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Monday, November 7, 2016

So You Want to Make an Audiobook? Part 1

You've done it! You're a full-fledged author. . .or maybe you're a writer, knowing those days are coming soon. Either way, the world doesn't end with the written word.

Audiobooks also enjoy a huge audience and can help a author/writer reach an entirely new audience. Plus, what could be better than hearing your story read by an amazing actor or actress? Okay, movies are awesome too. . .but you know what I mean.
So you want to make an audiobook, but as a self-published author, getting an ebook or even a printed copy out into the world is already a huge effort. So how in heaven's dreams does one get their story to this phase???

Author Paula Berinstein has just released the first audio book for her MG/YA series, Amanda Lester,
Detective. And she's ready to share her experience with us!

Take it away, Paula!!!

So You Want to Make an Audiobook, Part I: The Narrator
The Amanda Lester, Detective Odyssey with Paula Berinstein

How does an author go about making an audiobook? Even for someone with audio experience (I produced my own podcast for years), I had no idea what to do. I knew I wanted a professionally narrated, high quality product, but I had no idea how to make it happen. So my marketing guru, Lola, and I researched the question and entered the maze of royalties, distribution, and production. Argh. I just wanted Emma Watson to narrate my book. I didn’t care about all that stuff.

It’s true: I think big. I felt that for my book to get the attention it deserved, it needed a big name narrator. And the first name that occurred to me was, yup, Emma Watson.

You may laugh, but it isn’t impossible to get a name actor to narrate your book. I knew that fees for doing voice work are significantly lower than for other types of acting. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I felt the idea was worth investigating.

Of course it isn’t just a question of fees. The actor has to want to do the project, and I had no idea if Ms. Watson would be interested in Amanda. But first things first. I decided to see if she even does voice work.

I will admit that I took a spin around ACX, Amazon’s audio production wing that matches authors with narrators and producers, just for kicks. I didn’t expect Ms. Watson to be listed there, and of course she wasn’t. She doesn’t need Amazon’s help to find work.

The next step was to find out who her agent was and write to them. I found them, but it didn’t seem that she does voice work, so that was that. Goodbye Hermione. Now what?

I ended up with Allan Corduner, the greatest voice actor on earth!

So how did I end up with the golden-voiced Allan Corduner, the greatest voice actor on earth?

Emma Watson isn’t listed as doing voice work at her agency, Markham, Froggatt, and Irwin, but lots of other actors are. I couldn’t resist taking a look and listening to their samples. There are so many great ones: Patricia Arquette, Alun Armstrong, Stockard Channing, Naveen Andrews. But I was feeling wishy washy and thought as long as I was looking, maybe I should see if I could find someone whose voice I just knew would be right for the book. And so I looked up Zoe Wanamaker.

Zoe Wanamaker is a great actor. She’s Royal Shakespeare Company trained, has been in everything from “Dr. Who” to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and has the perfect voice for Amanda. I almost wrote to her agent at Conway van Gelder Grant, but I couldn’t resist listening to other samples at the agency’s Web site first. I mean for heaven’s sake, they even represent Benedict Cumberbatch! But when I found Allan Corduner I knew that only he could narrate my book. He is the only one with the timbre, the gravitas, the energy, and the wit to do Amanda. I was terrified.

This is a dangerous attitude to adopt. When you set your sights on the perfect this, that, or the other and only that choice will do, you position yourself for a huge fall. I mean come on, what are the chances someone like Allan would be interested? He narrates The Book Thief. He’s Snape in the Harry Potter games. He has the best voice I’ve ever heard. (Sorry Justin Hayward, I’m talking about speaking, not singing. You’re still number one there.) What are the chances I could afford him? But what if, what if, it worked out?

I will admit that I thought about the question long and hard. I almost chickened out. But somehow I managed to screw up my courage and, hands shaking, write to Allan’s agent. And you know what? Within a few days I had my answer: he was interested!

Ack! Now what?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what happened next.

Until then, listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one. You can find and contact Paula here:

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Paula's blog on Goodreads - The Writing Show podcasts - Newsletter

The audio book is available  at Audible - Amazon - iTunes


  1. Cool you were able to get Amanda!
    My publisher took care of the narrator and stuff for my books. He's not a name actor or anything, but his voice is perfect and I couldn't be more pleased.

  2. So glad you went for your goals and got your man. To voice the audio book.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda! Looking forward to part two. ^_^

  4. Thank you so much for hosting my story, Tonja!

    @Alex, that's great! It shouldn't matter whether the narrator is a name as long as the voice is right for the material. It's amazing how many voices aren't. Which is not to say that there's anything wrong with them. It's just a matter of fit.

    @Sheena-kay, thanks so much for your lovely words. I'm still astonished that Allan said yes.

    @krystal, thank you so much for your interest!!!!!


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