Posted On November 2, 2011 by Print This Post

Voiceover Artist Cris Dukehart on Recording Audiobooks: Tales from the Padded Room

While I was at RWA in New York this summer, I was delighted to meet the voice over artist who recorded our good friend Amy Atwell’s debut book, Lying Eyes. Cris Dukehart was kind enough to agree to visit with us and educate us on a process most of us know very little about, recording audiobooks. Cris has also generously offered to give away a download of Tara Taylor Quinn’s It Happened on Maple Street to one commenter today. What fun!

Welcome to RU, Cris!

If you ask my 10 year old what her mother does for a living, she’ll likely tell you that I hang out in my little padded booth and talk to myself all day.

And the thing is… she’s not too far from the truth.

I am an audiobook narrator.

A day in the life of a narrator looks a bit like this:  wake up, dress in soft, noise free clothing, brush teeth without toothpaste (the paste makes bubbly sticky noises in the microphone), eat a non dairy, no sugar breakfast (again with the smacky lip sounds) and down a beverage of room temperature water with lemon.

I stretch a bit and then head to the studio.

Once I open the door to my little booth, padded thick with geometrically shaped Auralex sound treatment foam, I park tush for three hours or more while I read out loud, stopping to sip from a water bottle, or dab lemon flavored lip cream on my lips.

If my deadline isn’t too tight, I’ll break for lunch (some sort of non-gooey-no-mouth-noise culinary excitement… like… oh… salad…) and then return for 3 more hours of reading.

Scintillating, huh?

Similar, I think, to how an author’s day might progress, my hours can seem sort of solitary to most folks.  But they aren’t – not really.

Not at all.

Not even a little bit.

My hours, my days, my thoughts are filled with activity – peopled with the same thing yours are… your stories… your characters.

They talk to me, just as they talk to you.  In fact, I’ve found that the best narrations come from collaboration with the author.  I want to know how YOU hear things, see things, how you experience your story.

Before I ever step stocking foot in studio I read your story.  I hunt audio samples of accents and dialect and research story lines.

In narrating Amy Atwell’s “Lying Eyes”, I visited the Smithsonian Institute with my daughter to tour the Natural History Museum’s collection of gemstones.  For the book I am working on now, Cheryl Burke’s autobiography, “Dancing Lessons”, I have scoured YOUTUBE for every dance she has ever performed on Dancing With the Stars and then paid a visit to the ridiculously handsome, swarthy young fellow that teaches at the local dance studio (What?!  It was RESEARCH!).

Audiobooks while certainly not a new format, have, with the proliferation of digital media, become less expensive and more accessible and in larger variety.  Sites like Audible.com house a mind-boggling number of titles and sometimes, the same title, read by different narrators.

In an age where we are forever moving and multitasking, audiobooks provide the busy carpooling mom or the commuting professional or the plugged in teen an opportunity to “read” the books they might otherwise pass over.  They provide those with visual impairments or reading difficulties the ability to experience your words.  They are the guilty pleasures, the travel companions, and, I’ve been told, the reasons why some folks just hop in the car and drive about.

What they are for you is a way into the lives and minds of a whole new audience.

I am relatively new to narrating, having only just begun about nine months ago but I have worked with several publishers and have begun, as much as anyone does, I think, to get a feel for the process.

Your publisher may already be producing audiobooks of your work.  If you haven’t already, search for them and have a listen.

Narrating romance is particularly tricky due to those dog-eared pages… those dreamy, steamy love scenes.  How exactly does one “moan with unspent desire” without sounding… diiiirty?  Every narrator handles love scenes differently.

As the author, you may have an opportunity to choose your own narrator, and once you’ve listened to a few audiobooks, you’ll have a better idea of what voice and style of love scene narration you prefer.  I am always appreciative when an author shares bullet points on how they hear their stories… I want to be as true to your writer’s voice as I can be.

Perhaps you are of the self-published sort or are considering self-publishing… the Audiobook Creation Exchange (www.ACX.com) may be just the key to getting your book published in audiobook format.

ACX, publically launched just this year, provides a virtual space where narrators and other audiobook professionals can meet up with Rights Holders and according to their website, “…turn previously ignored audio rights into finished products”.

