Reading Erotica Sans Pseudonym

This might come as a surprise to some people who only know me for narrating the Secret World Chronicle series, or The Ballad of Iron Percy, or The Diary of Jill Woodbine. But…

I narrate erotica. And I do it under my own name.

And, guess what? I consider it one of my talents when it comes to narration.

(I’ll pause for your shocked gasps and screams. The rest of you can roll your eyes and read on.)

In one of the Facebook groups for narrators, the conversation comes up a few times a month that narrators should consider using pseudonyms when narrating erotica (which they erroneously refer to as porn half of the time). Some don’t feel comfortable narrating in certain genres, and so they avoid erotica entirely. Others use a pseudonym because they don’t want to be known as narrating erotica, or because an association with the genre could reflect poorly on other aspects of their other jobs or their spouses’ careers. I added my comment about the situation and mentioned that I don’t use a pseudonym. All of my work falls under my single name, regardless of the genre. Now, this might cause problems for some folks who search for my work and decide that, because I narrate erotica alongside other genres, they don’t want to listen to any of my work.

That’s okay. There are people with whom I disagree on ideological bases and whose work I will not purchase. That’s my choice. Others can disagree with my choice to narrate certain stories or in certain genres, and they can choose to not listen to those stories or not purchase my work. And that’s okay, too.

How did you start, uh, you know…
Narrating erotica? Reading deliciously dirty stories into a microphone? Telling tantalizing tales of tantric trials? Oh, someone asked me to read a story for a podcast, after hearing my work on Secret World Chronicle. Up to that point, I hadn’t read anything more graphic than some slightly involved romantic scenes. When I got the short story, I honestly wasn’t sure I could get through the entire piece without giggling or burning bright red. It took a few tries, but I finished the story and submitted the file. Feedback was good, so I read again… and again… and again.

So, you actually say all the words? How?
Um, stable pronunciation and enunciation. I have been fortunate to read for some excellent erotica authors who don’t use ridiculous metaphors, so that makes narrating easier. There will always be stories I read where I wonder about the target audience, but… someone’s listening. It’s my job as the storyteller to make sure that the story is performed for the listener’s enjoyment.

Wait, perform? You mean…
Acting. Sheesh. It’s acting. I have a dynamic range and a healthy imagination. If I convey the story and sentiment with my voice, that’s what matters. Do you really think I blast energy from my fists when I voice Red Saviour?

But what does your family think about it?
They’re happy that I get to narrate and get paid for it, and they know that erotica is only part of the work that I read. My husband gets a good chuckle out of it.

Aren’t you worried about the effect it will have on your dayjob?
Not really. I’ve been narrating for over seven years, and it has yet to factor into my job performance, my ability to research and teach, or my skills in course design and development. If the upper administration decided to, oh, Google me, and they discovered the work that I narrated at my home studio on my non-dayjob time, and they thought that it somehow reflected poorly upon them… well, they would have to prove it. There have been plenty of cases of teachers writing non-kid-friendly material and proving their separation from their dayjobs, and the school rarely has a leg to stand on in the argument. Truly, discovery and disapproval would likely drive up sales and downloads. But so far, no one has brought up any of those stories… not even the pussy spiders.

Did you say pussy spiders?
Yeah. Awesome story. Only one that made me giggle for a nervous three minutes because of the absurdity of the idea and the sheer brilliance in how it was presented.

But what if your students find out? Your boss? Your coworkers? Other university administrators?
I hope they pay for my work and recommend it to others. I don’t think it’s part of my yearly evaluation, so it shouldn’t factor in.

So, here’s my take on the whole narration gig. I choose what I read; I prefer to read good stories by sound authors who are invested in promoting their work and who are willing to recommend me to others so I can keep working and narrating. Many erotica authors write across genre and many are avid listeners of a variety of fiction. If I’m able to treat their work with respect and professionalism, I’m going to treat everyone’s work with respect and professionalism. I’m not going to give a subpar narration because the story involves intimate situtations and kinky behavior; I’m going to do my best, just like I do with every other work I narrate.

And to be honest? Narrating erotica is fun.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 5:40 pm and is filed under voiceovers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Reading Erotica Sans Pseudonym”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to introduce you and Heather Massey to each other. She’s the blog mistress at The Galaxy Express ( ), a particularly long-running part of her campaign to increase interest and visibility of Science Fiction Romance. She includes erotica under that umbrella, so writes a little, reads more, and knows folks who write it.

    More to the point as far as I’m concerned, I think you’d like each other. You and she sound pragmatic in similar ways on this subject, but even more than that, I think you’d just like each other. {SMILE}

    (I’m neither particularly interested in nor particularly offended by erotica, so I don’t have a more direct response to your post. {Smile})

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    Wait, you don’t blast energy from your fists when voicing Red Savior? I thought all that coffee was to recharge your power reserves for energy blasts! ;D

    Seriously, why are people so hung up on erotica, but they blandly accept so many other things that are much worse? Nice essay.