Updated: Jun 2, 2018
Jae Huff just completed Laurel Hill, New Beginnings, Book 1, by Erin Mackey. It is available on iTunes, Amazon and Audible.
Thank you so much for connecting with us today! We are excited to learn more about the voice behind the book!
First, some particulars:
Title of the Book You Just Narrated For Us:
Laurel Hill: New Beginnings Book 1
What City do you live in?
IHS: What was your favorite part about narrating this particular book?
Jae: The sweetness of the story and such a loveable group of girls that I wish I had when I was that age.
IHS: How did you get into narrating audiobooks? Did you fall into it or was it planned?
Jae: Definitely a planned step by step process! I love acting, it’s my emotional outlet but after having a family I didn’t feel right leaving for all the rehearsals and performances that would be needed. I loved listening to podcasts and some mentioned voiceover and audiobooks. I started taking classes and eventually took the plunge and bought all the equipment, made a booth, and started auditioning!
IHS: Do you have a theater background? Is it something you think is necessary to be a
Jae: Yes, I started in middle school and can’t seem to stop! I think it would help considerably to have some theater experience. Some have success without training but it sure helps to have some depth to pull from in such an isolated profession.
IHS: Were you an audiobook listener before you started narrating?
Jae: Yes, I got hooked long ago on my commutes. I would get drowsy and no matter the music or the volume, I struggled. I found some my dad had in the garage and popped it in and it was so engaging. It put me in a totally different mindset when driving. I listen to them when I exercise too!
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?
Jae: Oh for sure anything romantic... or beyond shall we say? :/
IHS: Has anyone ever recognized you as a narrator from your voice?
Jae: No! Never even thought that could happen!
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?
Jae: My first book! Oh man, it was a learning experience. My first book was on Switzerland (I have a background in German and a passion for the country so I was super excited about the book). It was less than an hour so I thought it was a good beginning book. Well, the producer told me that manuscript wasn’t ready, but he had another book if I wanted to do it. I said yes and was sent to manuscript. It went on for over 400 pages! I committed to a 14 hour book as my first and boy was that a huge lesson in my work flow, learning how to pronounce other languages (because Italy, Spain and France all have an influence there), and asking better questions up front!
I have so many stories of how I have grown as a person through this job! I have to stop at that one though.
IHS: Let’s talk reviews. Do you read your reviews and listener comments?
Jae: Yes, but only when I’m feeling brave. It’s that artist curse where your product isn’t what was in your head so it already falls short in your assessment of it. So naturally you believe everyone else will see it that way too. I read for wisdom and critiques that are helpful and see what I can do better.
IHS: Do you research an author and book before taking on a project? If so, what do you most want to see?
Jae: Yes! Lots of books come across that are very poorly written and edited. It makes narrating very hard. At first I was “word for word” but when something doesn’t make sense or is an obvious misspell it needs to be fixed. I feel like that reflects badly on the narrator (even though it’s not my fault!). Once, I narrated one that ended up being a bunch of wikipedia articles. *facepalm* It took a month to finish and I don’t think it sold units. Anyway, I try to avoid those kinds and by doing some due diligence I can avoid most of them.
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?
Jae: I feel like I’m always talking about a project I’m working on. Friends/Family will let me know if they want to know when it comes out. I usually post on my facebook pages too.
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?
Jae: No, no haters. I think most like them; however there is a huge technology hurdle. They don’t want to sit and listen to it on the computer, but that means they need cloud access or being able to access it on their device. Mine haven’t come out on CD and that would be their preferred media.
IHS: What were you most worried about when starting out as a narrator? Did the worry
happen or was it unjustified?
Jae: Getting it right for the author. I think it depends on the person. I’m glad when they write back with critiques. It’s hard because you got it wrong, but I’m so glad they are in the process with me. I’m surprised how many don’t listen to the tracks!
IHS: And, as a follow up, what should you ACTUALLY have been most worried about
Jae: Getting all the expectations from the author up front.
IHS: So now, what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming a narrator?
Jae: Best advice comes from the Amazing Sean Allen Pratt (google/youtube him). He has a test: pick a book, open a random page and read it outloud and everytime you make a mistake start over at the top. Do this for a couple weeks. If you haven’t gone crazy, start taking some classes (edgestudio) and go from there. Also, many narrators record from home so you need to be familiar with that kind of software, too. It’s so much more than just a good voice!
IHS: Finally, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook?
Jae: I think they’ll love hearing their work be put to voice. It comes alive! If they want to diversify their platform and tap another market then they need to at least look into it. There is a small learning curve, so getting a producer or someone who’s done it before would be really helpful. Thank you so much for your input! We’d love to get some more insight on any one of the Top Ten lists below. Please give us your answer, and then tell us WHY in 10 words or less.
Now give us your Top Ten:
Top 10 Reasons I Could Never Be An Author.
2. Sentence structure
3. Subject/verb agreement
4. Writing in general!
5. Others wrote it better before me
6. No passion for it
7. I can’t think of anymore, but I know I haven’t not been given that gift!
8, 9 and 10: God made me to be the voice!
That's awesome! Okay, Jae: Share with us your Social Media links so our fans so they can find out more about you:
Perfect! Thanks for your time today, Jae!