Interview with a Narrator: Drew Bott

Narrator Drew Bott
Narrator Drew Bott

Drew Bott recently completed Future Discovered: Host Saga, Book 1 by Author Micahel J. Farlow. It is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.

Hi Drew,

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:

Drew Bott

Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:

Future Discovered: Host Saga, Book 1 by Author Michael J Farlow

What City do you live in?

Riverton, WY

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

Drew: I really enjoyed reading the story. The reason I auditioned was I found the idea interesting and the author’s audition script really got me hooked.

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

Drew: I really just needed something to do in the winter when my regular job slowed down and this was a perfect fit. My wife suggested that I give it a try and – boom – here we are!

IHS: Do you have a theater background? Is it something you think is necessary to be a success as a narrator?

Drew: I don’t have a theater background but I do have a sports broadcasting background. Broadcasting is similar to narration because you have to tell the story so someone can get the feeling through your voice. Anybody can just read a book and anybody can just give the details of what’s going on during a basketball game but the great ones make you feel excited, nervous, tense and a host of other emotions. I find that challenging and it’s something I really want to improve upon. So, no, I don’t think theater is vital for audiobook success.

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

Drew: Yes I was. I use Audible a lot and will even grab a book on CD from our local library every now and then.

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?

Drew: I will avoid romance for sure. I also really don’t enjoy profanity when it can be avoided. I always consider my 3 daughters when choosing to audition for a book. If I don’t want them to say it then I shouldn’t either. But it’s tough to find that balance sometimes.

IHS: So… authors are kind of a unique breed of humans. Any funny stories about working authors? Drew: I think they believe narrators can read minds. I have learned you must ask a LOT of questions before beginning, especially if the author is expecting multiple voices. It can be very frustrating to read 3 chapters, submit them and find out the author thought Character ‘A’ was going to sound different. So ask, ask and ask again.

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

Drew: I have had friends say they have found me on Audible but I’ve never heard if it was from voice recognition or not. It would be cool if they did!

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

Drew: Don’t assume anything. Ask a lot of questions and don’t feel bad if you need to clarify something more than once.

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

Drew: I sure do. I really want to know if there is something I did well and if there is something I can improve. If people like my style then it gets me eager for another book. If people offer criticism then I know I have something to either improve or it may be a sign that I’m not going to be great in that genre. The key is never get offended but learn. Even a mean-spirited comment can be a learning tool if you allow it to be.

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

Drew: I do, yes. If I see that fans like him or her and that they have a clean writing style it helps me know whether I should work with them or not. I look for a generally happy person. Seriously, no one wants to work with a grouch!

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?

Drew: Honestly, not much and that’s something I need help with. I am not a big social media guy and I need to be better in order to help the author out. I’m just not sure where to start!

IHS: Any audiobook haters in your friends or family? People who are avid “page-turners” or those who think listening to audiobooks is not really reading? What do you say to them?

Drew: My brother just recently got into audio books and loves it. Most my other siblings don’t really read much so I don’t think they have an opinion. I probably wouldn’t listen to them anyway!

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

Drew: The technical stuff – good recording room, nice mic, editing software, etc. Thankfully it was much easier than I thought and it helps that my brother works for a major university in Utah and does this for a living.

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

Drew: Asking more questions! Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough. I needed to ask more questions and do some research. The worst experience so far is having someone post a book which they didn’t own that I auditioned for, got the part, recorded the whole thing, got it uploaded to Audible and then found out the real author had already posted his book. It was very frustrating so, again, ASK QUESTIONS!

IHS: Ouch! That's really frustrating! Moving on... what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming a narrator?

Drew: Give it a shot. Many people really have a great talent for it and would be perfect for some books.

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

Drew: Proofread! Sometimes I’m not sure how to read a sentence or paragraph because of a misplaced comma or period. It’s not a huge deal but it definitely influences me when I see poor diction, poor punctuation and poor grammar. If I see the author has taken the time to properly format and proofread then I’m far more likely to audition.

Okay, now. We'd like to know your Top Ten Audiobooks:

  • The Eighty-Dollar Champion (fantastic story that really got to me)

  • Crashing Through (I had no idea you could see blind!)

  • Killing the Rising Sun (great WWII history)

  • Killing the SS (fascinating backstories from WWII greatest criminals)

  • Born To Run (simply awesome book on human endurance)

  • Leonardo DaVinci (superb biography about a fascinating historical figure)

  • The Lost City of the Monkey God (I sometimes wish I were an early explorer too!

  • The Professor and the Madman (I love words and this was simply an incredible story)

  • The Girls of Atomic City (lots I did not know about WWII and the atomic bomb)

  • Devotion (a wonderful story about 2 friends in wartime)

Narrator Bio:

I love to read and it seemed a natural fit to read for others. I love history and non-fiction but enjoy a good story when I find one.

IHS: Perfect! Thank you so much for your time today, Drew!

Folks, we give you: Drew Bott, an amazing narrator!



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