Do you love audiobooks and have a pleasant voice? If yes, a career as an audiobook narrator might suit you.
Audiobook Narrators read scripts and convert text into audio files using audio recording and editing software. They work for radio, theatre, filmmaking, television production, video games, audio narration, eBook, and others.
To become an Audiobook Narrator in Australia, you need professional training and experience voicing audiobooks. Volunteering in related workshops and community events can help build the necessary skills.
Read this blog to explore the Audiobook Narrator profession. Learn what audiobook narrators do, their characteristics, where to find work, and how to turn your aspirations into a career.
1. What is Audiobook Narration?
Audiobook narration is a process that records voice-overs of a written book. It involves reading an entire book and recording every part of the book being read aloud with the help of audio recording software.
This format has become popular as it enables one to "read" a book on the go from their mobile device.
2. What Is An Audiobook Narrator?
Audiobook narrators love books and audiobooks and like to read them aloud. They have a great voice for narration and the skills to bring a book to life.
3. What Does The Audio Narrator Job Involve?
Audiobook narrators read aloud a book using a consistent pitch that can hook the listener's attention until its completion. Their main job is to read the text and transform it into audio files for off-stage and off-cameras.
They may raise the pitch and tone of their voice to distinguish the different characters of the story.
4. Audiobook Narrator Skills
Like any career, there are specific skills you must have to get started in an Audiobook narrator profession. Before diving into the field of narration, ensure that you possess the following skills:
Pleasant and clear voice
Able to speak confidently and clearly so that listener understands every word
Great story-telling skills
Basic knowledge of acting
Consistent sound levels
Creative to read a story in an engaging and entertaining way
Able to make long-form narration seamless and easy
Understanding of the pace of voice and how it changes with mood or emotional state
Able to differentiate accents, dialects, and voices
Able to embody characters of different backgrounds
Physical stamina to speak/read for many hours at different paces
Able to work on your own time and meet deadlines
Able to use a narration style that involves characterization
Reasonable control over breath as you may be handling a lot of emotion and nuances
Able to keep track of contracts, and invoices
Research skills to find the correct pronunciation and voice modulation
Working knowledge of software to record and edit audio files to ensure a smooth and seamless listening experience
5. What Equipment Do Audiobook Narrators Require?
Besides your voice, there are a few tools and equipment you need to set up your recording studio and start audio narration:
A laptop or computer to manage schedules, prepare invoices, send emails, and track clients,
Good quality microphones
A desktop-mounted or freestanding microphone stands to free up your hands so that you can handle the script.
Smartphones to download and use industry-related apps
An audio interface to transform your voice into an audio
Pair of studio Headphones to plug into your audio interface that doesn't pick up the background sounds
Pop filters block the popping and breathing when your mouth encounters the microphone for the first time.
Audio Recording and editing software like Audacity
Noise-cancelling attachments and related items to sound-proof a home studio
You also require a dedicated space to record your voice and make your demo tapes. If you do not have space, you could rent a recording studio. However, many recording studios charge an hourly rate that may get expensive.
6. Steps To Become An Audiobook Narrator
In addition to a great voice, you need practice and hard work to develop a distinctive narration style that stands out from the crowd.
Here you can find the steps to get started as an Audiobook Narrator:
Step 1: Learn The Right Way Of Breathing
Where most people breathe from their chest, professional actors and speakers breathe from their diaphragm to improvise their voice and qualify for craft in the following ways:
Able to hold notes for longer
Able to carry voices farther
Develop a fuller and richer tone
Develop greater confidence when giving presentations at the college or work level and attending job interviews
Reduces study time as you retain more information quickly
There are many online workshops and training courses to learn diaphragm breathing.
Step 2: Take Vocal Or Acting Lessons
If you are unfamiliar with audiobook narration, consider taking audiobook narration courses that will walk you through the ACX platform and the process of producing audiobooks.
"How to become an Audiobook Narrator" is an audio narration course by Udemy. It is for beginner audible narrators, self-published authors, beginner entrepreneurs, prospective work-from-home individuals, and prospective actors wishing to enhance their voice-over skills.
1-hour on-demand video
Full lifetime access
Five downloadable resources
Access to mobile and Television
Certificate of completion
"Voice Master Voiceover Course" is another course by Udemy for aspiring voice-over artists. It is also a good refresher course for those already working in this business.
The course teaches you how to control your voice (tone, pitch, script interpretation, and pace) and deliver the words when reading a voice-over script.
You get the chance to record voice-overs professionally and enhance your presentation skills. You become more confident in front of a microphone and enjoy playing with your voice - the tool of your trade.
Audacity is a free multi-track voice-over recorder and editor for audio editing on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. This course teaches how to properly set up voice-over recording with Audacity to improve your recording and produce perfectly sounding audio without losing its quality.
If you are interested in voice-over work and like earning money from home doing something fun and flexible, then this free-mini course will benefit you.
