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Storyteller: How to be an Audio Book Narrator by Lorelei King and Ali Muirden. Book review

December 2, 2018

Cover of audiobook Storyteller. How to be an audiobook narrator.

If you are someone thinking about getting into the growing industry of narrating audio books or an indie author thinking about creating added value to your e-book by narrating your novel, then Storyteller: How to be an Audio Book Narrator is the book for you.

10 years ago Ali Muirden, an audio book producer, and Lorelei King, an actress and audio book narrator, two people with an extensive knowledge of the publishing and audiobook industry, combined their expertise to found Creative Content.

For a company which dedicated its delivery to a digital download service, this approach might have been considered a risky move. But the two entrepreneurs anticipated the benefits that broadband could bring, particularly with audiobooks, because it reduced the cost of audiobook production making them more affordable than a CD audio book.

Their gamble paid off and downloading of audio and video is now the norm. The sale of an e-book on Amazon is often accompanied by the sale of the downloadable audio book of the same title which can be synched to the book and vice versa. This means that a reader can take the book out for a run or walk and then pick it up again as an e-book when they put their feet up at home, then turn to audio if they just want to listen again.

As always, looking to the future, Ali and Lorelei have published Storyteller: How to be an Audio Book narrator, because it is a growth industry both in the sense of narrators working within a professional studio, and from home studios. The book is primarily aimed at those wanting to work as professional narrators in the industry but, given the power of the audio book to convey a story, and that high-quality digital recording equipment and audio editing programmes have become affordable, indie authors can now put their work out in a way which really enhances their stories without breaking the bank. This audiobook demonstrates how to create a polished product by concentrating on the performance side of creating an audiobook.

A book about narrating audio books had to be an audio book, because it provides the platform for types of examples of how a narrator develops a polished and professional performance. This is something Lorelei goes into thoroughly, yet in a way which is also highly entertaining, almost making the audiobook something to listen to for nothing more than pleasure.

Storyteller methodically works through the different aspects of narration, from preparation to performance. This includes developing character voices to narrating sex scenes in a way which doesn’t sound as if you’re overdoing the breathy Marylin Monroe persona or reciting the contents of a telephone book. The bloopers reel at the end is a great deal of fun, but also clearly demonstrates the problems discussed.

The audio book is primarily about the narration and not the technical side of production, but does provide some useful insights, from the producer’s side of the fence, such as appropriate behaviour from a narrator, as Ali adds her viewpoint of how she sees audio book narration.

The book is clear, precise and very carefully considered because of the logical progression through the different layers which build up a quality performance from a narrator, something which has to be sustained over a long, relentless day in front of a microphone to get the narration of a novel ‘in the can’.

I make instructional screencasts, so am used to the various problems which might occur in narrating the videos I produce, but there were still some wrinkles I hadn’t come across yet. Avoidance of lip smacking, and foods which creates noisy internal plumbing or affect a narrator’s ability to produce a clean speaking voice was not something I had thought about until I listened to Storyteller. Thinking about these issues has really helped the sound quality of the videos.

As I have also begun to work with students, recording their work as way of reflecting on their writing from a different perspective, Storyteller has been a very enlightening and useful listen.

Storyteller: How to be an Audio Book Narrator was courtesy of Creative Content.

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