How to narrate an audiobook


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.Do you know how to become an audiobook narrator?

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.

1. Hone your audiobook narrating skills

Before putting yourself on the market, you need to make sure you’re in a position to compete with other professionals. This is no 5-minute side gig, so if you’re serious about this, you’ll need to commit long-term and put in the work.

Start by improving your understanding of what makes a good audiobook narrator. It’s not all tech gimmicks and sound mixing. A lot depends on the clarity of your enunciation, the tone and emotion of your voice, when and for how long you pause, and how you deliver a line. And all of the above depend on how well you prepare for each recording.

2.Study other narrators’techniques

This may be something you’ve been working on subliminally if you’re an avid audiobook listener, but for practice’s sake, it’s worth listening carefully to an audiobook narrated by a professional you admire, with the print book in hand. Read out a paragraph yourself, and then compare it to the professional audiobook. Make note of the things you do differently, and try to understand how you can improve. Alternatively, you can compare a professionally recorded audiobook, like the ones freely available on Spotify, to the volunteer-read Librivox equivalent. Pay particular attention to pacing — something many beginners overlook!

3.Take a free class or paid course

Many of your competitors will be trained actors with drama school experience, or professionals who have worked in radio or advertising. Don’t let that intimidate you: audiobooks are their own art, with ‘radio voice’ often proving too boisterous and ‘drama voice’ too uneven for the format. Competition aside, you should always strive to improve your acting and producing skills — and there’s plenty of free advice, tips, and even classes on the internet (not to mention the paid services of experienced voice actor coaches, if you can afford them). And you can find some useful voice acting course and training on thevoiceover website.

4.Learn to mark up a script

Whether you’re planning to read from paper or from a digital device (the latter might be preferable to avoid recording the sound of rustling pages), you’ll need to study your texts thoroughly before a session in the studio, and mark them up to aid your delivery. This involves highlighting different characters’ speech with different colors, making notes about factors that might affect their speech (personality traits, emotions, age, dialect or accent indicators), and gaging the overall tone and mood of the work to determine how you should narrate it. Having markings in your script means that you can easily scan ahead and adjust how you read the next line.

Thank you for your reading. Good Luck!


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