About This Site
Greetings! I’m Karen Commins. You may know me from my work as an audiobook narrator, producer, publisher, blogger, and leading curator of information about the audiobook industry.
I’ve written many articles on my blog to help narrators and many other sites, and I’m a frequent contributor to several Facebook narrator groups. As the Audiobook Share-rator™️, I wanted to expand my level of assistance to the narrator community by creating this site devoted to the needs of audiobook narrators at all levels.
Busy narrators have told me that they are relieved to have the comprehensive set of resources about becoming a narrator on the home page. Rather than spending their time to craft a helpful answer, they love the speed and ease of referring newcomers to this site.
You’ll find another long list of helpful links in the section below!
I’m a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel, yet so many of us were doing that very thing when it came to searching for training and networking events, finding reviewers for our latest release, and even learning software features.
NarratorsRoadmap.com is a site for all of us!
Click here to see the Roadmap of NarratorsRoadmap.
The following features will interest experienced narrators:
- Audiobook Village contains directories of other people who can help with your audiobook production.
- Casting Directory of production companies and publishers who hire narrators to record for them. In addition to social media channels, contact names and related links, I include other information about the company such as interviews with the people to help you learn about them and their preferences.
- Events Calendar of 8 types of color-coded events, including audiobook training classes, author
and audiobook conferences, author/reader signings, and book festivals
- Knowledge Base with answers to frequent questions that occur during prep, narration and post
- Video Courses Each exclusive video course has its own set of associated resource links!
- Creating Your Own Path: 3 modules about Public Domain audiobooks, Prospecting, and Publishing
- iAnnotate: 12 modules (click here to sample the first video)
- Evernote: 8 modules and counting
- Antidotes for Comparison-itis and Bad Review Fever 1 module
- Convos with Karen These are stand-alone Q&A videos about royalty share work, mindset, and more.
As you can see in the chart below, some avenues are free to everyone, while access to others requires a paid Members Express Pass.
We have 2 payment options:
- $35 for 6 months
- $70 per year
Click here if you want to register.
|Member Express Pass
|Pit Stop Shows
|Videos (part of KB)
|✔ Restricted to 6-Month and Yearly plans only
Just for fun, I’ve hidden an Easter Egg on the site. A web site Easter Egg can be described as an object that has something significant to it, may be hiding in plain site, and usually is unexpectedly clickable. Only 1 person found it during the Grand Opening contest. I’ll give you a hint: it’s NOT the Twitter bird siting atop the home page billboard! If you find the Easter egg, send me an email and tell me what it is to claim a free 1-month subscription!
What would a Welcome Center be without an array of exciting offers from vendors who are eager to expand your view of the world?
I trust the sites listed below because one or more of these conditions is true:
- I know the owner.
- I have used the service or product.
- I have reviewed unsolicited testimonials from other narrators.
I would not refer you to a service or product created by someone who has narrated a few books and now considers themselves an expert! I also am not receiving compensation from any of these businesses with the exception of any affiliate links as noted in the Terms of Service.
If you contact one of the people below, please let them know you found them listed on NarratorsRoadmap.com!
Accents and Dialects
- Accents & Dialects Masterclass — Voice actor and dialect coach Eliza Jane Schneider offers a video package with samples, a call with her, and membership in her Facebook group.
- AccentHelp.com — A number of specialized dialect kits containing numerous recordings, written materials, and links to reference voices are available for purchase for a nominal charge.
- DrDialect.com — Narrator and coach PJ Ochlan provides paid personal coaching in accents and dialects.
- Narrator and coach Pat Fraley has a home-study course that you can get with or without his guidance.
- The Talk Shop — Speech, dialect, and breath coach Amanda Quaid offers personal coaching and group classes, including a specialized class called Gender + Speech for Narrators.
My Audiobook Resources for Authors is a categorized list of helpful articles from a variety of sites to help educate authors about all phases of the audiobook production process, from writing with audio in mind to marketing the finished audiobook. It includes the Getting Started list of resources compiled by the Audio Publishers Association.
You can find narrators in one of the Narrator Databases linked in that section below.
If you join this site, you’ll be able to view my comprehensive Audiobook Distributor Comparison Chart. I compared 6 popular distributors across 22 individual criteria to help you make better-informed decisions about your audiobook distributor(s).
