At long last, Moonburner is officially an audiobook! You can buy it through Audible, Amazon, or iTunes. If you aren’t an Audible member, you should think about it, it’s amazing. Every month you get a free audiobook, plus you get 30% off all audiobooks, all for $14.95 a month. As an Amazon prime member, you can get a three-month free trial membership, or as a regular old human, you can try it for free for a month. (Plus, if you start a new membership and Moonburner is your first purchase, I get $50 bucks from Amazon! So, that would be awesome.)
To celebrate the launch of Moonburner in audiobook form, I am hosting a giveaway! Enter to win one of five free copies of Moonburner, or a three month subscription to Audible!!! If you are already an Audible member, you would be entitled to three book credits. The Giveaway ends October 1!
INTERVIEW WITH MY NARRATOR, EMMA LYSY
I detailed the process of turning a book into an audiobook in this blog post here. But everyone I talk to about audiobooks are also super curious about audiobook narrators! How do you become one, what’s the technology like, etc. So to celebrate Moonburner’s audio launch, I’ve interviewed Moonburner’s narrator, Emma Lysy, to answer your burning questions!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: I live in Lansing, Mi – before that Orlando, FL; before that – Southwest Michigan. My black cat Bende is very interested in narration work, as he must be locked in a separate part of the house while I’m recording because he’ll do anything it takes to try to get into the booth with me.
Q: How did you get into working as an audiobook producer?
A: I’d always been interested in narration, and the larger world of voice over in general. I remember going to an acting workshop with a guy who was one of the few actors who made their entire living from acting alone, and 98% of that came from commercial work. He told me I was good at the acting part of it and had an interesting voice. I don’t have the hearty baritone necessary to land the Toyota commercials he was doing, but I did love reading and listening to books. When the opportunity presented itself, I took it! Even though I had no idea what I was doing and definitely had a lot of learning to do.
Q: Tell us about your process. How long does it take? What is your equipment like?
A: I know some narrators’ ratio of time worked to finished product is something like 6:1 on a good day. That is, there are 6 hours of work (prep, outtakes, retakes, mastering, editing, etc) to every 1 finished hour of audio. This also depends on how much you outsource and how much you do yourself, but it’s a lot – I’ve met people who believe a 5 hour book can be easily produced in a day because it’ll only take 5 hours. If only this were true. Equipment wise, it can be as fancy or spendthrift as you need. The basics of a good setup are a good, dead room (noise wise, that is), a computer, and a mike. That said, while you can technically produce an audiobook these three things, investing in better equipment, tailoring your space to reduce noise, and hiring professionals is the real baseline of a quality production.
Q: How do you decide what the characters should sound like?
A: Sometimes the book tells you – so and so is a 90-year-old woman. So and so has an accent, etc. But beyond that it’s largely intuitive. It’s an extension of the acting you’re already putting into that character based on their words.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of producing an audiobook?
A: It’s a lot of work. But, it’s the kind of work that streamlines itself as you do it longer. When I first started I could hardly record a 15-minute chapter at a time, I would just get bored and want to stop. But now, it’s easy to sit down and do a three-hour session in the morning and again at night. Being challenged isn’t a bad thing, in fact if your work isn’t challenging you, than I can’t imagine it’s very fun.
Q: How do you pick which projects to work on?
A: A combination of numbers, what I think my voice will suit, and whether I like it. Any one of those can be top priority for different projects. Sometimes you’ll sacrifice good numbers for a project you like, or vice versa. Mostly though, it’s going to come down to numbers. How I’m paid (sometimes in royalties, sometimes up front – sometimes a combo of both), how the book is selling, etc. While narration is art and I love it, it’s not something I’d do for free. But I’ve had the privilege to get to work on some books that were a pleasant combination of well written and best selling.
Q: Tell us about a few of your favorite authors/books.
A: My favorite books are the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. They’re so strange and surprising and they stay in my head for days. Also Beauty, by Robin McKinley – a fantastic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It cuts down on drama but doesn’t in any way sacrifice storytelling and character. A Series of Unfortunate Events – particularly as read by Tim Curry – shaped my youth. Shannon Hale, David Sedaris, Michael De Larrabeiti are other favorites. I’m also a fan of memoirs by funny women, and those are always my favorite audiobooks. Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch have written my favorites.
Q: Are you involved in other aspects of the publishing world?
A: I’m also a graphic designer (emmalysydesign.com
! I know, it’s a shameless plug) and specialize in book and audiobook covers!
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you!
A: I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose. I know this is over the internet, but I swear it’s true