Further, the folks at ACX go on to explain, “We give authors creative control over the process. You can narrate your own work or you can engage a Producer on ACX to produce your audiobook. We support you the whole way through, with tools and tutorials that get you started narrating your own book, if you decide to do it yourself. Or, if you decide to engage a Producer, we also have tools and tips to help you choose the right narrator… Plus, we will give you tips on how to promote yourself to increase your sales.

All of this and you own the finished product.”

The ACX website is chock-full of information, from Rights Share Deals to tips if you choose to try to narrate your own book.  ACX also provides contact information for some really fantastic folks if you have any questions (I call them up, occasionally just to chat… I’m a talker… go figure).

I love what I do.  I am positively silly with gratitude everyday.  With each new story I tell, I gain new friends, new knowledge and new perspectives.   As an audiophile, I know that every story I listen to opens up an entirely new world… a world I might never have inhabited but for the brilliant, creative mind of the author and the voice that speaks to me from a little padded room.

***

RU Crew, what surprised you about the audiobook recording process (besides the fact that apparently Cris eats a very boring breakfast)? Feel free to ask Cris questions! Don’t forget Cris has also generously offered to give away a download of Tara Taylor Quinn’s It Happened on Maple Street to one commenter today. 

Pop by Friday when Rochelle Staab, author of Who Do VooDoo, will be here to chat about her journey to publication. She’ll give away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter!

***

Bio:

Giving voice to your story…audiobook narrator Cris Dukehart talks about love scenes, dancing lessons, and little padded rooms.
Mother to one smallish person and evil stepmother to two slightly larger smallish people, Cris Dukehart lives in an old stone farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania.  It is a charming place with a two acre pond that grows algae in the exact same shade of green as the shag carpeting that runs the entire length of the third floor.  A graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, she is a commercial voiceover and audiobook narrator.  You can read more about her misadventures on her blog:  www.crisdukehart.blogspot.com.

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Discussion

42 Responses to “Voiceover Artist Cris Dukehart on Recording Audiobooks: Tales from the Padded Room”

  1. Hi Cris! Thanks so much for being here at RU today. What a fascinating job you have.

    How did you start in this business? Do you have to do accents for our books or is that something you shy away from?

    I chuckled at your breakfast selection. I’m a singer and before a performance I also avoid the dairy, heavy, foods and I have a mug of slippery elm bark tea with honey and I keep slippery elm bark lozenges at the ready.

    Have a great day! Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | November 2, 2011, 5:23 am
    • Hey there Robin!
      Thanks for commenting!

      I have those Slippery Elm lozenges as well! I have to admit, however, that I use them only as a very last resort… there’s just something unsavory about ingesting “slippery” anything… (giggle). Throat Coat tea, though… that’s a STAPLE!

      When my big kids were just wee ones, I spent quite a bit of time storytelling for their classes… so much time, in fact, that the school system hired me to tell to OTHER classes and eventually, in other schools as well!

      When I began voiceover, I began on the commercial side of things, but always with the intention to try narration. After a bit, I studied with Voiceover legend Pat Fraley and audiobook narrator extraordinaire, Scott Brick and… voila! Here I am!

      As an academic sort of miss, I really love that first read through of every story I narrate. During that reading, I take notes on each new character I come across and any information that might effect how they sound; that might include accents, for certain, but also speech impediments, demeanor, and any habits they have that might effect how they sound (like cigar smoking or gum chewing or gnawing on their lip in nervous fashion). In addition, as the narrator, I need to give as many hints as the author gives as to who the antagonist is… and often, THAT effects how that character might speak in certain situations. I spend hours trolling YOUTUBE for accents and (okay, you caught me) the occasional laughing baby video or other silliness.

      The website forvo.com is another INVALUABLE resource for accent and pronunciation research.

      Thanks again for commenting!
      It’s just lovely to be here at RU!

      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 7:21 am
  2. Hi Cris,

    I read what I write aloud all the time. My kids have permission to ignore me when I speak. Only when I’m sitting at the computer. I hear my daughter reading her homework aloud too. Maybe it’s genetic. Your job sounds fascinating. The accents alone would be fun.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 2, 2011, 6:01 am
    • Good Morning Mary Jo!

