This blog is a review of an article about audiobooks, plus my own modest experience with the concepts presented.
The article, “So, You Want to Narrate Audiobooks,” was written by Kate Murphy and appeared in the Wall Street Journal on November 2nd, 2020. Murphy documents the growing popularity of audiobooks and describes what it takes in terms of talent and equipment to become a professional reader of books for this expanding audience.
Even before COVID, people were finding audiobooks a rewarding multitasking endeavor, coupled with working out, gardening, or other activity that allows split attention. In the last decade new titles have increased tenfold. Some believe more time at home bodes well for the industry.
And it is an industry. Audiobook narration is a “distinct art form that requires some natural ability but also determination, dedication, and practice.” It helps to be born with what Murphy calls a “radio voice.”
I understand about the voice. In addition to writing, I have dipped my toe into the world of “spoken-word art.” That’s a fancy phrase for “storytelling.” There is such a thing as a “storyteller’s voice.” It’s a little hard to define, but you know it when you hear it.
Murphy also says audiobook producers look for people with acting experience. I understand that, too. If you’ve even seen and heard a master storyteller “in the moment” with a captivating story, it’s clear that acting is part of the mix.
Then there is the financial investment. You can’t do this at the kitchen table with kids running around, phones ringing and dogs barking. You need a space, a “studio” actually and equipment beyond a smart phone. Murphy says you could spend the lion’s share of $10K for an optimal setup.
The article goes deeper and further than this short blog. You should be able to find it online. Murphy also nods to generous offerings of Facebook groups devoted to the topic.
I read. I write. I learn. I’m in a writing group and I have four published books. I’m still pretty sure I’m not Steinbeck, but my heart and soul have found their way back to where they should be.