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How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

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Finding the perfect narrator for an audiobook can be a daunting task, and making the wrong choice could potentially ruin your listeners’ experience. That’s why it is so important to understand what matters most when selecting a voice actor—from genre, budget, and music to sound effect needs and narration or public speaking expertise.

The quality of your narrator’s performance often determines whether or not your audiobook will be enjoyed by its intended audience, making it essential to choose the right person to collaborate with on this project.

Luckily, there are countless methods that authors can leverage to locate the best match for their work, including seeking out recommended narrators through online marketplaces, providing prospective actors with adequate background information about their story, listening to audio samples, and reading reviews left by other content creators who have worked with the narrator in the past.

Furthermore, as you search for potential partners, keep a set budget in mind, since production costs vary greatly depending on each individual’s competency with different techniques and vocal styles.

By doing this, you’re sure to increase your chances of creating remarkable content that accurately captures your characters’ emotions, while giving readers an unforgettable storytelling experience!

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

Know Your Audience and Genre

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

It’s important to understand who your target audience is and what audiobooks they prefer, as well as the desired tone and genre of your book, if you want to select a narrator that resonates with them.

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

Understand your target audience’s preferences

Identifying and understanding your target audience’s preferences can be one of the most important steps in choosing the best audiobook narrator for your story. It helps to know what types of stories they’re listening for, as well as any genre or storytelling conventions they may prefer.

For example, someone looking for an audiobook about a historical nonfiction event may have different expectations than someone looking to enjoy a suspenseful historical fiction novel.

Understanding these details and knowing what type of performance is likely to make listeners sit up and pay attention will give you key insights into choosing the right narrator. You should also consider whether there are certain voice characteristics, such as age range or accent, that would work better with your particular audience demographic or book genre.

Consider the genre and tone of your book

When it comes to choosing the right narrator for an audiobook, your story’s genre and tone are essential factors to consider. Every genre has unique traits, from the literary style of a nonfiction novel to the action-packed scenes of science fiction, so finding a voice actor who can capture these without compromising on their interpretation is key.

Every genre has unique traits, from the literary style of a nonfiction novel to the action-packed scenes of science fiction, so finding a voice actor who can capture these without compromising on their interpretation is key.

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

Romance novels, for instance, often require narrators with voices that exude warmth and emotion. You need someone who isn’t afraid to get lost in the characters’ feelings and express them aloud without sounding overly dramatic or cliche.

On the other hand, horror stories should be narrated by someone whose spooky timbre amplifies every nerve-wracking scene in a way that feels imbued with anticipation, but never crosses the horrifying line into campy lectureship.

Similarly, historical nonfiction needs an experienced narrator conversant with pronunciation nuances, as well as knowledge on different periods in time, combined with lively dialogue that keep listeners engaged throughout the story.

By taking all these elements into account when deciding on a narrator for your audiobook production, you are ultimately ensuring what type of audience it will cater to, as well as its overall quality, which embodies different aspects, such as diction, clarity, rhythm and performance, all tailored around how your particular narrative flows best.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Narrator

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

It is essential to consider several factors, such as whether you should opt for self-narration or hire a professional. You can research potential narrators through voiceover marketplaces, listen and read reviews, give additional background information to the narrator, and make sure to keep your budget in mind.

Decide whether to self-narrate or hire a professional

Deciding whether to self-narrate or hire a professional is one of the most important decisions authors must make when creating an audiobook. When considering this decision, authors should consider who their target audience is and what genre their book belongs to.

Research potential narrators through voice over marketplaces

Voice over marketplaces provide a platform for authors to research potential narrators for their audiobook projects and help them find an ideal narrator more efficiently.

Authors can listen to voice samples from promising candidates, obtain feedback by reading reviews, and gain important background information about each narrator before making a selection

It is best to create an audition script, in which you can ask prospective narrators to record a small section of your book. This will give you an idea of the way they interpret characters and moods through sound effects, pacing, emotionality and dynamic tones.

Consider distribution platforms, such as Audible, when searching for narrators in online marketplaces; Audible connects writers with experienced sound engineers with proven audio book production backgrounds who are familiar with the file formats required by multiple distributors.

