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Exploring Audio Books Inside and Out with Mike Paine (guest post)

I want to shed some light on what it takes to create an audio book production from a narrator’s first hand perspective and also examine what makes an audio book character come to life. When I audition for a prospective audio book production, I choose a project that has a story that needs to not only be told..but heard as well. I then read an audition script and try a few different takes on my own before submitting one that I believe fits the storyline. If I’m selected to narrate an audio book, I really try to grab the attention of the listener immediately and add a dimension to a story that can only be achieved in an audio book. What does that mean? 
For works of fiction I carefully examine the entire script to see what each character is doing, saying and feeling. That’s key to making a story come to life through sound and for the listener wanting to know more about the characters involved. I never try to make a work of fiction too “perfect” with a flawless narration. I want the listener to believe the character is realistic by stammering when nervous or raising their voice when angered. It’s much harder to do, but the end result is a vibrant story waiting to be heard! 
As for works of poetry, I like to use a soothing approach to stir emotions in each listener. Beautiful thoughts meshed together make an enjoyable experience for the narrator as well as the listener.
Autobiographical pieces require being in tune with what the author wants to convey in their message to you by having the narration serve as a compliment to their story. It’s almost as if I’m saying “listen to this; you really need to know what I’m going to tell you!”.  
A humorous or satirical audio book approach calls for emphasizing those times when thelistener should laugh out loud as well as leave enough pause to let them absorb what they heard before moving on.
Each book is entirely different in the way I approach a narration. Once I get on a “roll” I want to narrate the whole book that moment and I have to stop myself from beingover-anxious! I prefer narrating shorter stories because it allows the listener to really embrace the story and/or characters in a way that captures the imagination. It leaves you wanting more!  In this ever-changing fast paced society, it’s refreshing to know that people from all walks of life love to listen to an audio book to learn, to be inspired or simply as an escape. 
Exploring an audio adventure can open up a whole new world to those who don’t like to read a book in the traditional way or even with a device. It almost channels that inner desire to hear a story told from someone else’s point of view! Since June is Audio Book month, look into an audio book as a new way of hearing a story told or even as a compliment to hear your favorite book come to life! 
A little about me: I first got into voice over work back in 1987 because I thought it would be a fun thing to do. My first job was for a cable television provider in Dallas, Texas when a producer took a chance on a kid. I did cable television voice overs for a restaurant and a printing shop. I have been doing voice overs, audio book narrations and radio broadcasting work ever since! My credits include narrating 21 audio books which you can find on audible.com.  (You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikePaineShow)
My voice over work has been heard worldwide and ranges from the voice of Santa for a children’s app, the voice of Socrates for an animated training course and even a movie trailer as an Italian mob don (in English AND Italian!). I do all of my narrating and voice work from my home studio which allows me to create without the confines of a 9 to 5 environment. 
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the audiobook world!

Karen’s note: I have never used Audible.  I check audio books out from my library – it’s pretty convenient because I go there several times a week. Plus, I don’t have to spend money on I book I may not like.  But I know someone who does use Audible, and she has been very happy with the service.  If I like a book, I don’t usually go out and buy the audio but buy the actual book to keep in my collection.  Listening to an audio book is how we ended up buying the complete Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter at my house.

Do you listen to audio books?  Where do you get yours?  Tell us in the comments.

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