Narrator Interview – Danny Letham

*Name: Danny Letham

*Tell us a bit about yourself: Raised on a Scottish moorland farm, I spent much of my adult life in various Scottish and English cities and now live near the North Wales Coast.  My work background is software development and systems analysis, specialising in commercial, financial, and manufacturing systems. Born into a musical family whose other stock-in-trade was teaching, I was a mobile deejay in my teens, and these days I can gossip for Britain about many musical genres.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? While I’ve always liked to talk, the impetus came in the form of the usual story: suggestions from friends and relations. I was very aware that merely being the “natural” that those good folks suggested was not enough, and indeed the well-intentioned encouragement might not even have been true. So, from about 2012 onwards I researched and self-trained with the help of Patrick Fraley’s tutorials and a few other sources. Meanwhile, before my wife’s death in 2016 I had gradually withdrawn from the world of I.T. to become her full-time caregiver, and since then I have reinvented myself as a narrator, video maker, and digital artist. I first encountered ACX through Mr. Fraley.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? You’ll have worked out from the foregoing that I have only just taken the plunge. So, for the time being I don’t have much to say here. I have a computer full of material that will never be seen or heard in public, kind of like those early Beatles recordings made in Hamburg. (Dream on, Danny!)

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I’m a non-fiction kind of a guy really, who aspires to biography, history, the education sector, and corporate reads. I have a high regard for the better fiction narrators and am not averse to characterisation, but not every title is an Agatha Christie mystery and although I have my moments and can run the gamut of SATB timbres (baritone and mezzo are my best) I’m not quite in the same league as David Suchet. What folk tend to overlook, though, is that within the vast tract that is non-fiction there is every bit as much of a need for nuance and sense of scene. Which isn’t to rule out the right novel, of course; never say “never”. That said, I am minded to avoid so-called “Adult” material but I’d not reject an otherwise suitable title just because it had some adult content; however it would have to be very good read. On the other hand, given that I have a well-developed avuncular style for kids’ books there is an obvious conflict, so “Adult” is not a market I would target.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I have just arrived on Audible as narrator of a kids’ title written by Victoria Zigler, called “Eadweard: a Story of 1066”. That title attracted me partly for its historic interest but significantly also because of its ethic; as a lad who never wanted to be a soldier myself I identified with its busting of the myth. The ten-year-old Danny repulsed by the “It’s a Man’s Life” TV recruitment campaign would have loved that book.

Eadweard - A Story Of 1066 Audiobook Cover

Ongoing, from a business perspective I am looking at ethical advertising both in sound and on video more so than audiobooks, but additionally in the medium term I have my eye on a couple of older works which are now in the Public Domain and for which I would assume the role analogous with rights holder as well as that of narrator.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.)  Step One is, sample it and improvise reading one or two previously unseen passages. See how it FEELS. That instinct is important, and I try to carry it with me throughout the creative process at the same time as balancing it with self-directing. Next, read the thing end to end; if you don’t do that you can paint yourself into a corner either with a wrong characterisation as the plot unfolds or, in non-fiction, with a compromised counter-argument. Try a few more passages as you go along, and revisit former ones. Note how different the passages you improvised feel when they are re-encountered. Rehearse. Mark the text with cues and emphases while progressing, considering any surprise inflections that might work to keep the audience engaged. Rehearse again. Set milestones. Go on the mic, for no more than half an hour at a time; after that amount of time mistakes will multiply. Avoid becoming a slave to the punctuation, especially if that punctuation is mechanised. Repeat whole sentences or at least clauses where you notice at the time there has been a blooper, without pausing. Then get technical with NR, EQ, and all that stuff. When editing bear in mind that sometimes it’s better to splice than merely to cut. Sometimes there is no option but to overdub, but don’t do that yet. Open a list of overdub requirements. Listen back, repairing any pops or clicks etc, while identifying any more overdubs. Listen again, following the text closely looking for misreads. Rely on it; there will be some, and consequently more overdubs. Each overdub is a miniature run of the “mic NR EQ pop click etc.” cycle.  Cry, scream, and yell, when the sound palette of the overdub doesn’t match the main body of your narrative. Rinse and repeat. FINALLY (um, not really finally) submit your Thing Of Beauty. Cry, scream, and yell, some more when the rights holder sends a list of …. overdub requirements! Rinse and repeat. Oh, and that other chap who waves his arms? Me too.

