Last updated 3/15/21
One question that I’ve seen and heard repeatedly from authors and listeners is: How is a narrator selected to read the audiobook?
In addition, many authors tell me that they want to narrate their audiobooks for financial and/or artistic reasons.
At first glance, the author might seem to be the most logical choice for the narrator. The author has labored over every word in the book and obviously is the person most familiar with its arc and important points.
However, many avid listeners refuse to listen to books narrated by the author because they have frequently discovered that the writer is not necessarily the best performer. In fact, the annual consumer surveys from the Audio Publishers Association show this consistent finding:
“Audiobook consumers place a high priority on quality of narration. Non-fiction and fiction listeners alike prefer a professional voice actor to the author as a narrator.”
I always advise authors and publishers to select the narrator who can best serve the text. The following 3 questions guide the casting process:
1) Is the book fiction or non-fiction?
2) What narrative point of view (POV) is used in the book?
3) Who is paying for the production costs?