Audiobook narration is one of the most recent but greatly viable professions that can make you earn handsomely if you make the right choices. With the advancement of technology, the virtual space has become more accommodating and is becoming a hub for e-literature which is quite in demand. E-books are nearly ubiquitous now, and with gadgets such as Kindle that offer a qualitative reading experience, things are only getting bigger and better.
Professional readers are needed these days to reach out to people from all over the world. Many publishing companies and agencies work locally but aim to expand their reach to various regions of the world. However, in order to accomplish this, there are many obstacles that come their way. Among many problems these companies face, two major ones are language and regions.
Professional readers or audiobook narrators bridge the linguistic and regional gaps and help in improving upon the reputation of the companies. Thus, the importance of audiobook narrators is high and cannot be over-emphasized.
One of the best ways to become an audiobook narrator is through the freelance industry. The ample number of opportunities available in the freelance community can really help you grow as a narrator, and, besides that, the competitiveness is qualitative and really helpful.
In this article, we will tell you how to become a freelance audiobook narrator:
1. Educational requirements for becoming a freelance audiobook narrator
The first and foremost thing is to get a requisite education. The freelance industry is extremely competitive and the work opportunities are lucrative and diverse. Clients want to hire the best, and your educational qualifications will show to them how many calibers you possess.
- The minimum educational qualification required is successful completion of 10+2 from a school duly recognized by the state authorities. It is highly helpful if you have completed your schooling from an English-medium school since it serves as a prima facie indicator that you are acquainted with basics of English.
- After having successfully qualified 10+2, it is recommended that you enroll to a Bachelor Course in communications or journalism. Such a course will help you master a number of areas of English such as enunciation, pronunciation, voice-modulation, and sentence-framing.
- During or after the course, you should work as an intern in any publishing company which does business in audiobook marketing. You will get an opportunity to work with experts in the field, and this helps you in getting insights into how audiobook narration industry works.
- While on an internship, you should press on your participation in audiobook narration projects. Mark your presence whenever recording is taking place, get valuable inputs from professional narrators, and work on your professional network.
- You can apply for post-graduate courses that tackle to specific areas of communication. With a post-graduate degree in a relevant field, you will exert greater credibility in the freelance industry.
- Audiobook narration is a high-paying job if the narrator is well-versed with more than one language. This way you will pick up a greater number of works and, therefore, your parameter of work will not be limited.
2. Skills needed to become a freelance audiobook narrator
When you draft your portfolio or resume, you must show that you have enough skills allowing you to deliver what is best in the field. Clients want out put from you and the output comes in good quality only if you have skills and are adept at using them smartly.
Under this sub-head, we are going to highlight certain skills which are expected from every freelance audiobook narrator. Work on them properly to get best offers from the freelance industry.
- Authenticity: The biggest asset of a good audiobook narrator is authenticity. A narrator must sound authentic while narrating. He should be honest with the setting or context he is reading out and deliver an impression that the book is itself telling the story. The idea is to make people believe in you. If the narrator is able to do that, he is among the best.
- Consistency: While reading a book, there will be different settings, moods, characters and whatnot, and to each such element of the book, the narrator should deliver great consistency. He must maintain consistency over character voices, dialects, accents and other aspects.
- Articulation: Monotony does not find a place in the field of audiobook narration. As an audiobook narrator, you must be able to articulate. You must use well-placed tones and inflections and be able to convey the essence of the book through interactive emotions, expressions, and energy.
- Engaging: When you work as an audiobook narrator, your primary task is to engage the listeners—this especially true when you are narrating a fictional story. Your narration should be able to evoke imagery in the minds of the listeners, drawing them closer to the story and trapping their attention entirely on the story.
- Fluency: Whatever you narrate, you must be fluent. You might end up narrating a piece which features advanced vocabulary and highly sentimental expressions that are not usually easy to narrate. People end up fumbling or mispronouncing—which are signs that you should work on your fluency.
Jim Dale, the voice of the indelible Harry Potter, advises audiobook narrators to work on the dynamic range, timing and pitch to produce exemplary output. Whether it is a smile or a sigh, you must be able to put to use all these three to get the right kind of effect.
3. Work opportunities for freelance audiobook narrator
Audiobook narration is a growing industry, and it is expected to enter the elite club in the future because of the rising consumption of audiobooks. Despite being in its formative years, there are plenty of work opportunities available to people, especially in the freelance industry where there is a continuous flow of work offers.
- In order to find work, you must look up publishing houses which engage in audiobook narration. The research will depend on the region where you want to work. There are international publishing houses as well as regional publishing houses that will give you the requisite
- The best way to have access to work opportunities is through freelance websites. There are a number of user-friendly websites that offer employment solutions to freelancers such as freelance.com, guru.com, upwork.com, and worknhire.com.
Create a profile, upload a well-drafted resume and submit applications along with precise and interactive proposals.
- Another brilliant way of working as a freelance audiobook is through YouTube. YouTube serves an excellent platform where you can sell your skills.
Create a channel, upload videos comprising narration of books for which you own a license or which have run out of their copyright, and monetize. The benefits are two-fold: you will earn as well as get a reputation among the online audience.
- There are websites that offer audiobook narration opportunities. These websites do the narration for books whose copyrights have expired. These websites include audible and LibriVox. You can directly apply to these websites or contact the HR staff.
4. Pay scale
The pay scale depends on the company you are working with. If you are working with a well-established organization, say LibriVox, you can expect to earn handsomely. However, if you are not engaged with any particular organization and that organization does not have any significant reputation, then you will not earn as much as you expect.
Since the audiobook narration industry is growing, the pay scale is not definite. You can find out about the current pay rate from online forums and FAQs run by freelancers just like you.
The freelance industry pays, but patience is expected.