Romance Narrators

narrators give good aural

Featuring professional audiobook narrators who narrate romance and erotica titles. 

Sifting For Gold In Them Thar Reviews

By Erin deWard

I don’t care what kind of artist you are, you probably struggle with the age old question about reading your reviews. Should you? Shouldn’t you? Isaac Asimov said, “From my close observation of writers…they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.” This is true for narrators too. It is as devastating to hear how dreadful you are as it is thrilling to hear how brilliant you are.

Reviews are written for many reasons; sometimes to assist fellow consumers, sometimes to air grievances, sometimes to celebrate a success, sometimes to offer perspective. An angry reviewer may hope to damage the subject of the review. No matter the reason for the review, be it well intended or not, the creative person has no real ability to respond in any meaningful way. So one question about reading reviews could be: is it in your best interest to read critical responses to your work, to subject yourself to words that are not necessarily meant for you?

I like to think of reviews as prospecting for gold - not that I’ve ever been prospecting, but you know, in the sense of the old western movies. I go to the stream and I stick in my pan (or open up my Audible pages and read). There are several things I am sifting for and several things I’m trying to clean away.

You already know the things I want to wash downstream – the hurtful words, the unnecessary meanness, the statements about how I should find another job. But you may not see what I see in some of those not so great reviews. To me, the real gold in the reviews is not the words that praise my work (although I keep those chunks of Pyrite because they are pretty and they make me feel happy). The real gold comes from thoughtful reviewers who take the time to discuss what worked well for them and what didn’t. I learn a lot from those people.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Making bold choices in your work means you run the risk of giving people reason to have strong reactions to it. It challenges them in a way that safer work doesn’t. But that’s why we do what we do. We want people to feel something when they hear our books. Sometimes what they feel isn’t what we’d hoped they would. When reviews address the choices I’ve made and their reactions to them, it can be enlightening.

One example: I had a reviewer who really disliked the way I acted a character who, at the very top of the book, was beaten and who subsequently woke up blind and with amnesia. This reviewer said that I sounded like the protagonist of the film “Nell”, a girl who had been raised without the benefit of human contact, grunting and breathing wildly. That assertion made me go back to work I had recorded over a year earlier for a re-listen. It was such a specific criticism and I hadn’t remembered making THOSE choices so I wanted to hear for myself. When I listened I didn’t hear what the reviewer heard. I heard a woman who was in pain, scared, lost, and confused. I liked what I heard.

I can’t speak for all people who work creatively, but I don’t ever really go back to books after they’ve been completed and sent out into the world. What’s done is done. Re-visiting older work can lead to self-critique that is not particularly useful, knowing now what you wished you’d known then, wishing you’d performed differently. So this particular experience of going back to older work was really a gift, a little piece of gold, an opportunity for me to listen and critique my own work in a positive way.  

Differentiating between a plain bad review (or a nasty, mean review – which can hurt like heck) and a review that contains nuggets of useful stuff can be tough. Sometimes I just have to be in a place where I can see that there is a pattern emerging.

An example: I went through a period where a bunch of reviewers complained that I had a “whispery voice”. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am the polar opposite of “whispery” – loud and brash are usually the words applied – and these reviews were not particularly kind in the words they used.  I was upset but I was also curious about why these were occurring in different books but around the same time. I went back and looked at the titles to see if I could figure out what they had in common, if anything. I was like a Nancy Drew combing through the evidence. What I discovered was that they were all from a period right after I had taken an audiobook class in which the teacher coached me to take my voice down to just above a whisper. It seemed I had gone too far in the opposite direction from where I usually speak and it was affecting the listeners’ experiences. Good to know.

It’s hard when you put yourself out there and people don’t love what you have given them. We’ve all been in that place where you begin to question whether your creative offerings are worthy. It’s a dark place, and some people’s responses are to not go there at all, to not read the reviews. But without reading them one misses the Pyrite and the gold, as well as the silt and the sticks and the gunk. In the words of Leo Tolstoy, “Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”

I offer this: if reviews make your heart sing when they are great, look for the nuggets in those reviews that help you grow. If reviews make your heart sink, look for the nuggets in those reviews that help you grow. Some silt and gunk can just be washed from your pan, downstream never to be looked on again. But some gold is hard to see until you examine it. It might be tiny, just a little bitty piece, but that piece is worth so very much.

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Learn more about Erin deWard here: erindeward.com 

For tips on marketing your audiobook and getting it reviewed, please visit our previous blog: Your Book's Narrator is Your First and Most Important Marketing Choice

 

Audiobooks Are A Whole New (Lucrative) World

Audio-Curious?

