One of the most important decisions you will make about your audiobook is whether to narrate it yourself or whether to hire a professional narrator / producer. Each approach has its pros and cons, based on my experience with ACX …
- As an author narrator, you know exactly how it is “supposed” to sound. With a professional narrator, you get the valuable experience of hearing how another person interprets your words.
- As an author narrator, you need to master narration skills—the ability to speak for extended periods without your voice becoming scratchy (or a schedule that allows for many short recording sessions); the ability to maintain consistent volume and tempo over many chapters; perhaps the ability to provide convincing renditions of various accents. With a professional narrator, you get … well … a professional who, based on their audition, can demonstrate that they have mastered these skills.
- As an author narrator, you have an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your readers (IF the performance is good); this is especially valuable for non-fiction authors who are pairing their books with consulting engagements. With a professional narrator, you get a professional-grade performance by a non-author narrator, which is far preferable to a sub-professional-grade performance by an author narrator.
- As an author narrator, you will need to have the technical equipment as well as a space conducive to recording. With a professional narrator, you get someone who has the needed equipment and space.
- As an author narrator, you take on the financial risk of equipping yourself and the time investment of doing the recording with no guaranteed payback. With a professional narrator, with a royalty share arrangement, there is no financial risk to having someone else narrate, and the only time investment is quality assuring the recording.
- As an author narrator, depending on your skill, knowledge, and time, you have complete control over the process. With a professional narrator, you get a professional who is not just a “voice for hire”—he or she is a creative individual who will bring their own interpretation of your work.
It was an easy decision for me to choose a professional narrator, especially because I had read that for an inexperienced person can take up to 12 hours to produce one finished hour of audio and I just didn’t have that kind of time available.
In the next post, I’ll discuss the process of engaging a narrator / producer, and the production process!