To his surprise, Tim Schoeneberg’s Sacred Music major at Tabor College prepared him for more than his role as director of worship at Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas. It also gave him the technical skills for a new gig narrating audiobooks. He recently released his first book, the audio version of Hungering for God by Andy Ripley.
How did your education prepare you for this?
I used YouTube videos to teach myself the techniques for recording books. If I hadn’t had the required Introduction to Worship Technology course that taught me how to manipulate sound through a sound board and edit recordings in a studio, I wouldn’t have been able to understand what the tutorials were saying.
What else did you have to learn?
When you’re next to a microphone, it’s picking up all the clicks and pops your mouth makes. It kind of sounds like you’re a mouth breather. And if you’ve just eaten, it sounds like you’re in a flood. The tutorials teach you the basics of how to clear out your instrument and eliminate mouth noises.
How do you get into this?
Amazon created a website called acx.com to connect authors and narrators for audio books posted on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. I created my profile that gives authors a general description like the fact that I’m a recent college graduate with a degree related to vocal performance and what kind of material I’m interested in reading. I had 19 auditions before I got this book.
What are authors looking for in a reader?
They are looking for a conversational reader, someone who sounds like they’re talking with someone, not at them. An author also wants a good match for their content. Someone who has a doctorate would read a book differently than a storyteller.
The books I engage with are non-fiction. In my profile I chose religious books and business books.
What kind of book would you not audition for?
When I look at books, I research the author and on the book as much as I can. I have to feel that the content is worthwhile and the author has a good reputation. As a church minister I have a voice and need to read material that glorifies God.
What are some of the challenges?
Your voice is like a muscle. It can get tired. You have to keep building and strengthening it. And there’s a lot of time commitment. People starting out don’t make a lot of money on audio books. But as a worship leader this work can be part of my continued education and for now it helps supplement my quarter-time ministry role.
Kathy Heinrichs Wiest is a freelance writer who loves the smell of whole wheat bread in the oven, the feel of an orange being plucked from the tree and the view from her front porch in Kingsburg, California. On Sunday mornings you’ll find her in the fourth pew from the front on the left at Kingsburg MB Church, moved by the hymns and praise songs and inspired by the stories of God at work locally and around the world. She and her husband, Steve, own Dovetail Remodeling. They have two grown daughters, one son-in-law and a precious granddaughter.