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Bill Lord, Narrator

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  • Bill Lord

This May Be the Biggest Mistake in the Business of Audiobooks

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Whoo boy. I sure know how to make mistakes. In fact, I challenge you to find another individual who has made more than I have! In the business of audiobooks, I’ve pretty much made them all. Sure, I have the knowledge, the tools, and some even say the talent, but I was never able to put it all together and create the smooth-running machine of a well-managed business. Let’s just say I’ve always been a spontaneous kind of guy whose ADHD-inspired squirrel chasing is of epic proportions. Oh, and let’s not forget the whole Imposter Syndrome thing, which is exactly what I consider to be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made I this industry. Not having the confidence to believe I’m as capable as my colleagues created a creative mental block that has kept me from enjoying as much success as I could have. How do I know this?

Recently, a health issue kept me out of the booth for a few months. No worries, all is well. But I have something called SUNCT headaches. I can never remember what that stands for, so I Googled it: Short-lasting, Unilateral, Neuralgiform headache attacks with Conjunctival injection and tearing. A mouthful, huh? What it means is that there’s a ring of burning fire that wraps around my skull for most of the day. (Please cue Johnny Cash.) For good measure, every five minutes or so, it feels like someone jabs an ice pick somewhere in my head. It’s great fun but I’m beginning to feel much better.

With all that idle time let’s just say there’s been plenty of available time for reflection. Instead of narrating, my thoughts have been occupied with pathways to grow as a narrator and business owner. And I have to say, the actual process of self-reflection sucks. Yet, I think if you’re doing it right, you’ve got to confront your demons. This means being brutally honest with yourself and it’s not easy to take that hard of a look at oneself in the mirror. But, after a while the lights went on and I knew what I had to do. A plan began to take hold and I began approaching my days with the same excitement and motivation as when we first created the Nothing Rhymes with Orange Studio in 2013.

I examined every aspect of my business model and looked for ways to improve. For example, I felt it was time to update our look, so I designed a new logo. I also learned a new web design platform (actually two) and built a shiny new website. Of course, that necessitated the need for new audiobook samples. I'm updating my social media channels, tweaked my audio chain, and updated my CRM so I can stay in touch with the folks I need to stay in touch with. I'm reviewing my monthly business and marketing goals, and even my rate. Most importantly, I'm reviewing and rewriting my business plan. When it comes to retooling the biz, no stone will be left unturned. So, with a new outlook, new tools, and a new look, I’m back to reaching out to publishers and authors so I can get busy again and make up for lost time.

But back to the subject at hand – what my biggest mistake has been. Quite simply, it was not trusting myself or my abilities. I’ve come to realize the biggest mistake anyone can make in the business of audiobooks is to carry around a lack of self-confidence the size of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. When we read, we need to understand the author’s words and form an emotional connection to the subtext, or why the words are being said. Then, using our voices and hearts, we find a way to bring these words to life through authentic, believable characters. It’s an art form that isn’t always easy. To be wonderful storytellers, a narrator needs to be bursting with the confidence to interpret the words, develop the characters, and tell the story well. Anything less than that will fall short in the listeners ears. If you too have been a victim of the dreaded Imposter Syndrome, think of it like this. No matter where you are in your creative journey, unless you’re the worst the world has ever seen, you’ll always be better than someone else. Inversely, there is always room to grow and become a better businessperson and storyteller…and you will when you believe you can, and put in the hard work to make it happen.

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