While readers primarily choose audio books based on their literary genre and description, nearly 50% of them attach great importance to the narrator’s voice. It’s obvious that voices play a major role in audio book purchasing decisions!
In order for listeners to fall under a book’s spell, the voice-over narration (the voice that you hear without seeing anyone on screen) needs to be compelling as soon as you click play. It’s like going to the cinema without the visuals! To serve the book, the narrator’s voice must be lively and pleasant and their reading of the text must be smooth. The narration has to communicate the proper emotion to capture your attention right away and carry you far, far away to the author’s imaginary world right up until the last word. You’re no longer simply listening to the story but instead experiencing it first-hand as though you were the main character with his or her doubts, fears, courage, adventures and internal monologue.
Who are the people who lend their voices to audio books?
Most of them are professional actors and artists who have completed studies in the performing arts. The voice-over market has also expanded to include individuals who have excellent elocution and acting talent and have completed at least one training course on the basics of voice work. Sometimes, authors take a chance and record themselves reading their own work.
More and more publishers have found a solution that works for them by working exclusively with highly influential artists and well-known figures with recognisable voices https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-read-down/celebrity-read-audiobooks. Two such examples are the audio books published by Éditions des Femmes Antoinette Fouque, which feature excellent narration, and the clever Alma Studio application created by DJ Martin Solveig, which offers visuals-free audio recordings of stories for children ages 3 to 10, all of which are read – or acted, rather – by France’s most famous voice talents.
However, even if someone’s voice is well known or they have taken acting classes, that does not mean that all audio book listeners will like their voice because the sound of someone’s voice is a fairly subjective topic. When a narrator reads a book aloud, should their voice sound beautiful or should it sound right? The difference is sometimes unclear. A voice that sounds right may not please listeners whereas a beautiful voice may not sound right but still please everyone. As a result, even among the audio book market leaders, there may be a frustrating discrepancy between the text and the narrator’s voice, which may leave listeners not feeling carried away at all! Once again, it all depends on your experience.
Audio book narrators may also be authors who have recorded themselves. However, while this solution may be tempting for financial reasons, it can quickly turn into a disaster and send readers running if the quality is not high enough from start to finish. In addition to requiring the right recording equipment and excellent acoustics, not just anyone can act out a text and serve as a bridge between the author and the reader. Up until recently, readers would use their own imagination and either read quietly to themselves, read aloud or else read in their own head. Introducing a voice that is foreign to the reader’s imagination and the author’s universe is a challenge that can only be tackled by voice work and sound professionals.
Online, there are many talented voice-over professionals who are used to recording long texts, often in multiple languages. There’s no shortage of options for (self-published) authors and publishers when it comes to casting talent.
At the same time, there are more and more synthetic voices designed to read newspapers or books aloud. However, let’s be honest. These voices cannot communicate the emotion of human voices and that’s a good thing. For financial reasons, certain publishers admit more or less openly to choosing this option but listeners are no fools.
Whatever the audio book genre, you can always listen to an excerpt before moving on to the next step (loan or purchase). This lets you choose a voice that truly speaks to you before you let it carry you away.
BOOK iVOICE has connected the dots between audio books and audio book trailers. Just as voice overs lend audio books their charm, the same goes for book trailers. As the book’s invisible ambassador, the voice has to captivate listeners right away so they will want to experience the audio book in its entirety. As the creators of audio and video book trailers, video clips, animated videos and 15, 30 and 60-second spots https://www.bookivoice.com/en/portfolio, we are here for you every step of the way as you search for THE voice to highlight one part of your book. Never before has our brand name, BOOK iVOICE, Bring Your Writing to Life, felt more appropriate.