Talking About Parenting: Orange native, Cole Johnston, finds voice in audio books

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

By Chris Kovatch


I am blessed with flexibility when deciding what topic I want to write about each week. This column started out about my adventures in parenting but quickly morphed to reflect other things going on in my life and in Orange. I like to look for individuals to feature that help make our community a great place to live. The truth is our area has also produced a number of very talented individuals that have moved on and bring a little Southeast Texas to their new communities.

A graduate of West Orange-Stark High School and Orange native, Cole Johnston, has begun to make his mark in an interesting new field. He followed in his father’s footsteps and is a key player with Flow-Tech Industries based in Houston. Talking is, at the core, one of the main aspects of his job. As anyone who has spent time in a sales role knows, the ability to speak well and in a variety of situations is key. This same skill just happened to open an interesting new door for him.

Johnston grew up interested in acting and drama and had a penchant for learning accents.  A family friend would regularly comment that he would end up in Hollywood, but he never had the desire to pursue that area of focus.

Growing up Johnston began to read at an early age but struggled with the time it took him to finish books, unless that is if he read them out loud. His retention of the material also improved when he vocalized the content.

Recently, his family learned that his eldest daughter was dyslexic. During this process, he also learned that he may be mildly dyslexic as well, which could explain his struggles in childhood, but just like his oldest daughter, he found ways to work around it.

During the 10-hour drive to the deer lease, he and his father began listening to audiobooks they checked out from the Orange Library to pass time.  Being an auditory learner, this was a great find for Johnston. Fast-forward to the birth of Audible and accessing and listening to audiobooks became so much easier for him.

With his love of drama, coupled by the experience he brought from his work, he began to wonder what exactly it would take to begin to record audiobooks professionally. He began sending messages to narrators to obtain advice on how to get his foot in the door. He signed up for sessions with Sean Pratt to further his skills.

Balancing work, a family, and his new hobby was a challenge for him. He began a podcast, aptly title Story Tale Podcast as a tool to get his voice noticed and marketed it as free promotion for authors.  His first season has 12 “episodes” ranging from new authors all the way to New York Times Best Sellers. His second season begins this month and is slated for 18 episodes.

He began outfitting his home with a makeshift studio with equipment that he could afford at the time. Low and behold, his wife surprised him with a high-end mic to help him continue his dream. A quick leap to the present and the Johnstons have moved into a new home where he has constructed a professional recording studio. His first full-length audiobook Salvage Title is available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon and he has six more titles under contract. 

I have listened to excerpts from Salvage Title and Johnston’s tone, inflection, and energy are quite evident. To be honest, his title was my first time to listen to an audiobook.

I have always loved to read and historically have sped through books at a quick pace. But as my eyes continue to keep me on my toes with their constant vision changes and my spare time dwindles, I can foresee more audiobooks in my future.

I always love to see people from Orange and people I know succeed. We are blessed with amazing educators who help form each generation for their futures. But it’s not just that our hometown is able to produce skilled or intelligent people.

Our community produces good people. That’s quite evident with Johnston.

Something he said speaks volumes to me. He takes pride in the stories he tells the masses, but also those he tells his daughters at night.

That, my friends, is a sign of a good man.


Interested in finding his recordings? Search for KC Johnston in iTunes, Audible, or Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook @KCJohnstonCreates