Voice-One offers an online course (via Zoom) that teaches different Narration Styles to widen your repertoire. The most common styles you will learn are corporate, documentaries, training, in-show, audio tours, e-learning, and telephony.
Students will examine the script, work out the best way to approach it, and choose the right style of acting that matches the narration style.
Recommended resources for Audiobook Narrators:
Story Teller – by Ali Muirden and Lorelei King- is an indispensable guide for those passionate about becoming successful audiobook narrators.
The book offers practical advice on the narrating job and teaches you how to mark up scripts, research before recording, behave in a studio, and troubleshoot recordings. Further, how to promote yourself and make a future-proof career in the audiobook industry.
Step 3: Record A Demo
You need a demo to apply for jobs and get hired for work. Follow the below steps to make your first demo recording:
Find a quiet, enclosed, and distraction-free space.
Take any text from your favourite stage plays, classic poems, sayings, movies, short stories, or books and practice reading it aloud.
Read it slowly, clearly, and with distinction to get a feel.
Try to stay in character throughout your reading session. If you come across regional accents, soften them to broaden your appeal to prospective clients.
You may need to repeat the above steps to get the best shot. Since repeated reading requires a lot of energy, you should focus on building your stamina.
After every recording, playback the audio, compare your performance with the audio and identify the areas of improvement. Once you understand the general reading, you can start practising different vocal patterns, accents, dialects, and narration styles.
Step 4: Get The Required Equipment For Demo Recording
When you have refined your narration skills and gained confidence in your abilities, it is time to record a demo session.
Invest in good-quality audio recording and editing gear such as:
A computer/laptop with recording software like Audacity or GarageBand
Good quality microphone
A pop filters
Find a quiet environment where you can focus on recording and sound editing without outside interference. It is essential to get the cleanest recordings. Set up your home recording studio and take a demo recording.
Once you have finished the demo, you can upload it on your website or job portals for prospective employers/ authors to view.
Step 5: Send Demo to Audiobook Publishers And Audition
Once you have mastered audio editing, join the popular job portals, social media groups, and other places and look out for audio narration jobs. Apply in a few voice-overs and narration jobs with your demos to find the opportunity to narrate conventionally published audiobooks.
You can also visit the website of audiobook publishers and submit your demos on their websites. Read audio files, listen to audiobooks, and study different narration and performing techniques to expand your skill set.
Additionally, stay updated on the audiobook industry news and developments and network with other voice actors to improve your chances of finding a job.
Step 6: Harness The Potential Of Social Media
Social media platforms are great for up-and-coming narrators to reach out to authors and publishers and connect with other narrators.
Upload your demo work samples on social media handles to show your talent to others. Approach narrators with good social media following through your social accounts. It may help you build your social media presence and land your next gig.
7. Useful Tips To Consider
Find Your Unique Voice
To succeed as a successful audiobook narrator, you need to find a specific niche to focus on.
Take time to identify where your voice fits, such as in cartoons/ Disney movies, fiction, non-fiction, etc.
Develop good relations with publishers and producers within that niche and dive right in.
Volunteering To Read
Volunteering to read is an opportunity to refine your narration skills while doing public service.
The simplest and most rewarding way to do this is to volunteer to read for the blind. You may not earn while doing this, but it helps get your foot into the audio narration.
Create A Website To Demonstrate Your Work
Marketing is another necessary thing about audiobook narration for beginners. To find work, you need to be skilled at marketing yourself online.
Having a good-looking website with a good selection of samples is one of the best ways to highlight skills that can set you apart.
Having a website casts a good impression on employers and shows your seriousness for the profession. Also, uploading your samples on the website makes it easier for others to access them.
Attend Audiobook Workshops
It is a great way to develop your professional network and become acclimatized to the voices of other narrators.
Participating in these workshops opens up opportunities to collaborate on new projects and get guidance from experienced professionals who have spent considerable time in this business.
The narration industry is close-knit, so if you give off stellar first impressions, you will benefit in the short and long term. Be kind and polite to anyone you work with. It may help you get recommendations, referrals, and opportunities to get started.
8. How Much Can You Make Doing Audio Narration?
Audiobook narrator jobs in Australia are some of the best earning opportunities for in-house-company workers and freelancers. The audiobook narrator's salary depends on your popularity, sound quality, experience level, the strength of your portfolio, and the publisher.
Some audiobook narrators earn per hour for finished audio. However, the payment also covers the time spent preparing, recording, and editing your audio. You may also need to consider your expenses when renting a recording studio.
A few publishers allow audio narrators to work with producers/directors/sound engineers in their recording studio and pay them hourly.
A new starter can expect lower pay than established ones. Newbies should start on freelance bidding sites like Fiverr and Upwork. They would earn little initially, but it would help them practice and develop the required experience and portfolio.
Once you develop a strong portfolio and resume, you can qualify for professional platforms with higher rates.