I didn’t mention mixing just now. I always record vox in mono but where music or SFX is involved I will decide based on the specifics of the case whether or not to mix in stereo. If it’s narration only, it stays in mono unless I need to emulate physical activity. However, they never needed a stereo mix in the days of Steam Radio, did they? We have lost a lot these days, with the “live” imperative supplanted by all this tech, and yet I am mindful of babies and bathwater. I prefer to use Adobe Audition. Some freeware is absolutely magnificent, but Audition’s visualisations and its brush and lasso repair tools in particular are all but indispensable. In the end you get what you pay for.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? In a sentence? I like the sound of my own voice! No, in all seriousness, performing is the buzz; I can’t say that I love the technical aspects. I did discover recently when invited to do a live reading that the dynamic is entirely different from studio work, so now I am looking to add that to the repertoire on a permanent basis.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I certainly do. I think it unwise to dismiss either royalty share or finished-rate. Every project has its own business case. It depends on what balance you need to strike from time to time between visibility, prestige, and cash flow.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Not very often because in my limited leisure time I tend to read, looking for performance material! I spend more time listening to podcasts online. The audiobook that I have enjoyed the most – ever! – is David Suchet’s reading of “Death on the Nile”. Such characterisation! He is especially able when “doing” the women, and then there is all that over-the-top emoting, and excellent timing resulting from the great sound editing and audio engineering. What’s not to love? It is a lesson in the proper use of tech to give an enhanced performance experience. One of my bugbears is that the unavoidable pauses in “he-said-she-said” dialogue passages go unedited because of production time constraints. And people have been trained to like it, even to consider it best-practice. For me, while it’s fine in a live situation on a recording it just jars.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? Yes and no. It’s unfortunate in some respects that the old way is almost extinct, of Wise Old Heads occasionally reading from a book but frequently improvising around a detailed memory. There is nothing quite like a live performance in which the narrator responds to the audience’s cues and maybe interacts with them. The best stories can be retold with near-infinite variation – consider how folk music works. In my dreams at least, I foresee that style of performance returning as ordinary people’s reading comprehension skills continue to diminish – which I believe they are doing regardless of the A-level statistics. For now, though, as a society we are going through a “more of the same” loop in which hearing the same story repeatedly in exactly the same formulaic way is the “four legs good” of our era, and whether we like it or not the playback device is king. Equally, the playback device is an ideal medium for disseminating listen-once material, superior to radio because of its on-demand nature. In that context word-of-mouth, social media ads, and the Infernal MP3 Machine are the narrator’s best friends. Just as the phonograph paved the way for excellence in musical performance we must hope the MP3 does the same for narration, although in my view we aren’t quite there yet.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? The commuter lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The world of the past that I have described has largely been mechanised out of existence, and indeed that is the case even away from the urban cycle – in agriculture, for example, productivity demands shackle us to our tractors and our milking machines more than ever before. Changes in the popular music scene have made recorded music significantly less attractive to many than it has been previously, so the advent of affordable and – importantly – portable technology with which to hear something interesting is bringing the audiobook to the masses just like the Dansette did popular music half a century ago.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) It’s too early to say as regards earnings, but actually, I think it more realistic in my situation at least to seek prestige and visibility than it is to expect Big Bucks directly. It is an easy platform to use in the technical sense, while in another respect it falls somewhere in between an effective hiring fair and a useful additional networking tool, not so much with peer-to-peer networking (to steal an I.T. term) as in the wider literary community. Having said that, I think the signal-to-noise ratio in terms of networking opportunity is less than ideal.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Every experience is a learning opportunity. If you don’t see it that way, that is a negative in itself.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. People perceive me to be fearless but… while obviously, I wouldn’t choose to do so I would wrestle a Rottweiler (and probably lose), and yet I have an irrational fear of chickens.

Where can we learn more about you?

