Have you ever wondered about working as an audiobook narrator? If your answer is yes, you are in the right place as we are going to provide you essential information on how to make money from narrating audiobooks while at home.
According to an article published by Pew Research Center, studies found that one in every five Americans now listens to audiobooks. While print books are still popular among the majority, the changes in terms of people listening to audiobooks are evident.
In fact, based on a Center survey that was conducted in 2016, it was found that there has been an increase in the share of American people who listens to audiobooks from 14% to 20%. That’s a 6% growth in just a few years.
Meanwhile, in a report posted by Statista, it shows that the audiobook industry in the United States is growing. In 2018 alone, audiobook sales in the country amount to 940 million dollars, and experts believe that the industry will continue to grow in the years to come. Needless to say, audiobooks are becoming a trend now because of its accessibility and convenience.
Anyway, with the increasing demand for audiobooks, this also means an increased demand for audiobook narrators. More publishers are on the lookout for voice talents whose job will work around narrating audiobooks.
That being said, today, as we have mentioned earlier, we are going to focus on tackling the opportunities in this kind of job.
So, if you are someone who has a really good voice quality and is willing to work as an audiobook narrator or wanted to learn more about narrating audiobooks, then, this one’s for you.
In particular, we are going to talk about the following very essential information about this industry/field:
- What is an audiobook narrator?
- What are the benefits of working as an audiobook narrator?
- Is narrating audiobooks for everyone?
- Who qualifies to work as an audiobook narrator?
- What are the technical requirements for the job?
- How to become a successful audiobooks narrator?
- How much does an audiobook narrator make?
- Where to find work as an audiobook narrator?
WHAT IS AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR?
First and foremost, before we even get deeper into our topic, we thought it’s important to define what the job is all about. This is to help you understand better what the job requires.
Technically speaking, audiobook narrators are voice talents. Generally, a voice talent’s job is to record off-camera narration or dialogue in an audio format.
In this case, as an audiobook narrator, your job is to obviously record audio narration of a particular book. It’s like telling bedtime story sans the book —
Just so you know, audiobooks are not a thing of the past. In fact, spoken audio has been available in different schools and public libraries, and even music shops since the 1930s.
However, because of the advent of digital technology and the internet, it has become even more popular these days. Well, it’s not surprising though because listening to audiobooks is convenient and very accessible (especially for busy people) as compared to reading a printed book.
Now, with the popularity of audiobooks comes opportunities for voice talents. Audiobook narration has eventually become one of the most sought after jobs of these people.
Before moving on, if you want to learn more about audiobook narration, here’s an informative video by Kevin Clay. There’s so much input you’ll get from here:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AS AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR?
So, you already know what audiobook narrating, and what an audiobook narrator is all about. This time, let’s talk about the benefits of working as an audiobook narrator from home.
Unlike before, voice talents need to go to recording studios to be able to fulfill their jobs. Today, with the advent of technology, voice recording, or in this case, narrating audiobooks can already be done from home, which is why it is not surprising that more and more opportunities in this industry are coming up.
Now, with that said, you are probably wondering about what the benefits of working as an audiobook narrator from home are. So, here are some:
- Flexibility. — One of the most popular benefits of working as an audiobook narrator from home is having the flexibility to do the work when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it (of course, taking into account the client’s requirements). Since you are working from home, you can work at your own pace. As long as you are able to deliver, you’re all good.
- You are your own boss. — Most audiobook narration jobs are project-based, which means you are not employed as a regular employee. Since you are not employed, you get to make decisions in terms of what projects to work on, how you want to work on it, etc.
- More time for family. — If you are a stay-at-home mom, this kind of job is certainly something that you must consider. This allows you to give ample time to spend with your family especially your kids.
- You get to save money from commuting. — Since you are going the work from home, you do not need to gas up your car or to ride public transport to get into your destination. You basically just wake up and work.
- You get to be more creative. — Especially when working as a contractor, and all the more if the client allows you to do your thing on a project, working an audiobook narrator allows you to be creative. Well, of course, creative in the sense of how you are going to record the book. You know, as an audiobook narrator, your job is actually tough. You have to utter words properly and act the book out with nothing else but your voice. So yeah, creativity is very necessary. Otherwise, people listening to the audiobook will fall asleep or won’t be interested in finishing it at all.
IS NARRATING AUDIOBOOKS FOR EVERYONE?
If you are wondering if this kind of job is for everyone, well, the answer would be — probably not.
As an audiobook narrator, the job requires certain skills. You have to have, first of all, a good voice, and second of all, you have to have the ability to narrate the book, act it out using your voice. The latter, we thought, is the crucial part.
While the job is not entirely for everyone, experts believe that narrating audiobooks have changed over time. Gone are the days when it was predominantly male voices that you’ll hear.
Today, audiobooks narration requires all kinds of voices to make it work — to entice readers to continue listening to it.
WHO QUALIFIES TO WORK AS AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR?
In this section, we are going to particularly talk about who qualifies to become an audiobook narrator.
Here’s some good news — you do not need to earn a particular degree or finish college just to be able to earn a living from narrating audiobooks.
If you want to become an audiobook narrator or a voice talent in general, you have to have a good voice.
One of the major requirements to be considered for the job is the quality of your voice. Your voice has to sound appealing. Something that people like to listen to.
But apart from your voice, you also have to have the ability to infuse your voice with emotion. If you have both qualities, then you have the basic yet very important requirement to get into this kind of job.
Now, apart from the quality of your voice, you must also have vocal skills, which normally depends on the genre.
