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0699 – Preparing a Text For Audiobook Narration

Season 2, Ep. 699

2022.11.30 – 0699 – Preparing a Text For Audiobook Narration


Preparing the text

Since you’re reading a long piece, it’s essential to skim the book beforehand. Mark unfamiliar words and check their pronunciation (imagine a character called Romè, but because of how your screen is set up, you have recorded the whole book calling them Rome, like the city…). Fantasy and science fiction books will inevitably have invented words and even languages within them. Work out how you will say these, consistently (you may be able to contact the author for a steer?)


“Do you ever hear a ‘typo’ in an audiobook?

I’m listening to a chapter on John Cage, and the reader just read 4’33”

as “four feet, thirty-three inches”.

In a different book, in a passage about a 19th haberdashery, est. 1887,

the person read it as “estimated 1887”.

Cheryl Graham (

Clearly mark every chapter – so you can see where there is a natural pause in the story arc, and where you may want to take a physical break.


Mark every new character’s first appearance – that way you know whether or not to use their ‘previous voice’ or if they need a new vocal sound.


Highlight character descriptions – especially those which give clues as to how they will speak. This could be specific (“Tom was South African…”, “…she whined in her nasal voice…”), but also indirect: their social-economic background, class, or job, their physical characteristics such as their size or age and so on. Beware of new information that emerges during the course of the book: “…which reflected her upbringing in Berlin…” “From smoking 40 a day for 40 years…” Oh!

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