Do you think you have a nice voice? Do you want to put your voice to work? If so, you may want to consider the wonderful world of audiobook narration.
Even if you haven’t listened to an audiobook before, you probably already know what one is. In short, it’s when someone, such as yourself, reads a book and records it into audio form. Sometimes the author will do it, but oftentimes, they will hire it out to someone who they think has a better voice and/or can do the characters in a way they can’t. In some cases, they don’t have the time to read 400 pages.
Whatever the reasoning may be, there are thousands of audiobook narration jobs out there at any given time. You just need to know how to find them.
In today’s guide, I want to talk about the world of becoming an audiobook narrator. I will also talk about which companies are hiring as well as where you can look right now to find a potential job, the pay, qualifications and what’s usually what’s expected of you if you were to land a job.
If you want to put your voice to work and simply read lines of text, then this may be something to consider.
What Does an Audiobook Narrator Actually Do?
The job in itself isn’t that hard to explain.
What’s expected of you is to read the book, just as you would on your own and then record it into audio form. The only difference here is that you will read aloud as if you were reading to a classroom.
Every author will have their own terms. Some may want you to use a certain voice for the many characters in the book, whereas some may be looking for a certain voice to read the entire voice.
In most cases, you will have you read the audio from a text file, most of which will include what’s expected of you. For example, one section may require a certain tone, or any time a character is mentioned, you need to use a certain voice.
After you record your text as noted, you will have to re-listen, making sure it sounds of good quality. In essence, you’re serving as the recorder as well as a director and quality control. You will need to make any edits as necessary. Once it’s complete, then you can package off the audio file and send it out for payment.
Whatever the job may be, you should always know what’s expected of you, as an applicant, in the job description.
Who Can Do It?
As long as you have a voice, you can do it. In some cases, however, it may take some training to use your voice to your advantage so that you can make some cash. YouTube and Udemy are filled with many classes that can help you train your voice. Best of all, some of these classes won’t cost you a dime.
A good narrator, according to experts, will have a solid understanding of the different kinds of narration, the right stamina, organization skills, communication, professionalism as well as self management. In some cases, some authors may want to see experience in the acting world as they will want to hear certain “voices.” For instance, a children’s book may call for a goofy-like character.
Taking a look at the many job postings online, most authors want a voice filled with energy as well as someone who turns their voice into 10 different styles.
Again, I highly recommend you take at least one course on Udemy to sharpen your skills and learn more about the industry. As long as you can talk, I promise you that you can eventually turn it into some cash.
How Much Do You Get Paid?
The amount you get paid will greatly depend on the job in itself, your credibility and the platform you use. There’s really no set rate, so it’s hard to let you know how much you can make.
Based on these factors, almost all jobs pay by the “finished” hour. So, if it took you 10 hours to read the book, you would get paid for the 10 hours, even though it could take you much longer to read it. Editing can eat up a lot of your time.
Newcomers to the industry can make about $75 to $200~ per finished hour, whereas seasoned vets can make well north of $400+.
Aside from the typical hourly rates, you can also get paid in royalties, where you can split the royalties, often 50/50 with the book author/publisher. Of course, this could be a gamble if the book doesn’t sell well, but like any roll of dice, you could make much more than the hourly rate proposed if the book takes off.
If you are interested in the royalty deal, just make sure you research the author to know of their past. If they are just starting out, then it’s hard to determine if their book is going to be a hit. But, if the author has a history of 10-20 books and they barely sell, then you can only assume the one you’re working with will be the same.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
To get started, you won’t need much. In fact, you may already have many of the supplies needed to succeed. In short, here’s what you need:
- voice over microphone w/ microphone stand
- recording software (best recording software options)
- voice training lessons (optional, but I recommend you check out Udemy for a variety of great lessons)
- a sample recording of your voice when applying
- a quiet space
Before you even consider applying to a gig, most seasoned veterans who work in the field highly recommend you take part in some sort of training. Whether it’s a few free YouTube videos or taking part in an extensive low-cost Udemy course, it’s best to learn the market before jumping in feet first.
How to Find Audiobook Narrator Jobs
In this section, I researched a variety of companies/websites that can help you find a potential audiobook narrator job. As with any job such as this, it’s very important that you read the job description as they all vary. If you feel you have the skills to apply, then, by all means, do so!
FlexJobs is an amazing work-at-home job portal that screens thousands of remote jobs. The cool thing about the site is that they have a staff that’s dedicated to only listing reputable remote job opportunities. This simply means that every job you see on the site allows you to work from home. You won’t find any scams nor will you find those unethical companies that charge you to receive a list of “companies” that let you work at home.
