*Name: Matt Jenkins
*Tell us a bit about yourself: Born and raised in a church (literally, in a church – the graveyard was my playground…) I have been reading in public since I was able to see over the lectern. Then I got dragged down the dark path of technology and computers consumed my soul. At least for a while. Then, thankfully, I escaped. Now I’m a Buddhist (much to the chagrin of my Christian folks) and a freelance electronic designer. One side-effect of all the technology is an understanding of audio production, and I am the chief audio engineer for the local Talking Newspaper for the Blind. I also sing in a number of local choirs.
How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? One of our reading team at the Talking Newspaper mentioned ACX to me one day, so I thought I’d look it up and see what it was. Sometimes when reading a book I’d secretly visualise myself producing it as an audiobook, and ACX has opened that door to me.
Is this your day job? Nope. As I mentioned above I am a freelance electronic designer. I spend my days sat in front of my computer drawing lines on the screen. Industrial control and monitoring systems are my thing.
Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? This is a tough one to answer: I have only produced two books so far – The Watcher: A Jack The Ripper Story, and Beyond The Vale, by Kerry Alan Denney. I’m not sure which is my favourite, as they are like chalk and cheese. Both have been enjoyable to produce, and good stories that I enjoyed reading. I hope for many more to come.
Do you have a preferred genre? Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Not really a preferred genre. I do, though, think it’s important to enjoy the stories you read. If you’re not enjoying the story it comes across in your reading. You have to enjoy the story to take a proper interest in it and bring the story to life. There’s no genres that I won’t touch, but if the book doesn’t appeal to me I won’t bother with it. Mostly I gravitate towards fantasy and science fiction, but I’m not fixated solely on it.
What are you working on at present/Just finished? Just finished The Watcher. Nothing lined up at the moment, but I do have a few auditions out there – one I’d really like to get selected for is Among The Dead – a Zombie book.
*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.) My first book was produced all manually. Lots of reading and re-reading, then cutting up, splicing together, etc afterwards. The editing took longer than the reading. That was the worst part of reading, actually – the editing. So, being a technofreak, I decided to do something about it and wrote my own software to do it all for me. Now the editing is done while I’m reading by the program itself at the press of a key and afterwards is just a brief cleanup to make it sound as good as possible. The editing for The Watcher (it’s only a short story) took about 30 minutes, and 25 of that was just listening through.
What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Getting to read books I’d otherwise never think to read – and (hopefully) getting paid for it 🙂
What do you find least enjoyable? The post-reading editing. Hence the spiel above….
Have you ever found an author you couldn’t continue to work with? How was this resolved? Not yet. But that’s only after 2 books…
Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? Yep, I do. Being a freelance designer my income tends to come in lumps, with vast expanses of poverty in between. With royalty share, I’m hoping to get a little bit of regular income to help smooth over those dearths.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Indeed I do. They’re great to keep the right side of my brain occupied while I’m working with the left.
*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t know if it’s the future, but it certainly has a prominent place in the future.
Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? They’re great for when you’re commuting, jogging, working, whatever it is you do. You can listen and do other things (which is important in this fast-paced, need it yesterday, world).
Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Probably a Terry Pratchett (read by my hero Tony Robinson). Sourcery + The Colour Of Magic I think it probably was. On cassette.
If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I’m not an author (yet).
Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) I’ll let you know next year 🙂
Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Not as yet.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve had? Pause. Just that. Pause. The silence is as important as the words.
What is the worst piece of advice you’ve had? Is there such a thing as bad advice? If you learn from the experience it’s still positive, yes?
If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Well, there’s The Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan). That’d keep me in work for the rest of my life. I am (of course) a Terry Pratchett fan, but there’s no way I’d be able to match up to Tony Robinson’s readings. I quite like Tom Holt’s works – they combine fantasy with the kind of warped humour that appeals to my twisted psyche. Plus doughnuts.
Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I spent 3 months living in Sweden when I was 4. When I came home, and started school, the teacher asked: “Who can count to 10?”. I put my hand up, stood up, and counted to ten, perfectly. In Swedish. Ett, två, tre, fyr…
Where can we learn more about you? I keep my personal life off the internet. But you can check out my company site if you like: https://majenko.co.uk
Social Media links: Social media is a mug’s game. You won’t find me on there. Twatter, Basefook, etc – not for me. I value my sanity, and I don’t need the rest of the world to tell me I’m fat: I already know.