Speak Your Words, part 1 – Bring Your Written Work to Audible Life!

In addition to narrating and voicing products for NASA, the National Geographic Society, and others, I have recorded a few audiobooks in the past few months. This has prompted me to ponder why any author would want to read his or her work out loud and how they would approach such a project.
What vocal, acting, or interpretative skills would an author need to develop to present her work? Additionally, what sorts of issues of confidence might need to be addressed as part of developing these skills and presenting their work out loud?

Before I proceed any further, let me tell you why I am qualified to give you this information. I have been doing voiceovers and narration for almost 25 years. I have been teaching public speaking and its cousin singing for over 20 years. And, I, too, am an author. So, I have inside knowledge from both sides of this endeavor. Here is a short list of my qualifications.

  • Voice Actor: Audiobooks, Movies for NASA, National Geographic Society. Numerous Voiceovers and narrations.
    Teacher: Vocal coach for more than 20 years.  
  • Singing teacher private instruction and through classwork
  • Adjunct at Howard Community College, 
  • Producer and Instructor Work In Harmony corporate team-building singing workshops. 
  • Author: “Life Elements: Transform Your Life with Earth, Air, Fire, and Water” and “The Fiddler’s Talisman.”

I developed the Speak Your Words workshop to help authors learn ways to improve their writing and increase sales by sharing their work out loud. I have begun presenting this workshop to local writers’ groups and associations and will branch out to writers’ conferences in the coming year.

In my opinion, there are four main goals when attempting to bring written work to audible life.

Authors must:  

  • Voice and develop characters’ voices and become acquainted with their Narrator
  • Determine the exact goals of each reading/recording for each fiction or non-fiction work
  • Apply good vocal technique when reading their work aloud
  • Develop the confidence and enthusiasm crucial to bringing out a nuanced and authentic reading

Before I go any further, let’s take a look at why an author might want to enter this arena. Why do we present our written work out loud?

  • Audiobook
  • A book reading/signing
  • Attending Conventions
  • Interviews on either television or radio
  • Book trailer production
  • Crowdfunding initial video
  • Podcasts
  • Reading to the blind or visually impaired

There are likely others, but we will work with this list for now.

Over the next few posts, I will detail what an author or anyone who wants to present vocally, needs to do in order to bring nuance, excitement, and great characterization to any reading. I will also address how to increase confidence and comfort level when presenting in front of groups.

I will also detail how an author might start to build a home studio. I will give an equipment list and some of my thoughts on how to set up a studio that will yield good-quality recordings without breaking the bank.

I hope you’ll come back and join me on this journey.


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