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Marketing: Create & Voice Your
Own Projects To Demonstrate Skills
By Karen Commins
Voice Actor
There are marketing advantages for voice talent who develop and cast themselves in their own voice over projects.
For example, as a service project, I'm narrating the audiobook of A Woman Who Went to Alaska on
May Kellogg Sullivan wrote the book in 1902 to recount her adventures during the Alaska gold rush at the turn of the 20th century.
Obviously, the audiobook itself is a form of creating my own work. Rather than watching fluff TV shows like American Idol, I choose to spend my spare time this way because:
  • I am improving my skills, both in long-form narration and audio editing.
  • I am being of service to others in offering a free audiobook.
  • I can use the credit in discussions with audio publishers about paying gigs.
  • The free audiobook will be helpful in developing a loyal fan base.
Marketing is a HUGE part of any business. It is especially important when the commodity offered by the business is one's voice.
Not only am I creating the audiobook on my own, but I also decided to market it by creating a trailer for it!


Early in my voice over career, I did a lot of direct mail marketing with imprinted products.
While my campaigns were extremely memorable and attracted voice over jobs to me, they also were extremely time-consuming and expensive to produce.
By comparison, here are some immediate marketing benefits of creating the audiobook trailer:
  • The book is in the public domain, so most of the images had no cost.
  • I only had to spend a few bucks to obtain the stock images that I used.
  • The music came from my royalty-free library, which requires no residual payment.
  • The video is another method of advertising my voice to people who haven't heard of me or listened to my demos.
  • The trailer demonstrates to clients and prospects that I could assist them beyond voicing their scripts.
We live in a culture obsessed by and immersed in video.
Tell the truth -- when you saw the video in this article, did you immediately click on it before reading any of the text?
People say they don't have time to read. Many would watch my trailer who would never read my description of the audiobook.
I posted the trailer on Facebook, some LinkedIn groups devoted either to audio publishing or Atlanta businesses, LibriVox,, and
Note that most of these postings are targeted directly to thousands of members in niche markets who may be interested in hiring me for their projects!
I received more responses in a few hours than I ever received from a single mailing. The trailer gave me material to add to my blog, which helps my search engine rankings.
Once the book is done, I will update the trailer from "coming soon" to "available now."
In addition, the subject matter of an audiobook can point to even more opportunities for marketing it online.
In this case, a flurry of TV shows are about Alaska, so I know the public has a lot of interest in that state. One show is even about a group of people currently mining for gold in Alaska - a perfect tie-in!
Fans of these shows gather in discussion forums where I can post my trailer. I also can post it in forums for people who are considering an Alaskan cruise.
Aside from all of these reasons, perhaps the biggest reason to create your own stuff is that it is fun!
I hope that these examples of my spare time projects give you inspiration to create and market your own stuff
Karen Commins is a voice actor based in Atlanta specializing in narrations, e-learning modules and audiobooks. With two decades of experience as an information technology professional, she enjoys “rattling off the endless series of initials found in educational scripts written for high-tech audiences.” Her website offers demos and photos of her Whisper Room soundproof studio, and she writes A Voice Above The Crowd, an insightful and entertaining blog about working and marketing oneself in the voice-over profession.

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Comments (12)
6/23/2012 at 8:02 PM
I enjoyed your voice on the promo spot very much. It was very real and made the story interesting. I like the vocal inflection commentary.

Thank you for the marketing info. I have felt stuck for years being out of the broadcasting field on how to get my voice back on "air".
Ann Simmons
5/16/2011 at 3:49 PM
Wow, Karen - you knocked my socks off both with the trailer and with all the marketing possibilities you presented. I just uploaded my first audiobook project to LibriVox and now you've got me thinking about the many possibilities out there. Thanks for this article! Truly inspiring! Best wishes, Ann
Elizabeth Holmes
2/7/2011 at 12:22 PM
Wow, Karen! This is SO inspiring. Thank you for sharing this *great* idea for practicing and promoting audiobook narration. You did a fabulous job on your promotional video. Best of luck to you! Elizabeth Holmes
Jeff Hirschberg
2/4/2011 at 1:17 PM
Like the others here, I think this is a great idea, Karen! I've written a couple of my own pieces that I've recorded, and I've put the audio tracks on my website and my Facebook business page. I also made simple videos for my YouTube channel that just show a still with my contact info while the audio plays. I decided to redo one of the pieces and film myself recording it to make the video a little more interesting.

Your ideas about targeting niche markets are good ones, and I probably need to do a better job promoting these things. Regardless, they're good practice, they're exposure to a side of you that people might not ordinarily see and they're fun!

Thanks for sharing,

Jeff Hirschberg
Bobbin Beam
2/4/2011 at 12:48 PM
Excellent work, Karen. You're a smart, resourceful lady. Love the trailer!!! Thank you for sharing this with us.
All The Best,
Bobbin Beam
Karen Commins
2/4/2011 at 11:48 AM
Greetings, all! Thanks so much for your nice comments, and special thanks to John for republishing my article. Creating your own work in your spare time is a fun and fulfilling way to move forward in your career!

I'm thrilled to share with you a self-produced project from another voice talent. After reading my article, Audrey Bentham felt inspired to create a trailer for a local art gallery exhibition. Not only is that another terrific idea for a video and niche market, but Audrey got an instant response from a potential client! You can check out her video and the prospect's comment at this link:

May your creative muses fill your heads with fabulous ideas for your own projects! I look forward to your show-and-tell!

Karen Commins
Deb Stamp
2/4/2011 at 9:23 AM
Create a video trailer... love it. A great way to move our voice work into the powerful video marketing realm. You just sparked a flame ... tks!
BP Smyth, Narrator
2/4/2011 at 7:58 AM
Great idea, Karen, and well done. Thank you for the tips.
Jane Ingalls
2/4/2011 at 7:52 AM
What a great posting, Karen!
Your "outside the box" ideas about where to post your video were very helpful.
May you strike gold!
Jane Ingalls
Jay Webb
2/4/2011 at 7:25 AM
Fabulous idea, Karen!

Creating your own work is the way to allow your entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. I love it.

I hope other VO pros will add their "create your own work" ideas to the comments section here. There are lots of ways to create your own work, kind of like the Moviephone guy did. Anyone else with a great idea like this?

Thank you for sharing, Karen!
Dan Deslaurier
2/4/2011 at 4:40 AM
What a great read! Karen, I appreciate your proactive approach to improving your "product" and career -I've just bookmarked your links! John, as ever, thank you for this insight into another professional's work.

If I may, I also enjoy the opportunity to create a link between both of my careers, as an art teacher of young children and as a voiceover artist, which serves the school community I am lucky to be a part of. When you have an chance, drop by this site:

and check out "The Friends Select School Lower School Visual Arts Newsletter Podcast."


Dan Deslaurier
Pearl Hewitt
2/4/2011 at 12:53 AM
Thank you SO much for your video and you article. Narrating a book in the public domain is definitely something I would love to do and creating a trailer for it is an excellent idea! I love it!

You also have a great voice and I could easily listen to you in a long form narration. Excellent job!!
Thanks again,
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