Website with onward links is here: http://www.thevoiceofdaniel.com/

For repertoire and samples , go straight to soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dannyletham

If you want to check out Victoria and Danny’s work – please use the links below.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Eadweard-A-Story-of-1066-Audiobook/B0778V7XDC/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/652726
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eadweard-victoria-zigler/1124182601
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eadweard-a-story-of-1066
Chapters-Indigo
:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/9781370587865-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/id1137551399
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/eadweard-a-story-of-1066-unabridged/id1313336363
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
The Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/9781539534471
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31199382-eadweard—a-story-of-1066

Narrator Interview – Joseph Batzel

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Joseph Batzel. I live in a small community in Utah by the name of Brigham City and have lived here since 1980 when I moved from Florida. I have been married for 44 years to my wife Alice who happens to be a writer.

We have two sons Marco ages 43- and Matthew 42, and five lovely grandchildren.

I have a Master’s degree in Film and Theater from Brigham Young University. My emphasis was acting and directing.

I have been an educator for the last 40 years of my life and have taught middle school, high school, and presently teach at Utah State University as a part time faculty.

In working at my vocation as an educator, I began my avocation as a professional actor and director for stage, film, and TV. I have 250 credits in the performing industry. I have travelled throughout the US presenting workshops in acting and voice over. I love helping people nurture their talent in these fields of interest.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I became involved with audiobook production early on in my career as a professional voice over artist. I have at least 150 credits in the voice over industry including radio, TV, animation, and audiobooks.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. I narrated an educational CD Titled “Great American Speeches” and did the voice of Abraham Lincoln, and also a family audiobook CD titled “Tales From Davy Jones Locker “Quetzalcoatl” where I was the Grandfather (narrator)

Do you have a favourite amongst these? I must say it was an honor to play Lincoln and read one of the most famous speeches in American History “The Gettysburg Address.”

Do you have a preferred genre? I love to narrate uplifting material. There is too much anger and hatred in the world. I enjoy material that inspires and motivates people to do positive things in life.

Do you have a genre you do not produce? As I previously mentioned, genres that are filled with gratuitous profanity, sex, violence, etc. I have no desire to be involved in those types of projects. Why is this? I have certain personal and religious standards, values, and principles that I don’t want to compromise.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m working on a motivational religious book. I just finished a five book children series, with an excellent author from England, Victoria Zigler, titled “Toby’s Tales.”

*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.) I have studied professional voice over training with some of the best professional voice over artists in the business. I also had an agent by the name of Linda Bearman that taught me the technique of voice over. I am very detailed in my approach. 1. I read over the script numerous times for content, meaning, characters, etc. 2. I take the script or text and break it down into paragraphs for narrating purposes. 3. I read through the script this time highlighting the character or character voices I’ll be recreating. 4. I mark where each voice changes and label each voice in my text. I use simple codes such as N for the Narrator T for Toby etc. 5. I read through the text practicing the voices aloud.

I go through the text numerous times until I am satisfied with my voice choices.

I do practice recordings until I feel comfortable with my choices. 8. Begin my recording sessions until it is close to perfect.

Edit the final draft.

Submit the work to the author, client, etc.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Working and recording the character or character voices.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? Much of it depends on the popularity of the author or if their books are doing well in the various markets available.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I love audiobooks but you can imagine what a critic I am to narrators of the books.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? The market for audiobooks is booming for several reasons: 1. Technology 2. Availability of technology ex. I-Phones, laptops, I-Pads. Etc. 3. People are transit and travel more than ever on mass transit, cars, etc. 4. People would rather listen than read in this fast-paced world.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? Answered above!

Can you remember the first audio book you owned? My first and most favorite audiobook was the Harry Potter series narrated by James Dale. Mr. Dale did every character with such precision and professionalism, I listened to the whole series in less than two weeks.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) ACX provides unique opportunities for voice over artists to enter a simple profile, submit a demo, and bid for author’s titles by a submitting a short sample audition. Very smooth and professional.

 

The options of profit share and per hour rate are left up to the talent. That works for the talent and provides time for the narrator to research and find out about each author, and what their sales are on various marketing outlets.

