Whether you’re new to acting or have been doing it all of your life, you’ll find that performing an audiobook is a unique challenge.
Landing your first audiobook contract is so exciting!
It can also be quite terrifying, especially if, like me, you arrived here from voiceover work without ever taking an acting class. Yes, voiceover jobs require acting skills, but audiobook narration is true storytelling that demands 100% acting.
Narrating a book can be daunting even to trained theater actors. You are responsible for emotionally connecting to the story and telling it in a believable and captivating way. Rather than playing one role, you are now playing ALL of them.
So do you know how to become an audiobook narrator? Where do you even start?
Many people want to becomeaudiobook narrators because they love books and audiobooks, and they like reading aloud. Others are inspired to follow this path because they’re told they have a unique talent and a great voice for narration. While those are both great starting points, it takes a lot more than a pleasant voice and a love of audiobooks to become a successful audiobook narrator.
Listening to an audiobook isn’t simply about reading the words on the page: an audiobook narrator must have the skills and empathy to bring a book to life for the listener.
From a business standpoint, many audiobook narrators work as freelancers, so you must be organized, professional, and have the ability to work on your own time, meet deadlines, and keep track of invoices and contracts. While it might not be the most stable career choice at first, if you’re passionate about audiobook narration, it can be a dream job.
Find Your Unique Voice
While you may be skilled as a narrator in general, the most successful audiobook narrators typically have found a specific niche that they focus on. Let’s take award-winning narrator Ray Porter as an example. While Porter is an outstanding narrator in his own right, he particularly shines in science fiction and thriller audiobooks. Because of this, he’s the go-to narrator for many high-profile sci-fi and thriller releases throughout the year.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Social media platforms can be incredibly useful tools for people across many professions, but particularly up-and-coming narrators. From connecting with other narrators and reaching out to authors and publishers, there are plenty of ways to make social media your best friend during the course of your narrating career. “Put your work on social media. See what people’s reactions are—see what people are engaging with. Lots of narrators have social media followings, and listeners find them through their accounts. Sometimes authors even approach narrators through their social accounts,” Lambrix says. So, be sure to slowly but surely build out your social media presence. There’s a good chance that you’ll land your next gig because of your efforts!
Get Better Through Coaching
It’s a simple formula: the better you are at one particular skill, the more people will reach out to you for your expertise with that skill. It’s the same with narration. So even if you’re landing gigs left and right, be sure to consider a dedicated narration coach to help you fine tune your skills. Remember, just because you have a coach doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong or you aren’t good. The opposite is true—you’re trying to perfect your craft, which is a huge step in the right direction.
Thank you for your reading. Good Luck!