128I – Finding a Narrator for Your Audiobook: An Interview with Catherine Gaffney
Today's fabulous guest is my own audiobook narrator, Catherine Gaffney! Catherine is a stage and screen actress, and a voice over artist and audiobook narrator. Catherine joins us from her new studio to talk about how you can find the best audiobook narrator for your book.
We covered a lot of areas, but some of the highlights included the idea that when writing your book, you might want to read some of it aloud to see what it would sound like later. (Sometimes you'll be able to make your writing better this way regardless of whether you create an audiobook.)
When choosing the audition piece for narrators, don't choose the first scene. Choose a portion of the most important scene in your book, the one that makes the whole story come together. Or if you have a lot of people in your book, like my 6-person superhero team, choose a scene with the most number of people talking so you can hear how the narrator would handle all those voices. Or maybe choose a portion of a sex scene or fight scene and a portion of another scene so you can hear how the narrator would change the sound of each. So many ideas!
Once you find your first choice narrator and you listen to the first fifteen minutes, you should know if this is the sound you want for your book. Catherine reminds us authors that you're looking for someone who can give you an interpretation of your book, not necessarily giving it the exact sound you hear in your head when you write or read it. As she says, it won't be the same color, but you're looking for a narrator who is in the same color family.
Catherine suggested Edge Studios and their words to time calculator if you want to get an idea of how long your book will be in audio. It does, of course, depend on whether it's a fast-reading action book or a slow moving literary novel. This is important to know for budgeting because you pay your narrator per finished hour of the book.
In the end, perhaps this is Catherine's best advice: If an audition doesn't make you feel “Wow, I can't believe I wrote that,” maybe you should keep listening to more auditions. Somewhere it will hit the target.
You can learn more about Catherine and her work on her website, and you can listen to samples of all the audiobooks she's done so far on Audible. And in my opinion – if you have any books that have a light, fun sound, Catherine is the narrator for you! 😀