If you have recently written a book, well, first off, congratulations, go you! But, by this stage, it seems you’re considering the possibility of narrating your own audiobook (otherwise, you wouldn’t be here). The fact is, there are so many pros to narrating your own audiobook and a bunch of cons too. Which side of the fence you lay on ultimately rests with your priorities, but we’ll lay out the ins and outs of audiobook narrating to give you a clear shot of what you’re about to get yourself into.
Firstly, you should know that audiobook narrating and production processes are no easy feat. These processes are often handled by professional producers and their teams that have spent decades of their careers harnessing and perfecting their skills in voice acting, foley, music design, directing, and so much more. Therefore, if you consider yourself an author, first and foremost, there are a whole new set of skills you’ll have to learn to produce and narrate your own audiobook.
But let’s start with the pros…
Pros of narrating your own audiobook
One of the leading benefits of narrating your own audiobook is that you don’t have to pay someone else to do it. Sometimes, this choice is made for you by your editor or your budget. Similar to book editing, most narration work is done on a per-word basis. So, if you’ve just written the next Lord of The Rings Series, you’ve got a lot of words ahead of you to record, which can wrack up quite a tab. This is why self-narration is popular with many first-time, indie, and self-published authors.
Control over production time
Let’s face it, time is money, as they say. And having to rely on others means that your time has a price tag that you don’t necessarily dictate. By narrating your own audiobook, you essentially have free reign to dictate the speed of the production process (unless you have an external producer assisting you). You can speed things up by making this your priority or slow things down to balance the other demands of your life. Just be cautious of what you’re getting into; long recording sessions can take a lot out of you.
Bringing you emotional catharsis
Writing a book is, more often than not, an extremely personal experience. Even if your book is fictional, authors often draw from influences, people, and experiences within their own lives to inject into their storytelling. And if your book is autobiographical, the material is extremely personal. That’s why many authors find the act of reading their story aloud to be an incredibly cathartic and even therapeutic process.
Deepen your connection with your readers
Audiobooks, by nature, are quite personal. Listeners connect to the voice in the ear and often feel as though the narrator is speaking directly to them. Especially when it comes to Full-Cast Audiobooks By narrating your own audiobook, you have a unique opportunity to create a deeper connection with your audience, which can make the weight of your words carry further. Creating avid fans is a fantastic thing for the success of your book and creating a buzz surrounding your name for any other future potential books. No one knows these words better than you; you are the most authentic and invested party to bring these words to life.
Now let’s take a look at the potential cons of narrating your own audiobook…
Cons of narrating your own audiobook
As we touched on earlier, audiobook narrating and self-production is a complex process that involves a lot of unique knowledge and moving pieces. If you’re an author, there are a lot of things you will need to learn to narrate and produce your own audiobook. And as it goes with new things, there’s that whole catch-22 of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in sub-par narrating, leading to a disengaged audience.
Waste of your time
You’re an author, right? Not a professional voice actor. So, is narrating your own audiobook really the best use of your time? Couldn’t that time be better spent planning your next book? Or taking some personal time between your next project?
Misunderstanding of the process
The reality is, if you’re taking on the immense undertaking of audiobook narrating without the comprehensive knowledge surrounding the process, things are likely to get missed. Which can have massive ramifications on your production costs, the strength to which the listener receives the audiobook, and the overall success of your book.
There are pros and cons here. But, if you have no genuine desire to be narrating your own audiobook, then you should do whatever you can to outsource that aspect of the production process. Because if this isn’t something you have a true yearning for, the passion of your book can get lost in translation.