Please welcome audiobook proofer extraordinaire Genevieve Louis to Beyond the Booth with Karen White.
KW: First, please tell us what exactly a “proofer” is.
GL: The “Proofer” or “Proof Listener” is the person who listens to the audio while reading the manuscript and records any errors the narrator makes, including mispronunciations, misreads, dropped and repeated sentences and/or extraneous noises. The narrator is sent a list and then re-records those sections. This is called doing “corrections” or “pickups.” It can be done at various stages of the production. It’s an important part of quality control that shouldn’t be overlooked. I personally feel strongly about it.
KW: What was the first audiobook you listened to?
GL: My very first audiobook was Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, read by Emily Gray. Back in 2004. There began my obsession. I binge listened every title the author had available in audio. I have been listening to audiobooks daily since.
KW: What got you interested in audiobooks?
GL: I always had trouble reading. My mind would always wander. I can honestly tell you that it took a while for my better half to convince me to try one. I was on the fence about it. It’s all about finding the right one for you. I got lucky. I was completely taken by the ability of the voice actor to keep me invested and finally be able to relax while getting transported into the story.
KW: What made you say, I want a job in this industry?
GL: I listen a lot and after learning more about the industry, I realized that all the discrepancies I would constantly hear could have been avoided. I’m deeply involved in the Romance Audio world and I managed to learn a lot about quality control. Eventually a narrator saw potential in my skills and took me under her wing.
KW: Your first job – go.
GL: My first real job was at a cute Bakery Café. I was a server. I loved it a lot. Anything that involves coffee and pastries is my happy place!
KW: What did you study in school?
GL: I was young when I went to university and picked a default study field. I have a bachelor’s degree in Communication.
KW: What was your first job in the audiobook industry?
GL: I started by proofing audiobooks part time, then took the plunge, quit my day job and started doing it full time. I had made a lot of contacts by then and it was easier to advertise myself. I also learned to prep scripts for narrators who have a tight deadline and don’t have time to read the book. I did a stint in directing, I sometimes monitor, proof live, and I also help narrators with French pronunciation.
KW: What is your job title now?
GL: It’s always a bit hard to describe. I work in Quality Control. The most common term that is used in the industry is audiobook proof-listener. I have plans on learning sound editing in the near future.
KW: What does a typical day look like for you (or sound like)?
GL: I have a very short commute. I work from home. I work alone so all the excitement of a day of work is between me and my computers. I listen to audio files, read, and research.
KW: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
GL: My biggest challenge when I started working, was time management. Still is. I learn constantly.
KW: What is it that gets you to your computer each day?
GL: I love being able to make a difference and hopefully bring quality audiobooks to the world. As a listener and by discussing a lot with listeners, I know how quality is important and doesn’t go unnoticed.
KW: How do you wind down after a long or stressful day at work?
GL: I listen to audio files and read for work. Which demands concentration, reading and constantly stopping. It goes without saying that listening to a book without all the aspects is relaxing for me. ;)
KW: What is most stressful about your job?
GL: I am often stressing over missing something or being overzealous. I’ve learned a few tricks from my mentor, so I’m way more confident about it than since I started.
KW: Who is your mentor?
GL: There are a few voice actors I am friendly with, but the person who influenced me most is Megan Tusing. She recognized the potential in me, encouraged me to pursue this work and gave me all the tools to succeed. I am forever grateful for her professionalism, incredible talent and friendship.
KW: So, you’re French. I'm interested to hear if you think that not having English as your first language makes you a better proofer? If so, why?
GL: I don’t think French being my first language makes me better or worse when it comes to proofing. Because I am fluent in both languages I have a broader vocabulary. And it does help with accents and pronunciations. It can be helpful for authors and narrators when I am asked about it. However when I proof, I don’t necessarily give a correction unless it’s very obvious that it is mispronounced. I respect acting choices and that is an important part of the job.
KW: What’s your poison?
GL: I am definitely one of the biggest coffee addicts on earth.
KW: What gives you a sense of accomplishment?
GL: I feel lucky and fulfilled to be able to work in an industry that I am incredibly passionate about. I love to be able to work and make a little difference in the product listeners buy. For me it’s huge.
Genevieve Louis Audiobook Services