Becoming an Audiobook Narrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

Becoming an Audiobook Narrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Image of an audiobook with headphones, black phone and microphone on black background and different shades of gray. Used to illustrate  an article on Becoming an Audiobook Narrator: A Step-by-Step Guide. Photo by Jukka Aalho on Unsplash:

Audiobook narration has exploded in popularity in recent years, with the convenience of listening to books on the go making it a preferred option for many avid readers. If you have a passion for reading and a great speaking voice, becoming an audiobook narrator might be the perfect career choice for you.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an audiobook narrator, from the skills you need to the best ways to find work and make money from home. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your narration career to the next level, we’ve got you covered.

But why should you consider becoming an audiobook narrator? First and foremost, it’s a fantastic way to turn your love of reading into a lucrative career. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your voice is bringing joy and entertainment to countless listeners around the world. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of audiobook narration!

What do you need to be an audiobook narrator?

To become an audiobook narrator, you’ll need to have a great speaking voice, clear pronunciation, and the ability to convey emotion and tone through your voice. Here are some of the key things you’ll need:

  • Voice quality and characteristics: Your voice should be pleasant to listen to, with good tone, clarity, and inflection. You’ll also need to be able to adjust your voice to match different characters and moods in the book.
  • Vocal control and techniques: You’ll need to have good breath control, pacing, and enunciation. Practice reading out loud and pay attention to your rhythm, pitch, and tone.
  • Equipment and recording setup: You’ll need a quiet, soundproof space to record in, as well as a good-quality microphone and headphones. You’ll also need a computer or tablet to record on, along with recording and editing software.
  • Technical proficiency in recording and editing software: You’ll need to be comfortable using software like Audacity or Adobe Audition to record and edit your narration. Familiarize yourself with the basics of editing, including adjusting levels, removing noise, and adding effects.

With the right equipment, techniques, and skills, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful audiobook narrator in no time!

What skills are needed for narrating audiobooks?

Becoming an audiobook narrator requires more than just a good voice. Here are some of the key skills you’ll need to develop:

  • Reading fluency and comprehension: You’ll need to be able to read smoothly and accurately, with good comprehension of the text. Practice reading aloud regularly to improve your fluency and comprehension skills.
  • Characterization and voice acting: Audiobook narration often involves bringing different characters to life through voice acting. You’ll need to be able to create distinct voices and accents for each character, and convey their emotions and personalities through your voice.
  • Pacing and timing: You’ll need to be able to pace your narration appropriately, with pauses and emphasis in the right places. This will help to create a natural flow to the narration and keep listeners engaged.
  • Ability to take direction and receive feedback: Audiobook producers and directors will often provide direction and feedback on your narration. You’ll need to be able to take this feedback constructively and adjust your performance accordingly.

By developing these skills, you’ll be able to create engaging, high-quality audiobook narration that will keep listeners captivated from start to finish.

Can anyone be an audiobook narrator?

While it’s true that some people are naturally gifted with great speaking voices, the truth is that anyone can become an audiobook narrator with the right training and practice. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Addressing common misconceptions: Many people assume that audiobook narration is an easy, straightforward job. However, it requires a lot of skill, effort, and dedication. It’s important to understand that becoming an audiobook narrator takes time and effort.
  • Realistic expectations for success: While there is certainly demand for audiobook narration, it’s important to understand that the market is competitive. It can take time to establish yourself as a successful narrator and build up a steady stream of work. It’s important to have realistic expectations for your success.
  • Importance of training and practice: Even if you have a great voice, it’s important to invest time and effort in training and practice. Take courses or workshops to learn about vocal techniques, characterization, and pacing. Practice regularly by reading aloud and recording yourself. By continually working to improve your skills, you’ll increase your chances of success as an audiobook narrator.

By understanding what it takes to become an audiobook narrator and investing time and effort into your training and practice, you can achieve your goals and succeed in this exciting and rewarding career.

How to find work as an audiobook narrator?

Once you have the necessary skills and equipment, it’s time to start looking for work as an audiobook narrator. Here are some strategies to help you get started:

  • Freelance platforms and audiobook publishers: Many audiobook publishers and production companies use freelance narrators to produce their audiobooks. Websites like ACX,, and Upwork are great places to find freelance work as an audiobook narrator.
  • Networking and marketing strategies: Building relationships in the industry is key to finding consistent work as an audiobook narrator. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and reach out to publishers and producers on social media to introduce yourself and your services.
  • Building a portfolio and demo reel: Having a strong portfolio and demo reel is crucial to getting hired as an audiobook narrator. Your portfolio should showcase your range of skills and include samples of your best work. Your demo reel should be a carefully curated selection of your best recordings that demonstrates your skills in narration, character voices, pacing, and tone.

By utilizing these strategies and putting yourself out there, you can find consistent work as an audiobook narrator and build a successful career in the industry.

How do I get hired as a reading audiobook?

Getting hired as an audiobook narrator can be challenging, but with the right skills and strategies, you can succeed. Here are some tips for landing your first audiobook narration gig:

  • Start small: Begin by recording short audiobooks or samples to build your portfolio and demo reel.
  • Utilize freelance platforms: Websites like ACX,, and Upwork are great places to find freelance audiobook narration work.
  • Network: Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with industry professionals on social media.
  • Practice and improve your skills: Keep practicing your narration, voice acting, and editing skills to become a better audiobook narrator.

