I’m running late, grabbing the last of my things phone, headphones, wallet, bag …..check. KEYS! Out the door. It’s a beautiful sunny day in London as I make my way to the bus stop. I get out my phone, plug my headphones in and go to my Audible app. I’m midway through a brilliant Audiobook and I can’t wait to get back into it. The narrator’s voice comes into my ears and starts telling me the story. I’m on my way into town for an audition and I am loving every minute of the journey as I am engrossed in a wonderful audiobook.
We live in an amazing time. Technology is moving so fast and we are very lucky to be in the age of the Audiobook BOOM. The Audiobook industry is growing at an incredibly fast rate and is currently worth $3.5 billion Dollars (according to goodreader.com). There are more audiobooks being recorded now than ever before and more and more audiobook narrators are needed to record them.
So, what makes a good audiobook narrator and is it for you?
Being an audiobook narrator is not for everyone. My good friend and award winning audiobook narrator Anna Parker-Naples compares it to Marmite, you either love it or you really don’t. When people ask me “is audiobook narrating for me?” the first thing I say is do you LOVE reading books? I mean really love reading books. You will be spending hours reading, researching and prepping books so you need to have a passion for them. If the answer is yes, great. The next thing to consider is what is your sight reading like? This needs to be excellent. David Roper from Heavy Entertainment, a leader in audiobook production, says you need to be able to read 3 to 5 pages fluently without making a mistake. So, make sure before you start your first audiobook that you practice, practice and then practice some more. Acting, accents and characterization are also key ingredients to being a great audiobook narrator.
A test recording
Sean Pratt’s advice, and he has narrated over 900 audiobooks, is to sit down and read a book out loud and record it. It might take you about 2 weeks to get through your first book. You can use the microphone on your computer to record this test recording just to see what it’s like, you won’t be using this for anything other than for yourself. See how it feels and if it’s for you. Please note that you need to have a proper home studio set up for recording professional audiobooks. Just use the mic on your computer for training purposes.
Next up and essential for any audiobook narrator is training. Listen to webinars and podcasts by audiobook narrators and go to workshops. Get as much training as you can before you start. There are some wonderful coaches out there too who can help you. Sean Pratt and Johnny Heller are two fantastic ones I would recommend.
A home studio is something you should consider if you haven’t got one already, but it isn’t essential straight away. Get the training and see if it’s for you first, then it’s worth thinking about getting a home recording studio set up. This will mean you can work from home on audiobooks. ACX (Amazon Creation Exchange) is a great place to start and get your first couple of Audiobook recordings under your belt. Then you will be able to start approaching publishers and audiobook producers for more work.
“I am passionate about narrating audiobooks as I get to be every part of the book. The heart beat, the characters, the suspense, resolution and emotion. Every voice acting skill you have is required in narration and it is a whole piece of work that you can always be proud of, akin to a work of art.” Rachael Beresford, Audiobook Narrator, Voiceover Artist and Actor
This is happening in London the first weekend in December
The first weekend of December we are flying over from the US to London two of the top and most experienced Audiobook Narrators in the world- Sean Pratt and Johnny Heller, for an Audiobook Masterclass weekend on 1st, 2nd and 3rd December at Spotlight, London. Sean has narrated over 900 audiobooks and Johnny has narrated over 600. If you can’t do the whole weekend but are interested in learning more about working as an Audiobook Narrator or if you are an Audiobook Narrator already then we have an Audiobook VOND (VoiceOver Network Drinks) night at Spotlight on 1st December.
By Rachael Naylor
Rachael is the founder of The VoiceOver Network, Voiceover Artist, Actor, editor of The Buzz Magazine, host of The Voiceover Hour and award winning entrepreneur.