 Let RomanceNarrators.com introduce you

to a whole new (lucrative) world.

by Andi Arndt

SweetNothings

 

For much of the decade, audiobooks have been the big story in the publishing industry, setting growth and sales records every quarter and showing no signs of slowing.  Still, as a self-published author, you may be unsure whether audio is right for you at this point in your career.  Even if the time is ripe, and your fans are clamoring for audio, you may be unsure about the budget, casting, production, distribution and marketing of your audiobooks, which can be overwhelming.

RomanceNarrators to the rescue!  A few dozen of us who love narrating romance--and coordinating production for authors-- have created a boutique casting site. We were in Atlanta at RT to introduce ourselves and answer your questions, in panel discussions (Audiobooks 101 for Authors), in-person casting sessions (Meet Cute:  Author-Narrator Speed Dating) and even a session about marketing (Where Is Your Listening Audience?).  We also had a bazaar stuffed with narrator swag and answered your questions.

Did you miss RT but still want to know more?

Here are a few important things to know: 

  • When in doubt, retain your audio rights.  You want to have a say in whether and how your work is brought into audiobook form.

 

  • You have a menu of options when it comes to creation and distribution of your audiobook, and your narrator-producer can advise you of the differences.

 

  • Narrators are independent freelancers.  We work for many publishers, but we can also work directly for you, providing turnkey audiobook production from PDF to retail-ready download.

 

  • Some romance fans only listen to audiobooks and rarely or never buy print or ebooks.  When a romance fan hears good things about your books and types your name into the Audible search field, are you there?

 

We'll be covering these topics and more this year on our blog here at RomanceNarrators.com. Feel free to post any questions you have now and we'll start answering! Also, check back for more blog topics and giveaways. 

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ABOUT ANDI:

Andi is busy delivering her calm, cool and clear sound from her broadcast quality studio in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Through her production company, Lyric Audiobooks LLC, which includes a team of editors and proofers, she delivers fully produced, finished audio and often travels to other studios to direct and produce audiobooks for indie authors.

Meet Narrators And Talk Audiobooks At RT 2017

You want to meet some narrators?

Maybe you're a fan of romance and erotica audiobooks, or maybe you're a writer, publisher, or agent looking to cast your next book. And maybe scrolling through a bunch of clips feels a little cold. Well...good news. There's a whole gaggle of us going to Romantic Times 2017 in Atlanta, and you can meet us there! 

Here's what we're up to:

RomanceNarrators.comAtRT

Take a screen shot so you can know where to find us!

The INTROVERT SCAVENGER HUNT is a great way to meet and interact with narrators and win audiobook prizes and other goodies. 

SWOON-WORTHY AUDIOBOOK VOICES gives you a little insight behind the scenes with how narrators translate from the page to the ear and is hosted by Audible. 

AUDIOBOOK-101 gives valuable insight for producing an audiobook either on your own or with a publisher.

AUTHOR-NARRATOR SPEED DATING is where you can really meet and greet some of those voices you've been swooning over. This fun event is intended for authors, agents and publishers to have a few minutes and meet a narrator one-on-one, before the bell chimes, and you're on to the next one. It really is like speed-dating, only you don't have to pay for lunch. 

WHERE IS YOUR LISTENING AUDIENCE gives you basic production info for creating audiobooks, but takes it a step further with insight on how to reach your audience through reviews and marketing choices.

BAZAAR BOOTH is where you can pick up special narrator swag and talk to people in the business. 

So there are plenty of ways to meet your next voice, or to say hi to someone you've been listening to for a while.

Search for AUDIOBOOKS on the RT agenda, and...

You can find us attending panels and events, and in the hallways.

Look for people wearing these t-shirts:

 

 

If you see someone wearing a shirt like this (or one that says NARRATORS KISS AND TELL) there's a 98.164% chance they're a narrator...or they're a fan. Either way, there's a 100% chance that they'll be friendly, because you have to be friendly to wear a shirt like this. 

See you soon,

Your Romance Narrators

Marketing Your Audiobook

LaurelSchroder_RomanceNarrators.com

Marketing Audiobooks

So you've taken the plunge into audiobooks! Whether it's your first or 10th audiobook, you may be wondering how best to market audio and find listeners.

First and foremost, remember that any marketing you do for your ebook will likely give a boost to your audio sales as well. But for audio specific marketing, here are some ideas to boost exposure and sales of your new audiobook!

