Narrator Update – Karen Commins

Eargasms Narrator Spotlight Update Karen Commins


Hi, April! I hope you’re well and have enjoyed this past year as much as I have. Thanks so much for inviting me back to your site to share my latest news with your readers!

Whatcha been up to since last year?

During 2015, I’ve drastically increased my efforts to help authors and publishers with a backlist understand the audiobook production process and get more of their titles into audio!

I started the year by creating and, of course, narrating a 41-minute video Setting Sail In Audiobooks that explains reasons every author should have audiobooks and offers concrete suggestions for writing with audio in mind and using to create audiobooks. I also created and narrated a 3-minute video that demonstrates Amazon’s Whispersync between the Kindle ebook and Audible audiobook.

In June, my friend and fellow narrator Ann M. Richardson and I had the great joy of launching InD’ear, our featured column about audiobook production, in InD’tale Magazine, a celebrated publication for indie authors and publishers. My articles appeared in the June, October, and November issues. I’ll be discussing audiobook marketing promotion ideas in the February issue and hope your readers will find it useful.

I’m currently developing a new web site as a home for even MORE of my articles, as well as a curated resources list! I expect it to go on-line within the next few weeks.

Even with the expanded assistance to authors, I continue to develop content to help my fellow narrators.

My A VOICE Above The Crowd blog continues to serve as a resource to other voice talent and narrators. I added 18 new articles, including 2 interviews with audiobook bloggers. (Your readers will remember that my interview with you kicked off this fun and interesting series of posts!)

One article that has been particularly popular with both narrators and authors is How to Afford Your Editor, Proofer, or Narrator TODAY.

Narrators have also appreciated these 2 videos that I created and narrated this year:


Finally, I started and maintain an FAQ for the very active Facebook Group ACX Narrators and Producers. (Anyone may read the questions, but the links to most of the answers may be read only by group members.)


New Links In My Discography

Rest assured, my writing and video production activities are mere extensions of my greatest passion, which is audiobook narration! I’m delighted to announce I released 8 new audiobooks in 2015!

My first release of 2015 was BLY VS BISLAND: BEATING PHILEAS FOGG IN A RACE AROUND THE WORLD, which the talented Melissa Reizian Frank narrated with me. It was a very special narration project, and the story behind the story still gives me chills!

In addition, I performed:

  • cozy mysteries — DEAD PAN by Gayle Trent and ONE HOOF IN THE GRAVE by Carolyn McSparren
  • suspense and romantic suspense — DEADLY BLESSINGS by Julie Hyzy and WHAT SHE DOESN’T SEE by Debra Webb
  • history –THE STORY OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY by Benjamin Levine and Isabelle Story, THE TRIAL OF SUSAN B ANTHONY by Ann D. Gordon, and Susan B. Anthony’s famous 1873 speech IS IT A CRIME FOR A US CITIZEN TO VOTE

You can hear samples of my 2015 releases in this Soundcloud playlist:

Upcoming Projects

In January, I’ll be narrating a wonderful 1896 interview between Nellie Bly and Susan B. Anthony, who are each fascinating ladies. I’m excited to bring their words to life! I also have a historical book about the Eiffel Tower on tap for narration.

After years of thinking about it, I’m finally compiling my writing into a book tentatively titled IF YOU WANT MY ADVICE. I’ve written countless helpful entries on a variety of topics, both on-line and in my private journals. I’m reviewing all of them for their possible inclusion in the book. Naturally, you can expect that I will narrate an audiobook edition of the book as well!


The first 3 people who leave a comment may have their choice of audiobook from among my and my husband Drew’s titles! The books can be viewed at this link:


Happy holidays to all, and best wishes for radiant health and unimagined prosperity in 2016!

23 Responses

  1. Jen B says:

    What do find is the hardest part of narrating books?

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hi, Jen B! Thanks so much for the very interesting question!

      The hardest part of narrating audiobooks is creating a performance that is true to the author’s intent and vision for the book.

      The author chose every word very carefully. It’s a challenge to even say all of the words that are on the page as they are written without changing, transposing, adding or subtracting any of them.

      In addition, a narrator has to understand all of the relationships and context so that we also deliver each word with the appropriate emotion and inflection. I’m pretty sure that the person who coined the idiom “read between the lines” must have been an audiobook narrator!

      Please send me an email to and let me know which of my or my husband’s books you’d like to have as my gift to you!

      Thanks again, and happy new year!

      Karen Commins

  2. nrlymrtl says:

    It’s great that you put so much information out there on how to make audiobooks, etc. I know that as just a listener, I don’t really know how much work goes into making an audiobook. Do you plan to continue with interviewing audiobook bloggers?

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hi, Nrlymrtl! I love to do interviews with audiobook bloggers! These interviews have been very popular, and I definitely want to have many more of them next year.

      Would you consider being my first interviewee of 2016? Your site looks most impressive, and it would be my pleasure to bring your work to a new audience!

      In the meantime, please send an email to me at with your choice of my or my husband’s books as my gift to you!

      Thanks for your interest, and happy new year!

      Karen Commins

  3. Mary C. says:

    When talking to authors and publishers about getting backlists produced, is the format discussed (download, CD, MP3 CD) discussed?

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hello, Mary C.! My discussions are usually with indie authors and small to mid-size publishers. As a result, most of these people don’t want to create CDs due to the high costs of production, distribution, and storage.

      Furthermore, consumer surveys of audiobook buyers increasingly reveal a preference for downloadable media. This finding is no surprise since we’ve become a mobile society that is addicted to our smart phones and tablets.