The Marketing section below has resources specifically about marketing the audiobook edition.
- If you publish your own audiobook, you’re responsible for supplying the book cover. I have been very pleased with Emma Lysy Design.
Books specifically about becoming a narrator and improving your performance are shown on the Home page.
- I highly recommend that every freelancer read How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors: Winning Every Sale at Full Price, Rate, or Fee by Larry Steinmetz and William Brook. As I explain in this article, you’ll learn why price shoppers are not the clients you want to have.
- Throughout your career as a narrator, negotiation skills will be very useful. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury is a highly rated book on this topic. Thanks to narrator Peter Lerman for the suggestion as well as this link to its key points.
- Audiobook narrator and coach Sean Pratt wrote a helpful book for all actors: To Be or Wanna Be: The Top Ten Differences Between a Successful Actor and a Starving Artist.
- If you’re interested in becoming a publisher, you’ll find good information in The Guide to Publishing Audiobooks: How to Produce and Sell and an Audiobook by Grammy-winning audiobook director Jessica Kaye.
- I love Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered and recommend it to anyone who’d like ideas about marketing yourself without marketing yourself.
- The best marketing book to help you increase your general client list is Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches by CJ Hayden.
- Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus is a handy guide of active verbs that help the narrator define the tactics the character is using to get what s/he wants.
- A related resource is the Wheel of Feel with emotional synonyms as shown in this post from from Grammy-winning director Paul Alan Ruben and shared by narrator Doug Ramsdell. I found several variations of the wheel with different synonyms: one in this psychology exercise from Dr. Gloria Wilcox, and the second is this image based on work by Geoffrey Roberts. You could print or save copies of all 3 versions.
- The Actor’s Script: Script Analysis for Performers can help the narrator better analyze and interpret the script and apply acting skills in performance.
- Several reference books are useful on a regular basis in non-fiction narration:
I created this Clubhouse Program Guide to help narrators find and participate in the many Clubhouse shows hosted by narrators for narrators.
If you need a template contract between a narrator and rights holder or with engineering staff, you can use one of these templates. You may need to modify them for your situation.
- Narrator Steven Jay Cohen shared this Audiobook Publishing Agreement between a publisher and an audiobook producer for exclusive distribution on Audible. The Docracy.com site where it was hosted apparently has ceased operation, so I pulled the link from Archive.org’s Wayback Machine 1/28/22 capture.
- This page on ACX.com has agreements for editing, engineering, mastering, and narration.
Some narrators record while live on camera on a Discord server. You can watch and listen to them work and possibly interact with them. Narrator Aven Shore wrote this illustrated guide which explains how to connect to and navigate in one of these systems. She also wrote this guide for using Open Broadcaster Software to narrate on Discord. If you decide to narrate on this service or any other medium, be aware that you must first obtain the RH’s permission to avoid copyright infringement.
Join a narrator’s Discord session using one of the following links:
- The Haven (open to narrators romance, erotica, and/or LGBTQ material)
- The Narrators Nook (open to all narrators to use)
- Individual narrators’ servers:
- Travis Baldree — Cryptid Audio
- Jennifer Blom — Jennifer’s Narrator Corner
- Steve Campbell — Campbell’s Corner
- Chris Ciulla — Leonardo Audiobook Narration
- Emma Faye — Clean Reads Lounge
- Jeff Hays — Soundbooth Theatre
- Andrea Parsneau — Maven’s Narration Madness
- Austin Rising — Fantasy is Everywhere
- Todd Waites — TW Narrates
- Author Dawn Chapman maintains this Facebook list of author servers, starting with her own.
- I presented the webinar Put Yourself in the ACX Driver’s Seat. You can get the 3-hour video and audio recordings, my 90+ slides, and my exclusive list of 40+ resources on my Shop page.
- I hosted a webinar with intellectual property attorney and Grammy-winning audiobook director Jessica Kaye about licensing audio rights. You can purchase the 1.5-hour recording with transcript and sample agreement on my Shop page.
- Narrator and coach Andi Arndt has created the site Narrator.Life, which offers free and paid courses and coaching for aspiring, beginning, and advanced narrators.
- Narrator and coach Elise Arsenault offers a free 1-hour webinar and a paid course titled The Great Audiobook Adventure.
- Audio engineer Don Baarns has developed several video courses on Studio One and iZotope RX.
