Love to read and talk? You may want to consider a calling as a narrator for audiobooks. Thanks to the advent of podcasts and the ability to listen on the go in your car, on the train or while you work out, listening to books as opposed to reading them the old-fashioned way has become increasingly popular.
While some authors to choose to narrate their own texts, others hire a narrator. Narrating audiobooks is a popular gig for actors and voiceover artists. If you’re interested in starting out in this field, you can find jobs through the Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX).
If you don’t have any experience in those fields, you’ll want to get some training first. Although some voice actors are self-taught, a coach can help you refine your skills and offer advice. Look for someone with experience and who understands the state of the voiceover industry.
“Most coaches will offer a consultation session, so it’s wise to meet with more than one and compare their assessments,” voiceover actor Jamie Muffett told Backstage. “There should be some consistencies in their feedback. A coach who seems to be wildly at variance with the majority is likely to be someone overly-complimentary who is just looking for clients, or who thinks being overly-critical makes them seem more legitimate. Be wary of both.”
Once you’re ready to start looking for work, use Amazon’s Audiobook Creative Exchange to find gigs for content that will be available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. You create a profile on the site, upload your samples and audition for books you’d like to work on.
When you get an offer, you will be responsible for narrating and producing the audiobook. Keep in mind that it may take some time for you to land your first job, especially if you’re a beginner.
The amount of money you can make narrating audiobooks can vary quite a bit and depends on rates set by the publisher and producer.
According to financial advice site Sapling, new narrators can expect to make up to $50 per hour for small publishers, while medium- and large-size publishers may pay an hourly rate of between $100 and $350.
However, jobs on ACX tend not to be as lucrative because the site is mostly dedicated to audiobook narration jobs. Companies might also want to pay you by splitting royalties on the book.
Before you jump into full-length audiobook narration, you may want to start small by working on commercials, promotional videos and corporate training videos. You can find gigs through sites like Upwork, Voices and Backstage.
Specialize Your Skills
Once you get into the world of audiobook narration, you’ll realize that not all projects are the same. Different strengths and skills are required for fiction as opposed to non-fiction, for example. So you’ll want to figure out what you’re best at and what kind of content best suits your voice in order to be successful at landing gigs.
“I’m becoming a bit of a nonfiction specialist,” audiobook narrator and actor Kris Keppeler explained to The Penny Hoarder. “[When it comes to fiction], it’s hard to learn to do the different voices … Fiction books are heavily character-based, so you’re going to have to handle [those] unless you’re hired to work with a group, but that’s not that common.”
Would you consider a career in audiobook narration?
[h/t: The Penny Hoarder]