      The Big 5 traditional print publishers and larger audio publishers may produce CDs of some, but not all, titles. Any titles that are produced on CD are generally in CD Audio rather than MP3 format.

      I attended a webinar a few months ago where the senior vice president from Penguin Random House Audio (PRHA) stated that they had never published an MP3 CD in their history. They never felt it was a format that was big enough that a consumer looking at a book shelf would know the difference. She commented that they have had great success with the Findaway Playaway devices, which she said are a good bridge between CDs and digital media.

      In that same webinar, the Harper Collins vice president said they had tried MP3 CDs but hadn’t created one in a long time. From a marketing standpoint, MP3 CDs are challenging because:

      — You had to communicate the type of device you’d play it on. (Presumably, they also received an increase of support calls.)
      — The spine is thin because it’s a DVD box, which made it harder to see a title on a shelf with other audiobooks.

      I was surprised to hear that Harper Collins actually created an ** LP ** (remember those?) version of Amy Poehler’s book. The executive noted that LPs are popular with young people, so I feel sure this book was an experiment that won’t be repeated with a general fiction audiobook.

      Thanks for the interesting question! If you’d like to have one of my or my husband’s audiobooks as my gift to you, please send me an email at with your choice of title.

      Happy new year, and happy listening!

      Karen Commins

  4. Susan T. says:

    Thank you so much for encouraging authors and publishers to get their backlist books done in audio! I wish every book could have an audio version. Are there any authors that you would really like to take the leap into audio who haven’t yet?

    • Karen Commins says:

      Greetings, Susan T.! I’m with you — I wish every book could have an audio version!

      Up until recently, only about 5% of all books had audio editions due to the production costs. I don’t have concrete numbers to back me up, but I don’t think more than 10% of all books have an audio edition.

      With such an incredible array of books to be recorded, I’d rather not name names of authors I’d like to see in audio. Instead, I’d encourage every avid reader to let their favorite author(s) know that the audiobook is too important an edition to ignore! And, of course, if an author wants to know how to produce an audiobook, you know I’d love to help them get started! 😉

      If you see any audiobooks that my husband or I narrated that you would like to hear, just send me an email to with the title. I would be delighted to send it to you as my gift.

      Thanks for the great question, and happy new year!

      Karen Commins

  5. Sophia Rose says:

    That’s neat that you have taken on projects to educate and promote audio books. Much needed I’m sure.

    Happy New Year, Karen!

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hi, Sophia Rose! Thanks for your kind comments about my educational projects! I feel increasingly compelled to help authors and am excited about the new avenues for collaboration and audiobook production.

      If you’d like to have one of my or my husband’s audiobooks as my gift to you, please send me an email at with your choice of title.

      Thanks again for the nice note, and happy new year!

      Karen Commins

  6. Ed Phillips says:

    Putting together a book is a great idea! Go for it! I think it would be distinctly different enough from all of the other V/O books currently on the market. I refer to your website on a regular basis. Happy New Year!

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hi, Ed! Thanks so much for your kind words about my site and my book plans! The book won’t be on voiceover or narration per se. The focus is more on changing your mindset and actions to live the life of your dreams.

      Best wishes for your health, prosperity, and success in 2016!

      Karen Commins

  7. julied says:

    Wishing you and your husband all the best for the future. They all sound so interesting

    • Karen Commins says:

      Greetings, JulieD! I am indeed blessed to go through life with Drew, the hero of my life story! A lot of narrators work alone, so it’s a double blessing that he directs my books.

      Happy new year, and happy listening!

      Karen Commins

  8. Diva Dixie Series sounds like a hoot! Adding it to my TBR Mountain! Happy New Year!

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hello, Michelle! The DIXIE DIVAS series is a hoot and a half! 😉 I heard author Virginia Brown is working on book 6 in the series, and I can’t wait to read and then narrate it!

      Thanks for your interest, and happy new year!

      Karen Commins

  9. Hi Karen. You are new to me as a narrator. I have been looking thru your books though and find many I am adding to wish list. I particularly like your cozy mysteries. Over the past year I have seen the audio book world grow. Do you feel that the social medias have been a plus in these sales? I know for me personally, getting to know authors and narrators means I am more apt to purchase their books.

    • Karen Commins says:

      Hi, Terri! I love cozy mysteries! I’m happy to hear some of my titles are intriguing to you.

      Social media definitely helps sales, especially with the ease of shared clips, reviews, and referrals. The dramatic growth in audiobooks is also due to the changes in technology. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, people no longer have to buy a special device to play audiobooks.

      Thanks for the great question, and best wishes for a wonderful year ahead!

      Karen Commins

  10. Kim BookJunkie says:

    I almost missed you this year Karen! Your name/hyperlink wasn’t on the list and I didn’t see your photo on the Eargasms page so I’m glad to have found your update! Wow you have been busy! CONGRATULATIONS on an amazingly productive year! InD’ear with Ann Richardson sounds interesting as do all of the things you’re doing! Just don’t get sooo busy that you stop narrating! Ha! Nah, I just hope you keep enjoying what you do!
    Happy new year!

    • Karen Commins says:

      Greetings, Kim! I haven’t narrated for Tantor (yet!), so I wasn’t on the original list of narrators with spotlights this month. I’m so glad you found me! 🙂

      I am smiling ear to ear after reading your enthusiastic comments about my “amazingly productive year”! Thank you so much! I enjoy every day and hope that you are also living the life of your dreams!

      Thanks again for your warm note, and blessings to you and yours in 2016!

      Karen Commins