      It’s amazing what our small people pick up on when we aren’t watching, isn’t it?

      My own wee-ist Miss, a voracious reader in her own right, will often laugh out loud as she’s reading and then read aloud whatever has brought her such mirth… I positively LIVE for those moments…

      When I was working on Amy Atwell’s “Lying Eyes”, there were several Russian characters, both male and a graveled and feisty female matron.

      I spent quite a bit of time listening to Russian Americans and rehearsing the accent… So MUCH time, apparently, that while driving my youngest to and fro, I would often repeat things in both masculine Russian and a gravely feminine accent. One afternoon, my daughter, 9 at the time (and big cousin to a child on the spectrum), said, in all seriousness, “Mom… I’m really getting worried about you. I think you MIGHT be… well… autistic.”

      Oh, my. (giggle)

      Thanks for commenting!

      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 7:36 am
  3. Morning Cris…

    Well, I’ve learned something new for the day! Who knew about sugar and dairy and lip sounds? I’d totally never make it as a voice artist with my hot chocolate and hershey bar for breakfast. =)

    I have to ask, what kind of questions do you ask the author to determine how the characters will sound? How do you do men’s voices? Do you deepen or just stay the same?

    I listened to Harry Potter books on tape, they were amazing…..=)

    Thanks for joining us today – I had a blast reading your post!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 2, 2011, 7:20 am
    • Hi Carrie!
      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment! I’m so pleased to be chatting at RU today!

      They call folks like us… we who listen… audiophiles…

      They do INDEED pass the drive time most FABULOUSLY! Even my children, having been wretchedly deprived of televisions in the car, (it IS my sworn duty to make them miserable), have come to see audiobooks as their saving grace on long drives (and short drives, even).

      Jim Dale was the brilliant gent narrator of the Harry Potter series and I think he may have won every award out there for his efforts… he may even have INVENTED some new awards just for fun!

      There are two schools of thought on female narrators doing male voices and really, it seems to depend on the genre of book. For children’s titles and young adult books, and yes… some romance titles, there is more allowance for what is called “character voices”… For other genres, the tendency seems to be to vary the voice only slightly… suggesting a depth or rumble rather than attempting to CREATE a believable male voice…

      That also depends on the direction the narrator receives and for ME, that would be one of the questions I might ask an author.

      By the time I speak with an author, I’ve already read the book and made notes on each character. If there are any characters that i haven’t developed a clear read on, I use that opportunity to ask the author about voice. In addition, I generally ask if the author has any characters that they specifically heard a certain way… perhaps offer a celebrity voice doppelganger that I can stalk on YOUTUBE…

      The wonderful thing about the microphones we use is that they pick up everything… the HORRID thing is… well… they pick up EVERYTHING… every click every pop every carbonation bubble from the diet soda with crunchy ice that I CRAVE and mercilessly DEPRIVE myself of when I’m recording ;) Our mouths (and noses and chests) are RIDICULOUSLY noisy places! Who’d a thunk?
      (grin)
      Thanks for posting!
      Very Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 7:50 am
      • I never thought of that…lol…so a rumbly tummy day is NOT a good recording day! =)

        Thanks so much for your posts, I’ve had an absolute blast reading through!

        carrie

        Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 2, 2011, 3:16 pm
        • Rumbly tummies are the WORST… After, maybe, noisy shirt sleeves, earrings that clink, shoes squeaking on the rungs of my stool, and my mouth popping because I drank a Diet Coke with crunchy ice FOUR YEARS AGO… Grin…

          And Carrie, the pleasure has been mine… Really. What a fantastic group of gals!

          Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 7:54 pm
  4. Thanks so much for all this entertaining information! I listen to audio books when on long drives (as I tend to want to fall asleep at the wheel) (audiobooks somehow distort time, making the drive MUCH shorter) and when working through a particularly boring series of jobs.

    I do know that an entertaining narrator can save a not-so-great book. Kudos to you hard-working voice actors! And thanks for the link to ACX.

    Posted by Carol A. Strickland | November 2, 2011, 7:36 am
    • Hi Carol!
      Thanks for commenting!

