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Interview with a Narrator: Ben Patrick Johnson


Narrator Ben Patrick Johnson

Ben Patrick Johnson narrated Path of Lucas: The Journey He Endured

by author Susanne Bellefeuille and it is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.

Hi Ben,


Thank you so much for connecting with us today! We are excited to learn more about the voice behind this book!


First, some particulars:

Your Name:

Ben Patrick Johnson


Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:

Path of Lucas: The Journey He Endured


What City do you live in?

Palm Springs, California


Now for the cool stuff.  Here goes!


IHS: What was your favorite part about narrating this particular book?


Ben: I loved the sweetness of the story and hope I was able to convey it for the author.


IHS: How did you get into narrating audiobooks?  Did you fall into it or was it planned?


Ben: I have been a voice-over narrator for three decades, mostly in movie trailers and promos. It never occurred to me to try audiobooks until about five years ago. Once I started narrating them, I was hooked.


IHS: The Audibook community is blessed to have you! Moving on, do you have a theater background?  Is it something you think is necessary to be a success as a narrator?


Ben: I studied theatre in college and have done projects and readings throughout my adult life. I think a bonafide actor has a big jump on someone with a pretty voice but no real acting chops.

IHS: Were you an audiobook listener before you started narrating?


Ben: I used to have a house in the mountains and it was a 2 1/2 hour drive each way to Los Angeles. I made that commute often and audiobooks of classic American novels made the drive tolerable.

IHS: Narrators seem to each have their favorite niche or genre, and things they don’t like to get into.  What kinds of books do you stay away from?


Ben: I accepted a gig to read a volume of erotica. About a quarter of the way through the project I realized it was not for me. I bowed out with apologies.


IHS: Has anyone ever recognized you as a narrator from your voice?


Ben: Yes. I’m blessed and cursed by having a distinctive voice. I’m asked daily if I work in radio, or have ever thought of pursuing voice-overs. I smile and say, “Yes."


IHS: Learning to narrate audiobooks can sometimes feel like going through the school of hard knocks.  What was a the most unexpected lesson you got in your early narrating career?


Ben: Be organized, organized, organized. Never throw away any version of anything. I had a chapter for a book, was given notes and re-tracked. The author asked to go back to version one, which I had brilliantly deleted. No, no. Keep every version. “Save as…” is your friend.


IHS: Let’s talk reviews.  Do you read your reviews and listener comments?


Ben: I try to avoid it. Except that’s a total lie. Like nearly everyone else, I Google myself and look at as many comments and reviews as I can find.


IHS: Do you research an author and book before taking on a project?  If so, what do you most want to see?


Ben: I thoroughly read the sample pages, and I go on major bookseller sites for synopsis and reviews. I want to see a good review. I want to see the potential for the book to be a franchise, so that a successful first audiobook could lead to a string of successes.


IHS: Once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins.  What do you do to spread the word about a new audiobook release?


Ben: I use social media. I blast the new audiobook and talk it up. This has proven successful!


IHS: What were you most worried about when starting out as a narrator?  Did the worry happen or was it unjustified?


Ben: I was worried about being overwhelmed, about not being able to finish a project. But all it requires is taking things in bite-sized pieces. In an audiobook, a few pages at a time, or maybe fifteen minutes of recording.


IHS: And, as a follow up, what should you ACTUALLY have been most worried about instead??


Ben: The biggest challenge for me is project management: allocating and enforcing my own schedule to get recording done, making sure all review/fixes are dropped in and annotated correctly, managing audio file formats, etc.


IHS: So now, what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming a narrator?


Ben: Do this only if you’re passionate about audiobooks. It’s hard work, takes a long time, and while you can make a bundle off a bestseller, the financial rewards of narrating an audiobook are often tiny.


Be patient, both with the auditioning process as well as production once you book your first audiobook. Enjoy each step of the path.


IHS: Great advice! Finally, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook?


Ben: Find a narrator who conveys the music of your words. This is your jazz. Choose acting skill over the sound of the voice. Get a real storyteller.


Thank you so much for your input!  


Ben's Top 10 Reasons to Be An Audiobook Narrator (or NOT):


PRO

Bragging Rights

Free books!

Posture practice

Pride of performance

Vocal workout


CON

Stuck in tiny room

Long sessions

Tired voice

Edit, edit, edit

Make $1.57


You must do it for the love of the craft.


IHS: Social Media links for you that we can share with our fans so they can find out more about you:

Facebook - facebook.com/benpatrick90069

Instagram - instagram.com/benpatrick90069

Twitter - twitter.com/benpatrick90069


One Paragraph Narrator Bio:


Ben Patrick Johnson is an American voice-over actor, novelist and LGBT activist living in California. His voice is heard on network television and he has narrated hundreds of movie campaigns over the past 20 years. Johnson’s books range from mainstream LGBT fiction to historical women’s literature. A survivor of homelessness and addiction, Johnson is a fitness enthusiast and has a robust social media presence.


There you go folks, amazing narrator Ben Patrick Johnson - a truly great performer.



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