Narrator: Zachary Liebenstein

Posted January 6, 2016 by Paul (Audiobook Reviewer) in Featured, Interview, zFeatured Narrator / 0 Comments

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Other Links
Reviews on ABR
Zachary on Amazon
Zachary on Audible

Voice Range: low, low-mid, arguably high for some girl characters.
Accents: American general, southern, midwest, western
Genres: Primarily Sci-Fi and Romance, but open to any.

Tell us a little about yourself (Your bio).
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and currently still reside here. I have always used my vocal talent to work day jobs, but only recently did I decide to pursue real voice acting. Now, I specializes in audio books, but also do voice work for various companies. I love to immerse listeners into stories about science fiction, or spark their fire with romances. I am also always looking for new ways to broaden my horizons and am open to many things!

How on earth did you get into narrating audiobooks?
Me entire life people said I should be a narrator or voice actor, I stumbled across some websites while working one day and started doing auditions. I then started getting offers consistently!

What do you do when you are not narrating?
Make music, play guitar, bass, keys, synth.

Cook amazing food.

Disc golf, regular golf.

Video Games – D3 hardcore, Fallout 4, Wii games with friends

Many audiobook narrators do other voice over work, where else could we hear your work? Do you find there to any big hurdles to jump when going from audiobooks to something else or vise versa?
There is definitely a difference for doing other types of work. I have some work on That is entirely a different ballgame. You need to have announcer voices, professional voices, and many others to suit the clients needs.

Do you have the luxury of picking and choosing the projects that you work on or do you take as many as you have time for?
For the first two months after starting I took whatever I could. Now, I am booked out a few months ahead, and choose the best of the projects for the situation and my needs.

For those of us that are unfamiliar with your work. How would you describe your narration style and voice? What would the one audiobook you would suggest for people to listen to your best work?
Smooth, sexy, wide-ranged, deep, relaxing, soothing, booming, and storytelling.

I would recommend Iron Mike. I loved the story myself and there is that little extra touch in it.

As a narrator, do you get compensated in a set amount or do you also receive royalties from the individual sales? Do you like one more than the other? Has there ever been an per finished hour book that you wish was a royalty deal, what book? Or vise versa?
Both are options, I absolutely love the idea of getting a ton of books on royalty deals, so that it keeps a steady stream of revenue coming in without having to do work. I also love getting chunks of cash. Typically, if I think the author is going to promote well and the book is going to sell very well – royalty deal. If not, per finished hour.

There are definitely some books I wish I’d gotten paid per hour vs. royalty.

What do you see as your greatest achievement as an audiobook narrator? What has been your most difficult moment?
My friends used to laugh at me so hard for not being able to do a southern accent without sounding stupid. I would attempt to do a southern accent frequently at parties, etc, and would always end up sounding like Forrest Gump. After narrating, I’ve had plenty of practice and I can now (debatable) do a believable southern accent.

Do you have a list of your own favorite narrators, who inspires you? Do you have a list of favorite audiobook that you have listened to?
Jim Dale.

Favorite audiobook: The night circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s so creepy and immersive.

What is your favorite thing to do? Pastime, hobby, obsession, etc.
Play guitar, make techno beats, go to festivals, listen to good music. Mostly all music.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?
I would choose Sterling Archer.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?
Warning: Comes with Beer

Care to share an awkward fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your narration/acting…..or one where you were gushing over another narrator/actor’s work?
When I worked with Patricia Rose on Iron Mike, she was always so pleased with my work I constantly felt the need to do better. She gave me such positive reinforcement and was always so excited to hear what I was creating that it only fueled me to push myself to my limits!

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?
Probably about how Diablo 3 hardcore players are way better than soft-core players. Jk! no, really.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own? What do you remember most about the experience?
The Hatchet. I always am slightly afraid of, and prepared for a plan crash and to be trapped in the wilderness. Specifically, I like to know survival skills.

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?
I suppose I’d just invite the flash so he could complete the course instantly then I wouldn’t have to do it.

Do you ever get specific notes or ideas from the writer about how something should be read? What is a helpful note, and what is, shall we say, less helpful?
Sometimes, yes, and I try to incorporate whatever they want into it. Always communicate! Be transparent and open. Do not get into a rut or try to fix everything by yourself.

Do you have an initial process or routine by which you get to know the book you’re going to be reading? Do you mark them up, for example?
The main thing I do is try to assign characters different voices I can do.

How do you flesh out how a specific character will sound?
I have yet to figure this out super well. I have some voices I just created along the way and I sort of just reference the voice I did for a character the first time I created it.

If its a new character… I just make noises with my mouth until it sounds right.

Is your studio in your home? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this? Do you have something that you would consider unique in your setup? What is it?
Home – I’ve had equipment for a long time from playing instruments and recording music. Nothing unique other than maybe my Kasossilator, a type of synth/looper for making sick beats.

What is the atmosphere like in your studio when you record. What’s it like, and are things very serious or not very serious?
Typically very focused and serious. No sound from anywhere, no phone, no girlfriend.

How long do you record at a time, on average? What is it about a book that will shorten or lengthen this?
About 2 hours of recording is about max what I will do before resting my voice.

I only vary from this if I have tons of work to do.

What is your favorite genre to narrate? Why?
Sci-Fi, because I’ve always loved sci-fi. Something about being hopeful for the future and future technologies.

What has been your favorite character? What character has given you the most grief?
Kari from Iron Mike has been both my favorite and given me the most grief.

How do you stop yourself from laughing or crying at some of the things authors write?
I don’t, I record through it, and edit it out later.

I have heard that many in the industry dislike the term narrator. What do you prefer and why?
Voice Actor, because it is voice acting a lot and narrating some, IMO.

How do you view audiobook narration/production: Art or Science?
Both. Art and Science.

Do you have a philosophy of how to create the perfect audiobook experience?
Nope everyone is different and everyone likes different things.

Do you have a preference for reading fiction or nonfiction for pleasure? And is what you read for pleasure what you’d prefer to read for audiobooks?
Nonfiction, is what I prefer for reading. What I read for books is generally nonfiction.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring narrators?
Just do it! – Shia LaBeouf

What has been your favorite project and why?
Iron Mike, Patricia was amazing and the book was amazing.

Do you believe that listening to an audiobook should be considered reading? Why or why not?
Listening is not reading. Different ways for your brain to process a story.

Are you working on any special projects?
Yes, secret projects!

Have you ever gotten a poor review on your narration? What do you do with such reviews?
Definitely. I see if there is any merit to the review on how I can be better, or move on.

How do you feel about authors that choose to narrate their own audiobooks? Any advice to them?
More power to them. Some can do it, some can’t. The listeners can tell which is which.

Do you talk to women in real life like you do in the books you’ve narrated?
No, I do not dirty talk to women like I do in the books….

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About Paul (Audiobook Reviewer)

Paul is a quiet man who shares his passion of books through reviews assisting others select books through honest and professional reviews. Having built a team of professional reviewers, Audiobookreviewer (ABR) is the result of his passion of reading/listening of books. His family consists of a wife, 2 cats, and 2 African Grey parrots ( More frequently than not, you will see Paul plugged into the audio of his technology listening to books while riding his bike 100+ miles, tending to a huge fruit and vegetable garden, growing bonsai trees and operating his own largest online bonsai magazine (

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