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{video} 3 Biggest Roadblocks for Audiobook Narrators

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  • Sonja Maj January 13, 2016, 7:06 am

    Wow, Dan; perfect timing on sending this. Sounds like something I’m looking for. The question now is cost. Hoping it will be affordable for me. I don’t play Powerball, but if I did – and won– I’d be in. If you’re playing, and win, I’m happy to accept charity! Even from the island you’d be relaxing on.

    Thanks for putting this together. Looking forward to more.

    Sonja Maj

  • Doug McLeod January 13, 2016, 7:28 am

    Really appreciate this video, Dan. I’m about to finally launch myself into audio books after many years in broadcasting and really need this material.
    One question: is it just my computer or is that “pause” symbol on everyone’s? You know, the two vertical bars, right in the middle of the picture. A bit distracting. Is there a way to get rid of them? I’m not picking nits here, just wanting a clear picture. These comments from actual audio book narrators are just terrific. Thanks again!

  • Dan O'Day January 13, 2016, 10:51 am

    @Sonja Maj: re: Tuition vs. Powerball: I promise the class costs less than the current $800 million Powerball prize. I promise.

  • Jim Cassidy January 13, 2016, 11:26 am

    Hi Dan, met you in the UK quite a few years ago when you visited the BBC radio station where I worked.Now retired after 25 years as a journalist/ newsreader.
    Enjoyed the video very much, what reaction would authors have to being offered a soft Scottish accent to read their work?

  • Arlene January 13, 2016, 12:16 pm

    Dear Dan,
    Thank you for the video. I found it to be both informative and encouraging. I have a few questions.
    1) Will there be any instruction and technique specifically about ‘how to’ narrate and audiobook?
    2) If so, will there be instruction about how to narrate Non-Fiction audiobooks, in addition to Fiction audiobooks?
    3) Since most of us will be potentially working from home, will there be instruction and technique taught about the process of Self-Direction?
    4) Will there be instruction about the process – from start to finish – of not only auditioning, recording, editing, mastering and uploading; but also about building strong business relationships with potential Rights Holders and Authors?
    5) And finally, (yes, I’m almost done…:-) ) What happens if, for any reason, a student is not about to ‘attend’ a class?
    Thank you very much.

  • Dan O'Day January 13, 2016, 3:59 pm

    @ Arlene: Please convince everyone that you’re a real person and not a paid stooge of our nefarious operation…because your questions could serve as a list of “bullet points” to sell our class.

    Short answer to everything: Yes.

    More specifically:

    1) Yes, you’ll be taught how to narrate audiobooks…which isn’t the same as simply transferring one’s voiceover skills.

    2) Yes, you’ll be taught key differences in narrating fiction vs. non-fiction.

    3) I wasn’t sure how to answer your question about Self-Direction, so I checked with David H. Lawrence XVII and here is his response:

    The self-direction processes and skills that we impart aren’t taught in one particular section, they’re imparted holistically all throughout the course. When we talk about reviewing our material, when we talk about the storytelling, when we talk about fiction and nonfiction audiobooks and creating characters — all of that has to do with self-direction to one degree or another. So yes, we do teach that, and it is the combination of our storytelling skills and our producer skills.

    4) Yes, we cover everything you listed, with videos that demonstrate in detail the recording, editing, uploading, etc.. I don’t believe we formally spend a lot of time on relationships with Rights Holders; we devote a lot more time to the “scary” stuff (recording, editing, etc.). Much of the coverage of “Rights Holders Relationships” comes during the Q&A sessions as well as throughout the entire course…similar to David’s response re: Self-Direction. We also provide you with a bunch of email templates to use for pretty much every communication you’re likely to have with an RH.

    Occasionally someone will find themselves in a situation re: auditions, RH relations, etc., that hasn’t come up before. Typically they describe the situation to their colleagues in our Mastermind Group who immediately offer suggestions, and after the problem has been solved David & I come in and say, “Yes, we were just about to suggest that.”

    5) You’ll automatically receive mp3 recordings of every class session, usually within a few hours of the end of the class in question.

    Each year we’ve had students who, due to work or time zone conflicts, never attended the classes “live.” They got all the information on the recordings; the only thing they missed out on was the witty banter between David H. Lawrence XVII and me prior to the beginning of that night’s class.

    Looking forward to having you join us, Arlene!

  • Arlene January 13, 2016, 4:33 pm

    Dear Dan and David,
    Thank you for the prompt reply. And, yes, I assure you, I am a real person, and not a paid stooge of some nefarious organization. (I must admit, I don’t really know what that means…) I do, however, have a very formal nature.
    In the past, I have purchased products from your website, and I am on your email list for ‘Dan Saves Radio.’ I also am signed up for David’s :60 Email’s through his website.
    I look forward to seeing the next two videos.

