Introducing…

Websites can be difficult things: I would very much like to throw a lot of money at a found web genius and have them somehow, perhaps telepathically, understand exactly what it is I want and need and have them do the creating. Of course, there are several problems with this kind of wishful thinking, not the least being my not exactly knowing what it is I want and need. Money and telepathy might prove problematic also.

So, here it is! I could delay until everything is perfect, but I know that might take a while. In the meantime most of the site is operational so feel free to look around. I figured that anyone who came to my site was probably looking for me because of my audiobook narration… and maybe they wanted to discover what else I had narrated over the years (something like 500, maybe 600 books in all – I didn’t keep track early on and I’ve been narrating for more than 25 years beginning with the RNIB Talking Book Service in London).

You’ll find a list of books recognized for their quality under ‘Winning Books’ in the menu above. Hover over it and two choices present themselves: Audies and Earphones. Hover over each one of those and I’ve separated the books into the years in which they were recognized.

Next to that there’s a link to the books I’ve just finished, the one I’m working on right now and the books I’m looking ahead to (if I know and can tell you). To the right of that in the menu is ‘My Blog’ – which is what this is! I’m hoping to allow myself a little free thinking here and not just talk about audiobooks and so on. I’m trying to be more proactive in the world of social networking here so please feel free to click on the comments tag and tell me what you think… about almost anything – maybe we’ll have a conversation! Of course I’ll be moderating the comments, but I’ll not censor unless it’s truly offensive (or irrelevant… as in spammed comments).

In the top menu bar you’ll see an item for ‘Book Search’. I’m very excited about this as it’s a searchable database of all the books I do have records of. You can select by ‘Title’, ‘Author’, ‘Genre’ and ‘Keyword’. The results will (eventually) also give you a link to where you can purchase/download the resulting titles. As you can imagine there’s a lot of work involved here – so it might take a while before every book provides that ‘link to purchase’ option.

You can see there’s a video in the top right of the page and I’ll be bringing you something new here at least every month (that’s the plan, anyway). Below that are some useful links, including an invitation to follow me on Twitter (facebook will be coming soon), that I think audiobook peeps like yourself might be interested in. Then you can see the latest comments left in response to my blog, and below that a random selection of favorite books of mine.

That’s it for the introduction – I’m off to do research on my next narration task. In the meantime I should thank Bradley at Likoma for a great deal of the help with getting this particular WordPress theme to behave as I wanted it and for his technical knowhow. And I’m very grateful for the extra impetus provided by my friends Julie and Lee at All-Ears Audiobooks in San Jose. Their enthusiasm helped to lift me off my butt and get to work on the site so it would be ready for the release of ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ – as that seemed like a good marker to recognize.

Enjoy!
Simon

About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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11 Responses to Introducing…

  1. Laurie Atwater May 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Mr. Vance…the new site is wonderful. Nicely organized, easy to navigate and I really like the database search. Your vlogs are delightful!

    Just finished Parisians, and recommended it to the Fracophone/phile daughter. I know she will enjoy it, and will learn even more about one of her favorite places.

    Wanted to let you know…I noticed something on the Audible.com site that just tickled me. I’ve been an Audible subscriber for two and a half years, and usually purchase a book or two a week. (Since Amazon snapped up Audible, Jeff Bezos has even MORE of my money!) I haunt the New Releases and Just Added pages every Tuesday. I watch the Coming Soon page often, so I don’t miss anything. The other day, I saw the following:

    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
    by Stieg Larsson
    Narrated by Simon Vance
    (Coming May 25)

    Looks pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? But, please do note: They _very_ seldom list the Narrator on the Coming Soon page. You, sir, are now a “selling point” for the Stieg Larsson audio series!

    Yes, I pre-ordered it…the first chapter is amazing. Your characterization of Blomquist is perfect to me. Apparently the whole work will be in my library come Tuesday. I really hope no one needs anything from me come Wednesday!

    By the way, last I heard, Ruth Downie is working on manuscript revisions for her fourth Ruso novel. I do hope you will be narrating it — I told her that you ARE Ruso. Can’t wait to hear — I’m all ears!

    Best,
    Laurie Atwater

  2. Julie Moncton May 21, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Hi Simon,

    I love, love, LOVE your video blog! It’s so much fun to see the person behind the voice and very enlightening to see that you record in your own home studio. I had somehow pictured something larger, with sound engineers, producers, and maybe a person to turn pages for you while someone else warms your herbal tea.

    That’s great news about the Palliser series! I loved your recording of The Warden and have just picked up Barchester Towers. It’s fantastic that you have read 10 of Dickens’ novels, but… would it be too greedy to want you to record more? Is there someone we should contact to make requests? In the past 2 months I’ve listened to David Copperfield and Bleak House and absoluetly loved them, but want MORE. Are there publisher contacts that we can lobby?

    Best of luck at the Audie Awards next week or rather, Break a leg!

    Best,

    Julie

  3. Josh May 20, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    Simon,

    Terrific video intro. It’s amazing that the technology of today is bringing the world of audiobook narrators into the light for their fans.

    I’m curious, do you do most of your recordings in your private studio? How does that work? Don’t most recordings need a producer, director etc? Or do you make the general recording and then they master it digitally off-site? If this is the case I would imagine that only a veteran such as yoruself has the “clout” to do this with the publishing companies? Thanks! -Josh

  4. Jennifer May 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Simon,

    Thanks for the update on the All-Ears Audio Books date and time. I hope you have a big turn out. I live about 10 minutes for the bookstore, so it is a quick jaunt for me. I am photographer, so I’ll bring my camera gear just in case, barring any legal issues (of course). Otherwise, it would be great if you could videotape the talk for your video blog. I’m sure you have listeners all over who would be interested in the event, but cannot attend. Cheers!

  5. Jennifer May 17, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Simon,

    Long-time fan of your work. The new website is very nicely done. Especially enjoy the humorous comments and video blog. Book search is great too. Please post the appearance time for All Ears Audiobooks. I’ll be there. Cheers! — sent from my iPad.

    • Simon May 17, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

      Excellent question! Answer: I don’t know – and the All-Ears website doesn’t have a time either…. I think this is something I should find out as soon as possible! Watch this space (well, the events space, anyway).
      Thanks for spotting the omission.
      – S.

      • Simon May 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

        It’ll be between 7-8:30pm… and I’ve inserted that into the post for the event.
        – S.

  6. Larry DWYER May 17, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Simon,

    Once again I’m so happy to be listening to you! I’m in the middle of Parisians by Graham Robb – a fascinating book with lots I didn’t know (e.g. l’Observatoire)

    Recent listens include: 1st three of Barchester Chronicles, The Little Stranger, Blacklight Blue, the saga of Lisbeth Salander, Scaramouche (who knew it would be so much fun?!).

    Thanks for your wonderful performances!

    Larry

  7. Liz Bergstone May 17, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    Hi Simon!
    I first met you through “The Art Thief” which I loved!
    Do you teach?
    Liz Bergstone,
    Aspiring Voiceover Actor/Narrator/Ex-patriot Brit.

    • Simon May 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Liz, Sorry to say I do not have the time to teach. ! suggest listening to lots of audio books, recording and reviewing yourself – but you’re probably already doing that. Check out the Audio Publishers Association, if you haven’t already and AudioFile Magazine – you’ll find lots of useful info. APAC this year is holding a new narrator showcase (finalists already chosen, I’m afraid) but you might consider submitting an audition if the same thing happens next year.

  8. Noel Lynne Figart May 15, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve been enjoying your performance of Master and Commander immensely and will definitely be looking up other work you do!

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