      I was just saying how Audiobooks do pass the time in marvelous fashion! We also listen to them in the car…

      My children, deprived of televisions en route, have found audiobooks to be their saving grace… and *I* have found AUDIBLE.com to be the saving grace of my POCKETBOOK!

      The downloads are a fraction of the cost of purchasing the hard copy, I can ALWAYS find the story I want, AND as an MP3, I can take it with me on my IPOD as I pound out my daily jogs!

      Working for Audible actually came AFTER (and searching for myself on their site brought an embarassing number of squeeees of delight)!

      Thanks so much for commenting and for the KUDOS!

      Very Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 7:58 am
  5. Cris -

    I’m tickled to have you here at RU this morning! I think your job sounds fascinating, but I’m pretty sure, with the southern accent that I’ve apparently been unable to shake, that no one would hire me as a voice over :(.

    I’m curious how you are hired to narrate certain books. Does the author have anything to do with it?

    And how do you gear yourself up to read the love scenes? I write fairly hot and even I don’t like to read those aloud – LOL.

    I agree with a couple of the other comments, the voice on an audiobook can make it or break the experience for me! My son listens to a ton of middle grade/YA books on his iPod (that’s what he falls asleep to, if you can believe it). Have you ever done the voice for a MG or YA book?

    Thanks so much for being here!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 2, 2011, 7:44 am
    • Hey there Kelsey!
      Thanks so much for having me here at RU!

      You’d be surprised, actually, how much of a call there is for southern female narrators; there is a whole sub category of southern woman’s fiction and as it is often written in the first person, some directors only want a GENUINE southern narrator! Don’t lose heart, YOU TOO can talk to yourself in a little padded room! (giggle)

      Narrators are hired in several ways. The major publishing houses and production companies have casting directors that seek out narrators either by their demos, or by audition. I do know that some authors will specifically request a narrator, and now, with ACX, the author can participate individually, or with the publisher in auditioning narrators for their books.

      I would love to narrate a MG/YA story and while I have been auditioned for several, I have yet to be cast… I’ll keep you posted as time marches on!

      As far as love scenes, I think each book is different. The thing about narration, and what I remind myself of when I read, is that stories are made up of words; not MY words, but the words of a character, an author’s voice, a tale. Love scenes can get… steamy… stories of audio engineers, (in my experience, these folks are generally male), halting sessions to take a BREATHER run rampant and meet with stifled giggles and much ribbing.

      For my part, I try never to break immediately BEFORE a hot scene… there is so much verbal foreplay that precedes a scene, so much mood making, that to try to just pick up reading at or (god forbid) DURING a love scene is… sort of… coitus interruptus and for ME… spoils the atmosphere.

      Before I ever narrated a romance, I listened to a range of romance and erotica to get a feel for what worked for me as a listener and I will say this… some narrators are um… BREATHERS… PANTERS… me?… not so much. In my listening experience, too much panting detracts… but, that’s just personal preference I think… and again, each story is different ;)

      If the story is TOO far from what I generally narrate, I do have a nom de guerre that I have recorded under.

      I am BLUSHING the silliest shade of crimson even NOW… geeze, louise…

      Thanks again for having me here at RU! What a great group!

      Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 8:28 am
      • Cris –

        Hmm…now I’m wondering if I might have a side career option :). I do like to talk and tell stories. Wonder if those things would help qualify me for voiceover?

        Oh, and I love the story about the audio engineers. I bet those guys love the romance genre WAY more than they would ever admit aloud.

        I’m curious – how long did your training take?

        K-

        Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 2, 2011, 11:51 am
        • Well, Kelsey, I really love love love what I do…
          As far as audiobook narration, the training was pretty short a weekend away in LA hanging with a dapper and charming Pat Fraley and the dulcetly toned Mr. Scott Brick… two masters of the field… really… http://patfraley.com/Events/Billion/LA.html

          That link should take you to Pat’s Billion Dollar Read; at the end of the session, you leave with a demo, an incredible experience in a creative and wonderfully supportive environment and enough information to write a book (wink)…

          I adore both of those guys with every bit of ouncy-ness in me.