  • Eartha January 13, 2016, 9:17 pm

    This sounds very exciting. Thanks for the video!

    When would you be able to share the date/s the course will be offered?
    How long does the class run?
    How would the course be accessed?
    When would you be able to share info about pricing be released?


  • Dan O'Day January 14, 2016, 2:09 am

    @Jim Cassidy: Shhh! When I tell people I “went to Cambridge,” I allow them to assume I meant to University there, not to conduct a radio workshop for the BBC. But it’s nice to hear from you again.

    Your audiobook question really has me pondering. I’ll throw a few thoughts at it and see what happens.

    Now that ACX is open to UK authors as well as narrators, I would expect to see a steadily increasing number of titles by Scottish authors. Especially for nonfiction, authors tend to hear their own voices in their heads as they write.

    Meanwhile, a series of books about a fictional policeman who can’t put up with the big city politics of Glasgow and becomes the local constable in Bathgate, only to be confronted by a surprisingly steady flow of murders committed by any of a number of eccentric local characters, probably will desire a Scottish accent.

    And probably you’d have a pretty good shot at being selected to narrate the audiobook version of 50 SHADES OF PLAID.

    Obviously, anyone who writes a book about their Scottish ancestry might well be attracted to your accent. At least in America, however, you don’t often see “Books About My Scottish Ancestry” sections in bookstores.

    I’ve been struggling to determine to what degree (if any) “Scottish accent” to Brits is similar to other regional accents in other cultures. For example, in the U.S. a strong southern accent probably won’t attract many broad, non-fiction titles that don’t have a southern connection. But that still leaves nonfiction work that IS related to the South, while nonfiction offers larger numbers of titles for that accent.

    I can imagine a “soft Scottish accent” blending quite nicely with certain nonfiction niches. A book for Scottish terrier lovers might be a perfect match, but it doesn’t necessarily have to have such an obvious connection.

    The more you develop your own, confident style, the more you should be able to land books that weren’t written with a Scottish voice in mind but that you can do well. A possibly tenuous parallel might be all the roles that weren’t written specifically for a Scottish actor but ended up being played by Sean Connery.

    The “Negative” Argument: I suspect audiobooks that require Scottish narrators always will be in a very small minority.

    The “Positive” Argument: A good narrator with a soft Scottish accent who approaches ACX strategically can and builds himself up as “the” Scottish narrator probably can generate as much work as he can handle. He’d be the dominant player in a small niche, but even a tiny niche should produce more than one person can accommodate.

  • Veronica James January 14, 2016, 2:15 pm


  • Dan O'Day January 14, 2016, 10:49 am

    @Eartha: It’s a 4-week class. All the class details will be released soon. Thanks.

  • Karen January 14, 2016, 1:11 pm

    Hi Dan. I am a bilingual actress , exploring the world of Vo in spanish.
    How is the market in USA for audiobooks in spanish?
    I know that the training will be beneficial but will the sources be substancial enough for me to get into it?
    thank you

  • Dan O'Day January 14, 2016, 5:22 pm

    @Karen: While still in the minority, Spanish audiobooks are the largest growing niche on ACX, and it seems inevitable the niche will continue to grow.

    Instituto Cervantes reports there are 41 million “native Spanish” speakers in the United States, plus 11.6 million more who are bilingual.

    The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, 138 million Americans will be Spanish speaking.

    You have at least two distinct markets that need Spanish narrators.

    1. Books that from the time of publication have targeted Hispanics.

    2. Mainstream English (and other languages, but mostly English) books that want to tap into the huge and ever-growing U.S. Hispanic market.

    A U.S. or UK based audiobook narrator who speaks fluent Spanish has the potential to do exceptionally well on ACX.

    In this context, by “fluent” I mean not only having a fine command of vocabulary and grammar but also sounding as though it’s your native tongue.

    “Fluent Spanish with a noticeable American accent” isn’t likely to be in as much demand as “Fluent Spanish spoken by someone who sounds like they’re speaking their native tongue.”

    Make sense?

  • karen January 15, 2016, 10:53 am

    thank you Dan!

  • Jim Cassidy January 19, 2016, 8:29 am

    Excellent and valuable advice Dan.

  • Stu Norfleet January 22, 2016, 8:57 am

    Dan and David: I made a HUGE mistake by not viewing the first video right away, but I am catching up now! Thank you so VERY much for taking the time, effort and energy putting the GREAT information into Video One. It is especially encouraging to hear from your students who were in the same boat as the rest of us who haven’t taken the class yet! MANY thanks!

  • Dan O'Day January 22, 2016, 10:45 am

    @ Stu Norfleet: Happy to hear the video is helpful. Have you seen the second video about narrating audiobooks yet? It’s crammed with additional info….