This group is BUSINESS...where are the jobs today that pay narrators? Who has these jobs? What are the sources we might contact with a demo to get narration jobs? Sure, we can talk about narration techniques too...
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A thought from Bettye.... You are entering the PUBLISHING INDUSTRY. Learn about it!

You must have a killer audio book demo to get paying work in this field especially from PUBLISHERS. You also must separate jobs you do on your own in your home studio from voicing for publishers, often in their studios. When you read for publishers, the pay is better and you often don't do the audio engineering. Mostly, they prefer readers in their own studios. The audio book jobs advertised on the online pay to play sites are usually from vanity publishers or the authors themselves or for other reasons...not publishing house jobs. Know the difference. And get used to the fact that audio books usually pay for THE FINISHED AUDIO HOUR. How long will it take you to get one finished audio hour that is perfect? That depends....could be two studio hours could be twenty studio hours with you engineering and voicing it too! Be very cautious on your price bidding.
Bettye Zoller

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  • P.S. Expect to hear from me for a consult sometime!
  • Bettye, thanks so much for that viewpoint on the future of paper books AND high-quality audiobooks. I totally agree, but there are so many opposite opinions out there these days (people mesmerized, I think, by the new technologies) that was beginning to question myself!
  • As I've said her a jillion times (well maybe not a jillion....) and as I teach in my audio book workshops, get an education by browsing the audio book shelves in libraries and bookstores constantly. Have legal pad and pen with you to write names of publishers who "suit your style." Who narrated for them? Look up that person and discover who they are. Audiofile Magazine is good source to read up on narrators and publishers too. Often, an article will reveal how they got the job! Follow their lead. Solicit constantly mailing your demo with succinct cover letter and a few cogent credits about you. Keep trying and keep going. And do NOT accept engineering a book unless truly truly you're at that level as an audio engineer. It will bring grief if you take a job you're not equipped to do well. Heartache and bad business will ensue. I rescue people all the time who come to me for help because they are in over their head. They lose jobs over this too, clients disgruntled and mad. Long form audio engineering certainly is skill you can learn but enroll and do it! Hire an adviser in your area like me (or by phone) and get help with your budget first. Do you know that everything has to be listened to before it goes out? How many hours is that? You have to study the script prior to recording it and it very well may need rewriting. That's the first thing I usually do with clients who come to me...explain rewriting and what the script needs first. Printed words are not the same as spoken ones. Hope this helps.
  • Oh yes as Dave Courvosier says in the blog below, the IPAD is new but believe me folks, it won't replace audio books and bookstores are NOT going to be obsolete. OH NO SIR and MADAME! People love paper books, gorgeous ones. Millions of books will continue to thrive. Those who prefer reading under a glass pane...fine. I do it too sometimes but not all the time. The IPAD has many faults and is mostly great for game players, I'm told by experts. Audio books are recorded in home studios all the time to save money, true, but the publishers still hire us and pay us. Oh yes. And about the "share in the royalties" method of paying narrators: That is part of the union contract if you're union. We get paid a session fee, not a large sum, and then can share in retail sales if our agent structures us that way. I've done that several times. Paying us can be done in a number of ways including payments over time. But just remember...if you're engineering the book yourself and announcing it, budget carefully with advice from an expert. I've been doing budgets more than twelve years now and wow did I do some stupid stuff the first year or two. That's how I learned. You've got to mail your audio book demo to everyone who does books, authors, publishers, the Christian market, the children's market, indp. producers, the APA can get you publicity, much more. Do it locally and nationally too and then follow up.
  • If you haven't seen Dave's blog about the state of Audio Books, it's worth your time
  • Bettye, I can't wait for my Audio Book demos to arrive. If you mailed them today with a little luck it will be here tomorrow. I know I'm going t love it.
  • Absolutely Heather, the ALA conference is fabulous. I actually had booths at several of them when I owned an audio book publishing company. Libraries are the largest consumer of books, period, including audio, and they get budgets they HAVE TO SPEND twice each year and if they don't spend all the money, the budgets dwindle, so they try to spend. You learn lots at all of these trade shows. Go to them and LEARN. And remember, vo talents, you are leaving the world of audio books and entering the publishing world with audio books so learn it.
  • Oh, I'm definitely going to APAC and BEA -- Bettye is absolutely right about it being the most valuable thing you can do. I also just went to the PLA (Public Library Association conference), mostly because it was held near me this year. Libraries are one of the biggest markets for audiobooks, so the A/B industry had a strong presence there, and the networking was very good. I'm going to be meeting up with four friends from a Pat Fraley A/B workshop -- I will look for you, Jonah!
  • Advice about publisher submissions: When mailing your audio book demo to an audio publishing company, be sure your demo is an audio book demo and done the RIGHT way. If you don't know what that is, FIND OUT. I'm posting it on my new blog: Bettye at google.
  • Unfortunately I will not attend APAC as have schedule conflict, working, but next year vow to arrange schedule to include it and Book Expo America. Both are VITAL for narrators. Hey, everybody, do the same. These are the two conferences that get you work. The only national conferences that you should make a MUST DO. Save your money otherwise.
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