“How did you get started in audiobooks?” It’s a very common question, and I have a slightly backwards answer. I have been acting since I was a small child, and I was reading books aloud to my brother’s 3rd grade class when I was only 4 years old. (I was visiting with my mom). But I had never really thought much about audiobooks beyond a passing “Man that would be fun. I wonder how you get into that…” and then the thought was gone in the next passing household chore or sibling squabble that needed my attention. I had, however, done a few commercials for a tiny production company in Albany, GA. I just stumbled into those, as I tend to do. One of the producers saw me in a church production and called me up.
Fast forward to February of last year. I spend entirely too much time on Twitter…some life events had rendered me something of a hermit, and social media was filling the void of my social life. Robert Kroese was a friend of a friend and I thought his tweets were hilariously snarky. He and I began to chat and I listened to some of his podcasts. Well. Fair is fair, I thought. I know what his voice sounds like but he doesn’t know mine. So I sent him a link to one of my commercials. “That’s you?!” “Yep” “Wanna narrate my new book?” It was a simple and serendipitous as that.
Now. The pros will tell you DO NOT DO what I did. I had no freaking idea what I was doing. I didn’t even listen to audiobooks that much. I had never done my own recording. But I jumped in at the deep end, dropped several thousand on gear and editing software after reading one or two blog posts and talking to one local voiceover dude. (oh wait – and I also have a few friends in audio tech who gave me some purchasing advice). I hurled myself in my new homemade booth and got right to it. And the kicker? The book, Aye Robot, was the sequel to Starship Grifters which was narrated by the highly lauded narrator Kate Rudd. Kinda like being a walk-on nobody asked to take over a role from Meryl Streep. NO PRESSURE THERE. 😉
Aye Robot is an absolute romp of a book by the way. Space pirates and con artists, robots and cultists and creepy old people…even a parrot! All in all, I voiced 37 distinct characters in that one. I’m still proud of it, although I have definitely come a long way since then. Plus it gave me the wonderful experience of my first glowing reviews aaaaand my first scathing ones. Some people loved me….some kinda wanted me dead. 😉 But being able to handle praise and criticism is crucial for any kind of performance industry, so I was grateful for the immediate practice.