maid for Martin. Click here

Samantha Fury is the author of  the Street Justice Series.  
Samantha creates book covers at Fury Cover Design.
She also moderates several Indie Groups: Editing Services, Cover
Artist, and Helpful Indie Facebook Groups.
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