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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  • I rehearse an entire chapter or two by reading it again, making mental and tangible notes before actually recording. Once I begin recording, I keep going. It is important. for me at least, to get into the zone of narrating and reading aloud to insure there is flow and continuity; at least this is how I approach it. If there are mistakes during the read I can punch in.
  • Alexis, I agree with Joe. That's way too much work for both your dad and the publisher. I strongly recommend volunteering for RFB&D or some other reading-for-the-blind organization. Doing these longform reads improves your delivery, plus builds your confidence and comfort level in doing an audiobook on your own. Probably more importantly, you're giving of your talents to help someone who really needs it. This has lead to business opportunities for me as well. Best of luck to your dad!
  • Alexis, Two Reads? Three reads? Way too much work! Sounds like he's second guessing himself. I understand where it's coming from being his first book. However, he needs to learn when to move on. If his client trusts him enough to do this project on his own, he should forge ahead with confidence. Also, if he's turning in two or three reads, he's going to give the publisher a big headache with all the editing they'll have left to do. He needs to turn it in as a finished work, no extra reads unless they ask for it. Occasional mouth pops are easy to fix. The 'Stedman ProScrene 101' pop filter could take care of that for him.
  • My dad is doing his first audio book and he wanted me to ask the following:

    Does it make sense to do two reads of each paragraph for a safety before he reads the entire page?

    He thought the two safeties would give him a back up if he had a mouth pop etc. and it would warm him up.

    I told him he is then reading the book three times and that seems like a lot but he is the one editing it so he wants to make that part more efficient.

    We appreciate your advise.

    About the studios, we got our vocal booth from a studio that was closing, it was a good deal for us but kind of sad too.
    Alexis
  • Having engineered for Air Supply, Firefall, the Dirt Band, this engineer found a niche and went after it. I do feel sorry for the studios, but they're having to reinvent themselves as well, and so, the wheel goes round. If they have the right attitude, they'll be okay. Best wishes to all of you who are going after the brass ring!
  • I agree, Joe; I do enjoy working on my own and (to my surprise) am becoming kind of a Pro Tools junkie! Grover Gardener said at one of the sessions at APAC this week that one reason he sometimes prefers to record in his own studio is that he is narrating only for "the perfect listener in my head." I do feel badly for all the fine studios that are tanking, though, especially because it is such a waste of amazing talent of all those engineers. Someone at the conference mentioned a website, theradionetworkonline.com, that has become a clearinghouse for studios selling off all this equipment. Anyway, we have to adapt, and wherever my book starts (download, CD) or ends up (iTunes, Playaway), I still get to narrate it!
  • Most of my audiobook titles are now on PlayAway. PlayAway has their own proprietary players and sales have picked up in downloads through audible.com. CD sales have taken a dive over the past couple of years, but if you if take the time, you can find a niche for yourself. Also, I love working in my home studio!
  • Thanks for your note here, Heather Anne, and oh yes, recording books in our home studios is more popular than ever. Publishers are catching on to the economy we offer, voicing and engineering and producing at home. Some publishers, especially the giants, still insist we record in their studios, unfortunately, because I can't leave my business and studio to go to NYC to record a book over a two week or more period. Wish I could but...I won't name names, but three major publishing houses have told me that I would be a staff reader full time if I lived in NYC. It was tempting but my husband is a native of NYC and will NOT go back there. Living is too sweet where we are and business is great. But Heather Anne, studios have been in trouble for years now, the huge ones. We have friends who have gone bankrupt and been unable to pay back business loans (those huge studios that look like spaceships...the really ritzy ones.) We have ten or more of those in Texas. They all are finding the business radically changed to the in-home studio. Los Angeles and NYC were first with the in-home studio craze. Other parts of the US came later, as always, and now everybody's doing it. So glad to hear your report here. TELL US MORE about APAC BEA. I always love going. Had conflict this year but God willing next year I'll be there again. That's how I got my contract with Simon and Schuster. They found me a few years ago at BEA.
  • I just got back from APAC / BEA in New York. Lots of great information, but man, is this industry changing fast. Because I'm based in Oregon, I have had to have my own studio for awhile now to do audiobook narrations. One thing I learned at the conference is that even some of the big-name narrators in L.A. and NY (who have always done their narration in professional studios) are now having to set up home studios as publishers request this of all of us. I wish this weren't the trend because I hate to see all of these wonderful audio engineers and their studios get less business, but it is definitely the trend.
  • Hello everyone. Wow. We have over ninety members now. Tell me some of your concerns and topics you would like to see addressed by this group and I'll post them and try to respond to your needs.
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