We want to help NetGalley members craft the best reviews possible. In the past, we’ve shared general tips for writing book reviews and advice for writing critical book reviews. Now, we’re taking a look at how to review our new favorite format: audiobooks! Below are our tips for writing about the specific elements that only audiobooks have, so use these in combination with our general advice for discussing plot, characters, and more. Read on for our tips and share yours in the comments! And if you’re new to audiobooks, check out our Beginner’s Guide!
Focus on the narration
When submitting an audiobook review, it’s helpful to have a section dedicated exclusively to the narration. This gives you a place to let other readers know who the narrator is, if the book includes a full cast, or if it’s read by the author. From there, there are a lot of elements you can talk about: Did the narrator’s voice fit the characters’? Was their voice distinct enough to differentiate between characters? Did their reading style bring the text to life? How did the narration impact your reading experience? What did you think about the pacing?
Don’t forget to talk about the story
Audiobooks are a collaboration between two artists. There will be times you love the narrator, but aren’t captivated by the writing; times you’ll fall hard for the story, but wish the narrator was different; and times when both narrator and author seem to work perfectly together to create a magical listening experience. In your review, speak separately about your thoughts on the author’s work and the narrator’s work, and then how the two do or don’t fit together.
Describe the audiobook’s flow
Sometimes a narrator sweeps you away into the world of the book and before you know it, the audio is coming to a close. Other times, the narration seems to drag on, and the book may feel even longer than it actually is. The flow of an audiobook can impact your entire experience, so be sure to share your experience in your review.
Additionally, when reading a print or ebook, it’s easy to see when new chapters begin or when new sections start within chapters—even if there aren’t specific written indicators. This can sometimes be tricky with audiobooks, especially since not all listening apps include chapter breakdowns. A great narrator can help to offset this. Let other readers know if the flow was easy to understand or confusing as the book moved from one chapter to the next.
Mention any unique elements
Some audiobooks include music or sound effects that can enhance the reading experience. If the audiobook you’re reviewing includes any unique elements, note them and share whether or not you found them to be effective.
Share your recommendation
Some books may be more impactful as an audiobook, while others may work better in other formats. Some readers may be using reviews to help decide which format to buy—if they should listen to the audiobook or read in print/ebook—so they’ll be relying on your review to guide them. Share whether or not you recommend the story itself and, if you do, which format you’d recommend readers use for the best experience.
Review more than just the audio
Once you’ve discussed the audio, it’s time to talk about the book itself! Pair the tips above with the ones in our Tips for Writing a Good Book Review article to ensure your next audiobook review is as well-rounded as possible.