Next month I’ll be presenting on audiobooks via ACX at a writer’s conference. In this emerging market of audiobooks, marketing is key, and I would say many authors mess this up because it’s different from marketing books in general. The first step is choosing the right narrator, which is not only a creative choice, but this is your first, and perhaps your biggest, marketing choice for the audiobook.
Things to consider when choosing a narrator:
What point of view did you write the book in? If it’s female first person, then it would be best if you chose a female narrator. Recently, my husband has listened to a few books, and not indie books, where the story is told from a first person male perspective but the narrator is female. It really drives him crazy. This seems like it should be an obvious thing, but apparently it isn’t.
If it’s written in third person, how many male and female characters are there in the story? Looking at these numbers will help you decided if it’s best to go with a male or female narrator. For example, my Fateful Series, which is Paranormal Romance, has a majority of male characters. It is very difficult for a female to perform male voices. Many times they sound like silly caricatures. Plus it’s easier for a male or female reader to add greater variety in voices for characters of the same gender. While the majority of my characters are male, there is one scene where there are 6 females all together. I could tell it was almost a stretch for him to do all of those female voices at once and make sure they don’t all sound alike. He managed it extremely well, but to do that with an entire novel would be a problem.
If you’ve written the book in third person and you have an even number of male or female characters, should you choose a male or female narrator? When in doubt, go with a male narrator, even for romance… Or especially for romance. For Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade, or Mystery male is usually a better choice every time… This is not the trend, but most male readers have a greater rang in their voices and can perform better female characters than females can perform males. It’s a major turnoff to listen to a woman perform a male character that is supposedly hot. It just does not work. Most women that I know would rather have a male whisper a romance into their ear over a female. And most men that I know wouldn’t want to listen to a woman read an action spy novel to them.
Should you narrate your own book? If your book is on writing, or a story about your own life, and you know how to produce a quality recording, then yes. Otherwise, I think it’s best to leave the acting and production to the pros.
Three more tips to choosing the right narrator:
Choose a soothing voice. This is another reason you should go with male if you can. Female voices tend to grate on the ear. Even so, the male or female voice must be one that readers can listen to for long periods of time. Nothing too harsh or high-pitched.
Get outside opinions from friends, family, and fans. In my experience, authors get desperate thinking they won’t find what they want, so they go with whoever auditions. And authors have bad taste when choosing their own narrator. It’s just a fact you’re going to have to swallow.
Listen to other work done by the narrator. And I don’t just mean the samples they have in their profile. Buy one of the audiobooks they’ve done and listen to it.
Don’t forget how much time and effort the producer puts into your book. It takes 5-6 hours worth of hard work to produce 1 recorded hour of finished audio. It also takes a great deal of creative talent. This is not like hiring an editor. Anyone with the skill can edit a book, but not every narrator can bring life to your story in the same way. On ACX you can choose to list your book as either Royalty Share or Paid per Finished Hour. Most authors want to do the Royalty Share so they don’t have to pay the narrator for their work, thinking royalties will cover it later. Sadly, many narrators are getting burned on Royalty Shares. If you want a quality narrator, it would be wise to list the book as Royalty Share OR a Negotiated Hourly Rate.
Fateful, book one in the Fateful Series, is available for Free download and Whispersynced. This means you can pick up Fateful for free for Kindle and then get the audiobook for only $1.99!!!
For Danielle Darcey, when the sun sets in London the magic begins, but just as that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends…because the hero of her story is a vampire.
A dying knight, the infamous Sir Maximilian…
A curse saves him. That curse makes him even more dangerous…and he likes it. To him, a new life as a vampire is an appealing thing.
The man who turned him into this great, fearsome warrior tasks him to watch over and protect his mortal daughter, Nadia. But the beautiful Nadia puts Max’s skills as a knight to the test, captures his heart, and bewitches him with eyes of emerald green. A power more potent than any magical curse.
Inspired by ballads of Robin Hood, Nadia is a bit too rebellious for her own good. And with a kind heart, she is much too trusting and forgiving for Max’s peace of mind, because those attributes get her into a great deal of peril. Deadly creatures surround her—some of them are there to protect her and some want to lure her into a trap—and she has no idea…
But can a knight in shining armor heal a lady’s heart when her love for the legend of Robin Hood is used against her?
Cheri is the bestselling author of Fateful. Think “The Vampire Diaries meets Jane Austen.” Fateful is followed by Fractured, Forever, and The Order of Curse-Bound Knights. And she has one other book in another series out entitled, Fair Maiden. Her Fateful Series has been a bestseller ever since she published it, and well over a 150 thousand copies have been downloaded worldwide. Cheri will say that her head is a very crowded place, and she wishes she could write faster. She will also tell you that if you do not like glittering fairies, hot vampires with British accents, knights in shining armor, the dashing Mr. Darcy, girly-girls who wear skirts, modern-day vigilantes, or large amounts of snogging, then perhaps her stories are not for you. Currently she is working on The Trapping Club, a sequel to Fair Maiden, a contemporary/spy romance series, and a Steampunk series.