Hi. My name is Alexia Vernon, and I’m launching a new career as an audiobook narrator.
Okay, maybe not. With that said, my three days recording my audiobook were hands-down my favorite part of my book journey thus far – and, I don’t think I’m exaggerating, three of the best days of my entire entrepreneurship journey.
It’s taken me a few days to conclude why last week was so pleasurable, and I’ve come up with three chief reasons.
1. I partnered with the best audiobook producer in the world – Penguin Random House Audio. From the moment that I walked into the studio and saw pictures of a range of luminaries, from First Lady Michelle Obama and President George W. Bush to Brooke Shields and Joan Rivers, I knew I had the right partner to help me share Step into Your Moxie’s unique voice and themes at the intersections of self-help, vocal empowerment, public speaking, women’s leadership and humor (at times, sass!). Or what I like to call, and as I say on my T-shirt, Moxilicious[ness].
My producer, Andrea Kaufman, felt like a sister from another mister. She knew exactly how to elicit my best, most well-rounded performance. She gave me permission and the space not only to say my words but also to harness the meaning from each of my words. I got to use my whole vocal register, playing with pacing, pitch, and tone. Andrea knew when I needed a break, how to hold space with and for me during emotional moments in the text, and gave me performance notes in a way that made sense, I could act on, and that made me feel like a rock star.
2. I created a new, exciting chapter in my story about my voice. My literal voice. As you may have read, during my annual event in 2018, The Spotlight MasterTreat, I developed laryngitis day one and powered through it as well as a horrible sore throat and vocal spasms for three days. While I knew the laryngitis was from the upper respiratory infection I was incubating, the episode still gave rise to a fear: What if I have sloppy vocal technique? There’s nothing like speaking for three days straight, bringing your full self to every syllable of every word you speak, and ending the experience with a strong voice and as much vocal color as you started with, to assure you that your voice is just fine. All of the throat coat tea, dairy-free soup, tongue twisters, vocal resonator exercises, and so forth really did (do) make a difference! (Note: Every day when I ended, I let my voice rest. I chose not to see friends or family while I was in Los Angeles in the evenings. I eliminated dairy and alcohol and minimized gluten and sugar while recording. And while I couldn’t avoid working for a couple of hours each night, I also gave myself at least three hours of a mental break where I read for pleasure – novels, no non-fiction!)
3. I rekindled my love of performing. Prior to launching my speaker coaching business, I spent half a decade as a theatre artist, theatre educator, and performance artist. While I strive to bring theatricality into all of my presentations and support my clients to bring theatricality into theirs, it’s been at least a decade since I’ve had three full days working with a producer performing stories and being directed. There’s a reason the majority of books are narrated by professional actors. It’s super performative work and even has its own set of awards. (I had no idea there are Audie® Awards. One of my favorite authors, Lindy West, was a finalist in the Business/Self-Improvement category for her narration of Shrill in 2017.) I loved hearing my words come to life aloud (versus in my head). With that said, I did write a lot of my book by “walking and talking” my words and then sitting down to write afterward. This allowed me to write the way I speak, and it no doubt contributed to why I found it so much fun to record the book.
While I don’t plan to author another book for at least a few years, for I have a lot of other creative projects I’m excited to birth and want to enjoy more spaciousness in my life than writing, editing, and marketing a book has allowed, which means I also won’t be narrating another audiobook any time soon, I’m chewing on a few ideas for some new, more intimate live events where I work with entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and speakers on character development, vocal technique, comedy, and storytelling. Stay tuned!