          If you’re talking about commercial and other voiceover stuffs, I can only herald at the top of my silly lungs NANCY WOLFSON! http://www.braintracksaudio.com . Certainly not for the weak of heart or the fragile of ego, Nancy doesn’t blow smoke… but really who needs someone to toady to them? Her program is more of a process, but SHE is so much more than a voice coach… she is a life coach.

          C

          Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 12:02 pm
        • Hi Kelsey, I thought I commented just a moment ago but it seems to have disappeared!
          If this is a repost, I’m sorry sorry…

          My audiobook training consisted of a weekend in LA in the company of two witty-smart and UBER-talented gents, Pat Fraley and Scott Brick.

          http://patfraley.com/Events/Billion/LA.html

          At the end of the weekend you leave with a demo, an amazing experience in an INCREDIBLY supportive creative environment and enough how to information to write a book (punny punny).

          I just ADORE these guys to the very end of the earth and back again… really.

          For commercial VO and the like, I trained with the incomparable NANCY WOFLSON http://www.braintracksaudio.com.

          Not for the faint of heart or thin of skin, Nancy won’t blow smoke up the ol’ tuckus… but she will completely UP your game and change your life…
          so much more than a voice coach… again… a gal I could just herald all the day long…

          Her program is more of a process, but is SO very much worth every minute!

          It’s a fun world, this one!

          Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 12:20 pm
          • Cris – sorry! Your first comment got caught in spam – oops!

            Thanks for the fab info. Hmm…since I’m out here in LA, wonder if I should check this out further :).

            K-

            Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 2, 2011, 7:25 pm
  6. Hi Cris – I was fascinated by your blog, in part because my uncle made a living from his “golden voice.” He was on TV in Milwaukee until he looked away while grooming his horse and got kicked in the chin. He wasn’t photogenic enough for TV after his jaw was broken in that accident, so he went into radio.

    In addition to being a Chicago DJ, he worked for years doing voiceovers for commercials. Later, he also got some small roles in movies. I’ll never forget how weird it felt when I was in a ladies’ room and suddenly heard my uncle’s voice coming over the P.A.!

    I’m impressed by the research you put into your work! You must be a talented actress, too, to do the voices and accents. How did you get into reading audiobooks in the first place? Did you have a previous career in broadcasting?

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | November 2, 2011, 8:32 am
    • Hey there, Becke!

      What a marvelous life your Uncle led!
      and what an absolute SHOCK to have him join you in the LADIES’!

      I don’t think I’m anything special or unique in researching… but as an academic by education, forensics, actually, the research part really is uber-fun for me!

      I grew up traipsing about through the Cloisters Children’s Museum, (what has now become Port Discovery in Baltimore, Maryland). Once housed in a castle of sorts in Baltimore County, my best girlfriend’s mom was the director and was also a professional storyteller.

      When my children came about I watched as my mom friends graded papers and filed for the teachers. Rather unfortunate in the organizing department, I hunted out other opportunities to be part of my kiddos’lives and storytelling seemed to me how I could best participate in their education…

      Once they were old enough and didn’t need me about so often, I was encouraged by my husband to look into voice over…

      and boy am I SUPER HAPPY I did!

      Thank you so much for your comment and for taking the time to share about your uncle!

      Very Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 9:52 am
      • Cris – If I’m ever in Baltimore I’ll definitely check out the Cloisters. It sounds like my kind of place! Sadly, I’ve only been to Baltimore once, back when I was 16. I’d say I’m overdue for a visit!

        Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | November 2, 2011, 11:02 am
        • Oh, Becke,
          The Cloisters is really the stuff of books for certain!

          It’s no longer the Children’s Museum, but my bestie and I had the absolute RUN of the place as small people… I simply cannot imagine a better place to have spent my days!

          very best,
          Cris

          Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2011, 11:45 am
  7. Very interesting. I wish I’d had the opportunity to speak with the woman who read my story for Audible, Inc. I had no idea how to contact her, and she never contacted me. Sigh.
    Yours sounds like an interesting way to make a living. REading all day! Kind of like my favorite kind of day, where I get to write all day. Doesn’t happen often enough. Thanks!

