SteviePuckett.com

This Narrating Thing

I began narrating books as a result of publishing my humble little personal development book in 2016. During the process of making it into an audiobook (which I had to have because I love, love, love audiobooks), I felt inspired to create a narrator profile on ACX. It was something I had been pondering for a while so I took the leap. Since then I’ve had fortunate experiences, studied the craft, and consulted with coaches to accelerate my progress. 

When I first decided to give narrating a try, I thought it would be so easy, especially if I just focused on nonfiction. I figured there was too much competition for narrators who wanted to read fiction, plus I thought nonfiction suited my personality and voice better. I’ve been known to take everything seriously and I also choose to mostly read nonfiction on my own so nonfiction narration seemed like a good match in many ways.

Then, out of the blue just a couple months into narrating, I received an invitation to audition for a fiction title. The invitation was from Warren Adler’s team. He is a prolific and well-established writer. They were looking for ladies to narrate his Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. There were 9 books in the series at the time and some past inklings of it being turned into a TV series. Oh my stars, that all sent me reeling! I followed up on the invitation with an explanation of how I hadn’t narrated fiction before and received encouragement back to give it a go. So I figured, “What the heck?” I did the audition and received an offer back along with more encouragement.

As it turns out, I do have a friend in acting, so I gave him a call. He had some advice to get me started, and he tapped into his network to help me find a voice acting coach.

Boy did I luck out! Coach Nokes brought me along quickly. After a few coaching sessions not only did I notice a big improvement in my understanding of narration and what my voice can do but also my confidence grew. Coach Nokes can interpret a script and nail character traits and how to reflect that in the voice in seconds. He also had numerous dialects at the tip of his tongue. It’s more than a little impressive. 

From there, I kept plugging along. I posted new samples to my ACX profile. Nearly weekly I was invited to audition for projects or just given royalty deal offers straight out the gate. I researched each opportunity by looking for books that had already done well in paperback or ebook formats. I checked reviews and looked up the web presence of the authors who contacted me. I searched open auditions on ACX periodically and submitted when I found something that I thought would be a good fit.

I learned very quickly to choose carefully because completing an 8-10 hour audiobook project is a marathon that requires many hours and great attention to detail. It’s also risky when agreeing to royalty share deals since you may or may not earn back what you put into it. Maybe I’m a gambler at heart but royalty share deals still appeal to me.