How To Become An Audiobook Narrator

Becoming an audiobook narrator can open doors to new opportunities and lead you places you never thought imaginable. Consider narrating for one of your favorite writers or being paid to read books aloud!

You’ve come to the perfect place if you want to work as an audiobook narrator. In this article, we’ll go through the tools you’ll need for the job as well as five critical skills to work on as you begin your journey. Finally, there are opportunities for landing your first audiobook narration job. Let’s get started!

Required Equipment For Audiobook Narrator

When determining whether to become an audiobook narrator, you must first decide if you want to work as a freelancer or for an audiobook publisher. If you work for a publisher, they should offer most of the essential equipment. All you have to worry about is being ready to narrate.

If you intend to work as an independent contractor as a narrator, you must set up an industry-standard recording studio to ensure quality. Here are some fundamentals:

  • Microphone and laptop
  • Sound booth and workstation
  • Stand for the device or pages from which you will be reading.

When designing your sound booth, ensure that outside noises such as traffic are not audible in your recordings.

5 Skills Required for an Audiobook Narrator

Now that you’re aware of some of the equipment you’ll require, it’s time to talk about the soft talents that will set you apart from other audiobook narrators.

1. Public Speaking

After all, the name implies that public speaking is a “public” career. However, public speaking is a tremendously beneficial training ground for a private job as an audiobook narrator.

The more opportunities you have to speak in public, the greater your ability to communicate your words will be.

2. Tone, Inflection, and Voice

The same way that your speaking voice, tone, and inflections influence how others perceive you in conversation, the same is true for audiobook narration.

Consider reading a thriller in a lighthearted, comic tone. Your voice would not be appropriate for the material you are reading. Mastering these three elements is essential for long-term success as an audiobook narrator.

3. Acting Workshops

Consider the last time you heard someone read aloud and consider the concept of inflection. Did they use their tone to emulate the characters they read? If they were reading a story, did they speak softly in certain places and loudly in others?

As much as acting is about gestures and facial expressions, tone contributes significantly to the subtext in our favorite films. Consider the following exchange:

  • “I would love to take you out on a date tomorrow evening.”
  • “Wouldn’t you?”
  • “Of course,” she says.

These three lines could be interpreted as a joke, sarcasm, or sincerity. Acting without facial expression is what audiobook narrating is.

4. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a vital asset, especially for narrators of audiobooks. If you are aware that you are speaking too quickly, too slowly, or without enough inflection, you can make the appropriate changes.

5. Research Capabilities

Have you ever been reading and come across a new word? This is a narrator’s worst nightmare. Improving your research abilities can help you avoid similar problems in the future. When deciding to become an audiobook narrator, invest in educating yourself on a variety of topics, particularly those related to the genre you choose to record.

Even if you intend to be an audiobook narrator for sports memoirs, becoming acquainted with a variety of themes will aid in the recording process. You never know what examples or pictures a writer may use!

Platforms to Find Narration Jobs

The exciting thing now is finding your first audiobook narration gig. There are various ways to get your first job, paid or unpaid, and each session you book helps prepare you for the future.

  • Reading for Children

Volunteering to read at a school, local library, or even babysitting young children can all be used to obtain work. Because of the kind of people who visit libraries, they can be an especially beneficial place to practice reading:

  • Aspiring writers
  • Published authors
  • Readers

You never know who you’ll run into and network with.

  • Reading for the Visually Impaired

Reading to the visually impaired or blind is a wonderful opportunity to help your community while also obtaining essential experience for your desired job. When reading for the visually impaired, how you utilize inflection and tone has a big impact on how they experience the story.

  • Look for Online Writing Groups

You might begin your search for your first paid employment by studying online writing forums. You can start your search on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium. You can volunteer your services to these writing groups if you have your own recording equipment.

  • Provide Your Services to a Self-Publishing Firm

If you want to get more consistent work as an audiobook narrator, you may consider reaching out to self-publishing organizations and pitching your skills to them. When querying, make sure you have an up-to-date website where potential clients can reach you, or at the very least a Facebook page detailing your services.

  • Use Online Job Search Engines

Navigate to your preferred job board and enter the keywords audiobook or audiobook narrator. Sometimes just getting your first job is enough to put you on the path to booking yourself on a regular basis. If a job site can aid you along the way, all the better!

  • Use Your Phone More

Now that you know how to develop your speaking voice and where to look for work, it’s time to practice.

Open your recording app on your smartphone and begin reading one of your favorite stories. Play your audio and assess it after you’ve read for a few minutes (enough time to get comfortable).

Make a list of what you did well and where you can improve. Ask the following questions to provide your own constructive criticism:

  • Was my voice flat or did I employ inflection?
  • How fast did I speak? Is it too quick, too sluggish, or just right?
  • Did I make any mistakes?

Don’t be concerned if you notice background noise throughout your practice sessions. The goal is to focus on your strengths and weaknesses. The more you practice audiobook narrating, the more self-awareness you will develop.

Reading into your phone (or whatever recording device you have) may seem like a waste of time, but even a few minutes of practice in a stress-free atmosphere can call your attention to nuances you might have missed otherwise.

The idea is to maintain consistency throughout time. Instead of cramming three hours of reading into one weekend, try to practice for five or ten minutes every day. Keep track of your progress and let us know when you get your first gig as an audiobook narrator!

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