Typically on this blog, I write to an audience of voiceover talents. This time, though, I address those who are attempting to hire a voiceover artist for the first time. This is something that is occurring more frequently these days. Most of the questions that I field regarding uncertainty about hiring voiceover artists come from authors. The internet and a number of respectable companies have made it very easy and relatively affordable for authors to publish their own works. The internet and smart devices have also made it easier for people to buy- and listen to audio books on a regular basis. Not wanting to miss out on that segment of the market, many authors are looking for voiceover talent so they can add a quality audiobook to their available formats. If you are looking to do just that, then there are a few things that you will want to carefully consider as you screen prospective voiceover artists.
There are three things that you should be evaluating as you listen to the initial demo tapes.
1. Strength of Voice While it can be easy to fall for the ability of the voiceover artist to work humor or impression into the demo tape, you have to remember to consider the strength of the voice. Why is this so important for your project? You are asking this talent to record a book. That means that the person hired to do the job is going to spend a lot of time in the recording studio. That voice has to endure throughout.
2. Variation You want to really hear some variation in inflection and cadence. An audio book can quickly turn off the listener if the narrator sounds monotone or completely lacks emotion.
3. Pronunciation Keep in mind the setting of your story and be sure you are choosing an artist that will lend a believable element to the story. This begins with accent and pronunciation.
Consider hosting call-backs. This might involve a bit of an investment, but in the end it can be entirely worthwhile. This will also allow you an opportunity to hear the voiceover artists read from your novel, so you can really get a feel for how well they will match your vision for the audiobook.