- Narrator James Anderson Foster has several downloadable courses, including Fostering Characters and Fostering Websites.
- Narrator and coach Pat Fraley sells in his on-line shop a wide variety of books, as well as home study courses available with and without critique, including the 5-course Audiobook Major set.
- Narrator Andy Garcia-Ruse offers a 4-module course on branding and social media called Create A Brand New You on her Coaching page.
- Narrator Jeffrey Kafer shares his strategies for picking more winners among royalty share titles and creating an attention-getting portfolio.
- Narrator and coach Emily Lawrence has a modular course on Narrator Business Skills focusing on branding, marketing, and client relationships which is available either with or without her personal guidance.
- Narrator Kelsey Navarro created Social Media Savvy for Audiobook Narrators.
- Narrator and publisher Sarah Puckett offers a 4-week course in starting narration called PFP University.
- VoiceOverXtra has numerous recordings of webinars, including the Complete Audiobook Narrator Series featuring coaches Paul Alan Ruben and Sean Pratt, and engineer George Whittam.
Editors and Proofers
- My Audiobook Marketing Cheat Sheet — This free page offers a treasure trove of tips and tactics to market your audiobook. The RH should be doing the heavy lifting for audiobook marketing. Marketing yourself as a narrator, which is a better use of your time, requires different strategies.
- These services and many more are listed in my Cheat Sheet above:
- AudiobooksUnleashed.com — Developed by narrator Sarah Sampino, this site gives you several options for listings that automatically provide your audiobook promo codes to requesting listeners. A nice value-add is a field for your newsletter sign-up link.
- AudioFreebies.com — Developed by narrator Amy Soakes, this site helps you give out codes either manually or automatically, plus it works for Audible and Author’s Direct codes.
- FreeAudiobookCodes.com — Created by narrator Jeffrey Kafer, this site replaces his previous AudiobookBoom newsletter and allows you to post your Audible download codes from ACX.
- Many people have asked how to create an audiogram, which is the short video where the WAV file is visible over the book cover similar to this example. I mentioned 2 sites on my Cheat Sheet above but am including them here for ease of reference: Headliner, a free site, and Wavve.co, a paid one.
If you need to find a narrator for your project, you can search these databases. Narrators, you can add your profile to sites that don’t indicate “Narrator Roster”. For those sites (Bee and Deyan), you’ll need to contact producers to be added to their roster. Details are in the Casting Directory.
- ACX.com free marketplace
- Ahabtalent.com created and used by Penguin Random House Audio producers but was expanded to include external producers of audiobooks, games, podcasts, etc.
- AudioFile Magazine Audiobook Talent & Industry Guide select the tab for Narrators. Narrators pay for listings here.
- AuthorsRepublic.com free marketplace
- BeeAudio.com narrator roster
- DeyanAudio.com narrator roster sorted by age and accent categories
- FindawayVoices.com free marketplace
- NarratorList.com free narrator profiles
Narrators Turned Authors
An increasing number of narrators are becoming authors.
- Joe Arden
- Andi Arndt
- Travis Baldree
- Petrea Burchard
- Tanya Eby
- Erin Mallon
- Eric Jason Martin
- Cassandra Medcalf
- Erin Spencer
- Julia Whelan
- Karen White (writes under the name Karen Grey)
- Narrator Byron Wagner curates news articles about audiobooks on his AudiobookBusinessNews.com site.
- Audible Original Audicted hosted by Audible’s editors
- Audio BarnYard hosted by Don Baarns
- Audiobook Break hosted by AudioFile Magazine
- Audio Barnyard Podcast hosted by Don and Donny Baarns
- Audiobook Connection hosted by Becky Parker Geist
- Audiobook Lovin’ hosted by Viviana Izzo
- Audiobook Narration for Beginners hosted by narrator J. Rodney Turner
- Audiobook Reader’s Review hosted by Sarah Bacaller
- Audiobook Speakeasy hosted by narrator Rich Miller
- Audiobook Trail hosted by John McClain
- Audiobooks With Ana hosted by Ana Clements
- Behind the Mic hosted by AudioFile Magazine
- Crafting Audiobooks hosted by narrators Jennifer Jill Araya and Sarah Beth Goer
- Desideratum hosted by narrator Theresa Baker
- Flock Talk hosted by Pink Flamingo Productions
- Harper Audio Presents hosted by Harper Audio
- Not Your Mother’s Storytime hosted by Jennifer March
- Pit Stop hosted by Karen Commins and Anne Flosnik
- Serving the Story hosted by narrator Steven Jay Cohen
- Story Bites hosted by narrator/author Tanya Eby and author Sarina Bowen
- The Audiobook Club hosted by narrator John York
- The Nomad Narrator hosted by narrator and producer Emily Stewart
You’ll find more shows in my Twitter list of Audiobook Podcasts. Skip down to the Twitter List section below for more info about my lists.
