Sunday, 1 February 2015

Tips for Audio Book Narration: Preparing your Script for Talking Books

Creating an audio book includes making sure your narration sound professional. The beginner’s mistake might be badly-times pauses in sentences, outtakes or noisy page turnovers. Here are some tips on how I marked up my novel ready for voice narration in audiobook creation.
How to Narrate a Novel for Audiobook Creation

To err is human. This means that chances are, you will false start, stutter or run out of breath before you reach the end of a sentence. Don’t worry as there are things the narrator can do to improve voiceover performance and enhance the listening experience. This means there will less work to do during mastering and editing the recording.

Tips on Vocal Recording

Creating an audio book is more than simply reading a series of pages aloud. There should be emphasis, pauses and different character voices so the listener knows who is speaking. A good performance ensures the reader will be immersed within the story. Here’s how I prepared my text for audio book recording.

Mastering Audio Books

Script for Audio Book Reading
Audio book narrators can read from a screen, book or a printout. I prefer a printout. The others have disadvantages. Firstly, a computer screen means a cooling fan is not far away, and the last thing an audio book narrator needs is the fan to cut in halfway through a book narration, ruining the recording.

Kindle or Tablet might be OK, but I find the screen is too small for many words to fit per line. This means the eyes have to keep returning to the next line during reading and scrolling down. This can be taxing and cause outtakes in reading.

Reading from a book might be OK for some, but the pages will not lie flat. There would also be a lot of noise interruption as the pages need to be turned quite frequently. A lot of sound editing will be needed to cut out unwanted noises.

This is why I prefer to print my text onto A4 sheets of paper.

Markup Pages for Voiceover Artists

Printing a novel onto A4 sheets of paper has many advantages, in that there are more words per line. This means the narrator can anticipate the sentences to come before reaching them aloud. Other narrators have reported frequent stumbles if the words are too large on the page or each line comprise few words (say fewer than 14 or so). There are also fewer page turns as the number of words per page is larger than on A5 (the dimensions of the average novel).

Tips for Narration Performance

Some fonts are easier to read than others. I prefer simple, bold fonts like Arial or Microsoft Sans Serif. Avoid swirly or fancy fonts that are hard to read. 12 point is good, and a lot of text will fit an A4 sheet of paper, reducing the number of noisy page turns.

How to Prepare for Voiceover Artists

Before recording a voiceover of an excerpt, read the pages aloud a few times. Identify sentences that are too long and create breaks where breaths can be taken. Look also for words or sentences that demand extra emphasis or pauses. These elements can be highlighted in a preferred way with a pencil, helping to create visual cues for the reader.

Audio Book Narration Tips

Speech marks are small and can easily be overlooked. I will use colored pencils to underline dialogue so I know what is coming. It is also useful to use different colors for each character. In my case, I might use warm colors for female and cool colors for male characters. I will use bold colors for the main characters. This will warn me of when I need to do a particular voice in my audiobook narration.

Professional Script Reading for Audiobook Creation

Reducing the amount of mistakes made in an audiobook reading means reducing the amount of work that will be needed in the editing stage. Preparing the script will make the reading easier. Rather than read from a screen or a book, I will print out the text onto A4 sheets of paper. Use bold fonts to make words easier to read. Make small marks where pauses or emphasis will be. Finally, underline dialogue with different colors so that the narrator can see what is coming and which voice to use.

More Tips on Audio Book Creation


  1. Hello! How do you print out your novel on A4 sheets of paper?

  2. Hello! How do you print out your novel on A4 sheets of paper?

  3. Hello sorry for delay in response. Haven't been here for a while. Simply open the file where your novel is stored. Click ctrl and A to select all the text. Copy and then paste the entire novel onto a separate word document. Make sure the size of the document is 297mmx210mm. Save file ready for printing.
    Good luck!

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