Updated: Jun 23, 2020
In episode 6, Melissa and Jeni talk to Amy Deuchler about narrating audiobooks.
Listen to the audio podcast here: EPISODE 6 - Narrating Audiobooks
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! We are Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing and Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.
Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.
On this episode:
We’re talking about narrating audiobooks
End with an author tip of the week
This week we’re joined by Amy Deuchler. Amy is a Chicago-based audiobook narrator who has narrated over 25 audiobooks in multiple genres. Her voice is warm, intuitive and clever, and has been described by listeners as "a very smooth voice" and "a delightful tone for the first-person perspective." Amy is professionally trained in both fiction and nonfiction narration and holds a Bachelors in Theatre and a Masters in Library and Information Science.
When not narrating, Amy can be found reading, designing lights and scenery for theatre, doing any kind of handmade craft, and biking. She also loves to spend time exploring the Milwaukee/Chicago area with her boyfriend and doting on their three cats. Amy is a proud member of the Audio Publishers Association (APA).
Here's the Q&A:
How did you first get into narrating audiobooks?
In 2016 I was looking for a creative outlet and took a class at the local community college on voiceover. That led to working with a coach for voiceovers, and in many of my homework assignments, my coach would say “this sounds like an audiobook.” That’s when things started clicking - all the interests I’ve had over the years came together. My stage acting experience, my degree in library and information science, and my love to read. Years ago, I was complaining to my mom about my corporate job and I remember whining to her, “I wish I could get paid to read all day”. Little did I know that I could!
Do you have preferences for certain genres? Do you gravitate to certain voices?
I’m still honing my skills and preferences for narration. Narrating 3rd person vs 1st person is definitely a different narrating style - you can take more emotional risks in 1st person narrator, where 3rd person narration needs to stay a bit more distant, but I enjoy both equally.
For a lot of voice actors and narrators what they enjoy reading for pleasure is not what their performance voice is suited for. Learning the difference and embracing that is a big part of the process. I love reading historical fiction, mysteries, and memoirs for pleasure, but my voice is more suited for cozy mystery, romantic suspense, and as I’ve recently learned, sci/fi and fantasy. It’s important to keep an open mind!
Okay, dish. What’s it like narrating Raven’s Sphere?
A: I knew from the minute I looked at the audition for Raven’s Sphere, that I was going to love it. The audition was the beginning of the book where Raven first encounters Emery, a 12 year old boy hidden on the ship she just overtook. The snark in Raven’s internal thoughts and the reaction of was brilliant and made me laugh out loud.
While I was prepping the manuscript, I always make notes about the characters and think “how far can I take this one without making it a caricature?” but your writing, Melissa, really helps with that - the humor and internal dialogue allows that humanity to come through in the main characters, which prevents them from being voiced as a caricature (at least I hope). This is what makes narrating sci fi and fantasy books so fun!
And then the overall message of the book drew me in as well. Raven is a badass for sure and describes herself as having a cold heart, but she still has a soft side. The human condition of being hurt and overcoming the desire to withdraw and then allow ourselves to grow - it’s all in Raven. I’m so excited for this book to release to audio!
Do you have any advice for an author who is interested in finding a narrator for their book?
It can be a daunting task for sure, but generally, my advice is to keep an open mind. You might be surprised if you do! And specifically, these are the most important things in my mind: First, the most important thing is to find someone who can tell a story. That is number one. Vocal type or the person “sounding like the voice in your head” is secondary. Keep this in mind when selecting a narrator, because if the narrator can’t tell a story, the listeners are going to lose interest, no matter how much they “sound” like your character. Second, pick an important part of the script for the audition. Something that shows narration, dialogue of important characters, suspense, humor, etc. It only has to be about 700-900 words (5-7 minutes). This allows you to hear how each audition will perform the crucial part of the book.
There are a lot of choices in the audiobook world now - you can cast your own book like Melissa did via ACX or you can work with a production service like The AudioFlow or Pink Flamingo Productions to do it for you. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information!
Tip of the week: Check out ACX. Finding a narrator and producing an audiobook is simpler than it might seem. It’s also up to you about the cost. You can offer to pay a narrator outright or do a royalty share which means you split the royalty with your narrator. That’s a personal choice, but I’m a collaborative kind of girl and went with royalty share. Speaking of which, Amy, are you up for narrating Deadlock, a Raven’s Sphere novel, next? It’s Jeni’s favorite.
Thanks for joining us. You can find Amy on her website at amydeuchler.com, on facebook at amydeuchlerNarrator, and on Twitter at amy_deuchler
On our next podcast, we are talking with Andy Floyd about writing humor. We will also have another Tip of the Week. And don’t forget where to find us! Find our podcast at indiechicks.net or follow us on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on Apple Podcasts. We also have the Indie Chicks channel on YouTube where you can subscribe. You can follow us on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or Facebook.com/TheIndieChicks.
So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for joining us!
Indie Chicks out.