Audiobooks are a growing industry within the publishing world. With on-the-go lifestyles,
reading a book is not always possible but on-the-go listening is. While audiobooks have been around for a long time mostly for educational uses, they are more popular now than ever. Writers and publishers want to get their books out especially on Amazon and iTunes and Audible which is another revenue area for voice over talent or narrators… also know as readers.
Audiobooks are an Added Avenue for Voice Over Work
For voice over actors doing an audiobook is often easy. Actors are trained to do characters, narration, understand tones and subtle voice changes. They understand how to make a book interesting to listen to and draw the audience in.
Finding Your Niche
As with any actor, you have a niche of work; the same applies to audiobooks. Fiction books are character-based so you have to be able to switch between characters. Non-Fiction might be more your speed, fewer characters, and the storytelling is more about vocal inflection. While doing both is a possibility, it depends on your skill set and range.
Where to Start
For a voice over actor audiobooks give another line of potential jobs. There are several places to get your foot in the door. Many voice over actors find that audiobook training with a coach is helpful.
Listen to audiobooks to learn what to do and what not to do. This is also a way of seeing what potential authors will like and not like. When narrating a book, you are painting a picture for the listener. A picture that is as close to what the author intends to be seen. Which is why narrating fiction can be harder for a non-actor. Non-Fiction content
can tend to be dry so making it enjoyable to listen to and interesting is essential.
Production of the Audiobook
Audiobooks do require editing. Depending on how you are hired they may expect you to do the editing, which can take additional time. There are freelance editors for hire that will edit as per your instructions fr very reasonable fees. This also gives you as narrator/reader the chance to “get out from under” your POV and get another’s.
If you are not experienced in editing, then start with smaller projects and work your way up to larger more extensive editing projects.
There are several freelance broker options for finding audiobooks, some are sites that have many job types listed and others like Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) that is solely for audiobook work.
There are two main ways that a voice narrator gets paid for audiobook work. The two payment options are a flat rate per hour or royalties. Royalties are more commonly offered, as it reduces the authors’ upfront costs. Per hour, you will get paid after the completion of the book. Remember that a per hour rate is a more stable way of getting paid. Royalties do involve risk.
Royalties are paid out monthly on sales for the previous month. If you choose royalties, then research the author before reaching an agreement. Check for the author’s platform and decide if you want more projects with that author. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, then a royalty deal may mean more audiobook deals.
Places to Find Audiobook work
Connecting through a client or a broker in your network is one way to get an audiobook job.This will also allow you to set your rate and make the most money on a job.
Upwork, Freelancer, and Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX) are sites that have jobs and are based on bidding, so you will find that you are getting paid less per job. These sites have pros and cons. If you are newer to the industry or not working on a job, they give you a huge range of jobs and you can build your portfolio. However, the rates are not as favorable for you. And remember that you each time you accept a fee or terms you are also representing the industry as a talent. So, do be aware of accepting or requiring reasonable rates that uphold industry standards as a professional talent.
With the popularity and rise of audiobooks there is a clear area for jobs that a voice narrator is a perfect fit for. With some knowledge of editing and communication with the author about what they are looking for, and an interesting “easy to listen to” narration style, Audio Book narration can be work that you may have not have previously considered and can benefit from moving forward.