Do you remember what it was like to be read to?
Imagine a young child of around age three to five, cozy in bed and snuggled up to Mom or Dad. As she fights to stay awake, one last plea leaves her lips, “Mommy, will you read me a story?” She feels a sense of wonder and awe as the story unfolds and is soon lulled into dreamland by the dulcet tones of the story’s reader.
It was a great feeling, right? Being read to? Feeling safe and warm and cozy, and closing your eyes while creating the world you’re listening to in your imagination?
Reading out loud is a time-honored tradition that goes back thousands of years. In fact, story tellers have been around since even before the words were ever created on any printed page. We, as people, were auditory learners first. We learned to speak by mimicking the sounds we heard.
According to the Read to Me International website, when parents read aloud to their children, they are “laying the foundation for their (children’s) educational success.” The site further states that “reading aloud nurtures a child’s sense of security and worth” and that “reading aloud creates a bond between the reader and the child.” https://www.readtomeintl.org/read-aloud/
Is it any wonder then that audiobooks are so widely popular? Perhaps, in today’s high-tech, multi-tasking, overachieving society . . . we long for simpler days. Perhaps we just want someone to read aloud to us.
Audiobooks are the grown-up’s answer to being read to. Not only can we listen to a great book, oftentimes we can get some of that multi-tasking done too, saving time in the process. Instead of sitting down to read when we may not feel like we have the time, we can enjoy listening — while driving, exercising, cooking, gardening, folding laundry, and other tasks that don’t require much thought.
What makes an audiobook so good? The narrator, of course! Let’s face it, a narrator can make or break an audiobook. That voice can have us spellbound — or scrabbling for the mute button — in a matter of a few minutes.
And what’s the secret to being a good narrator? Besides personal preference?
A really talented narrator breathes life into the characters. The ultimate narrator takes the words on the page and makes the story come to life. I recently had the pleasure of working with such a narrator.
My ears were opened to the wonderful world of audiobooks by the amazingly talented and very kind, highly esteemed and award-winning Audio Sorceress, Marnye Young. She walked me through the process of converting my print book into audio — a world I knew nothing about. Marnye was professional, and very informative. She went above and beyond by answering all my questions with patience and poise. She is a delight and a pleasure to work with.
And her voice? Wow, Marnye has an incredible range! She has the voice of an angel. And a psychotic male, and an 11-year-old girl, and an elderly Japanese woman with an impeccable accent. She created a unique voice for every single character in my book. The characters and story were alive — living and breathing and exceeding my expectations beyond my own imagination when I wrote them. That’s talent.
Marnye is personable and very sweet as well. With over 75 audiobooks to her credit, she is immensely experienced in any genre you could throw at her. If you’d like to get a glimpse into how she does what she does, read this article written by Marnye herself. http://booksbywomen.org/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-narrator-by-marnye-young/
If you are an author interested in turning your book into an audiobook, I highly recommend that you use Marnye Young, Audio Sorceress. If you are an audiobook reader, I highly recommend that you listen to books narrated by Marnye Young, Audio Sorceress.
I, for one, definitely want Marnye to read to me.
And who’s the number one audiobook narrator? According to sources at Audible and Kobo, it’s Jim Dale, the voice of the Harry Potter series. It is said that he created 134 different voices for these books! I think he deserves top-billing for that. Don’t you? Have a listen for yourself.