Additionally, keep in mind potential cost implications associated with narration services, which may be determined based on word tally or hourly rates. Luckily, many markets offer generous discounts, while others allow royalty percentage splits between author-narrator pairs

Lastly, remember that selecting a quality narrator increases your story’s reach exponentially, so it pays to invest time in researching the options available through reliable conduits before finalizing any decisions.

Listen to audio samples and read reviews

Listening to audio samples from potential narrators and reading reviews can help audiobook listeners make informed decisions when choosing the best narrator for their story. Audio samples enable users to get a feel for each narrator’s individual voice quality and how they might fit the tone of your book. Reading reviews from previous customers will give you insight into what other listeners have thought about the chosen narrator, highlighting any pros or cons that may affect your choice.

Give your narrator plenty of background information

Having the right narrator for your audiobook can be the difference between success and failure. Before beginning the narration process, it is essential that you provide narrators with a detailed overview of what they need to know.

Your narrator should have an understanding of both the overall story arc and individual character backstories, plot points, and any other contextual information needed to accurately convey your book’s vision.

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

How To Choose The Best Audiobook Narrator For Your Story

Deep knowledge of a book’s content will ensure that difficult lines are properly voiced or passages are described with clarity and emotion. To best inform your narrator ahead of recording, provide them with all the relevant expository data, such as details about character ages, biography information, and background descriptions, including setting locations or time periods in which the action takes place. Anything related to visuals featured in accompanying illustrations should also be shared whenever possible.

Doing this will eliminate any guesswork by both parties, while decreasing potential delays caused by misunderstandings between the writer and narrator. Furthermore, having all necessary script details allows for smoother deliveries, allowing narrators to expressively present sections without unexpected pauses or anxiety about corrections, which can cause unnecessary hidden costs when the production time is exceeded.

Keep your budget in mind

When selecting a narrator for your audiobooks, it’s critical to keep cost effectiveness in mind. Depending on the size and scope of your project, there may be three potential options: self-narration, hiring a professional dedicated voice actor or service, or using an online marketplace to access cheaper options.

Self-narrating can save costs by cutting out any fees for studios or production houses, but this method isn’t feasible when producing professional-level audiobooks. Hiring a professional voice over artist comes with higher up-front costs than other avenues, but ensures that you will get high-quality narration from start to finish.

Voice over marketplaces tend to have more affordable rates, but usually employ newer actors who are not necessarily familiar with audio engineering practices for optimal sound quality and microphone techniques.

Ultimately, before beginning any negotiations, budget constraints should be taken into account.


The right audiobook narrator helps bring a story to life and can greatly enhance the experience of listening to an audiobook. When selecting the best voice for your audiobook, it’s essential to understand the target audience’s preferences, keep genre and tone in mind, listen to audio samples of potential narrators, read reviews, and research various marketplaces for professionals.

Additionally, providing plenty of background information on your story can help ensure that you choose a compatible narrator. Last but not least, consider your budget before selecting a narrator; hiring expert services or self-narrating will both cost money in one way or another, so it’s important to plan ahead when deciding what financial resources are available for this step in audiobook production!


1. What should I consider when choosing an audiobook narrator?

When choosing an audiobook narrator, you should take into account the style of narration they specialize in, their background and experience, their audio quality, as well as their fee structure and turnaround times.

2. How do I find a professional narrator for my audiobooks?

You can find professional narrators by searching through voice over websites, such as Voices or ACX. You can also search for solution providers that offer curated rosters of qualified narrators on platforms such as Find away Voices and Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).

3. How does the auditioning process work for selecting a narrator?

The auditioning process involves listening to different samples from prospective narrators to decide which one best represents your story or message. When requested by a producer, some sites may even provide customized auditions based on sections of your book with specific characters’ voices included to give you an idea of how the text might sound once recorded in full.

4. What kind of questions should I ask a potential audiobook narrator? 

Some important questions to ask relate to their rate per finished hour, what deadlines they can meet, whether they can turn around raw files quickly, do they have access to music, and if narration editing is part of the service? Other than these technical details, it’s always good to know more about their skillset, like how long they have been working professionally as a voice actor.

5. How do I make sure my narration project stays within the stated budget constraints?

Getting quotes from multiple tradespeople before settling on one particular vendor or producer will ensure you don’t end up spending outside your budget limits, while ensuring you get all the features and services desired. Additionally, speaking with experienced producers to understand industry trends and regulations regarding payment structures could potentially save costs down the road.