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An audiobook narrator explains her process

Listening to an audiobook is easy as pressing play. Making one is a lot more complicated.

Crafting a performance, through voice alone.
Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

It’s easy to fall into a trance when listening to an audiobook, but I always find myself asking: Who are the people behind the voices?

To find out, I visited Audible Studios in Newark, New Jersey, to talk with Suzy Jackson, who’s performed more than 100 audiobooks (you can find a partial list here). I wanted to know how she keeps track of so many characters, what gives her inspiration, and how audiobook narrators make it seem so easy.

Of course, as the above video shows, there’s a lot of hard work behind your listening experience. One tip Jackson shared: Underline character names before their dialogue lines to know when a voice change is coming. (That’s good advice for any parent looking to up their game when they read to their kid.)

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. Subscribe for more episodes.

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