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:
- A Computer – You can use a desktop or laptop for recording. Any operating system will work, but you do want to make sure you have the necessary ports for the rest of your equipment.
- An Excellent Microphone – You want to get a high-quality microphone for recording. Don’t go cheap on this piece of equipment, and don’t count on your computer’s microphone. A good microphone will run a few hundred to about $1,000.
- A Good Microphone Shock Mount – A good microphone stand will ensure you get the best recording possible. If it has a shock mount, this will help to keep other noises from getting picked up.
- Headphones – A good set of noise-canceling headphones can go a long way for your recording space.
- A book stand – You will need a place to put the book you are reading.
- A comfortable chair – Unless you want to stand for hours upon hours, you will need a comfortable chair.
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 Audible.com 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:
- A Good Voice – Of course, a good narrator voice is necessary. In addition, you will need to be energetic, engaging, and enthusiastic.
- Effective Characterization – If you think of this career as voice acting, you can become the characters in the book you’re reading. This is necessary to help separate each character for the listener.
- Good Recording Quality – While it’s not a quality of yours, it’s important to provide good recording quality. For example, you don’t want white noise or background noise in the recording.
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:
- Solo Narrator – Most audiobook narrators will be solo narrators. They work by themselves and add differentiations to each character.
- Duet Narrators – Maybe you want to work with another voice actor. Together you are duet narrators.
- Multicast – When you work with voice actors for each main character, it’s called a multicast.
- Full-Cast – Another type of narration, a full-cast is just what it sounds like. There will be a voice actor for every character in the book, not just the main characters.
Along with these types of narrators, there are two main recording styles:
- Punch and Roll – This type of recording involves rolling back the audio to before you made a mistake and punching a new recording in where you left off. It’s a good way to avoid extensive editing.
- Straight Recording – Many narrators will use the straight recording style. This style includes recording until you decide to stop, even if you make a mistake and need to re-record after it. You will need to edit the mistakes out later with this method.
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.