Logotipo grande ErielStudio Naranja y Azul

The challenge of audiobook narration

16/11/2023

Table of Contents

The challenge of audiobook narration

Welcome, Voice Enthusiasts! As you all know, the work of a narrator spans a wide variety of fields, from corporate text narration, advertising voiceovers, character characterization, e-learning projects, audio guides… Each of these facets of the profession has its own characteristics and requires very different skills as well as specific technical requirements. In this regard, narrating audiobooks is possibly one of the most challenging tasks. Let’s explore why and learn what is necessary to narrate audiobooks like a professional.

audiobook

Physical challenges

The first challenge posed by audiobook narration is the significant physical demand it entails. As you can imagine, while any script presents a challenge, recording a short 100-word advertising text is not the same as narrating a book of over 30,000 words. It will be necessary to spread the recording over several days. We must be aware of our physical limitations and avoid recording sessions that are too long. Extended sessions of an hour or even more can not only cause damage to our voice but also fatigue and, depending on the content, dare we say, boredom, which can affect the quality of the work we are doing. It is challenging to maintain liveliness and convey the same energy at the beginning of a session as after 30 minutes of work. With long sessions, we run the risk of sounding monotonous and dull, so we must avoid them.

As an alternative, I would recommend recording sessions of 30 or 40 minutes, always ending if possible at the end of a complete chapter. We will then proceed to work on the editing of that session, using this time to relax our vocal cords, hydrate, and make progress in the arduous task of producing an audiobook. Additionally, alternating between recording and editing will make the work more enjoyable.

Keep the tone

Performing multiple sessions, even on different days, also presents the challenge of ensuring no changes in intonation, rhythm, mood… between one session and another. Therefore, it is important to try to finish sessions at the end of a chapter or section. It is also advisable to start our recording session by listening to the previous paragraph and repeating it, that is, reading the last paragraph of the previous session again. We will then discard this part, but it will serve as a “warm-up” and help us find the right tone.

On the other hand, maintaining a relaxed tone is essential. With very long texts, it is easy to rush the recording process. We should try to read thoughtfully, slowly, and carefully, taking care of pauses. The listener must have time to assimilate what we are telling them.

audiobook

Adapting to the content

Similarly, we have to consider that not all audiobooks are the same. A non-fiction book will generally use a more neutral, explanatory tone that conveys confidence, while avoiding falling into monotony. In books with different characters, we should try to use a slightly different tone for each of these characters (not imitating voices, just changing intonation), so the listener can identify who is speaking at any given moment. Of course, we must maintain a certain consistency throughout the entire text.

Technical challenges

Finally, editing and post-production will also present their own challenges. Long editing sessions will jeopardize the necessary concentration to correct any small errors we may have made in the recording. Additionally, we must consider that different audiobook platforms such as ACX have specific technical requirements that we must meet, such as audio between -23dB and -18dB, peaks lower than -3dB, noise no higher than -60dB, and many others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the production of an audiobook is a laborious, meticulous job with numerous physical, mental, and technical challenges, which can be a real challenge. However, it is an equally satisfying process. The moment of reading the word END after several days of work is truly unique for any audiobook narrator.

I hope these lines have at least given you a small idea of the complexity involved in narrating an audiobook. Are you ready to narrate yours? Go ahead! With these tips and a bit of patience, you’re sure to achieve good results. On the other hand, if you need professional narration, remember that at Eriel Studio, we have extensive experience in narrating all kinds of content, including audiobooks, with more than 40 books produced. Feel free to visit our website to listen to some samples and get more information.

See you soon!