Hi y’all! I know many of you have heard me say these things already (I thought I had actually done a post about it but evidently not). Keep in mind that some of these are very individual to the person listening and it takes time to being able “listen” actively while doing other things!
Here is my guide to learning to love audiobooks.
- Start with a book you have already read but don’t have “set” voices for the characters in your head. I read plenty of books that I don’t have the character’s voice in my head so I am sure there is probably one or two that you do too. It is always best to make your first audiobook one that you already know the story. You need to get used to someone else telling that story to you. It may take more than one book to do this. Think of it like learning to read. You are teaching your brain how to get the story in another manner. You are going from visual in one form or another (probably in most of your storytelling-books-words, tv and movies-pictures) to auditory only. That takes some getting used too.
- Be OK with the fact that it will take you longer to get through the book. Most of us read faster than we can listen and in the beginning this can be a truly frustrating thing. You have to remember that eventually you will be able to listen to audiobooks while doing other things. So you will actually end up with more reading time. Distract yourself by taking your audiobook on a walk or while you are doing dishes, vacuuming, painting–anything that is repetitious and doesn’t require a lot of focus
- Listen at regular speed. You can play with speed later but in the beginning you are going to want to get the cadence of the narrator. Your first couple of books (unless the narrator is dreadfully slow in pacing) should be listened at 1x speed. Later you will find that you can speed it up (maybe) but you don’t want to rush that process. Fall in love with a few narrators first that you trust and love then play with speed.
- Listen to samples before picking your first book. If you don’t have a friend that listens to lots of audiobooks then your next bet is to listen to samples. Pick a few books (different series, different authors) that you like then go online to find samples of narration for that story. Most major retailers have audiobook samples so you can test the voice before hand. You want one that is pleasant and easy to understand. You want your first experience to be a good one so be picky about how you start. If you have a friend that has listened to a ton of audiobooks tell them the books you are considering and ask them their favorite NARRATION wise from that group.
- Borrow from the library or a friend for your first couple if possible. If not, sign up for first one free at many retailers. Audiobooks can be pricey (more expensive than most books unless you catch sale prices). A good rule of thumb is to borrow your first few to see if the format works for you. You don’t want to invest the money into something that might not work. This way you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
- Give yourself time. That first book won’t be easy. In fact, you will probably have to rewind, pause, and stop whatever you are doing to get back on track. You may have to set it aside and go back. This is normal for beginning listeners even if you know the story. Again you are learning a new way to get a story and it takes time.
- Get good headphones. Seriously this can make a difference in your listening experience. You want headphones that are clear so that the voices are not muffled or static filled.
- Talk to your audiobook nerd friends about their tips. Seriously they know you and can give you tips tailored to you! They will also be able to help you with apps, players, and settings that will make the process easier for you. Friends help friends listen to audiobooks!
These are just a few of the things I suggest when asked about how to start listening to audiobooks. There are several other good guides out there too from The Book Nympho, That’s What I’m Talking About, Hot Listens, and Rabid Reads (Links coming later I am heading to the dentist).
Do you have any tips to add? Do you have a link that I can add?