With persistence, dedication, and the right skills, you can succeed as an audiobook narrator and build a fulfilling career in the industry.

Is there a demand for audiobooks?

The audiobook industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, with an increasing number of consumers turning to audiobooks as a convenient and immersive way to consume literature. The Covid-19 pandemic has also contributed to this growth, as more people spend time at home and are looking for new forms of entertainment.

Future projections and opportunities

Industry experts predict that the audiobook industry will continue to grow in the coming years, presenting numerous opportunities for audiobook narrators. As technology continues to improve, audiobooks are becoming more accessible and easier to produce, leading to an increase in demand for quality narrators.

With the growing demand for audiobooks and the increase in opportunities, now is the perfect time to become an audiobook narrator. By honing your skills and building a strong portfolio, you can position yourself to take advantage of the growing demand and build a successful career in the industry.

What company will pay you to read books?

There are many audiobook publishers and platforms that hire narrators to record audiobooks. Some of the most popular platforms include Audible, ACX, and Findaway Voices, while some of the major audiobook publishers include Penguin Random House Audio, HarperAudio, and Recorded Books.

You can find audiobook narration jobs by searching on freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and, or by directly submitting auditions to audiobook publishers and platforms. You can also network with other professionals in the industry and attend conferences and events to learn about new opportunities.

Best practices for submitting auditions and getting noticed

When submitting auditions, it’s important to follow the submission guidelines provided by the publisher or platform. This often includes submitting a demo reel, providing a resume and cover letter, and reading a sample passage from the book. It’s also important to showcase your unique voice and style, and to be persistent in following up with potential clients.

How to make money at home with Audible?

With over 3 million audiobooks and a global reach, Audible is one of the largest audiobook platforms in the world. Here are some ways to make money as an audiobook narrator on Audible:

• Narrate and self-publish your own books: If you’re a writer, you can narrate your own books and sell them on Audible through the ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) platform. This allows you to retain creative control and earn royalties from your audiobook sales.

• Participate in royalty share deals: You can also collaborate with authors on Audible who are looking for a narrator. In this arrangement, you agree to split the royalties from the audiobook sales with the author. This can be a good way to gain experience and build your portfolio, while earning some money.

• Apply for audiobook production gigs: Audible also hires freelance audiobook producers, including narrators, for various audiobook projects. These projects can range from narrating a single book to producing a whole series. You can search for open gigs on the ACX platform, or check Audible’s careers page for available positions.

• Promote your work: Once your audiobooks are live on Audible, make sure to promote them on social media, your website, and other channels. This can help you attract more listeners and boost your sales.

By following these strategies, you can turn your passion for audiobook narration into a profitable career from the comfort of your own home.

How much money do audiobook narrators make?

One of the most common questions aspiring audiobook narrators ask is, “How much can I earn?” The answer depends on several factors, including your experience, skills, and the project’s length and complexity. Here are some factors that affect pay rates for audiobook narration:

  • Project length: Typically, narrators are paid per finished hour of recorded audio. Longer projects will, therefore, pay more.
  • Experience and skill level: Experienced narrators with a proven track record and a large following can command higher rates.
  • Royalties: Some audiobook narrators receive royalties on sales in addition to their upfront fees.
  • Union membership: Narrators who belong to a union like SAG-AFTRA may have higher rates and better contract protections.

The average pay rate for audiobook narration is around $150-$400 per finished hour of audio. However, top narrators can earn significantly more. It’s essential to negotiate rates and contracts carefully to ensure you’re paid fairly for your work.

Check out this general guide about how much voice actors make.

Tips for producing high-quality audiobooks at home

  • Setting up a soundproof recording space
  • Selecting the right microphone and recording software
  • Properly editing and mastering audio files
  • Building a loyal listener base on Audible
  • Creating compelling audiobook covers and descriptions
  • Promoting audiobooks through social media and email marketing
  • Encouraging listeners to leave ratings and reviews
  • Turning audiobook narration into a full-time income
  • Diversifying income streams through multiple audiobook projects
  • Negotiating higher pay rates and royalties
  • Partnering with other authors and narrators to create audiobook collaborations


In conclusion, becoming an audiobook narrator requires a combination of natural talent, technical proficiency, and dedication to the craft. By developing your voice quality, vocal control, and recording setup, you can create high-quality recordings that captivate and engage listeners. In addition, mastering the necessary skills of reading fluency, characterization, and pacing will help you bring stories to life and stand out in a competitive market.

While audiobook narration is not a career for everyone, with realistic expectations, training, and practice, anyone can achieve success in this field. There is a growing demand for audiobooks, which provides ample opportunities for both experienced and aspiring narrators. Whether you’re interested in freelancing or self-publishing, there are many companies and platforms that offer audiobook narration jobs.

In summary, if you have a passion for storytelling and a desire to work from home, audiobook narration is an excellent career choice. With the right skills and strategies, you can turn your love of reading into a lucrative income stream. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and resources to help you get started on your journey as an audiobook narrator.

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