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  • Writer's pictureTom Dheere

Audio Book Vs. E-Learning Narration – The Not Silent Blog 2/14/17

Audio book #54, done!

Nat Greene’s “Stop Guessing” is a great problem-solving guide. I even took notes while I was narrating! It goes on sale April 3rd so I can’t talk about the specifics of the book. If you wanna learn more about it click here.

This is the sixth audio book I’ve done for this particular publisher and they’ve been a pleasure to narrate. One thing I need to work on though is getting the first 15 minutes right the first time.

For those of you who aren’t aware; when you get cast for an audio book you’re often asked to record the first 15 minutes to check your tone, cadence, speed, etc. to make sure the author likes how you’re bringing their story to life. BTW these have been self-help books for the workplace or personal growth.

I’ve been asked to re-record the first 15 minutes for three of the six books. This is totally my fault and it’s a bit frustrating. For me there’s an extra layer of frustration because I always record my audio books at a nearby studio instead of at home so I have to book the studio to record something I should have gotten right the first time. On top of that, the notes from all three authors requesting a re-record have been exactly the same so that makes me even more of a doofus. The notes were simple: sound more energetic and natural.

How do you read a book out loud, sound natural, and sound energetic at the same time?


This may sound weird but if I hate the way I sound, I know I’m doing it right. Allow me to explain…

My bread and butter voiceover work (about 50%) is non-broadcast narration. You know, E-Learning, industrials, the stuff that students and employees hear. That means when I get behind the mic, at least half the time I have to be super-articulate, never contract or elide (unless directed to) and often speak at a (for English as a Second Language projects) slower pace. That kind of narration is what’s in my muscle memory and my default way of voicing. When the authors hear that kind of read it sounds robotic to them. They want me to be as passionate about the subject matter as they are and the E-Learning read just won’t cut it.

I have to make a conscious effort to sound natural. If I don’t care how I sound and I’m 100% focused on telling the story, good things will happen. It’s more than natural, more than conversational. It’s so simple but can be elusive; be you. Sound like you, not what you think you’re supposed to sound like. Trust your talent and trust your training.

BTW once I figured this out for “Stop Guessing” and the first 15 minutes got approved, when I started recording the rest of the audio book I went nine minutes without making a mistake. I don’t about anyone else but for me that is a long time. I was fully immersed in the lessons being taught and didn’t care if I was sounding “right”. I was too busy being a storyteller.


Contest! The first three people who email me at will get a free digital download of Winning Mars by Jason Stoddard, a sci-fi story about producing a reality show on Mars. It’s a fascinating look at marketing and advertising on a cosmic level.

Reminder! My next Edge Studio “Business And Money 201” webinar will be Thursday, February 23rd @8PM EST. The subject: Rates, Negotiating, and Invoicing. Click here to sign up.



Copyright NBAE 2011 (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

If you’re always looking over your shoulder at your past, you miss your future. Peter Guber

From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, The H is Silent, but I’m Not.

Tom Dheere is a 20-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.


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