Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Ways Audio Can Ruin A Good Book

Elsie’s Audiobook Digest

I’m No Expert, But!

Musings from an audiobookphile

by Lynda Guydon on September 23. 2016

In the 12 years, I've been a member of Audible I've amassed over 1100 audiobooks titles in my collection. Yep, that amounts to close to 100 books per year! 

So, I think that makes me qualified to speak to authors and narrators about what makes a good audiobook and pitfalls to avoid when making that decision to transfer your beloved work from pages to the spoken word.

I'm assuming that as an author you put a lot of time, blood, sweat, and tears into bringing your vision to life on paper, and as an avid audiobook listener nothing is more disheartening for me than seeing a good story ruined by bad audio or awkward narrating!

Here are 5 instances in which a bad audiobook can make me wanna holler and throw up both my hands! To quote Marvin Gaye.

  1. Authors narrating their own book. Yes, I understand you wrote the words and no one knows better than you, the feeling and emotion behind those words! But, unless you're an actor, please leave it to the professionals. Trust me when I say that I've clicked off so many books narrated by the author, that I refuse to look or listen any further when I see a book is narrated by the author.                                                                                                                       
  2. The narrator reads in a thick dialect that has too narrow an appeal. I've seen this happened in characters with Bostonian accents, Cajun accents,  and urban dialects.  I understand wanting to be authentic to the book, but seriously, what's your goal? Isn't it to put more of your books in front of as many people as possible? More people equals more sales. If I have a difficult time understanding the narrator or I find it distracting, guess what? Yep, right or wrong I'm clicking off!                                                                                                                                                 
  3. Poor audio quality. If there are noises and crackling in the background it's annoying. Likewise, if the narrator swallows excessively or has a cold it is very distracting and yes it has happened!  If I listen to a sample and the audio quality is bad… Next!!                                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Narrator voices the character too young or too old. Remember the fiasco that was the FSOG original audiobook? The lead character sounded like she was a fifteen-year-old girl! Yuck (shivers) it was so bad and they had so many complaints, it had to be recorded over again, a rarity in this business from my experience.                                                                                                                                         
  5. It bothers me to no end when a male narrator reads a female character with a high-pitched or screechy voice! When will they learn to just soften their voice, when reading a woman's part? It’s much more effective! It’s not just men, though, I've heard some awful narrations from women reading male characters too!

My question for authors, how much input do you have in choosing a narrator? Do you have any input while the narrator is recording?

So there you have it! Authors, what are your thoughts?

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