Some publishers discourage authors from narrating their own books. They say they want a polished performance, so it sells. Newsflash: so does the author! Publishers cite horror stories of the time it will take to read the manuscript while the engineer or producer stops you mid-sentence for delivery coaching and to correct every errant sound to record your audiobook. They aren’t correct. And they are missing the point. You can trust your voice!
While it will take time to record, the worst-case scenario they paint doesn’t usually happen. YOU know the material, YOU have the passion readers will be drawn to, and YOU know how it should be delivered. YOU are the best person for the job.
I often hear authors say they either can’t or don’t want to read aloud their own books. While there may be a valid reason for this response, more often, it’s a case of nerves and a temporary gap in their knowledge. They don’t know what they don’t know. I believe every author can do this and do it well! Once I teach best practices and how to avoid typical mistakes, authors enjoy the process and are thrilled with the final product.
I strongly encourage every author to read their manuscript for a variety of reasons. However, let’s consider at least three reasons.
1. Draw listeners in with your personal passion.
The first reason to record your audiobook is that no one else has your passion for the topic. You wrote the book because you feel strongly about your ideas and want others to embrace their importance.
Your knowledge and excitement about the topic are what listeners want to hear. You are the best person to deliver these ideas to them.
2. Enhance the listener’s relationship with the author.
Audiobook listeners form a unique attachment to the author when they listen to the author share their own material. Author and podcast host Joanna Penn stated, “Voice builds connection, and in an increasingly crowded market, we all need connection with readers to sustain a creative career…. Audio listeners become a fan of the narrator, not just the author, and will follow them from book to book.”
When a listener hears you, day after day, they feel that they “know” you and are eager to explore additional material from you. The connection they feel for you drives additional sales both for print material and future audio material.
Cody Kommers stated in Psychology Today, “Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime wouldn’t be such a hit if it weren’t read by Noah himself doing all the accents and lending the narrative a this-was-my-life pathos. It builds in a dynamic that just doesn’t exist in the same form with written texts.”
3. Provide an authentic experience for the audiobook listener.
And the third reason to record your audiobook is while you may not feel your voice is “professional sounding,” the listener wants to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. You don’t evaluate your in-person relationships based on their voice, listeners won’t tune out your voice if you’re excited about your topic.
If your passion for the topic comes through in your reading, your audience will be drawn to your ideas and connect with you in a way that is not possible with print.
There is an old story that illustrates this point.
The banquet hall was filled. To speak for the occasion, a renowned orator had been brought in. After a wonderful meal, he mesmerized the crowd as he recited poetry and famous selections.
Near the end of the program, he asked for a favorite selection they would like for him to recite. From the back, an old man stood up and kindly asked if he would recite the 23rd Psalm. The speaker agreed if, when he was finished, the old man would recite it as well. The old gentleman nodded and sat down.
In a beautifully trained voice that resonated throughout the great room, the speaker began, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” When he finished, there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
He then looked at the old man and said, “All right, sir, it is your turn now.”
In a trembling voice, cracked by time, the old man began, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” It is said that when he was finished, there was no applause, but neither was there a dry eye.
After the event, someone asked the famous speaker what produced the two different responses in the crowd. The speaker thought for a moment and said, “I know the 23rd Psalm, but that man knows the shepherd. That makes all the difference.”
This story’s moral is that listeners will readily overlook the vocal quality if they feel your passion and hear your heart.
You Can Do This – Trust Your Voice
You can do this. And with some guidance, you will enjoy it. They surprise themselves. And I love to help them succeed.
I’ve created different levels of involvement so every author can choose the package that suits them best. There is a DIY course that’s self-paced and inexpensive. Authors love it. I have a Full-Service option where I help you every step of the way–onsite, wherever you choose, or in my studio. And a Hybrid that’s a combination of the two.
I just finished recording my audiobook with Dave at RecordYourAudiobook.com. I was so nervous…but Dave was so helpful. It was great! I would do it again! Soneakqua White, Before You Blow Up
Do it for your business, or do it for the reader. Access a different audience, increase your influence, add another income stream, and create a strong connection with your audience.
As Audible.com says, “There’s an undeniable authenticity in a listen that’s told by the very person who penned it. From iconic memoirs to far-out fantasies, these immersive audio performances are uniquely genuine, all performed in the author’s own voice.”
I’d love to hear any questions you might have or other benefits you’ve thought of. I’m here to help and put my 40+ years as an audio engineer to work for you. The world is waiting for you to tell your story.