Interview with a Narrator: Mike Lenz

Narrator Mike Lenz
Narrator Mike Lenz

Mike Lenz narrated Chief Leadership Officer – Increasing Wealth So Everyone Profits by Kevin W. McCarthy and it is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.

Hi Mike,

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?

Mike Lenz

Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:

Chief Leadership Officer – Increasing Wealth So Everyone Profits by Kevin W. McCarthy

What City do you live in?

Saratoga Springs, NY

Now for the cool stuff.  Here goes!

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

Mike: Kevin’s writing style really drew me in and I loved that he had characters telling the story rather than being in the first person. As an audiobook narrator it’s always fun to be able to get into a character and for this book I feel this style will really help engage the listener.

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

Mike: It was somewhat planned. A friend told me about ACX and I decided to try out a few auditions. When I was selected to narrate my first title I was thrilled and terrified at the same time! It was a great experience and close to 50 titles later I’m still loving it.

IHS: Close to 5 titles? Wow! What an achievement. Do you have a theater background?  Is it something you think is necessary to be a success as a narrator?

Mike: I don’t have a theater background but I feel it would certainly be a help for narrators, especially if they’re narrating fiction titles. Training with a good performance coach has helped me immensely and I always recommend that new narrators invest in some training.

IHS: Good recommendation. Were you an audiobook listener before you started narrating?

Mike: I’d listened to a few audiobooks but I’ve always been more of an avid reader than listener. I do listen to audiobooks now primarily to learn from the amazing narrators out there.

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?

Mike: I’ve gravitated to non-fiction primarily so far in my career and romance novels have never been particularly interesting to me. I have enjoyed narrating several fiction titles though and that’s always fun.

IHS: So... authors are kind of unique breed of humans. Any funny stories about working with authors?

Mike: No funny stories but I’ve found each author I’ve worked with to be interesting and fascinating in their own way, and I admire writers in general because as an avid reader I’ve always suspected that deep down I’d like to be sitting in my cabin by the lake typing out the next great novel. Right now I’ll settle for narrating it!

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

Mike: Only friends and family.... it's always hard to impress them.

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?

Mike: My first rights holder gave me great advice. She said always prep your book and check pronunciations, especially for a word that appears frequently in the book. I then proceeded to not take her advice and after having to re-record one word about 40 times in the book, I learned my lesson the hard way.

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

Mike: As a rule I don’t read reviews or comments. I give the narration the best I have and I understand that art is subjective and each individual has their own unique tastes. My measuring stick is always what the author or rights holder thinks. If they’re happy I’m happy.

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

Mike: I do a little research prior to auditioning. I want to make sure it’s a book that I will find interesting and certainly if the author has a good following and markets their work well it a bonus.

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?

Mike: Social media is the primary way I market new releases and I typically let my newsletter subscribers know when a new book is out.

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?

Mike: As an avid reader and sometimes audiobook listener I see the value in both. There aren’t any true “haters” in my circles and in today’s fast paced world having access to audiobooks opens up the possibility for listeners to hear great stories, so I’m all for it!

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

MIke: As a novice narrator I used to sweat the technical stuff most of all. Having to fully produce a title goes well beyond narrating. The editing, proofing, and mastering of all the files was a bit stressful in the beginning but having been doing this a while now it doesn’t bother me anymore.

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

Mike: It was important to get a handle on the post-production work early on, but the most important part of being an audiobook narrator is to honor the story and keep the listener engaged.

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

Mike: I would advise new narrators to invest in coaching with a reputable, experienced performance coach. That has made a huge difference in my career.

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

Mike: Don’t be afraid to invest in good narrator, and if financing your audiobook is an issue, don’t be afraid to take advantage of crowd-funding resources like GoFundMe and Patreon.

Thank you so much for your input!  

Mike Lenz' Top 10 Craziest Accomplishments

1. Created 4 amazing children with my equally amazing wife

2. Changed careers after 30 years owning a pharmacy to become a full-time voice actor/audiobook narrator

3. Created a VO Podcast with no experience and grew it to over 2000 downloads per month

4. Served as Mayor of my hometown, Saratoga Springs NY

5. Helped open the Saratoga Springs Resort at Walt Disney World as Mayor

6. Was nominated for a Voice Arts Award for podcast production

7. Was selected as one of eight amateur screenwriters from across NY State to participate in a 10 week intensive screenwriting program at the NY State Writers Institute

8. Set all the passing records for my high school football team (glory days!)

9. Appeared in a world-wide television commercial

10. Convinced my wife to marry me

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

Website -

FB -

IG -

Twitter -

YouTube -

LinkedIn -

Narrator Bio:

Mike Lenz has been an audiobook narrator and voice actor for more than 14 years. Having narrated titles in genres ranging from Fiction, Entertainment, Science, and Children’s to Christian, Business, Self-Help and History, Mike loves bringing non-fiction and fiction stories to life with his engaging, confident, and trustworthy voice.

Mike’s broad background includes voicing commercials, eLearning projects, real estate videos, corporate and web-based videos, and brand imaging, appearing in regional and national television commercials as an on-camera talent and serving as the Mayor of his hometown of Saratoga Springs, NY.

Mike is also a Voice Arts Award nominated podcast producer as well as an author. He is a frequent speaker at Learning and Voice Over conferences.

Mike currently lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.

There you go folks, Mike Lenz - an amazing narrator and great performer.

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