Now, the only bummer is that it does cost a few dollars a month, but if you’re serious about working from home, this is one of the only sites online that works in this way. Consider the small investment as a way to find a job you can do from home.
While the website does occasionally post narrator jobs, you can find so many other companies hiring in various industries, even if you don’t have a lick of experience.
Even if you sign up and hate what you see, FlexJobs offers a satisfaction guarantee!
- Website: FlexJobs
ACX is one I have mentioned before in my 15+ voice over job options for beginners post and is one of the best options for finding audiobook narrator jobs, the main reasons I put it near the top of my list. It’s also recommended by many narrators online, many of which do it part and full-time. And, in using the site, you get to choose the books you want to audition for.
Owned by Audible, which is operated by Amazon, it’s a virtual marketplace of sorts that brings authors and the narrators together.
To get started, you will be asked to create a profile, explaining your background as well as your experience. You will also be asked to upload a variety of samples so that you can show off your voice to those who create the jobs. The platform also allows you to choose your rates or even claim a royalty if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s no different than many of the freelancing websites out there.
After you complete your profile, it’s then time to search for books on the platform and record a small sample of the manuscript provided if you’re interested in narrating that particular book. If the author likes what they hear, they then will send you an offer, in which you can accept or deny.
At this moment, the platform had more than 2,700 books looking to be narrated! To learn more about the process and start applying, refer to the official link below.
- Website: ACX
Bunny Studio Voice
The Bunny Studio, like ACX, requires that you create a profile so that potential clients can take a gander at what you have to offer. It also comes in handy when you apply to jobs as well.
If interested, the FAQ does note that you should complete an application project, which means that they want to take a look at your skills in the category you’re applying to. After you submit this, then their quality team will determine if you’re up to standards. If you are, then you will confirm your phone number so that you can become active in the system.
Be sure to check out all of the helpful guides in the FAQ as they have a ton of answers to the questions you may already have. I linked out to the official guide below.
- Website: Bunny Studio Voice
Voices.com works just like ACX in a way, only that you can find many other jobs, not just audiobook-related jobs. As long as you can use your voice, you can find the work here.
To get started, you will be asked to create your own profile, most of which works just like ACX, and then proceed to apply to job postings that you feel you qualify for. Aside from applying to various jobs, you can also be found through the database if a client likes your profile and voice.
The website has a very in-depth help center, so I recommend you at least start there to see how the platform works. As it’s free to join, at least create a profile to see what kind of jobs are out there.
- Website: Voices
Upwork and Freelancer
Upwork and Freelancer are both freelancing websites I have mentioned a myriad of times. If you can do the job online, there’s a good chance you can find someone looking for your help.
No matter which freelancer website you work with, they all work in the same way, where you’re asked to create a profile and then bid on jobs and/or wait for people to contact you based on your profile.
You won’t find as many audiobook narration jobs like the ones mentioned prior, but you can find some jobs here and there. For example, there were 189 jobs available on Upwork when I was writing this. Keep in mind that most of the jobs you do find here will be much smaller in length in comparison to the sites that only focus on voice over work. It doesn’t mean you should at least check it out, however!
Fiverr is similar to that of Upwork, but I feel it deserves its own subsection as it works a pinch differently.
If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, you will have to create a services page, essentially selling yourself. If someone likes what they see, then they will place an order and expect you to deliver with the noted time frame.
I must warn you that it will take some work in marketing yourself, but thankfully, there’s a book on Amazon titled The Fiverr Master Class. This simple eBook, oftentimes free, will teach the secrets to become a six-figure seller.
- Website: Fiverr
While Backstage focuses mostly on casting calls, they do have some audiobook jobs.
Although it’s not much, maybe less than 10 to 20 jobs at a time, it’s at least worth checking out. The nice thing about the website is that you can look at the jobs available before you even apply to them.
Go ahead and follow the link below to check out the job opportunities as of right now. If interested, you can then create a profile and apply to the gig.
- Website: Backstage
Even if you don’t think you have the voice to narrate audiobooks, you may be surprised as to what a little training can do.
While narrating audiobooks won’t pay the bills, it could add hundreds, maybe thousands to your pocket throughout the month.
For now, check out the many resources you can use to advertise your talents as well as to apply to jobs. With the right amount of effort, you could find a job as early as next week.
Now, I leave it up to you.
Have you had success in narrating audiobooks?
Which service did you like?
As always, feel free to sound off in the comments below!
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