Updated: Sep 23
Voice acting is an essential component of the audiobook industry. An engaging and dynamic voice can bring a story to life, drawing in listeners and enhancing their experience. As such, voice actors are in high demand in the audiobook industry. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what it takes to be a successful voice actor for audiobooks.
Develop Your Voice
The first step in voice acting for audiobooks is to develop your voice. This includes training your voice to achieve the right tone, pitch, and inflection to suit the story you are reading. It’s important to have a versatile voice that can adapt to different genres and characters, from children’s books to thrillers. Voice actors should also work on their breath control, pacing, and enunciation to ensure that their delivery is clear and engaging.
Understand the Story
To bring a story to life, voice actors need to understand the material they are reading. This involves reading the book ahead of time to get a feel for the characters, plot, and overall tone. This will help voice actors to bring depth and nuance to their performance, adding emotional depth and capturing the spirit of the story.
Create a Recording Environment
A high-quality recording environment is crucial for audiobook voice actors. This includes using a professional-quality microphone, setting up a sound booth, and ensuring that the recording space is free from background noise and distractions. This will help to ensure that the final product is clear and free from any unwanted noise. It is worth noting that the industry standard is to pay audiobook narrators on a per-finished-hour (PFH) basis, which means that the voice actor is paid a set amount for each hour of finished audio that they produce. Therefore, the amount of time it takes to produce a finished hour of audio can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the material and the voice actor's level of experience. In general, a voice actor can expect to spend anywhere from 2-6 hours recording, editing, and proofing one hour of finished audio, but this can vary depending on the project's requirements and the individual actor's workflow. This is why having a quite recording space, free from distractions is crucial for audiobook work!
Collaborate with Producers and Editors
Collaboration with producers and editors is an important aspect of audiobook voice acting. Producers and editors are responsible for ensuring that the final product meets the desired quality standards. Voice actors should be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments to their performance as needed. Collaboration with producers and editors can help to ensure that the final product is polished and professional. And of course that you will be hired again and again (and hopefully referred as well)!
Marketing yourself as an audiobook voice actor is crucial for finding work in the industry. This includes creating a professional website, showcasing your portfolio, and building relationships with agents, producers and publishers. Voice actors should also consider networking at industry events and conferences to make connections and gain exposure.
Get to know ACX
A great place to get started in audiobook voiceovers is ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). It's a platform that connects audiobook publishers with narrators and producers. It is owned by Audible, a leading provider of digital audiobooks. Voice actors can use ACX to find audiobook projects to work on. Once they sign up for an account, they can browse the available projects or audition for specific roles. The platform offers a variety of genres and project types, including fiction, non-fiction, and children's books. ACX also provides a range of tools and resources to help voice actors create high-quality audiobooks. For example, it offers a royalty share program where the narrator and rights holder split the royalties from audiobook sales. This program can be a good option for narrators who want to earn a passive income from their audiobook work. In addition to the royalty share program, ACX also offers a pay-per-finished-hour (PFH) option where the narrator is paid a set rate per hour of finished audio. This option can be attractive for narrators who prefer a more traditional payment structure.
Voice acting for audiobooks requires a combination of skill, talent, and dedication. By developing your voice, understanding the story, creating a high-quality recording environment, collaborating with producers and editors, and marketing yourself effectively, you can succeed as an audiobook voice actor. With the audiobook industry experiencing rapid growth in recent years, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in voice acting for audiobooks!