Off On a New Career

I started contributing to LibriVox early in 2006 immediately after I heard about it, because I like reading out loud. I think I do a pretty good job of interpreting an author.  At the end of 2010, nearly five years later, I've accumulated a lot of practice in narrating - 56 solo books on LibriVox and a good deal more contributed to group efforts. I've progressed through four or five recording setups, trying to improve the quality of my sound.

Along about Book #20, I began to wonder if I could transition to a professional position. After all, my books were being downloaded in good numbers and I was receiving gratifying remarks in feedback. In late 2009, I was asked by iPublish Press of Canada to do "My Problem With Doors."  LibriVox never criticizes its readers - that's a real draw for people who want to record their favorite books, to know they won't be catching adverse commentary if they don't live up to someone's standards!  Since iPublish Press proposed to pay me for narrating their book, they had every right to editorially comment on every sentence I sent them.  Despite the change in standards, the experience was a positive one, and I was pleased to know that I could make editors happy who are in business to make money.

This Fall, I began two new forays into professional audiobooks.  Mike Vendetti, a LibriVox contributor who also runs "Audiobooks by Mike Vendetti" and sells them on Audible.com, asked me to read for him. My first book, "The Defiant Agents" by Andre Norton, was finished in November, but through some miscue at Audible.com has not appeared for sale yet. They've promised to fix that.

I also was invited to be part of a new organization, Iambik.com. The founder is Hugh McGuire, the same fellow who started LibriVox.  His business idea was to partner with print publishers to create audiobooks that normally would never be produced under the industry's typical business arrangements. By making audiobook production a profit-sharing exercise between Iambik and a publisher, no one has to "front" any money - all the participants share directly in the sales. Since our output is digital files, we don't have to buy supplies or keep up with inventories.

I'm currently reading "Suicide Casanova" by Arthur Nersesian, with a promise date of January 31.  This will be one in a batch of crime stories to be released together. Hugh promises we'll be doing campaigns in several genres, so we'll be seeing a deal of variety over time.

I plan to continue devoting the major part of my creative time to these new professional endeavors... although I will still keep my hand in at LibriVox!


  1. Hiya Mark Smith - Best of luck with your future books! I am an avid audio book listener (I mean all day, every day) so I consider myself a good critic when it comes to readers. I fell in love with librivox as soon as I came across it...except for some of the readers(ugh). I'm currently going through the Jules Verne collection and when I heard your voice, it was like a breath of fresh air going through my kitchen.(I'm a stay-at-home cake-baker, so that is always welcome) What a relief your reading was - especially since I had just endured several hours of monotone(yawn). After listening to the short, but well-written "Blockade Runners" - I now consider you one of my top readers! (Jim Dale will always be my first choice-sorry:) Please continue to share your talent with the world and thank your family for allowing you the time to donate to librivox! Keep on reading!

  2. I'm very interested in the project you describe as lambik.com, but that site doesn't seem to be about audiobooks at present. Do you have any more information about where to find lambik (or when it will be available)? Thank you! And thanks for contributing to LibriVox - I'm currently downloading your Huckleberry Finn.

  3. I've been listening to your reading of Call of the Wild by Jack London and I'm enjoying it a lot.

    I have only ever purchased audiobooks from the iTunes store before this and I must say that I can't tell any difference in quality.

    Finding your quality recordings right away and reading some other comments has actually kind of put me off listening to recordings by other readers in case they're not as good.

    I'll give some a go at some point.

    Thanks for recording at LibriVox. I appreciate it. :)

  4. Glad to meet you! I wanted to say that I have just listened to your narration of Great Expectations. This was my first Librivox audiobook. I enjoyed it very much. Glad to read that you are entering this field professionally! I find that a narrator's voice adds one more level of enjoyment to a good book.

  5. Mark, your Librivox recordings are very enjoyable. I was going to make some suggestion of other material I enjoy that you should record -- but, find that you've had your hand in most!

    All the best in your recording ventures.


  6. Thank you for reading The Mysterious Island. You did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the pace and the accents given to the characters.