Yesterday I went to the InDescribe writers convention in Palm Springs, CA. First I have to say, great name! Very punny, haha. It was soo much fun. I got to meet some of the authors I’m narrating for, and all of them I talked to were very nice. I passed out business cards, schmoozed, got free books and downloads, and made some great contacts.
One woman, after I told her I’m a narrator, immediately said, “Alright, let’s hear you!” I fired back, “Alright, give me something to read!” She then pulled up her laptop and showed me a section to read. I did so, and as I read, both she and her friend excitedly started saying things like “Wow, she’s really good! Can you feel it in the back of your mind? That’s how I know a good narrator!” I continued reading the next paragraph, cold read, and thought I did it rather well. My thought is, that is a good author. If I can read something so well that the listener feels it, then the author has conveyed it very well.
As they were saying these things, part of my mind thought, “Wow, they really like me, that’s awesome.” Another part of my mind thought, “Yes, they’re saying those things, but stay focused and keep reading.” The author asked if I do male voices too, and British voices. I replied yes. She showed me another piece, which I read, and they again began making similar comments. They said they would definitely consider me, I thanked them, and moved on, giddy and happy from the challenge, which I felt I had passed.
A few other voice actors were attending as well. A British voice actress and fellow ACX narrator chatted with me, and we exchanged cards. She pointed me to Daniel Dorse, an audiobook veteran with now 100(!) titles to his name! When I spoke with him, it came as a surprise that he knew me from Facebook and ACX forums. Since I had posted only a few comments on the Forums, he must have read just about everything to see mine there. He was very friendly and gave me sound advice (hey! that punny, haha!), such as always try to get Per Finished Hour pay as opposed to Royalty Share, since you just never can tell how well an audio is going to sell. One author I spoke to said she preferred that anyway, as she’d rather simply pay out and be done with a deal. Many narrators prefer it as well, getting paid each time on a job and not have to hope a title sells a lot of copies.
Making my rounds, I was pleasantly surprised just how many authors were looking for narrators. Many of them already had audiobook companions for some books, and were looking for more. Some of them knew about ACX, but some did not, so I got to explain to them. It’s a really good time for narrators to be doing our thing. One author said to me, “Audiobooks are pretty much expected! It’s like people don’t even read anymore!” I laughed and gave her my two cents. “I’ve done a complete one-eighty from how I used to think: audiobooks are for lazy people, heaven forbid they actually open a book!” But now I love them, because I can do two things at once, and even better, now I’m making them!
One interesting thing I noticed, was that nearly all of the authors were women, with only three men. All of them wrote fiction. Many wrote fantasy, specifically urban fantasy. Many wrote romance: modern romance, paranormal romance, historic romance, even western romance. Several authors write Scottish romances, which definitely perked up my antennae. Many authors asked what I like to read, and then, what do I like to narrate? My answer is pretty much the same to both: fantasy, action-adventure, romance, comedy, mystery, and I love sassy humor. In fact, it’s sort of a specialty in my voice acting. I do it well, and I definitely have a lot of fun doing it.
I confided to some authors that I am a budding author myself. I have several stories going, but never finished anything. Perhaps if there is another convention next year, I will be one of the authors with a table full of books and paraphernalia nic-nacks. My eventual goal with ACX is to narrate and produce my own stories.
After three hours of schmoozing, I took a break to get some water and make a call. At that point I realized something: I wasn’t exhausted. I wasn’t even tired! Usually that amount of schmoozing, even twenty minutes of it, can take so much effort for me, being an introvert, that I have to get away by myself for a bit. This time, however, I felt exhilliarated. It was unfamiliar, and strange, but also very satisfying, because it was from doing something I loved. My heart was fully in it, and I was having fun.
The InDscribe writers convention is a must for new and seasoned Indie writers, and for voice actors looking for new books to narrate. I was blown away by all the wonderful stories out there, and all the free books (both e-books and physical books, because they don’t want to have to take them back on the plane!). Now to find the time to read them all!