Last week, I presented my Audiobook Narrator Self-Assessment Quiz. Today, we’ll look at the rationale behind the Baseline and Language questions. Note that these questions don’t have right or wrong answers.
A commenter on my article How to Become an Audiobook Narrator asked me:
I am told that I have a great talent in reading and acting…and for some time I’ve been thinking if I should start doing voice overs as an audio book narrator. What kind of skills do I need to acquire or improve on?
I could — and someday will — write an answer that addresses the part of the sentence that reads “I am told that…”. Today, though, I present my (drumroll)…
If you’re thinking about a career in audiobook narration, answers to these questions will help you determine if you’re a good fit for this type of work.
Do you like to read?
If the answer is NO, stop taking the quiz, and start thinking of some other career option. Seriously.
Do you regularly listen to audiobooks?
If the answer is NO, listen to many more audiobooks in different genres to get a feel for the art form before you continue with the quiz. I’d suggest you’d get a subscription to AudioFile Magazine, which is the industry’s standard for professional reviews, and listen to audiobooks that earned Earphone Awards.
Have you ever heard the sound of your recorded voice?
Have you ever read aloud?
Do you enjoy telling stories?
Do you have training or experience in acting or oral interpretation?
Do you love language?
What is your native language?
Do you know more than 1 language? If so, how would you rate your proficiency in it?
Do you like to work independently or with other people?
Are you a self-starter?
Do you consider yourself organized?
Are you detail-oriented?
Are you adept at time and project management?
Are you thick-skinned when it comes to criticism?
Are you curious? Do you like to learn new things?
How do you deal with constant rejection or perhaps even feeling ignored?
How would you rate your comfort and skill levels with working with technology more complicated than your phone?
How does the thought of learning new software make you feel?
How would you rate your communications and customer service skills?
How do you feel when you need to research something?
Are you able to concentrate on one task for long periods?
Are you patient?
Are you a perfectionist?
What are your financial expectations?
Have you ever worked as a freelancer?
Do you have a day job or other monetary cushion to see you through slow times?
Do you have money set aside for start-up and on-going business costs?
How do you feel about constantly networking and marketing yourself to attract and retain clients?
Do you have or can you make a dedicated recording space in your home?
I’ll talk about the importance of each section and explain my thinking behind many of the questions in these posts:
For now, take some time to reflect on each question, and be sure to date and write down your answers! To encourage you to spend the time needed to reflect on these questions and write the answers, I’ve created this free, downloadable PDF of the quiz.
Updated 28 April 2019
After poring over my Audiobook Marketing Cheat Sheet, an author recently asked me whether QR codes are still relevant and in use.
I responded that the answer to that question depends on who you ask. You’ll find compelling arguments on both sides, but the codes seem to be regaining their popularity.
Lifehacker reported in April that Apple iOS 11 and some Android phones can read QR codes natively, so you no longer need a special app to scan them. Presumably, Apple wouldn’t spend the time and cost to develop this feature if no one wanted to use it. You simply click on the smartphone camera app, point it at the code, and the operating system will scan and convert it for the browser.
This SocialMediaToday article, also from April, talks about Facebook rolling out QR codes for Pages and links to an article about the popularity of these codes in Japan and China.
I agree with the assertions in this article that QR codes continue to be good tools as long as you use them correctly — i.e., only on printed materials though they will scan from the screen — and keep the linked content updated and optimized for mobile access.
I decided to post this article on my blog for narrators because I have a QR code on the back of my business card that links to my web site. This way, I can hand out my business card to someone, and they can instantly connect to and HEAR my demos.
My web site URL is in my email address. Many people would prefer to type it, may not have the ability to scan the code, or may not understand the code.
For what it’s worth, I used business card CDs before I moved back to paper cards with QR codes. While they had a “WOW” factor, they were expensive and time-consuming to produce. In addition, if I changed my demos, I couldn’t update any business card CDs on hand because I had to burn the files onto the CD. What’s worse, people sometimes had difficulties in playing the small, rectangular CD on their system. Today, so many computers are sold without CD readers that I would advise narrators to avoid making CDs.
This article includes a section creating and using QR codes in your marketing. You can use these ideas whether you are promoting a particular book or yourself as a narrator.
Updated in April 2019 to show 3 recent examples illustrating that QR codes are becoming even more entrenched in business:
1. Longhorn restaurants print QR codes on the dining check. You can scan the code in their app and pay for your meal without waiting for your server, saving time for everyone. This measure also gives you added security over your credit card as you never hand it to anyone.
2. Chateau Elan, a resort and winery near my house, must be following my lead as they include a QR code on their business card. Once you scan it, you’re taken to their TripAdvisor page so you can leave a review.
3. VOAtlanta assigned each attendee a QR code in the event app. Rather than swapping and keeping up with business cards, attendees could scan QR codes and have the other attendee’s app profile page added to their contacts within the app.
As a user of ACX.com since it was in its pre-launch beta test and an Audible Approved Producer, I was delighted when Scott Jacobi, Marketing Director at ACX, asked me to speak on his panel today at this year’s VOAtlanta Conference.
Scott is moderating the panel titled Chapter One — Creating Your Audiobook Career. My fellow panelists are Greg Cooler, Director of Production for ListenUp Audiobooks here in Atlanta, and Andrew Gallagher, the QA Supervisor and Production Evangelist at ACX.
Since we have a wealth of topics to cover in 1 hour, I thought it would be helpful to provide attendees with this curated, short list of companion articles from ACX’s and my blogs. Obviously, you’ll find lots more useful content to aid your career on both our sites!
Top 10 Q&A About Audiobook Production Although I wrote this article for authors, it answers many questions for narrators.
AudioEloquence.com for pronunciation research
Facebook group Indie (ACX and Others) Audiobook Narrators and Producers — You must have a profile on ACX to join this group. The comprehensive group FAQ that I created and maintained will answer more questions that you realized could be possible!
In my last article for narrators, I wrote about 3 ways to become a computer super user. One piece of software that all audiobook narrators need is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Coaches and new narrators often ask me where they can learn how to use their DAW.
The 7 options listed below in no particular order will help you learn the DAW software.
1) The Deyan Institute offers classes in Pro Tools for Production and Pro Tools for Post-Production, as well as an option for 6 hours of Pro Tools instruction.
2) Edge Studio offers webinars in Audition, Audacity, Pro Tools, Reaper, and Twisted Wave.
3) Global Voice Acting Academy has several webinars on recording and occasionally offers classes.
4) Lynda.com is a FANTASTIC site with professionally produced video courses on Pro Tools, Audition, and Studio One, plus tons of other courses on things like WordPress, marketing, etc. Anyone can get a free 10-day trial using this (affiliate) link.You may be able to access Lynda for FREE with a library card as described in this article.
5) YouTube overflows with how-to videos for numerous DAWS. One excellent source for Studio One videos is the Red Baarns channel created by audio engineer Don Baarns. He also has created tutorials that show how to use iZotope RX products to clean up your audio.
6) Udemy.com offers a number of courses in Audacity, Adobe Audition, Reaper, and Pro Tools. I haven’t used any of these courses, but some of them look pretty comprehensive.
7) You might find a course at a local college or hire a student to teach you. For example, I took an enrichment class on Pro Tools offered on successive Saturdays at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
By the way, if you learn the basic shortcuts keys discussed in the previous article, you have a head start as they will work in your DAW!
Updated 4/19/18 to remove links to deleted courses on VoiceOverExtra. com and add the link to Udemy.com