Karen Commins has been a generous voice over professional for decades to both authors and narrators. As an accomplished narrator and rights holder herself she knows what the profession needs and values. Lucky for me I won a three-month subscription to her recently launched Narrator’s Roadmap online platform. I’m delighted to share my experience thus far.
As with everything that Karen does the site is visually fun and easy to interact with. The “roadmap” theme extends through the site with her “road sign” menu options of Welcome Center, Knowledge Base, Videos, Event Calendar and Reviewers Directory. Much of the free content of her site is still available on her other site www.KarenCommins.com but I understand she’s continuing to add new material. I’m not sure whether that will be distributed to both or just the new site. The calendar and directory are accessible through a monthly or annual membership.
All the resources on the Home page are aimed at newcomers to narration but experienced narrators will find them helpful as well.
The Welcome Center includes links to 30+ products and services in 13 categories that will be helpful to narrators of all levels. They include links to Accents and Dialect websites, Coaching (a vetted list of 31 audio book coaches), Online webinar training recording links, Editors and Proofers, Marketing, Podcasts, Pronunciation and Time-saving Services among others.
Karen’s numerous articles are organized on the Knowledge Base page. I thought all the articles had migrated from her uber helpful Karen Commins’ website but I was wrong. Karen just sent me a note saying that all the articles are new! Wow. What a delight to have more wonderful information to read (with lots of links I’m sure). Articles have been grouped into seven categories:
- Best Practices
- How to Say it
- Post Production
- Studio Configuration
As the “queen of links”, a name she proudly wears, each of the articles is chock full of links to other valuable resources. One could spend years reading and gleaning from the articles.
The Videos page is free to everyone and includes Business, Performance and Production tabs. I was very curious about the “performance” tab. While I’ve worked with five of Karen’s vetted coaches there’s always opportunity to learn more. After watching three or four of the videos I went into my booth to audition. I can’t promise the same results but after watching the videos I won my first audition of the day!
The first premium destination on the site is the color coded Events Calendar. It includes eight event types including Narrator training, conferences, networking and publisher events. Each is uniquely colored to make it easy to find the type of event you are interested to. As I write this I’m thinking about how wonderful it would also be to search events by region. Mmm. I may ask Karen about that. Note after publishing this article Karen contacted me saying that while a region search wasn’t available at this time you can narrow the search. Here are her instructions: “You can set the view to “Agenda” and search the list of events using a CTRL-F (PC) or CMD-F (Mac). You can scroll the agenda view and repeat the search for more results.” Thank you Karen for your quick help!
The Reviewer’s Directory is the second premium location and is searchable by genre. It is an incredible resource. It provides the names of reviewers of 40 different genres including broad categories like “Romance” and sub-genres like “Paranormal Romance”.. This material took many days (dare I say weeks?) to collect. It includes the names, email addresses, website address, direct links to the reviewer’s social media links and more. It will be extremely helpful to authors and narrators looking for ways to gather reviews for their books for free. Karen said they will continue to add reviewers.
Video Courses will be the third leg of the premium package stool and is being developed now. No doubt it will be of the same high quality all her other production efforts are.