a person holding a notated script and sitting at a table

Audiobook Scripting Part One: Why You Should Do It

Photo credit: Ron Lach

Ever wonder what narrators do to avoid making mistakes while recording audiobooks? One of the answers is that they have scripts!

If you’re just starting to learn about the audiobook recording process, or already have some experience with the process, this suggested step may come as a surprise to you, but this step isn’t too widely talked about outside of the industry. Here we will go over why you should make an audiobook script and some of the logistics of it, including why you should make a script, the importance of quality assurance, how to format a script, and some special considerations. This will be part one of a two part series explaining this subject. In this part I’ll address why you should make a script and the importance of quality assurance.

Why should you make a script for an audiobook?

If you’ve ever edited audio before, you know that mistakes and retakes are an inevitable part of the process. But have you ever wanted to do less of those? Of course you do! That is when scripts can help.

You may be wondering why the narrator can’t just read the book out loud when recording. And that’s a fair point. Some narrators might even have that as their preference. But, the advantages to making a script are as follows:

  • It’s easier to read. The spacing between words and lines of dialogue are easier to read than in a traditional book, and therefore easier on the eyes, which means fewer mistakes.
  • The extra space also allows the narrator to use the script to study their part(s) however they see fit. They can color code, underline, highlight, or annotate the text however they like without it becoming unnecessarily overcrowded. And the less overcrowded the script is, again the easier it is on the eyes.
  • If some of the characters have accents, or use difficult words, you can insert pronunciation notes into the script versus having to make a separate document.
  • Words like “in this book” can easily be changed to “in this audiobook.” If your book includes a lot of pictures, you can insert phrases like, “please refer to Appendix A, figure 1 for the diagram.” This will help in the overall navigation of your audiobook.

This all being said, if your narrator prefers to have no script and just to read from the book, then go with what they prefer. After all, they’re the ones that will have to stare at it for hours on end to study the material and then record.

If your narrator would like to have a script, here are some things to keep in mind. Quality Assurance, Formating, and some Special Considerations.

Quality Assurance

In terms of where this process happens during the book production, you will have to wait until the copyedit is done to start on the script. Optionally, you may want to do a quality check to make sure the script matches up with the book. But even if you still do this step and you have recorded the book, you will have to make sure you do one more quality assurance check to make sure your audio matches the book. As always, when one messes with a completed text, it is always possible to introduce errors in each new format it takes.

If you do go through the trouble of making a script, your narrator should be expected to study and use it. If they don’t study it, it defeats the purpose of making one to reduce possible errors when recording.

In part two, I’ll go over how to Format a script and some Special Considerations for scripts.

One thought on “Audiobook Scripting Part One: Why You Should Do It

  1. Pingback: How to do Audiobook Scripting Part Two: Formatting and Special Considerations | Ooligan Press

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