The production end has been efficient and professional with adequate feedback from the author and the ACX production staff. The momentary rewards are yet to be determined.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? NO!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I do a great impression of Elvis Presley “Thank you thank you very much.”

 

Where can we learn more about you? Facebook

Social Media links: Facebook, twitter.

Book 1 – Toby’s New World
Audible: http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-New-World-Audiobook/B074P7FV1M/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/229561
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519989
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-new-world-victoria-zigler/1113041202
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-new-world
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-new-world/9781476234342-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-new-world/id562790799
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-new-world-tobys-tales-volume-1-unabridged/id1270858515
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-New-World-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358902

Book 2 – Toby’s Monsters
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Monsters-Audiobook/B074SZ9BJX/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247103
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519996
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-monsters-victoria-zigler/1113744687
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-monsters
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-monsters/9781301157921-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-monsters/id574780594
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-monsters-tobys-tales-volume-2-unabridged/id1272267691
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Monsters-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358971

Book 3 – Toby’s Outing
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Outing-Audiobook/B074W95DRX/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251587
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520007
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-outing-victoria-zigler/1113846045
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-outing
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-outing/9781301643264-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-outing/id577001695
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-outing-tobys-tales-volume-3-unabridged/id1273856055
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Outing-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359046

Book 4 – Toby’s Games
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Games-Audiobook/B074WCT1W4/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/271594
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520032
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-games-victoria-zigler/1114302957
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-games
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-games/9781301441082-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-games/id595641562
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-games-tobys-tales-volume-4-unabridged/id1274236264
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Games-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359268

Book 5 – Toby’s Special School
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Special-School-Tobys-Tales-Volume-5-Audiobook/B0756Q5KB1/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/281507
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520068
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-special-school-victoria-zigler/1114473423
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-special-school
Chapters-Indigo
:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-special-school/9781301489220-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-special-school/id600171798
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-special-school-tobys-tales-volume-5-unabridged/id1277169221
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Special-School-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359336

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15992610-toby-s-new-world
Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16098832-toby-s-monsters
Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16127032-toby-s-outing
Book 4: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17209761-toby-s-games
Book 5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17314257-toby-s-special-school

Audiobook Narrator Interview Number 10 – Charissa Clark Howe

 

*Name: Charissa Clark Howe

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a Presbyterian Minister, wife, mom of three, and marathoner, as well as being an audiobook narrator.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I have been involved in theater for most of my life, both acting and singing. Since I’ve had children, that hasn’t been logistically feasible, but I have dearly missed acting. One day, I was listening to the NPR radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and the host mentioned to a caller that she had a “very distinctive voice.” She thanked him and said that she’s an audiobook narrator. Something lit up inside my head and I thought, “Wait a minute. . . you can do that as a job? That sounds amazing!” So I went online and did a quick Google search for “how to become an audiobook narrator.” I stumbled across the Audiobook Creation Exchange website and the rest is history!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I recently narrated two novels that I absolutely love. One is “Paper Doll” by Joe Cosentino and the other is “Angela’s Coven” by Bruce Jenvey. They are very different books, but both have great messages, fun characters, and a great deal of heart. I am hoping to start narrating more books in both of those series in the future.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I started off with little non-fiction books on things like Microsoft Excel and internet marketing, just to get my feet wet. But I quickly got bored with those. My favorites are light-hearted novels. I will not produce romance novels. I won’t even read romance novels on my own time. I don’t see any value in them.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m currently working on a four part philosophy tome, and a few shorter novels.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I like to start by skimming the books to get a feel for the characters. After that, I just start recording. That means I often have several takes of different pieces, but I find that keeps the story fresher for me as I read.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  I love studying and learning how to act with new accents.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I do consider royalty share when narrating, but I’m very picky about the quality of books I’ll pick up for royalty share. I’m still a bit of a newbie at this audiobook narration gig, but I also don’t want to spend hours reading something that’s not really very good.

Do you listen to audiobooks? All the time!

