by Helen Lloyd
Audiobook narration is one of the biggest challenges facing any actor. Not only is the narrator responsible for telling the story, they’re also responsible for creating and playing every single character in every book, page after page, chapter after chapter. Every character has to be believable and unique and the interpretation of the people in the book and that narrative must all remain true to the author’s intent. A challenge indeed!
Narrating – or rather performing an audiobook is something completely different from any other kind of voice work. You may feel that ‘performing’ is an odd word to use in this context! ‘Narrating’ or ‘reading’ are perhaps more commonly used, but in truth, audiobooks are a performance – one which may sometimes involve more than one person – and the people reading the books aloud are ‘performers’ just as actors on a stage are performers.
And there is so much more to performing an audiobook than simply reading aloud.
‘Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning’.
Maya Angelou – Author & Poet
There is absolutely no doubt that performing an audiobook is a huge challenge, and it is little wonder that so many voiceover artists balk at the idea of being shut in a padded room for days on end for a comparatively small reward. Financially at least, audiobook narration is the poor relation. A thirty second network commercial would command a significantly higher fee than you’d typically receive for narrating a ten hour audiobook… and the commercial would be completed in hours rather than days. People do make money in audiobooks, but less than an established VO artist working in the commercial world – and they certainly don’t make it quickly!
In this series of articles, I am going to look at what’s involved in creating an audiobook from scratch from the performer’s point of view – starting with the question “Why is audiobook narration so complicated and so rewarding?”
If you are an author who would like to bring your work to audio – whether to expand your audience, connect with new readers / listeners, or enhance your brand, get in touch with Raconteurs Audio today – and find out more about how we can help you publish your audiobook!
About Helen Lloyd
Helen has been blogging for many years – about acting, audiobooks and other related stuff. She is a founder member of Raconteurs Audio, and as well as being an award winning audiobook narrator and producer, she is a narrator coach and mentor helping numerous narrators to hone their skills and advance their narration journey.