The award-winning Ooligan book Extreme Vetting: a Thriller by Roxana Arama has been out for over a year. Did you know that two Ooligan students narrated the audiobook version—and it’s awesome? Haley Young, one of the narrators, recounts her experience below.

I recently finished narrating my first audiobook, Ooligan’s newest title, Extreme Vetting. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the process, but it ended up being a lot of fun! Here’s some advice I was given and things I learned:

It’s exhausting!

There’s nothing like narrating an audiobook to remind you how out of shape you are. I left each session feeling like I’d just finished a workout. Narration isn’t just reading out loud, it’s a performance. My recording sessions were generally three hours each. Speaking clearly, accurately, and in different character voices for that long was difficult, as was reminding myself to breathe.

The microphone picks up everything.

I drank a cup of lemon ginger tea during my first session. At the next session, the producer told me that I shouldn’t have any more because it had caused my stomach to make noises that the microphone picked up. He also played a clip of recording back to me without my voice, so it was just mouth noises – gross! Other sounds the microphone picked up were car stereos, dogs barking, and heavy rain outside. I enjoyed learning about some of the tricks the producer uses to minimize and edit these noises, as well as some of the filters he applies to the recording to make it sound as smooth as possible.

Plenty of water and lip balm are a must.

My throat and lips got dry very quickly while recording, so having water and lip balm close by was important. It helped both with keeping me comfortable and with minimizing mouth noises in the recording.

Mistakes happen—a lot.

I mispronounced, omitted, and stumbled over words, or I used the wrong inflection or character voice. Once all the mistakes were edited out of the recording from my first session, the file was only about half the length of the unedited version. Thankfully it was easy to pick up again when I made a mistake, and I could take my time getting it right.

We are our own worst critics.

    When I was chosen to narrate Extreme Vetting, I felt uncomfortable hearing my own voice, but I quickly had to get over it.The things that bothered me were nothing to the rest of the team. When I started to loosen up and enjoy the process, I read with more confidence and felt more comfortable listening to the recording. I also made fewer mistakes.

    And lastly, audiobook production is a team sport.

      I couldn’t have made it through the recording process without the support of Ooligan’s Audiobooks Manager, Paige, and our producer, Paul, from StudioBlue. They kept me on track, gently pointed out when I’d made an error, and gave me the time I needed to get it right. They coordinated behind the scenes to create a wonderful, polished final piece.

      Recording the Extreme Vetting audiobook was a lot of work, but it was very worth it! It was a valuable experience that I’m happy to have been part of. Give it a listen on Audible,, Hoopla, or Glose.

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