    Posted by Barbara Longley | November 2, 2011, 10:00 am
    • Hi Barbara,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      I can’t speak for other narrators, but I certainly feel like a short conversation with the author clears up a slew of pronunciation issues as well as providing me with insight about author and character voices…
      For me, the best narrations come this way…

      I really enjoy what I do… and you’re right… when you love your work, what better way is there to spend a day?

      Very Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 10:15 am
  8. Hi Cris,

    Thank you for joining us at RU! This is such a fascinating insight into your world. I had no idea that narrators talked to the author before recording the story. Very cool.

    When I read out loud for any length of time, my jaw?? starts clicking. Does this ever happen to you or am I weird? LOL

    Have you ever worked with Sourcebooks?

    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | November 2, 2011, 12:13 pm
    • Hi Tracey!

      I don’t know that every narrator speaks to the author first… but I do try…
      and as for my jaw…

      It DOES! It ABSOLUTELY DOES! (and the microphone picks it up like a crack of LIGHTENING!)

      (said in my best announcer voice) And now… Anatomy for the Audiobook narrator… (giggle)

      The jaw, like the rest of our bod is made up of bone and muscle and all sorts of good stuff… and again, just like the rest of our person, those muscles need to be developed in order to function properly for any period of time…

      There are exercises that help strengthen the jaw, and I do those, but also, audiobook narration is like the marathon of voiceover… you have to WORK your way UP to the distance… you don’t want to come out of the gate running 26 miles without training!

      If you read for shorter periods of time, you can gradually work up to reading longer without soreness and clicking.

      I’m good for about 3-4 hours or so before I need to rest the ol’ gob for a bit… (that, by the way, generally lauds about 1.5-2.25 hours of audio… accounting for page turns and lip glossing and mouth spraying and water sipping and ahem… mistakes…).

      and I haven’t worked with Sourcebooks… but I am googling like a MAD PERSON right this minute!

      Thanks for having me here at RU, and for taking the time to comment!

      Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 12:34 pm
  9. Hi Cris. Holy cow, busy day today. Such a great conversation.

    How does an author go about requesting to speak with the reader? I’d love to just be able to chat with my reader for a few minutes and maybe read some dialogue so he/she can get an idea of the character’s voice. That would be awesome!

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | November 2, 2011, 1:00 pm
    • Hey Adrienne!

      I think it’s likely different for every publisher and likely each narrator as well. If you know your readers name, you could simply google them; I know that my contact information is quite easy to find. Beyond that, you could ask the publisher or production house if your narrator could contact you… Also… Facebook might be worth a shot…

      If your narrator is being directed, they may not have as much say in how things are printed, but it’s certainly worth a try!

      Best of luck!
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 3:50 pm
  10. Hi Cris!

    When you’re in the booth, are you reading from the book or are the pages of the book on a teleprompter or screen of some sort?

    My best friend is a casting agent for voiceovers and like you stated, the mic picks up everything. She had an “aging” actor who auditioned for a commercial for a chain of stores and she could hear the tiny “click” of his dentures when he was talking…even though he swore he didn’t wear them. :)

    Is there one genre of book that you prefer to “read” over another?

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 2, 2011, 1:32 pm
    • What great questions!!!
      Hi there Jennifer!
      While it is true that some narrators are beginning to use IPads and second screens to record audiobooks, I think, for the most part, most of us are still using plain ol’ paper.
      When I receive a manuscript, it’s generally on regular computer paper. I set it on my padded stand so that I can read two pages at a time. When I make a mistake , or need to flip a page, if my cell phone rings or I sneeze or sniff, I stop the recording and go back to where the issue occurred and record from there.
      Generally, I am able to record a bit over an hour of audio for every two hours that I am in the booth. Put another way, for every 8 hour book, I likely spend somewhere in the vicinity of 16 hours in the booth.
      Early in my commercial voice recording I was informed that carbonation bubbles from pop can stay between your teeth and gums for up to FOUR HOURS after you drink it making for one SNAP CRACKLE POP of a session!

      Makes a gal wonder what it’s doing in her belly!!!!!

      As far as genres, I’m relatively new to audiobook recording having recorded only children’s lit, romance, and now autobiography…
      Each genre has its own challenges and blessings… I don’t know that I can pick a favorite. I think I really just like the variety and the opportunity to meet each new chapter with fresh eyes and voice…

      Thanks for commenting!

