Over the past year, I’ve become increasingly interested in audiobooks. I’ve been following threads on it in the various RWA loops as well as on Twitter, and at RWA National Conference this summer I went to workshops and one panel, plus I dropped in on ACX/Audible’s booth and talked to the representatives there as well as a couple of other audiobook publishers. I’ve been doing further research, and decided to go forward with an audiobook recording of Truck Stop. Three days since listing Truck Stop on ACX site, this has already been a learning experience, so I’ve decided to keep a kind of running commentary on how this is going.
One of the first things I found on ACX’s site was their ACX University, a series of videos on youtube. The first one, called “Peace, Love, and Understanding Your Audio Partner” was *incredibly* helpful, as I’ve run into some interesting things that hadn’t occurred to me, such as putting short excerpts of different scenes into the audition script, not just the first few pages of the book. It made me far more conscious/aware of the nature of the relationship between author and narrator (this also made me worry that I might be getting unreasonably high expectations, as the author and narrator had worked closely together on a number of books and were obviously quite experienced, whereas I’m new out of the shute, but I *liked* the way they worked together and wanted that for myself). So it gave me some things to be thinking of as I go forward in talking with narrators.
They talked, too, about creative expression of the narrator, and that really gave me pause. I do “hear” my story in my head, I hear the accents, the emphasis, the way a sentence is spoken, where the pauses are. And it made me realize that a narrator isn’t going to hear what I hear, and is going to perform it according to his interpretation, and I needed to stay *aware* of that when listening to auditions. In fact, this was a kind of heads-up and I’m glad I watched this interview before putting Truck Stop up for auditions, because when the first audition came in… it was a shock, more than I had anticipated, to actually hear my story being read at all, and never mind all the other considerations I just mentioned! I had to do some mental adjusting in my head, LOL!
Then when I started listening to narrative samples, I made another discovery. The kind of voice that I generally like (think Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones) is not, in fact, the best kind of voice for my story, my narrative style. I’d listen to those deep, slow voices and tried to imagine my story read that way and… it just didn’t work. What I found, as I went through listening to lots of samples, was that I tended to be drawn more to the higher range of baritone, a little more quickly speaking, without lots of significant pauses. I did wind up going with a male voice, as expected. I was pretty sure I wanted one, but I checked out some female voices just… you know… to be sure, but they didn’t really work for me. I did decide, though, that I want a female voice narrating When Darkness Falls, when I get that far. LOL. Probably a female voice with some kind of light accent… not British, but perhaps Greek. But that’s still a long way away.
ACX U videos for this post:
- Peace, Love, and Understanding Your Audio Partner with author Piers Platt and narrator (producer) James Fouhey, talking about working together, creating the working relationship, and the production process.
- The Life of an Audiobook Publisher by ACX author Kym Grosso and narrator (producer) Ryan West. She specifically mentions being aware of dialogue tags while she is writing now, keeping in mind how it’ll sound when it’s read aloud.
- For a well-rounded education in audiobook production, this is a great one from ACX University, called Inside the Booth: A day in the life of an ACX Pro Producer. This really isn’t exactly pertinent from the author’s side, but still I like to see the other side; the narrator is going to be my working partner, so to speak, so I strongly believe that it’s important for me to understand what their experience is.
- While watching an ACX U video on youtube, this video on the sidebar just happened to catch my attention: Is ACX Royalty Share a good deal? by Mike Delgaudio (short answer: NO). It’s actually aimed at the narrators rather than the authors, but I found it of immense interest, and in fact I’ve subscribed to this guy to watch more of his videos, because even though I’m not a narrator, I’m in effect hiring one, or partnering with one, and I feel like I should be aware of their concerns as well. Also because… okay, I admit it, I LOOOVE this guy! It’s not just what he says but HOW he says it! I SO would want him to narrate my book (if I could afford him). Anyway! Back to being serious, in fact, I highly advise anyone considering going into audiobook narration, as a narrator, to watch this video; it is extremely pertinent! Just for fun, he also had this absolutely fascinating vlog on how to create your first Voice Booth! I’ve subscribed to his channel and will be watching lots of his vlogs, not because I want to be a narrator (totally not happening) but because it’s interesting, and I love learning stuff!
Oh dear! I found another fun experience! A video of a workshop presentation by an audiobook narrator, R.C. Bray, who started out and got better, and wound up top of the heap, apparently! It’s called From Audiobook Beginner to Audie Winner. This is hilarious! His best line: “I cannot wait to ride her coat tails” in regards to an author whose book he’d just finished recording. I’m having so much fun tonight!
If you’re only just finding this, here are the other blogs in this series:
My Audiobook Venture, Part 1
My Audiobook Venture, Part 2
My Audiobook Venture, Part 3
My Audiobook Venture, Part 4
My Audiobook Venture, Part 5