If you master the following skills, you'll provide a narration that most audiobook listeners take for granted. Narrating an audiobook is a very challenging task.
The goal is to pronounce words and phrases correctly, clearly, and cleanly. There should be no over- or under-articulation (unless it is a character); no sibilance or whistling, no lisping, and little to no mouth noises.
Sufficient breath is necessary to avoid running out of air or gasping between sentences. It also means preventing fading, swallowing, and gulping. Adequate breath control encompasses managing plosives, maintaining consistent volume, and projecting appropriately. It also involves minimizing mouth noise and throat clearing. Excessive noise will result in extra editing work and may make audiobook companies hesitant to hire talents who require excessive post-production attention.
The ability to tell a compelling story is what constitutes solid delivery. Your delivery must be appropriate to the spirit of the text and your intent and must be consistent throughout the narration. Due to a likely narrating schedule over several days, your voice must match itself as much as possible, both in pitch and energy, from day to day.
Keeping pace and timing appropriate to the text are additional elements of professional delivery. Each sentence should vary slightly so as not to become predictable. Repetitive cadence and pitch patterns must be avoided at all costs. Even though listeners may not know what you're going to say next, if you always start and end sentences the same way, they'll know how you're going to say it.
This involves reading your script accurately (not omitting, adding, or changing words and phrases). When narratoring, you should work hard to stick to the script. If you feel changes are necessary, you should also revise the text in your print or ebook, and supply this version for proofing against the script. It takes a lot of practice to lift words off the page effortlessly.
Audiobook narration requires no spillovers or bleeding between the narrator and the character. When narrating, be sure to say phrases like "he said" or "she said" before or after the character speaks-in the narrator's voice, not the character's voice-this is essential.
Only record when you have the time and can focus on your content. This requires sufficient energy and the ability to sound as strong at the end of your session as at the beginning. It is better when narrating to be physically fit and emotionally stable. Performing a audiobook is much like running a marathon.
Creating an emotional connection with the listener is the key to providing a successful narration. Rather than just reading the words, a great narration paints a picture with words. Even if your subject matter is boring, bring life to the narration and sound interested in it to draw the listener in, get great reviews, and motivates listeners to purchase future releases.
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