Volunteer With Your Voice

Ever wanted to read an audio book? (I so do, it’s like a fetish almost. I would love to do voice work. It’s bizarre, how fascinated I am with the whole industry.) Or maybe volunteer your time in an entirely new way? Check out LibriVox, where you can volunteer your time, and your sexy voice, to read audio books of works in the public domain. They have a whole process in place where books are announced, chapters are assigned, and voices are collected – so that folks who prefer audio books or who need them for a variety of reasons can access classic writing from poetry to fiction.

So cool. Just as soon as I find the microphone on my laptop and also find a spare hour or so, I am all over that.

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  1. 1
    Tracy Wolff says:

    I’m an actor at heart, Sarah, so I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of doing an audio book.  And as a lit professor, I believe everyone should have access to literature all the time.  I’ll check them out—thanks for the heads up!

  2. 2
    Kathy says:

    I would like to do this too, but I think I sound like a hick.  I have a bit of a drawl, and not the sexy southern kind.  I don’t know if it’s because I travelled alot and picked up different local dialect or what.  Don’t like it at all.

    sound74:  maybe I do sound 74?

  3. 3
    ev says:

    nobody wants to listen to my voice- including me.

  4. 4

    I dislike the sound of my own voice, but others don’t seem to mind – I often get compliments on my out-loud reading. I’ll have to check this out – thanks!

  5. 5
    Jill Shalvis says:

    Now this would be VERY cool.

  6. 6
    pippy says:

    I know the site, it is cool.  Given I am a total fan of audio books because I hate cleaning house and exercising, listening to an audio book makes that and grocry shopping bearable.  And I have thought about volunteering for reading, until my husband pointed out that as much as he loves me, everyone i know agrees that I might have the most unpleasant voice to listen to… The only “good” point about my voice is that I am naturally loud :)

    But seriously, it is a GREAT site, with great books.

  7. 7
    TracyS says:

    Very interesting!  I’ve been told over and over that I have a good “radio voice”. I was in college when I finally asked someone what that meant and he said “sexy” LOLOL basically, I have a deeper voice and that is more pleasant to listen to than a woman with a higher pitched voice. hmmmmmmm I’m fascinated with this idea too Sarah!

  8. 8

    I fear my accent would annoy people.

  9. 9
    Chantel says:

    I really can’t imagine anyone wanting to hear an audio book in my Aussie accent (except perhaps other Australians!), but it is a fantastic project and a really creative, and incredibly cost effective, way to get books into audio format.

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:

    Chantel: As someone who is entirely familiar with the Aussie accent as voiced through the Wiggles, I say, bring it on, mate.

  11. 11
    AgTigress says:

    Chantel – accents are GOOD!  We all have an accent!

    The important thing is for the reader’s accent not to be too much at odds with the content or setting of the book.  I would sound ridiculous reading a book set in Alabama in my British Received Pronunciation – but my accent would do very well for many historicals set in England.

    There are plenty of books set in Australia, and I, for one, would prefer to hear them read with the appropriate intonation.

    I never used to think much about audio books, but now that my elderly mother’s sight is failing, I am beginning to realise how valuable they can be.

  12. 12
    AgTigress says:

    I should add that in the case of non-fiction, where there is usually no need to evoke a particular place, any accent seems perfectly okay to me – as long as the reader can speak reasonably clearly.  Extremely broad accents (e.g. Glasgow, Geordie) could be a problem because some listeners would not be able to understand at all, but most of us can understand the majority of other Englishes when they are spoken with care and clarity.

  13. 13
    Marcy Arbitman says:

    I have been wanting to read on tape for a very long time. THANK YOU for the link!

  14. 14
    Lizbeth says:

    Just a note of caution: my youngest daughter and I have slight but definite speech defects. In normal speech, we just barrel along and most folks never even notice that we don’t use g/k/d/th in the middle of the word.

    In recorded work, on the other hand, it becomes a major annoyance to the listener.  Recorded once, many years ago, but won’t impose myself on anyone’s ears again. 

    (It was great fun til the feedback, though!  And did get my classmate through the course in the days before computers could read to you.)

  15. 15
    Mary Stella says:

    Sarah, years ago I volunteered for NJ’s State Library for the Blind.  I read books, an hour at a time.  The recordings were broadcast over a close circuit channel that was piggybacked on some public broadcast television station.  Even though I had voice over experience from working in radio for several years, I don’t think that was as big a factor as having a pleasant voice and being able to read with enough variety that I wasn’t a droning monotone.  Maybe they still have the program if you want to give it a shot.

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