Amy started with Such A Voice towards the end of 2016, and between then and now, has made herself into a full-time audiobook narrator! Let’s get an update from Amy to see how she got here.
What were you doing before you got into voice-over? Had you considered VO a viable career path?
I had been working as a regulatory affairs manager at a drug and medical device company. Although I did well at it, there was just something missing. In search of a creative outlet, I would often take classes at my local community college, which is where I took Such A Voice’s introductory voice-over class. I had so much fun in that class, that I wanted to learn more. I had not thought of VO or audiobook narration as a viable career path until I saw the many successful people in the industry who had similar paths to my own. All I had to do was take the steps and do the work to make it a reality. I did, and now I am a full-time audiobook narrator!
What was the most valuable part of your training with SAV?
For me, there were two things that were most valuable. First, there was the one-on-one coaching with Jan Haley-Soule that gave me the attention to help shape my personal style and direction of my VO journey. Her instruction and guidance encouraged me to find where I belonged. Second, the experience going to a studio to record my demos was valuable to learn how to work professionally in a studio with an engineer and a director.
What was your first paid voice-over gig? How did it come about, and how did it go?
My first paid gig was on ACX. After auditioning for VO gigs, I found my heart just wasn’t in short form narration or commercials. I gave ACX a try and landed my first audiobook about a year after I started with SAV. Things went pretty well, I’d say, because I was a finalist for best female narrator in the 2020 Independent Audiobook Awards, and have just started recording my 38th audiobook!
I’ve heard most of your work is in audiobooks – how did you find your niche there?
After reviewing my homework, my coach Jan would often say, “That sounds like an audiobook.” When your coach says things, you should listen! So, I researched audiobook narration, and practiced reading aloud just from books off my shelf, then volunteered as a narrator for Librivox.org. When I started auditioning for books on ACX, my goal was to narrate books that mirrored my reading interests (mystery, thriller, British historical fiction, and memoirs). I learned fast that my voice is suited for mystery and thrillers, but isn’t suited for British historical fiction (kind of need a convincing accent!) But I discovered my voice is suited for other genres as well, like science fiction, fantasy, romance, and non-fiction. Finding my niche will be a lifetime journey, I’m sure.
Do you have any fun projects in the works, or particularly fun books you’ve done recently?
I just finished narrating a thriller called Redemption by Stephanie Baldi, a sci-fi fantasy called Falling: Adalta Vol. III by Sherrill Nilson, and a dual narration with Michael Reid called Cabin 2 by Amanda McKinney. All of these books were fun, challenging, and just so well written! It was definitely my pleasure to narrate them.
Later this summer I’ll be working on narrating books in a few other genres: a cozy mystery, an Amish Christian romance, and a non-fiction book about parish scandals in 18th century France.
How would you describe your sound?
My voice is warm, intuitive, and clever. Listeners have described my narration as “a very smooth voice” and “a delightful tone for the first-person perspective.” I like to give each character a unique voice, and many listeners have applauded my ability to voice male characters.
What would your dream VO role/project be?
I’m living the dream right now! My dream is to narrate anything that helps someone learn something, or create something, or believe in themselves, or helps them view the world and humanity in a positive light. I know this is a broad answer, but if I’ve learned anything in this journey, the thing that will keep you going is to keep an open mind. Let your values guide you, but stay open to opportunities.
Is there anyone in particular (at SAV or otherwise) that has been a mentor/role model in the industry?
From SAV, my coach Jan Haley-Soule guided me toward learning about my voice and what it “sounds like.” I owe it to her for helping me discover long form narration is my “gig.” Though I never worked with her directly, Heather Costa provided wonderful encouragement in her conference calls and marketing materials.
Outside of SAV, Sean Pratt, Shannon Parks, Jayme Mattler, Johnny Heller, Karen Commins, and Jeffrey Kafer have been huge influences on my journey as both a narrator and as a business person (because this is a business, you know). The audiobook world is a wonderful community of people who love what they do, give out wonderful advice, and will lift you up.
What advice would you have for folks currently going through their VO training?
First, keep an open mind. You will discover things you didn’t know about yourself. Second, try new things. You will discover your voice is suited for something you never thought it was. Third, learn as much as you can. Always be learning. Do your research, get coaching, ask questions, listen, and then pay it forward.
Lastly, here is a piece of advice that audiobook coach Sean Pratt once told me that changed everything in my journey: “Auditioning is the job. Booking the gig is icing on the cake.”
Aside from VO, what are your hobbies or passions in life?
I’m an introverted introvert, so I love doing creative things like crafts, watercolor painting, and zen doodling. I also like to design scenery and lighting for community theatre, take classes at the local community college, and explore the sights in Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.
Any other thoughts you have about voice-over in general?
I’m not going to sugar coat it: it’s not easy. It’s hard work. It’s a business. Treat it that way. Learn about the business, build relationships with your clients and other VO artists and audiobook narrators, work hard, and you’ll set yourself up for success.
Anything you’d like to plug?
If you’re looking for a place to start in audiobook narration, audiobook narrator Karen Commins developed a fabulous website called NarratorsRoadmap.com.
If you’d like to learn more about my books or hire me as a narrator, you can find me at www.amydeuchler.com, and on these social media:
Want to join Amy? Start your voice-over journey (or just pop in to learn more about the industry!) at our introductory voice-over webinar!