People Want Real
When casting the right voice for your next audiobook or voice talent project, make sure you select a voice that sounds - real. Listener preference research is all over the board. Most studies have focused on specific effects like attractiveness or gender roles and trust. Based on these and personal preference in my own listening, most people identify with voices who sound like themselves, especially when listening to someone speak in long formats like podcasts, audiobooks, etc. Why? I think it's because the voice sounds more familiar and by that, more believable.
I think this insight aligns with the contemporary consumer's high value for authenticity. With so much changing so fast in the world around us, having something familiar and real at arms reach provides stability and perspective. In contrast, escapism has never been more en vogue. Some listeners may have a bias toward voices that take their imaginations to far away places.
So what if a project requires characters with differing dialects? Depending on your budget, hire several voices to cover it, or one voice who can cover them all well. I recommend the latter. So much determines the approach - fiction or non-fiction, setting, audience (market), etc.
Finally, audition your talent. Always request a sample reading from your prospects and compare. This is pretty standard and most voices are happy to demonstrate their take on your material before you commit.