For example, for non-fiction books, it usually requires a narrator to turn a dry text into something with energy to keep the listener’s attention to it. Meanwhile, a fictional book requires a number of different voices depending on the dialogue. As with poetry, it requires rhythm while a children’s book may need a voice that’s silly to catch the listener’s attention as well.
If you are really serious about getting into this job, experts recommend going through some training as an actor as this helps you adapt to what a book requires your voice to be. At the same time, you get to give the right emotion to it.
Now, apart from your voice and acting skills, you also need to have a lot of patience and the ability to perform in a consistent manner. You must also always aim for excellence, and not settle for second best — remember, the success of an audiobook will depend on how you deliver it.
In addition, you also have to have a solid understanding of the different kinds of narration. You must also possess excellent organizational skills, professionalism, and can self-manage. You must also be a sucker for excellence to be able to come up with the best audio recording possible. Of course, obviously, you need to have excellent reading skills — mispronunciation of words is definitely a no-no.
WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE JOB?
Now, apart from your voice as well as your acting skills, there are several other things that the job requires especially if you are working as an audiobook narrator from home.
The following items are essential for the job. This will help you deliver a good quality product that will please your clients. The items you need are:
- Computer – While you can do audio recording using either a laptop or desktop computer, it is important to note that it has to have the ability to run the latest versions of recording and editing software that you will be using. It also needs to have the right ports to handle external mic and headphones.
- Mic – A high-quality mic is vital for the job. It helps you come up with the best quality audio. No matter how awesome your voice and delivery is if your mic is cheap, it will ruin the quality and might just put you in a bad situation.
- Headphones – Headphones are also essential as this lets you hear your own recording. A high-quality headphone allows you to hear everything to ensure you are hitting the quality standards.
- Pop Screen – A pop screen refers to a circular mesh about the size of your hand that you put in between you and the mic. Apart from the fact that it helps protect the mic from the possible accumulation of spit, the main reason why you need it is that it helps reduce any popping noises from fast-moving air after making certain sounds.
- Recording and Editing Software – While some clients prefer raw materials, others prefer to have the final product. If that is the case, then you need to have a robust program that allows you to record clean audio with as little compression as possible. A recording and/or editing software helps you come up with the best quality product possible.
- Table or e-Reader – This is very important when recording. This allows you to silently touch a screen to advance your text instead of flipping pages that create unnecessary sound.
- Quiet Room – When recording especially from home, it is important to choose a room where there is less or no noise at all. Again, when you want to give your clients the best possible output, you have to get rid of unnecessary noise.
HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR?
Working as an audiobook narrator is quite very fulfilling. Imagine, a lot of people will get to listen to your work! And we are not just talking about people from the United States but even from other nations as well.
If that is not fulfilling, then what would that be, right?
Anyway, if you are totally new to the idea of working as an audiobook narrator, or that you have no previous experience in doing the job, here are some of the tips you might want to try before you even apply as an audiobook narrator:
- Practice at home by reading out loud (incorporating the right emotions). – As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” So, to begin your audiobook narration career, you begin by practicing at home. In time, you will eventually master how to properly do it.
- Attend acting workshops or voice talent workshops. – If you have the means to attend to any of these workshops, then, grab it. It will surely help you make the most out of your voice. It will help you play around with your voice.
- Record your voice. – Choose a book or poem, then record it. That way, you get to listen to it and critique yourself. Ideally, though, you ask friends and/or experts to critique your recording.
- Learn how to breathe from your diaphragm. – Proper breathing is the key to having the best audio recording. So, make sure to learn and practice breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest.
- Overcome any regional accents or if not, at least hide them. – Depending on the project or material you are working on, you will most likely be required to record using a particular accent. So, if you have a regional accent that may hinder you from creating a job well done. So, yeah, learn to either let go or hide it.
In addition, you also have to be determined. Being determined is important for you to be able to become better, at the same time, be able to produce the best audio narration possible.
HOW MUCH DOES AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR MAKE?
Now, with all the information we already provided, perhaps you are already wondering how much does this kind of job make.
Well, guess what? That’s exactly what you are going to find out in this section.
Generally speaking, voice artists are paid on a per-project basis, which means the pay range can be quite wide. Needless to say, there are a lot if different factors to be able to determine how much narrating audiobooks, for example, will pay.
Now, when we talk about audiobook narrator per se, there is also no definite answer to this question. However, it is important to note that project rates paid “per finished hour” refers to per audiobook hour. Each of these takes several hours of recording, rerecording, as well as editing, and finalizing prior to delivery.
It’s probably safe to say that how much you make depends on how well you negotiate. To give you an idea, though, you can make anywhere between $100 per finished hour to a couple of hundreds per finished hour. Your rate will also eventually depend on the quality of your work, as well as your mastery of the craft. Experts on this field make around $225 per hour or more.
So, to put it simply, narrating audiobooks can be financially fulfilling as well provided that you have the mastery for the craft — and of course the right clients and projects to work for/on.
WHERE TO FIND WORK AS AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR?
At this point, we are going to share with you some places where you can find audiobook narrator jobs. You can find them at:
- ACX (Audible’s Audiobook Creative Exchange)
- Brilliance Audio
Please note that these are just some of the sites where you can find audiobook narrator jobs but there are certainly a few more options out there.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NARRATING AUDIOBOOKS
So, there you have it. If you have been praised because of the quality of your voice, becoming an audiobook narrator is a job that you must take into consideration. You’ll surely have a place here.
While some people thought this job is challenging, while there’s a little truth to that especially if you are a newbie, but once you’re out there, you will certainly feel that’s actually fulfilling.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an audiobook narrator?