To Attribute or Not To Attribute

Jan 28, 2021 | Audiobook Narration | 0 comments

In the audiobook narration industry, we’re frequently confronted by the author/writer question: ‘Attributive or not to attributive?’ To be sure, as you’re already aware, an increasing roster of authors, particularly those who are writing specifically with audiobook distribution in mind, are dropping the ‘he said…’ ‘she said…’ ‘they murmured…’ etc since the listening audience already knows which character is speaking. So, subsequent to a line of dialogue, it seems a bit awkward to then have your narrator state, ‘she said.’ But, as narrators, we’re sensitive to the notion that “Well, the story was first a book.” To that, we make this suggestion, which we frequently offer to our own clientele: “While we’re not going to edit your book for you, since production schedules simply do not afford the time to do that, consider coming back to us with a ‘second version’ of your story that is audio friendly.”

Note: this is NOT an industry requirement, nor is it designed to bastardize the narrative that you’ve worked so hard and long to craft. The trick is often to find a ‘gentle mix’ between attributives and their redaction. But in an era when more and more stories are finding a second life (and sometimes a first life) in the audiobook world, it’s something to seriously consider. It’s in large part, we presume, why Audible plowed $5 million into Audible Originals and SPOTIFY plowed a half billion (with a ‘B’) into partnering with two companies that produce scripted audio. Audiobooks, audio dramas, and ‘scripted entertainment’ (industry parlance for what we already know as a story in script form), is likely here to stay. And for a very long time.


Randy Peyser edits and ghostwrites books and gets people book deals with literary agents and publishers. Her clients have been featured on Hallmark TV and Daily Mail TV; in Oprah Magazine and TIME Magazine; on the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller Lists; top picks by Publisher’s Weekly; optioned for Hollywood film; in airport bookstores; in FedEx/Office and Office Max stores, and more. Some have received 6-figure advances.
Randy delivers keynotes and talks on “How to Get a Book Deal with a Publisher.”
She is the author of Crappy to Happy as featured in the movie, Eat Pray Love; The Power of Miracle Thinking; and The Write-a-Book Program.