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VOICE-OVER CAREER
Karen Commins Celebrates 20 Years In Voice-Over 
& Audiobooks By Sharing '20 Things I've Learned' 
October 25, 2019

Note: The author is a long-time voice actor, audiobook narrator, blogger and tremendous info resource. Reprinted below with permission, her recent blog about achieving 20 years in this biz - congratulations! - is loaded with links to what she's learned in this "remarkable evolutionary journey" ...

By Karen Commins
Voice Actor & Audiobook Narrator

Happy 20th anniversary to me!

I launched my voice-over business 20 years ago. Since my last post was about using my journal, it's only appropriate that this one goes back to where it all began, my first entry in my first book:     

Saturday 8/28/1999
9:25pm
I'm spending my evening copying the CD of my first voice-over demo with the plan to mail a few to agents on Monday. How I got to this point and where I go from here will be the subject of this journal.
Friday 9/3/99
10:15pm
On Wednesday, September 1, 1999, I mailed 3 CDs to [3 Atlanta VO agents]. It was such a huge step, and I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment and excitement to have pushed the dream out to people who could do something about it!  
 REMARKABLE JOURNEY ...

The past 20 years have been a remarkable evolutionary journey, to say the least!

As I was reflecting on all that I've seen, read, written, voiced, and otherwise done in that time, I decided a blog post of 20 things I've learned would be a great way to celebrate this milestone.  

So here's the list, in no particular order. By the way, you'll find more private journal entries sprinkled throughout these articles,

1) As I wrote in my journal on 8/30/99, all of your family or friends won't necessarily support you in your efforts to follow your dreams. That's okay. People are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

2) Like so many people, I mailed my first demo to VO agents without first establishing I was a marketable commodity who could offer them something they didn't already have among the people they represent.

3) My library has a smorgasbord of material that will help me move forward in this career.

4) Every freelance voice talent/audiobook narrator needs a website so people can find you. You wouldn't believe how many times I see people asking on Facebook for contact info for a certain audiobook narrator. For what it's worth, I'm on version 4 of my website, and it probably won't be my last.

5) Being a creative person in the public eye means that bad reviews go with the territory. If the reviews reveal a trend, it's time to work with a coach to improve. Otherwise, shrug off the criticism.


7) If you don't have work, create your own, and then do it again.

8) When the idea fairy hands you an inspired idea, act quickly, because ideas love speed.

9) People who are price shoppers will cause you to spend the most time on their project, aren't easily satisfied, brag to their friends about beating you down on price, and are often the slowest to pay. I don't compete on price, but instead market my strengths to prospective clients.

10) I've read a lot about the Law of Attraction. I constantly must remind myself to not complain and instead think/speak/write what I want into existence.

11) I'm naturally an organized person, but creating and using a central repository for ideas was a game changer.

12) Every passion shouldn't necessarily lead to a career choice, but the ones that do can fill you with boundless joy and an incredible sense of accomplishment!

13) As a strong introvert, I have a lot of natural resistance to meeting new people. However, I've found some ways to feel more at ease in - and even enjoy - those situations.

14) Stop the comparisons! It is the most self-defeating, self-negating behavior many of us have. I strive to be like Mel Fisher and maintain NOW thinking.

15) Every moment has meaning, so I decided to not only be grateful for the day job, but look for ways to actually find happiness when I hated that job.

16) One of the most exciting days in my life yielded 10 observations about marketing in a crowded marketplace.

17) I always look to see how other situations can apply to me and my business. I've drawn parallels and discovered secrets to success from my hair stylist, a tree service, our surfing instructor in Hawaii, movies like this one and this one, a TV show, and even during my time in swimming laps at the gym pool.

18) Acceptance of my life was the key to being in the flow. I don't have to force things to happen. They will occur when the time is right.

19) The majority of audiobooks posted on ACX.com have royalty share contracts. I look for certain criteria before accepting one.

20) Helping other people achieve their dream has greatly helped me get even closer to fulfilling my own. I'm so very grateful for and humbled by all your kind comments here, on social media, and in person about how my articles and Facebook responses have helped you.    

NEXT: 'NARRATORS ROADMAP

I feel like I'm barely scratching the surface with this list! Check out my blog archives for even more lessons learned!  

Now that I'm heading into my 21st year of my business, it's fitting that I'm stepping into an exciting new level of my destiny! My new site, NarratorsRoadmap.com, launched on 16 September.

Whether you dream of becoming an audiobook narrator or already are one, this site will be THE designation for narrators of all levels. In addition to the incredible number of resource links to aid newcomers on the home page and all narrators on the Welcome Center page, NarratorsRoadmap also has a Knowledge Base of articles and videos that are free for everyone.

Paid members also may access a color-coded Event Calendar in 8 categories, a Reviewers Directory, and (coming soon) video courses. You'll find a more complete description in this post. Sign up for my mailing list or follow me and/or NarratorsRoadmap on Twitter for updates!
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ABOUT KAREN
Karen Commins is a professional audiobook narrator who has given voice to over 50 audiobooks. In addition to earning a BA in broadcast journalism and MS in computer information systems, Karen has completed extensive specialized training in voice-over and audiobook narration technique, as well as digital audio production. She's also the chief cartographer of NarratorsRoadmap.com.

Narrators Roadmap: www.narratorsroadmap.com

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Comments (2)
Karen Commins
10/27/2019 at 4:29 PM
Hi, Mary! Thanks so much for your warm and kind comments! I'm so glad to know my info is useful to you.

I'm sorry to learn about your parents. When I lost my beloved father in 2003, a friend told me it was like joining a club that you didn't know existed and never wanted to join, and only other members of the club understand how it feels. My mother passed in 2009.

My husband Drew and I had a very difficult year in 2017-2018 when we lost both of his parents within 7 months of each other. As you might expect, I learned some things while going through those experiences. I hope this post gives you some consolation and helps restore your optimism:
http://www.karencommins.com/2018/01/resolutions-and-intentions.html

It's better to start pursuing your dream of voiceover at age 63 than to go through life always wondering what might have been. Besides, age is just a number that we use to claim our benefits. :) The more you follow your dreams, the more joy will spill out into every area of your life and make even bad situations more tolerable.

To that end, if you'll send your snail mail address to me via my email address above, I'd love to send you a little something to help you on your way.

Thanks again for the nice message, and best wishes for your success!

Cordially,
Karen Commins
Mary Laflamme
10/27/2019 at 9:16 AM
OH MY GOSH!!! The best blog entry! I literally did not even finish it as I was skimming to take it in, but I was so amazed by the DENSITY of information and your writing is so engaging that I saved this one to my reading list and will go through it with a fine tuned comb!

I am just starting out at age 63! Took a course at a Studio that gave me most of the tools to start out, but LIFE and DEATH got in the way as my parents passed and all got put on the back burner. I need a reboot these 6 years later and having moved recently to a new state I am looking at making the plunge. EEEEK!

I will study your blog and your new website and hopefully one day would love to be in contact with you. I am so impressed with your words. THANK YOU!
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