Born to Be

Author – Narrator Interview

TRACY TRAYNOR – STEVE WHITE

Hi Steve

I need to start by saying thank you for narrating my books.  I think you do a wonderful job of portraying my characters and bringing the stories to life.  I never could have afforded to pay up front the recommended thousands of dollars for the narration of my books.  Without royalty share, I can honestly say I would have no audiobooks.  It really was a good day when you popped a comment onto Facebook saying you would narrate my books for me.

I have been looking into how you promote audiobooks and during that process I came across some facts about narrating which I didn’t know.  This instantly made me appreciate you, and Stevie Zimmerman (who narrated Grace in Mombasa) so much more.  I say more, because in all honesty I did already appreciate both of you already, today just increased it.

This got me to thinking about why you might choose profit share and so I decided to invite you to this short interview, so that I and others, can learn what motivates narrators.  So here we go…

What first drew you into narrating as a possible way of making a living?

Narrating was an idea initially for my good friend Harriet, more of a hobby than a living really.

What do you most enjoy about narrating?

The challenge of different accents, the chance to read great stories and have the characters come to life,

I understand that it can take a narrator up to 5 or 6 hours to produce 1 hour of audio, so for example, Idi & the Oracle’s Quest is 7.15 hours long, meaning this could have taken you 40 hours – a full weeks work, to narrate and produce.  With this in mind why were you happy to accept royalty share when there is no guarantee of making your weeks pay up?

I enjoy narrating – it’s a good hobby. I make a penny or two here and there but in the end it’s a good hobby. I also get to practice voices – which I can then use if in a stage production.

How do you select the books you want to narrate?

Reading the blurb can do it, reading the author’s bio can do it. There are some stories that I always wanted to have a go at such as Sherlock Holmes – one audiobook would have been good – so far it’s about 90!

What attracted you to the ‘Born to Be’ series?

The story sounded full of life and didn’t disappoint.

How did you decided on what kind of accents my characters would have?

They seemed to come to mind as soon as I started reading. I tried to group the witch clans with a certain region and as new characters are introduced, pick what seemed to be appropriate based on their speech.

With book 1 & 2 narrated on Audible, what has inspired you to carry on and narrate the last in the series, Idi & the Sirocco Witch, when we really haven’t had many sales for the other two books yet?

Can’t do book 1 and 2 and leave 3 out. The sales will come to this series once people start to get the word.

Are you enjoying book 3, and if so, what is it that you like?

Very much – all the characters are great, even the naughty.  As the build from book 1 and 2 has gone, Idi is indeed becoming what we expect. The story continues as though you had never stopped writing, sometimes sequels can have you wondering what is going on.

What acting choices do you make when you’re going to narrate a book?  When you narrate are you expressive with your hands and face, do you feel like you become the characters or are you simply reading?

I do fling the arms and thankfully don’t have a mirror to hand so see the faces I pull.

What advice would you offer to people who want to become narrators?

Pick a few small (30-60min) projects first. This will allow you to gauge the time required to produce a 7+ hour book. I use a spreadsheet with each chapter listed – the start, end and total pages and current progress, a 1 for record, edit, listen and upload. This allows you to gauge the time required a chapter – so perhaps 5 pages will take you 15 minutes or so – 15 pages 45 etc. this could allow you to record out of sequence based on time spare on a given session. Depending on the pagination, 5 pages can seem like a lifetime to record.

Also, if producing older material, it will be good to have a lookup for words that have fallen out of use.

Do you think the ACX royalty share scheme is good?

(NO)

It allows for authors to get an audiobook published without an upfront payment.

It allows the narrator to want to do a good a job as possible to ensure that the book sells

What other books have you narrated?

Many – up to 150 now. Lots of Sherlock Holmes stories – published by MX Publishing and Belanger Books. Quite a number of Horror titles, and so far 13 Hotdog Man books which are fun to do.

Where can authors find you if they would like to approach you to consider their books?

Via email or my Facebook profile, look for “Steevin White” – this spelling is also due to my friend Harriet – it’s how she spells my name.

Or my audio page “Steve White audio work” (https://www.facebook.com/SteveWaudio/).

Thanks Steve!  It was really interesting to get the POV of the narrator and to learn a little more about the hard work they put into producing an audio.  I think I have been very lucky to get my books out there via royalty-share, so thank you very much for picking up my books.

Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Indie-Authors, the value of promoting your book

Should we go to writers conferences?

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Until this weekend I wasn’t sure about writers conferences, plus I have discovered I am a terribly indecisive procrastinator!  I’m not sure, I’m going, I’ve paid, I’ve canceled, I’ve repaid… seriously, I must have driven the organizers crazy.  (Sorry Tanja!)

Before today if you had asked me about a conference I would have answered you with umm’s, maybe’s, and depends.  Today, however, I can with confidence say… yes go!

I’m not looking for agents and publishers and I am a very happy indie-author, or as I found out this weekend, an authorpreneur, really like the sound of that.

So where did I go that made me swing like a pendulum, that firmly left me on scales that sunk on the ‘go-for-it’ side?  The answer is, The Dublin Writers Conference run by,

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Did I learn a bucket full of information from the speakers, well probably as I am so far along the line of being an authorpreneur, (sorry just really fell in love with the word) maybe not.  People just starting off on their writing career would certainly have learned massive amounts of useful information though, and to others like them I say, go go go and go quickly, learn how to do it properly and don’t make the mistakes I made.  If I had attended a conference like this before I self-published I would have saved myself thousands of pounds… and I’m not kidding.

However, before established indie-authors are put off, I have to rush on and say – there is much more to these conferences than the guest speakers.  I met loads, and I mean loads, of lovely people and swapped business cards with numerous attendees.  The indie-world of book publishing is blessed with a multitude of authors, artists, and like-minded people, who simply LOVE to help other people, now in what other business can you say that?

I learned tons from my chats with other authors, really invaluable information, and happy to say I was able to offer a couple of people bits of information they didn’t know.

Besides the great atmosphere and the constant exchange between people, we ended Saturday evening with an Irish Ditty session that I shall never forget.  Oh, and Michael Neff, should you ever happen upon this post, I am still singing your ditty about authors (to the tune of ‘Would you like to swing on a star’) and I promise never to start a book with a scene in a car or someone waking up from a dream!!!

For me, the icing on the top, was being able to pitch to Ken Atchity an American producer, in what day-to-day walk of life can you ever get to do that?

The cost, €149. Money for value? One hundred percent. Go again? Oh, I hope so.