Written by
Karen Commins
Written on
14 Oct 2019
Published in
Categories are coming soon

An audiobook project manager recently asked me why I created Was it simply a labor of love? Looking back, I can connect the dots and see this site has been in my destiny for quite a while and is a natural evolution and expansion of things I’ve been doing.

When I worked my day job in IT, I planned software, hardware, and wiring purchases, installations, and upgrades and solved daily operational problems. Other network administrators asked my advice when they’d run out of options in troubleshooting difficulties like an inoperable email server. In addition to helping my peers with technical issues, I wrote software tips for the users every week for over 5 straight years.

Soon after starting my voiceover business in 1999, I created my first web site. Other people found me on-line and began asking me how to get into voiceover, so I created an Advice pageThat advice page and the emails I kept receiving led me to start my blog.

Once I got back into audiobooks after launched, I found myself answering questions from new narrators in Facebook forums. Over time, I created an extensive FAQ in one group. I’ve become well known for being the Queen of Links since I provide so many of them on-line and throughout my articles. Assimilating info from a wide variety of sources, organizing it into categories, and disseminating this curated content in ways people can use is my super power!

After noticing how positively other narrators responded to my advice, one of my mentors frequently told me that I should write a book containing all of the information I freely shared. I resisted that suggestion, in part because I felt a book wouldn’t reach the right audience and would be difficult to update so that the material would remain fresh.

At the 2018 Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC),  I realized  I needed to create a new web site to aid narrators! I decided part of it would be free, and part would be a membership site.

In addition to the all of the information I typically disseminate through my articles and links to other sites, I also knew that some things aren’t easily found on-line. For starters, narrators were re-inventing the wheel to discover both training and networking events they could attend and bloggers who would write thoughtful reviews of their audiobooks.

In addition, experienced narrators constantly needed ready information to pass on to newcomers who asked questions about how to get started in the field. Why not create one comprehensive list of resources to answer them?

Although I earned an MS in computer information systems and worked in technical IT positions for 25 years, I never wanted to develop my new membership site. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should!

I discussed my ideas with Joe Davis at Voice Actor Websites soon after arriving home from APAC, and we started implementing my planned site toward the end of the year.

Phase 1 was a splash page that was overflowing with articles, books, videos, and links to help newcomers learn how to be a narrator. We launched it on 19 January 2019 so it would be available for people who attended the APA’s open webcast on 22 January title What I Wish I Knew

Busy narrators have told me that they are relieved to have the comprehensive set of resources about becoming a narrator on the home page. Rather than spending their time to craft a helpful answer, they love the speed and ease of referring newcomers to this site.

Phase 2 would be the roll-out of the full site, complete with a knowledge base, comprehensive event calendar, reviewers directory that is searchable by genre, and video courses.

I spent this past summer writing new articles for the Knowledge Base and creating an incredible list of helpful links on the Welcome Center page. My husband Drew and I have researched and added to the site calendar color-coded, world-wide events in 8 categories (!), as well as detailed information about audiobook reviewers. I'm still developing the first video course on iAnnotate.

The full site launched on 16 September 2019, and I could not be more excited about this tremendous accomplishment!  The exuberant response from narrators at all levels has bee most gratifying. The site has more links than even I thought possible — and that's saying something!

I asked the developers to include an Easter Egg, which is a special object that is significant to me. A web site Easter Egg can be described as an object that has something significant to it, may be hiding in plain site, and usually is unexpectedly clickable. Only 1 person found it during the Grand Opening contest. If you find it, send me an email to claim a free 1-month subscription! 

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