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 4:05 pm
  11. Hi Cris,

    I’ve been reading every word diligently as I’ll be narrating my own book in less than 2 weeks! My background is in television and I’ve done voice over work in commercials, but this is my first “extended stay” in a studio. I wrote down your tips. I had no idea about the tooth paste! (The dairy thing I knew.) I’ve been practicing reading aloud at home and listening to any audio book I can get my hands on when I’m in the car. Any other major tips that I should know?

    Thanks for all the insight and continued success to you!

    Dee J.

    Posted by Dee J. | November 2, 2011, 1:55 pm
    • Well, hey there Dee!

      My very first piece of advice is. Not really my own at all, but rather pirated from Scott Brick, dulcet toned and amazingly brilliant at narration:

      “How do you eat an elephant?” he asked our little group of hopefuls, a cheeky grin spread wide across his face.
      “One bite at a TIME!” he answered himself.

      And it’s so true that I am like to be found writing it over and over as I hit chapter 12 or 14 or 20 of a 28 chapter book. I divide each book that I record into chapters and set a goal of so many chapters each day; that way, an otherwise daunting amount of pages becomes one manageable bite at a time.

      Dee, you’re so welcome to contact me with any questions you might have and I’ll help out if I can or direct you to someone with more experience and knowledge if I can’t!

      Good luck, Dee…
      Take a deep breath and Enjoy the RIDE!

      Best,
      Cris

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 2, 2011, 4:20 pm
  12. Thanks Cris,This was a great interview! I would love to do your job! Being a singer I knew about some of the tricks of the trade…didn’t know about the toothpaste thing tho. I am contemplating recording my mid grade as an audiobook…because I love talking heheheh
    Dee I will link to this in my weekly round up…thanks so much!
    maureen
    New Zealand

    Posted by Maureen Crisp | November 2, 2011, 2:38 pm
  13. Cris -

    This was such a fabulous post and discussion today! And on a topic–believe it or not–brand new to RU :).

    Thanks so much for hanging out with us and educating us on all the ins, outs, clicks, pops and snorts of narrating an audiobook.

    We hope you enjoyed being here with the RU crew!

    Kels

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 2, 2011, 8:46 pm
  14. Cris, wonderful article plus great comments and answers! Thanks.
    I’ve narrated three books so far (a detective mystery and 2 westerns) and absolutely love the chance to BE each of the characters!
    I might have missed it but how did you get hired for your narration jobs? – ACX, agent, online site, publisher?
    Thanks again for sharing!!
    Barry

    Posted by Barry Campbell | November 4, 2011, 12:33 pm
    • Hi Barry,
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.
      I’m fairly new at voiceover and audiobook narration, but for me, the answer is really yes, yes, and yes.
      Like most voiceover folks, I try to have more than one venue for getting jobs.
      ACX is a great one, the online sites have lauded some work, I sent my demo to a few of the publishers, but really, like most anything in life, I’ve had great opportunities to make real and genuine connections with people… I put out there what I want to be doing, and so far, that’s worked not only to provide me with work, but more importantly, to provide me with some really amazing friends.

      Best of luck Barry!

      CD

      Posted by Cris Dukehart | November 4, 2011, 1:18 pm
  15. A very modest article written by one of a small number of extremely gifted audiobook narrators.

    Cris makes her job sound easy and that is one thing it isn’t.

    A regal bow to someone who does something I could never do.

    Posted by Philip Banks | November 4, 2011, 4:13 pm
  16. Fabulous! And you write so well, I look forward to hearing you read your own book some day!

    Posted by Angela Huffman | November 7, 2011, 9:16 am
    • Cris is a natural at both narrating and writing. Somewhere in her “next lifetime” we can hope she DOES write her own book to record for our listening pleasure. Maybe it will begin with a scene featuring the encounter by a fresh faced young lass with a Faded Rose Spinster residing in a stone cottage…..possibilities abound, Cris!

      Posted by SARAH JANE HEATER | March 6, 2012, 6:27 am

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  1. [...] talented Cris Dukehart, the voice of my audio book, in New York City last summer. BTW, Cris did a great interview at Romance University recently where she explained what her book narrator job is [...]

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