Friday, October 3, 2014

Guest Post

I don’t know about you but I love audiobooks. As an author and a reader, I wanted to know more about how this process works. So I went in search of an audiobook narrator that would share a little of their world with us. Andrea Emmes is who I found, I hope you enjoy reading about her side of the industry. Be sure you take a look at her website and leave a comment below. :) I've really enjoyed getting to know Andrea. 

I've had the pleasure of being able to perform for over 20 years as a singer/actor/dancer and just recently this year I began narrating audiobooks. It's great for me as I love doing voice overs, I can work from home and I get to bring amazing stories and characters to life. As a voracious reader, it's the perfect job!

Coming from a theater background, I find that it's easy to pull from my training to bring an emotional and true performance to each book I narrate. I really enjoy delving deep into the characters of each book and bringing out unique characterizations, accents or intonations for each. Not only do I think it helps me as an actor but I feel it helps the listener recognize who's speaking and follow the story better.

When trying to work out the various characters, I always ask the authors first if they could send me a short write up of each main character. Their personalities, ticks, age and any other pertinent information that will help me work out their "voice".  

After I've read the book a couple times, I'll make notes and get started.  Most of the time, I'll create the voices on the spot as I'm recording and as they come to me.  But for the main characters, I've usually got all of their voices worked out ahead of time.  

I really enjoy the process of recording and performing but the worst part is the editing and mastering as that's the most time consuming. Not every narrator does their own editing/mastering but at the moment, I'm not at that financial stage where I can contract that out.  But I've had a lot of experience in sound editing so it's not a big deal.  As long as I can get the best result possible, the tediousness of editing is worth it.

Not everyone can be an audiobook narrator as it's not as easy as it seems. It's not just reading a book aloud but it's performing and breathing life to the story. Usually for every final recorded hour it takes a narrator between 2-6 hours of working time to create it.  That entails the actual recording, going back when you mess up, research (words, pronunciations, recalling a character's voice in your character library, etc.), editing out all of the superfluous noises and odd breaths, proofing each chapter and going back to fix any mistakes and then mastering and exporting it.  There's a lot that goes into to each word and each page of text.  If you don't mind sitting in a small space four hours on end, like my closet that I converted into my recording studio, and are able to maintain your voice after speaking for hours, then narration might be for you!  

Like I said, I absolutely love it! I'm enjoying not only reading amazing books everyday but getting to know the authors and forming new friendships.

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