In Australia, most newcomer freelancer Audio Narrators typically earn between $20 to $33 per hour. The Highest-paid audiobook narrators, such as Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Prentice Onayemi, and Davina Porter, make up to $500 for each hour of recorded audio.
Time management skills are essential as they help you work efficiently and earn more.
9. Where Can You Find Audio Narration Jobs?
Most production companies post their requirements for audiobook narration projects and seek new talent. You can give auditions online to land a role in the industry.
Opportunities are also available in voice-over companies that provide services for authors who need audiobook narrators to release audiobook versions of their texts and scripts.
Here are the top 10 platforms to find audiobook voice-over jobs from home:
Do you want to know how to become an audiobook narrator for Amazon?
Amazon's ACX is a virtual marketplace that helps narrators and authors to promote themselves offline and on social media. It simplifies the production of an audiobook from beginning to end.
The platform connects narrators to authors seeking voice-over artists for audiobooks and eBooks. It is a great place to build experience, create your portfolio and get opportunities to earn royalties as a voice-over artist.
If you want to be associated with a leader in the audio industry, then join Voices.com. Co-founded by Stephanie Ciccarelli, the website offers advice for audiobook authors, eBook authors, and voice-over artists.
You need to input your information, connect with prospective clients and submit auditions. Voices users earn anywhere between $100 and $1,500 per completed project.
It is among the best online platforms for finding audiobook voice-over jobs from home. After account creation, you must set up a profile and add work samples.
Set competitive rates and start bidding on jobs that you find interesting. Upwork is a great platform to build a reputation for superior quality audio narration work.
It is an online directory listing talented professional male and female voice actors and translators on its site.
Voice-over artists are assessed on the following criteria to get featured on the site:
Your sound and voice-over studio quality
Dedication to the voice-over industry
Ability to provide fast turnarounds of recordings
Ability to follow direction
Proven track record
The website brings Australian and New Zealand narrators to one place to make finding work easier.
It is a free-to-use platform that enables narrators to create their dedicated profile page with skills, audio samples, links, and work experience. They also get a personalized URL to promote their talent.
The Aussie Narrator website also helps authors to list their auditions for free. This way, narrators can access all auditions uploaded by authors on the site, and authors can directly contact narrators via the platform.
Formed in 1987, Brilliance Publishing is a subsidiary of Amazon Publishing.
This leading audiobook publishing company has been working to make the listening experience of audiobook consumers more wonderful.
It recruits both new and experienced narrators to work on their diverse projects. Suppose you have good acting talent, diction, sound quality, consistency in delivery, and positive energy. In that case, you have a high chance of finding a full-time position in this company.
BunnyStudio is the most widely used and varied audiobook publishing platform that offers voice-over services to its clients. It is a platform with over 28,000 actors and voice actors listed on it to date.
What is most appealing about Bunny Studio is that it doesn't charge subscription fees or commissions to its artists. Other benefits include:
Access to the fabulous support
Constructive feedback from a quality control team
Freedom to specify your rates
You are entitled to receive payment for each finished project even if the client rejects it.
You can expect to earn between $20 and $100 per hour based on your experience level and the project's complexity. However, to get approved to work on this platform, you need to pass a rigorous selection process that is summarized as follows:
Must use professional-grade audio equipment.
Must have Excellent Attention to detail
Must adhere to strict deadlines
Constant communication to deal with questions and absences
If you pass the selection process, your profile and asking rates will be visible to prospective clients.
Formerly called Voices Pro, this is another popular audiobook narrating platform in Australia. It has the largest community of actors and TV and film professionals worldwide.
Talented audiobook narrators can create their portfolios and apply to related jobs from top employers and casting directors across the entertainment industry.
Joining this free platform benefits you by building your profile, demonstrating your skills, getting noticed, and finding an agent. Further, it lets you network with professionals, stay updated with industry developments, and much more.
Mandy could be the best place to start your career if you are a creative professional looking for jobs across the entertainment industry.
It is a recognized and trusted job search site for freelancers who seek remote work opportunities across over 50 categories. It is a paid website that offers weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly membership plans that provides advice and benefits to help you make a successful career.
With plenty of audio-related jobs available, you can recover your investment made towards the membership if you remain active on the platform.
Voice123 is another good employment marketplace for finding voice-acting opportunities. Here, a job seeker creates his profile and adds information and skills.
Employer on this website posts their audiobook narration project to invite bids or choose a voice-over artist directly. Free as well as paid membership plans are available to suit your requirements.
What separates this platform from the rest are the significant benefits that it offers:
Quick invite times
More project invites
Dedicated customer support
Higher profile in client searches
Digitalization in the Audiobook industry has made audiobooks more popular than ever. The changing reading patterns from physical books and ebooks to audiobooks indicate a strong demand for qualified narrators in Australia.
If you are an Aspiring audiobook narrator, you can be confident about a highly stable and rewarding career. With adequate training and experience, you can perfect your narration and enjoy better career prospects and higher earnings in this profession.
Useful Links to Explore: