Balticon 47 Wrap up – Part 10, Helping Authors Find and Work Effectively with Narrators

by Doc Coleman on August 5, 2013 · 0 comments

in Balticon

Episode 10 of the Balticon 47 Wrap up continues our theme of working with narration and podcast fiction. This time we’re bringing you Helping Authors Find and Work Effectively with Narrators, moderated by Chris Snelgrove and featuring panelists Alicia Goranson, PC Haring, Nobilis Reed, and Renee Chambliss. The panel focuses on finding and working in the field of narration, both as an author and as a prospective narrator.

Our panelists have been authors, narrators, and producers engaged in turning literary works into audible formats. They’ve seen the art of narration from many sides and have come together to offer their advice on how to engage your community and find narrators and other voice specialists who will work well with you, and help you to produce your story as the audio experience you dreamed it could be.

But first, you must dream. As an author you need to know what you want your audio to sound like if you are going to partner with a narrator or a producer to make that experience happen.

As a narrator you need to listen to the direction you’re given, but also feel free to make suggestions and recommendations. The best productions often result from an exchange of ideas between author, narrator, and producer.

There are many resources available to help authors connect with potential narrators. Anything from seeing local theatre and approaching actors whose voices you like to connecting with the podcasting community and talking to other people who have worked with the artists you are considering using. Sometimes, all it takes is asking someone to be part of your production.

As an author you want to make sure the narrator or actors know what they’re getting into before they start recording. Be willing to let the actors read the entire book before they start recording. It often helps the actors get into the proper mind-state for portraying your characters and ensures that if there is content that they aren’t comfortable doing, you know up front.

Don’t be afraid to ask for re-takes. Most people want to do good work, re-takes just provides an opportunity to improve their work.

Use natural pacing, not any kind of affected speech. Actors are often trained to speak slowly, too slowly for an effective audio book. Get them to talk at a more natural pace.

The panel also takes some time to talk about ACX. The Kindle Direct of Audio production.

One concern is the proliferation of Royalty Shares. Is royalty share being used to get audio books made on the cheap? One thought is to only do royalty share because you want the experience or the exposure, or because you love the project. While most voice talent prefers to be paid up front, it is worth noting that  the ACX split is better than publisher shares in most cases.

If you’re using ACX to get your book made into an audiobook, be sure to listen to the chapters. You have to live with them forever, so make sure that they’re very good.

There are many ways to crowdsource funding or raise funding to pay a narrator up front. It is hard to predict what will sell well, so some voice talents avoid royalty shares as a matter of course.

It is all collaboration. Look for someone who wants to tell a really good story and is willing to help promote that story once it is published.

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