How To Become an Audiobook Narrator

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: July 23, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Creative
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Are you interested in narrating books for a living? You can literally get paid to read books out loud as an audiobook narrator. This type of career can be rather rewarding. Let’s look at how to become an audiobook narrator in a few steps.

The Steps to Becoming an Audiobook Narrator

Create a Recording Space

Since you don’t need any type of education to become an audiobook narrator, you will simply want to start by creating a recording space. You don’t have to spend a ton of cash to make an area suitable for recording.

You will need a quiet space, or your recording will likely get rejected often.

Find the quietest room in your home for recording. You can even use a walk-in closet. Adding cushions to the walls, such as egg-tray insulation, carpet, or other padding, can help deaden the noise. Make sure to test the recording space before providing a professional recording.

Get the Necessary Equipment

There are some things you will need to get if you want to become an audiobook narrator. But, first, you will need the following equipment:

These are the basic things you should get to create your recording space. If you want to become an audiobook narrator, this is the equipment you will need.

Get the Right Software

There are a few types of recording and editing software you can use for audiobooks. It will likely be free, and you don’t need to spend cash on this software. Audacity, Levelator, and LAME are the three most common options.

Get an Account in ACX

ACX is easy to sign up with since it’s an Amazon company. You will just use your Amazon credentials, and you can start recording for authors for Audible.

It’s not easy to get authors to choose you if you don’t have any experience. So you might need to do some recordings of royalty-free books to build your portfolio. This can help you get started as an audiobook narrator.

Use Other Sites for Voice Work

While ACX and are the two biggest options for audiobook narrators, they are not the only ones. Voices is another big option and provides plenty of voiceover work. You can also find some work on Upwork, but it will likely pay a little less than the others.

Learn how to Edit

You will need to edit your work. This is a big part of producing good narrations. Splicing files from different chapters is necessary. You may also need to add silence at the beginning and end of each chapter.

Editing will also include getting rid of unwanted noises. You may also need to cut out mistakes and outtakes. Make sure you’re familiar with editing audio files before trying to become an audiobook narrator.

Choose a Niche

Most audiobook narrators will choose a niche to concentrate on. This can be one of many options. For example, maybe you prefer non-fictional business books. This can be a good niche. Of course, you can also choose high fantasy or mystery as your niche.

Once you choose a niche, you want to make sure you learn the tone, pacing, accents, and acting for the niche. This can help ensure you can specialize in the type of voice work needed for the books in your niche.

For example, with fictional stories, you may need to provide different accents. This isn’t as necessary with non-fiction and other types of books.

Qualities of a Good Audiobook Narrator

If you want to be a good audiobook narrator, you will need to have the right characteristics. Some of the qualities you want to have include:

With these qualities, you can become a good audiobook narrator. But, of course, most narrators work for themselves, so it’s helpful to have some basic business skills, too.

Types of Audiobook Narrators

There are a few different types of audiobook narrators. You can become any of these types of narrators if you prefer:

Along with these types of narrators, there are two main recording styles:

No matter the type of narrator you want to be and the style of recording you use, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Some training courses online can teach you quite a bit about how to become an audiobook narrator. If you want to make a full-time income from home, this is a good career option.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Audiobook Narrator

What is the average salary of an audiobook narrator?

Becoming an audiobook narrator isn’t typically a full-time job working for an employer. Instead, you will be a freelancer. The pay for audiobook narrators ranges from about $15 per hour to $150 per hour. The average per hour rate is about $33.

If you can narrate in multiple languages, you might be able to make even more. You can usually earn between $1,000 and $3,000 for 8 to 10 hours of finished audio. It may take about 40 hours to record and edit this much audio, however.

How fast do I need to read to become an audiobook narrator?

It’s common to read at about 75 to 90 words per minute when narrating. Too fast will not help the listener, and too slow can be difficult to follow. Make sure you’re not too energetic or too boring.

Do I need to read the book first?

Maybe. Some narrators will read the book before narrating it. For example, they might read a chapter and then narrate it, and so on. This can help you become more familiar with the material before you read it.

Where do audiobook narrators work?

Most audiobook narrators work from home. You will likely create your own mini-studio room for recording. Some narrators will work in a professional studio, but this is rare.

What’s the process of recording a book like?

Typically, you will be sent the test to read before you record it. However, most employers will give you plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the book, the characters, and the accents before trying to record.

Then, you will do the recording, edit the recording, and make sure everything is high-quality. Once you have edited everything, you deliver the recording and get paid.

Is Becoming an Audiobook Narrator Right For You?

If you love to read and you have a good voice, you can become an audiobook narrator. This can be a very rewarding career, as you will get to read new books regularly. With the right equipment and the right skills, you can make a nice living too. Use the steps and advice in this article to learn how to become an audiobook narrator and get started today.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.