I recently stumbled upon a podcast called Nerdette from the NPR network, specifically their “Undercover” series. The particular episode that caught my attention was titled “How audiobooks bring a story to life” where host Greta Johnsen delves into the behind-the-scenes world of audiobook production. She interviews professionals from the industry who bring books to life through narration, discussing their unique processes and experiences.
Johnsen introduces us to Sarah Jaffe, an executive producer at Penguin Random House Audio. Jaffe describes her role, which involves reading books, interacting with authors, and casting the perfect voice for each character. The episode also touches on the choice of whether authors should narrate their own books where comedian and author Maeve Higgins shares her experience narrating her own works and highlights the added benefit of being paid for the job. She puts it this way:
“Because I’m a performer and a writer, it was kind of obvious for me. And also, you know, to be crass, Greta, you also get paid. It’s, like, another way of getting paid because whoever narrates the audiobook, you know, it’s a job. So if you do it, then you get the money.”Maeve Higgins
After a little digging around, this episode looks to be a slightly cutdown version of the original episode “Undercover: How Audiobooks Bring a Story to Life” which includes a short intro on the history of audiobooks.
So if you’ve ever wanted a peek behind the curtain of audiobook production, checking out this episode of Nerdette is worth fifteen minutes of your time. You can find it on their website or through your preferred podcast platform.