APAC Packed It In 
Talk about Packing it in!
Chicago, IL was the site of APAC, the 2016 Audiobook Publishers Association Conference a couple of weeks ago. The conference for audiobook narrators itself was one day, May 10,  preceded a day featuring a workshop headed by narrator storyteller and coach Johnny Heller and pre-APAC member mixer, and which concluded the evening following the actual conference with the Audie Awards.
The was my second APAC. The first one I attended was in New York City two years ago. I went with my late dear friend, Vanessa Hart. Vanessa was an excellent audiobook narrator and teacher. I thought about her a lot this time, and the fun we had staying at the apartment we rented in the theater district.
I came to this APAC with the full intention of learning as much as I could to become a better audiobook narrator, and to better brand myself as such.  Maybe even land a new client. I’d estimate there were at least 250 attendees. Many are friends I’ve known for years, and I’m leaving having made new friends too.
I must say this world of audiobooks is way different. Even though I’ve  been a full time professional voiceover actress over 25 years, here, I feel like a beginner.  The biggest part of my voiceover business comes from commercials and narration. In essence, I am a beginner, or at least in my early stage of audiobooks.  The experience was in no way intimidating, but more fascinating. Audiobook narration comprises a small amount of my work right now. Perhaps there are 30 or so books I’ve performed. And hearing about others and their hundreds on their resumes is astonishing to me. Those are the elite who mainly record in an off site studio with an engineer and guidance of a director. Many celebrities are getting into the audiobook fray as well, and winning audies.
But I’d like to eventually record more audiobooks. Right now I do them because of my early theatrical training and stage acting. I need to act. I love to act.  It is joyous creation, and a marathon effort to record an audiobook. Recorded books require intense vocal stamina and extreme precision. They also make good “filler work” when other voiceover work isn’t as busy. In audiobooks, you get to be not only the narrator and storyteller, but you perform all the characters.  It is the ultimate fulfillment for this voice actress.
The APAC agenda was loaded, starting  at 8AM and ending at 6PM.  My favorite sessions included “Getting to the next level”, Branding, Ask a casting director, and Vocal resilience and stamina.
This world is like a patchwork quilt of elite narrators, beginners and most in between. There are a few coaches , major publishers and casting directors, flanked on all sides by narrators working to make their contacts.
I was not on a rabid networking mission at all. Instead, I found myself mostly fact-finding. Learning and listening.
I’ve come home with a sizable to-do list which works with my intentions set out at my arrival at APAC;  to increase my work in this field. and to roll out my audiobook narration expansion plans. I love learning about what I don’t know and want to know. I am open.
And there’s much work to be done.