This Knowledge Base article discusses a number of sites, tips, and tactics for pronunciation research. These sites may be particularly helpful in your research:
- AudioEloquence.com — Created and maintained by narrators Judith West and Heather Anne Henderson, this free site contains the motherlode of vetted pronunciation sites to aid in research, many with sound clips.
- Pronounceology.com — Developed by narrator Adam Verner, this paid site automates your pronunciation research. A free referral list of vetted researchers is also available on the site.
- Subject Matter Experts may be able to assist you.
Public Domain Audiobooks
Site members can watch my Create Your Own Path video course which includes a module and resources about creating public domain audiobooks not found anywhere else.
I have a wealth of free articles on my site about creating public domain audiobooks at this link.
Studio Treatment and DAW Training
- This article lists 7 places to learn audio editing for audiobooks.
- Don Baarns provides personal coaching on StudioOne and more. He also has started an audio review service that’s free at the moment.
- Jennifer Blom teaches people to use Reaper.
- Jack DeGolia trains people to use Twisted Wave.
- Jim Edgar offers a free audio review, as well as classes and coaching on recording software.
- Dan Lenard can help create or troubleshoot your studio and assist you with your demo.
- James Romick teaches people to use Reaper.
- TyDef Studios does one-on-one consultations and studio evaluations.
- George Whittam has a variety of studio services and tutorial videos.
- Roy Yokelson offers studio treatment and coaching in software among many other services.
- Audible Summary Report — Narrator Kirt Graves will send you a spreadsheet listing all the titles attributed to you on Audible.
- AudiobookScout.com — Created by narrator/author Craig Tollifson, this paid site notifies you about ACX listings that fit your criteria and includes links to the ancillary research needed to evaluate them.
- GetSleuthy.com — Created by narrator Hannibal Hills, this paid site aids your prospecting on Amazon by finding titles without audio editions.
- Narratic.com — Another offering from CraigTollifson, this paid site tracks and emails you about your ratings and reviews for your audiobooks on Audible.
- Pozotron.com — Co-founder Jake Poznanski loves audiobooks and has developed a paid tool that narrators can use to aid in their proofing. The tool is also useful for finding every occurrence of a word in a recording.
I maintain what are arguably the largest Twitter lists of audiobook publishers, narrators, bloggers, and podcasters. This article explains how to subscribe to and use them.
- Audible Sample Finder — Enter your audiobook’s Audible page on narrator Steven Jay Cohen’s site, and his code will extract your sample for you at no charge.
- 2nd Opinion — Steven Jay Cohen created another nifty utility that’s free to download and use. This one checks the technical aspects of your recorded files.
- Voice Actor Websites maintains a comprehensive database about all things related to voiceover careers.
- I highly recommend the talented team at Voice Actor Websites. They created this site and KarenCommins.com and exceeded my vision for functionality and form in both cases.
- Andrea Emmes can create web sites, graphics, business cards and other branding materials for audiobook narrators.
- James Anderson Foster offers a user interface heuristic evaluation of your audiobook narrator website.
Rather than adding each individual video to the Videos page, the creators of these playlists consistently produce excellent, useful material for narrators:
- Daniela Acitelli Narrator’s Cup of Joe Over 100 in-depths interviews with people in Audiobook World
- ACX has multiple playlists from ACX University and more
- Ahab Breakdown monthly web show presented by Penguin Random House Audio
- Leonardo Audio Audiobook Narration Tips Chris Ciulla offers bite-sized nuggets to help audiobook narrators
- Red Baarns Audio Don and Donny Baarns offer interviews and engineering tutorials and tips
- Don Baarnes and Johnny Heller interview guests in their Ask Us Anything series
- Travis Baldree Audiobook Production