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t think it’ll take the place of reading books for one’s self, but I do think that it’s really a great medium that I’m happy to see taking off. My family and I listen to many audiobooks together in the car and we have elderly and blind family members who all appreciate being able to listen to books. It makes them accessible in new places and to people who might not have had a chance to read many books before.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? I think I just answered that above. 🙂

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? I don’t remember exactly, but it was probably The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s my favorite book ever.

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 am hoping to have a novel published in the next year. I have thought a great deal about if I’ll narrate it myself or see what life someone else might be able to breathe into the story. I haven’t landed on a decision one way or the other yet.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) And then some! I didn’t expect things to take off so fast for me.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? I actually had an author decide after I’d produced half a book that she’d rather just read it herself. She refused to pay for the time that I’d already spent on the project. I was livid. Every other experience has been great, though. All the authors and producers have been friendly, professional, and understanding.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have two pet rats named after my husband’s favorite mystery novel heroes: Lord Peter Whimsy and Hercule Poirot.

 

Where can we learn more about you? www.charissaclarkhowe.com

Social Media links:

twitter: @pastorcharissah

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pastorcharissah/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shattered Mirror – Now in Audio

Hurrah! #Shatteredmirror #poetry

I’m delighted to announce the release of Shattered Mirror: A Poetry Collection in audio format. Narrated by Rob Goll – also my narrator for Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I and Perseid Press’ Heroika: The Dragon Eaters, the poetry collection is another fine example of this narrator’s versatility.

It’s short, less than 20 minutes, so ideal for a coffee-break, or commute listen. Filled with ‘gritty’ poems on politics, war, and the vagaries of life the collection is dark and somewhat dystopian.

Check it out here:

Or from audible. If you buy from audible, don’t forget if you’re not a member you can join their membership scheme and pay monthly – to get a credit – usually this works out far cheaper than some of the more expensive books there.

shattered-m-square-audio1

 

Audio Book Narrator Interview 9 – Lauren Ezzo

*Name: Lauren Ezzo

*Tell us a bit about yourself:  I was born and raised in East Lansing, MI. I’ve loved literature since I was little, and in 2014 received my BA in English/Theatre from Hope College in Holland, MI. Currently I’m a freelance narrator and actor based in the Midwest!

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? My first year out of college, a friend working a Brilliance Publishing sent me an audition notice. I went into their studio, read some Twilight and some Neil Gaimain, and was taken on! I thought if nothing else it’d be a fun new section on my resume. Two years later, and here we are!

 

What are you working on at present/Just finished?  Just finished a book of poetry inspired by/chronicling The Donner Party! It’s called To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of The Donner Party. It’s a super interesting and emotional read — not to mention unorthodox! And it’s based on a real member of the party.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  The recording process itself depends on where/with whom I’m recording, but my prep is generally always the same: When I receive the manuscript I do a quick read/skim to see what I’m getting into. As recording approaches, I re-read several more times and jot down “specials” — words I’m unfamiliar with, specific author notes, place names, anything out of the ordinary. I consider each character leading up to the reading — where they fit in the story, and what sort of voice the author’s given them on paper. I love to communicate with authors in this regard — often their inspiration will ring a bell in my brain. Beyond that, lots of tea, coffee, and snacks.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  Everything!!! I get paid to read!!!! I’m an actor first and foremost, so it’s a great challenge to see how much nuance and meaning I can imbue a story with using just my voice. I’ve learned so much about writing, storytelling, dialect, character, pacing….Also it’s a great conversation starter at parties.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? Oh yes! If the book is intriguing, royalty share is totally acceptable. I won’t turn down a book I really enjoy and have faith simply because the payment is royalty share. I’m not an author, but I can imagine that self-publishing takes just as much work as narration (and probably a bit more money). That being said, if an author can afford a PFH rate, I would recommend going this route. Narrators (myself included) are more likely to seek these titles out first, since they’re often paying second and third parties to record, edit, master, etc. Additionally, a seasoned narrator will typically only record with a PFH — but this is WELL worth the investment. You get what you pay for, and armchair narrators can definitely impact your audiobook’s sales.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I didn’t before I began recording, but I do now! I just finished Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris, which features Elaine Stritch. Hilarious.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling?Absolutely. Actually, just last month WSJ published an article confirming that audiobooks are the fastest growing publishing format in publishing! (I’m including the link below). Audiobooks, ebooks, smartphones, and the like will never replace flesh and blood books, but there is something to be said about audiobooks and the future of storytelling. Audiobooks create relationships; the performative aspect engages and it’s impossible to not respond to another human voice (even if it’s a negative response). Audiobooks are also becoming necessities — for those with learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADD, or corporate learning.

