Sunday, 14 December 2014

Tips for Narrating Audiobooks

Even the best recording equipment will not guarantee the best recording for the audio book. Good voice technique is vital. Many authors prefer to have a professional voice actor narrate the book for them. However, there are many advantages to narrating the book yourself. The following tips on voice narration may help.

Tips for Voice Actors for Book Narration

How to Narrate Books
Even the best recording equipment will not guarantee great recording for audio books. Once the sound equipment has been set up and running watch out for the following when recording your audio book:

Noisy clothes. Don’t wear fabric that makes a rustling sound. A good mic will be a sensitive mic and will pick up any background noise. Similarly, avoid wearing jangling jewellery.

Stomach rumbles. Have a glass of water handy to avoid a dry throat. Some voice over artists chew sliced apple or pineapple to keep the mouth moist. This will prevent that off-putting smacking or crackling sound of the mouth. A warm cup of decaffeinated tea is great for soothing and relaxing the vocal chords.

Things to Avoid when Recording an Audio Book

Avoid fizzy drinks, rich or spicy foods that may cause heartburn or wind.

Avoid also dairy products as this will increase mucus production in the throat, which may thicken the voice or cause a constant need to clear the throat. Exposure to cold air will also increase mucus production and affect the tone of the voice.

It is a given to avoid smoking and drinking as both are detrimental to health and can irritate the lining of the throat.

Recording for long periods can be tiring. Keep reasonably fit with regular gentle exercises. Stretching and warming the muscles prior to recording your audio book will add flexibility to the vocal chords, avoiding that stiff sound.

How to Work the Mic in Recording Voiceovers for Book Narration

Working the mike means pulling away for high volume vocals. This will reduce distortion when close-range sounds are picked up. Bringing the mouth close to the mic for the quieter bits will enable the mic to pick up what is being said.

Although working the mic will also bring a consistency to the volume range, a piece of software known as audio compression will further ‘limit’ the dynamic range of the voice. The dynamic range compression (or DRC) will guard against the listener having to turn up the volume to hear the soft parts of the narration, and then having to turn the volume down again when the voice is spoken at volume.

How to Voice Over: Tips for Voice Actors

Watch out also for moving the mouth in relation to the mic, causing the quality of the sound to shift. This can easily happen when the mouth is lowered when reading to the bottom of the page. Keep the position of the mouth central over the mic at all times, and don’t pull to the side during the narration. Also keep volume as consistent as possible.

Simple Warm up Exercises for Reading Books Aloud

Like singers and actors, voice actors would benefit from simple warming up exercises prior to voice narration. Moving up and down the octaves in controlled sirens will loosen the muscles in the larynx, improving vocal range. Smooth transition between nuances is made easier. Try alternating between vowel sounds to loosen the mouth muscles. Neck and shoulder rolls will guard against a stiff neck after hours of reading. Take regular breaks to keep the blood circulating. Good fitness will make such a demanding job easier to do.

Tips for Voice Over Acting when Recording Audio Books

Professional sound equipment and a recording studio is only part of audio book recording. Good voice technique is also important. Keep everything on the person quiet except the voice. This includes clothes, jewellery and stomach rumbles. Maintain voice quality by avoiding dairy products, smoking and drinking. Eat sensibly and take regular exercise. Warm up routines prior to voice recording will keep the vocal chords flexible. Work the mic in order to keep the volume within a certain range.


  1. Thank you for share this informative post.

  2. All the tips are incredible.The mic will also bring a consistency to the volume range, a piece of software known as audio
    compression will further ‘limit’ the dynamic range of the voice.
    voice over service

    1. Thanks for comments! Yes, audio compression is vital for consistency in volume, but find it helps further not to be too loud in the first place so that there is no noise distortion. Clipping is also to be wary of.

  3. Useful information shared. I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk through. I appreciate this post.
    professional voice overs  

    1. Glad to be of help! Will add more articles about audiobook narration soon.