Audiobooks: 10 Things I listen for….
Hi y’all! Felicia the Geeky Blogger here to talk about the top 10 things I look for when picking narrators to listen too. I have been asked this question several times over the years. When Jennifer asked me to do a guest post–I knew just what topic to tackle!
My top 10 things that land a narrator on my “forever” list:
1Pacing: This seems like a strange number one but it is the most obvious when listening to a sample. If the narrator is pausing too much, taking too many breaths, or rushing through sentences it can ruin a book. I like someone who is pretty even with their pacing. It makes listening to them in variable speeds easier!
2Emotion but not over-acting: One of the top things for me when putting any narrator on a “forever” list is their ability to display emotion through their voice without making me feel like I am listening to a soap opera. The right amount of emotion can strengthen a story and truly bring it to life.
3Pleasant not Grating: This is a little bit more up to the individual listener but we all have voices that we like to hear tell us a story. However, there are some that sound like nails on a chalkboard to us. It is worth listening to a sample before grabbing a new narrator. You never know which it will be for you.
4Accenting the Accents properly: This is a tough one because things are very regional. Example: I know Irish accents that sound great to me but someone from Ireland would be like “what the heck”. For me, it is southern accents–I live in TX and if someone over does the Texan I can’t listen. So really I like the “not over the top” way of doing accents on a whole. There are always exceptions to the rule (if the story calls for it) but on a whole middle of the road accenting works better for me.
5Minimum (or no) Sound Effects: I can’t stand when there is music at the beginning and end of a chapter, disk, sequence in an audiobook. It tends to pop me right out of the story. If it is a full-cast recording (aka going for more of a radio show feel) then some sound effects are fine. However, they should NEVER over-shadow the performer.
6Consistency in Series (Same Narrator): Though I understand this is not always up to the author or publisher or narrator–as a listener switching narrators in the middle of a series (especially one I love) is enough to make me drop the audiobooks in favor of the print books. I just like consistency in my listening experience.
7Consistency in Series (voices for characters): This is on the narrators, if you use a voice for a character in the series that was perhaps a side-character in the beginning but grows into a bigger role-don’t change their voice. Again I like consistency in my listening experience.
8Unabridged all the way: I can’t believe it but there are still abridged audiobooks being created in this day and age. I want all the words and hours of listening enjoyment!
9Character performance is key: I want a “voice” that is appropriate for the character. If I am listening to an alpha male and he sounds like a prepubescent boy then that can ruin a story for me. Same with strong females that sound high pitched and flighty. The voice needs to fit the character especially when crossing over genders.
10Appropriate number of narrators: There are just some books that call for more than one narrator. There are some narrators (very few) that can carry off the complex, huge number of characters audiobooks. Sometimes it is best to go for dual narrators for books that have huge multi-POVs. Though you have to be very careful in that they are compatible and able to handle when they have “moments” in the other lead’s voice. On a whole though some of my favorite audiobooks have more than one narrator.
These are just a few things that I listen for in an audiobook! What do you listen for?
Thanks Jennifer and gang for having me over for audiobook month!