(http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fastest-growing-format-in-publishing-audiobooks-1469139910 )

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular?Convenience, and the human element. You don’t need to be stationary to listen to an audiobook…and having Sissy Spacek read To Kill a Mockingbird to you personally is pretty cool.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? My own! The CEO Buys In, by Nancy Herkness.

 

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. How about two truths and a lie? I’m a Gemini, I bought a couch this week, I keep up with the Kardashians (I know, I know…) Get in touch with a correct guess and I will send you a prize!

Social Media links:

By all means, please follow, contact, and share! I love hearing from people 🙂

Website: www.laurenezzo.com

ACX: https://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A2BGEGYCIIX0EQ

Audible: http://www.audible.com/search?searchNarrator=Lauren+Ezzo

Twitter: @singlewithfries

Audio Book Narrator Interview 8 – Michael Hanko

*Name: Michael (Mike) Hanko

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I was a Communication major back in college, studying Radio and desktop publishing. I love music and so I spent 2 years on air as a DJ while in school. Loved it! But could not find any work in radio after school, given how competitive it is.

A little later on, I started a career as a Training Specialist. So again, being able to get in front of people and be in the public speaking arena was not a bad move. It helped me to work on and polish my delivery/style. This whole time, though I was always interested in voice and just a year ago I started my professional voice career.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? So far, I have produced 31 audiobooks (in just my first year professionally). They have mostly been self-help and inspiration/Christian projects. Some of my biggest sellers have been Listening (Christian Olsen) and the Happy Puppy Box Set (Charles Nelson and Jennifer Smith). I have enjoyed producing all types of works, including (recently) game guides and now even biographies.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I don’t have a preferred genre. I truly just enjoy the different types of books that are published and trying to adapt my voice to some of them. The only style I don’t honestly do is adult/explicit material. And that’s because of my Christian faith. Just not a genre that I’m completely comfortable with.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I have two biographies that I’m producing, both of NBA superstars. I had produced a similar title recently and the author and publisher have been super to work with, so I was happy to take on additional work from them. Also, I secured another scripturally based book that I will start shortly as well.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I look first for titles that I feel comfortable with. When I say that, I look for titles that fit me – adult, middle aged, midwestern accent (mine is not as pronounced though). But at the same time, I try to stretch myself by looking for titles that cause me to be more engaging or at least to strike a balance between more serious and more fun.

When I receive the manuscript, I will read it to try and get a feel for the tone, pacing, etc. I believe that any book’s translation/narration is that much more successful when I can make that connection. And just as important, when I’m editing the final tracks, I listen as a reader – is the volume good? Is the pacing and flow of the read good (not too fast or slow)? Are the pauses natural and help to convey the right tone? I love the process and hearing the project come together!

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  I love the read. I have loved reading since I was in elementary school. I was always one of the first kids to volunteer to read out loud. And I enjoy editing. I’m getting better all the time when it comes to that end and I love to challenge myself to make my edits better, to make the book sound more alive.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I’ll consider any offer. All of my produced works have been royalty offers.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling?  I do. We have amazing technology and I know many people that are audiobook readers. Technology is allowing us to reach people in many new and exciting ways.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? You can take that book anywhere, just like traditional books. But, with the added advantage of listening in your car, as many people have suggested to me. You take the portability of a traditional book and add another flexible layer.

 

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) I’m still new to the industry (one year plus) but I enjoy seeing the numbers each month of sales, reviews, etc. ACX/Audible provides great tools and information for me as a narrator, making it easy for me to follow my own activity and to share in the overall success of the project. And their interface (receiving manuscripts, uploading, etc) is very user-friendly.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Just once. I felt very strongly that the author was being aggressive in their wording (within the book). And I did mention it to them. Although it did not ultimately affect the final product, I will speak up if I am not comfortable, that it will not benefit either them or me.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a very dry sense of humor. So, I enjoy funny movies for example and especially those that are similarly dry and/or sarcastic.