FINDING REVIEWERS

--If you published via ACX, about a week after your audiobook is released for sale on Audible, ACX should send you 25 free download codes to distribute to reviewers, use for contests/giveaways, basically whatever you want to do with them. If you haven't received them after a week, you can email support@acx.com and request them. (You can also request more after you use up your initial 25.)

There are a couple of great places to find audiobook-philes looking for new books to listen to:

AUDIOBOOK BOOM

www.audiobookboom.com - a service that connects interested listeners with authors looking for reviewers

FACEBOOK

Aural Fixation - a FB group of dedicated romance audiobook listeners, they do giveaways and share recommendations 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/auralfixationaudio/

 

Audio Loves - another audio listeners group with a focus on romance, they welcome giveaways from authors and narrators

https://www.facebook.com/groups/734445106718040/

 

Audiobook Addicts - general audiobook listeners group, they have a weekly page for promos from authors/narrators/etc

https://www.facebook.com/groups/audiobookaddicts/

 

Audiobook Giveaways - a group where you can gift out review copies of your audiobook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/freeaudiobookgiveways/

 

AUDIOFILE MAGAZINE

You can submit your book for review by Audiofile Magazine, a publication dedicated to audiobooks:

http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/contact/

 

AUDIOBOOK BLOGGERS/REVIEWERS

http://www.audiobookjukebox.com/

https://www.audiogals.net/gal-guide/author-requests-for-audiobook-reviews/

http://www.eargasmsaudiobookreviews.com/review-request-policy/

http://www.bjsreviews.com/about-us/

https://audioaudits.com/audiobook-review-request/

http://bkschocolateandlipgloss.blogspot.com/p/reviews-z_22.html

 

GOODREADS

Audiobooks for review group

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/298201?group_id=596

 

 

OTHER MARKETING IDEAS

--Create a SoundCloud link using a sample of the audiobook to use on your website, social media, etc. If you're not sure how to do this, your narrator may be able to help you! :) 

--If you have a website, add a section for audio, with links to your Audible page.

--Running a Bookbub ad often results in a big bump in audio sales, especially if the book is Whispersynced.

--You can submit your audiobook for an Audie award (the Oscars of audiobooks). Entries for 2017 are closed, but they'll begin taking submissions for 2018 in July. Find out more about the submission process here: https://www.audiopub.org/members/audies

--And finally, if you published via ACX, there's a way to make a custom link to a free Audible trial offer, with your book as the first free download. (They can cancel anytime and still get to keep their one free book, but for anybody who signs up this way and keeps their Audible membership, you get a $50 "bounty" payment from Audible.) It's a great thing to share with fans who love your ebooks/print books, but may not have discovered audiobooks yet! 

Here are instructions for how to make the custom free trial link for a book:

https://blog.acx.com/2015/03/11/creating-your-custom-audible-30-day-free-trial-link/

Good luck! :)

 

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

Laurel Schroeder received her MFA in Acting from the University of Houston, and now calls Chicago home. She has narrated over 100 audiobooks, including titles for Audible, Harper Audio, and Blackstone. When not in the booth narrating her latest project, she can be seen in film and onstage, most recently in the world premiere of Good for Otto, by Tony Award winning playwright David Rabe.  You can also see her in the award winning film, The Wise Kids. She loves dogs, coffee (although strangely, she drinks decaf), and getting to tell stories for a living.

Win A Box Of Happiness

CONTEST IS CLOSED

But feel free to read the blog and check back again to find our next giveaway coming soon.

 

 

Hello, authors and publishers! We know you work hard creating worlds and characters for us to fall in love with. It's stressful figuring out plot, tension, and the Dark Moment, all while adding in humor and sizzle!

We have a little contest going on so you can take some down time, pour some bubbly, and pamper yourself. It may be just the thing to recharge your creative spirit or get in the mood for some romantic...research. 

You can win this box of Happiness from LUSH! (Or if they're out of stock, something similar).

Just comment below! After you hit Post Comment you will be directed to fill in your name and email address. This will add you to our mailing list, but we won't share that info with anyone (we know how to keep a secret). We'll send a newsletter every once in a while highlighting narrators and sharing other fun info. 

Runner up will receive a STARBUCKS Giftcard, because we know writers need coffee and/or tea. We'd send a back-rub too, but that would be awkward. 

Winner chosen Monday, March 27, 2017...because Mondays suck. This will make that Monday suck less. For one of you. 

Contest is for writers and publishers, please. Fans, we'll post another giveaway soon!

*You don't have to purchase anything, though we'd love it if you scrolled through our About section and take a listen to our narrators.*

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart). e e cummings