A few weeks ago, I received a letter of inquiry from a potential narrator. It contained four questions that the person wanted answered:
3. Per year, the number of books a narrator submits is:▢ fewer than 10 ▢ greater than ten (on average)4. A good narrator can expect an annual income of:$ __________
Today let's look at question three:
3. Per year, the number of books a narrator submits is:
☑ fewer than 10 ☑greater than ten (on average)
That's right, the answer is both! But before we get to the explanation, we need to go back to the idea of the quota which seems to underpin this question (reference the word "submits.") There is no narrator factory of people churning out titles to meet a quota. Books are cast, meaning that the casting director looks at the book and determines who might be the best candidate(s) for that title and then, either arranges for auditions or, contacts the narrator to check on the narrator's willingness and availability. If the casting director has six Amish Romance novels on his desk, chances are that s/he is not going to be calling a British male narrator to get them done. The casting of an audiobook is primarily based on the appropriateness of narrator's voice for the book at hand; not on producing six titles per se.
It's also a mistake to tie the idea of narrator excellence to the number of books that s/he read in any given year. Scott Brick, Grover Gardner and, Simon Vance have each recorded more than ten titles in 2011; but Jim Dale, Anthony Heald and Kevin Kenerly have narrated less than ten in 2011. There are also a lot of sucky narrators (who I am NOT going to name - and please if you're a narrator reading this and you don't see your name mentioned, that does NOT mean I think you're sucky! Or maybe it does... Anyway... ) that seem to getting work as well. Any number of factors drives the number of titles that they produce for any audiobook publisher, including but not limited to:
- appropriateness of voice to the material
- narrator availability
- narrator willingness
- author/publisher approval
- narrator/studio cost
So yeah, more than ten? less than ten? It all depends on the books and the narrators.
Next week on The Pink Chair :
"Please, sir, I want some more."