Where can we learn more about you? I can be found on Facebook (artist page for my work), LinkedIn, Twitter and my own website, MikeHanko.com

Audiobook Narrator Interview Number Six – Lynelle Bennett

Name:
Lynelle Daliah Bennett

*Tell us a bit about yourself:
I consider myself a very creative person.  My family kind of pursued the military route and I ended being more of the artist out of all of us.  I draw a lot, write stories, poems, play video games and dance for fun but my passion became singing.  I grew up training myself as a singer and hoped to one day become a star like most little girls.  I was self taught for a long time and went to college for Audio & Media Technology where I wanted to learn how to record and mix my own music and eventually sell it.  I then kind of went on a hiatus from singing in the studio and started to sing in community choirs. 

How did you become involved with audio book narration and production?
Well, eventually I kind of hit a snag in my career and really thought about what I really wanted to do.  I knew that I really wanted to use my voice in some way but I didn’t find the music industry as appealing anymore.  I then met a very awesome woman named Diana L. Wicker who shared her stories with me.  I then noticed there was a side to my voice that I had always ignored but when I thought about voice acting, I realized how much I really enjoy reading and how I tend to create different voices for the characters.  I write a lot too and I usually voice my own characters in my head so I thought that perhaps this route would be promising.  I reached out to Diana who was interested in making her stories into audio books but found that she wasn’t really able to do them herself so when I introduced the idea of me starting to pursue the voice over path, she was excited because now she had a way of getting her audio books.    

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this?
I really enjoyed doing “The Dreamweaver’s Journey” because of all the different types of characters that I had to create.  It was fun figuring out what a Unicorn or Owl or Dragon would sound like.  It was especially intriguing trying to voice a goddess-like character like Lady Kali.  Fantasy was really fun in that regard.  However, I am open to anything really.  I would love to do a murder mystery or romance as well.  I really love the tones in those types of stories and feel that it would challenge me in a good way. 

What are you working on at present/Just finished?
I just finished “The Dreamweaver’s Journey” and I am probably going to start recording the next book in Diana’s series called “The Guardian Child’s Return.”  I’ve already read it and figured out the voices of the characters in that book so I’m hoping to record that soon.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?
Inventing voices for all of the characters was both challenging and fun.  I really had to test my range and even play with changing the tone of my voice that I never really thought of before.  Characters like Lord Hyatt for example.  The male characters in particular were most challenging but I actually grew most fond of them over the female characters such as Lord Grypos and Nolan. 

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling?
Absolutely!  There are many individuals who prefer to listen to a book while driving or even walking perhaps a pet or just getting some exercise or whatever.   I personally know that even visually impaired people most likely utilize audio books.  Why not?  

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular?
As I previously stated, people can listen to books the way that they listen to music and the fact that they can pretty much take it anywhere makes it very convenient.  I think that may be the main reason why they are growing in popularity. 

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book?
So far, my production process can still use some work.  I thought that I would finish Book 1 in one month but here we are, three to four months later and it’s finally been released.  I hope that it gets faster for the next time around. 

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself.
I think that I am a major geek.  I get so nerdy into games that a lot of people just can’t help but smack their heads.  I got so into a video game that I made a music tribute video based on my main characters and even drew, and painted a portrait of my main characters in the game as well.  It was an RPG so I was able to make up what the main hero looked like.  I don’t know if this is considered silly or obsessive.    

Where can we learn more about you?

So far the best place is Facebook.  I hope to get a website soon!  Also, the Dreamweaver’s Official Site is a good place to get more info on the books by Diana.    

Social Media links: https://www.facebook.com/lynelle.bennett
Official Site for Tales from Feyron:   www.talesfromfeyron.com

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Dreamweavers-Journey-The-Age-of-Awakenings-Book-1-Audiobook/B013J9VUAW/

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Dreamweavers-Journey-The-Age-of-Awakenings-Book-1-Audiobook/B013J9WNOY/