Do you read the book first?
Of course! You wouldn’t expect actors to perform for an audience without reading the play first, would you? Yes, I read the book thoroughly. I annotate important things that will affect the way I perform in front of the microphone, such as how a character is feeling when they speak, or whether someone is whispering or shouting or crying. I also have a special symbol that I mark next to each character’s lines, so that I know who is speaking and can quickly switch from one character to another during dialogue. If there are any words I am unfamiliar with, or that I don’t 100% know how to pronounce, I research them. It takes a long time to prep an audiobook! Hours and hours and hours, which leads us to:
How long does it take to record an audiobook?
It depends. The more mistakes you make during recording, the longer it takes to record! On average, I’d say it takes one-and-a-half times (1.5x) the finished length of the book. So if an audiobook is, say, ten hours long to listen to, then it will take 15 hours of studio time to record it.
Do you just sit in a recording booth for hours on end, reading out loud?
Do you do all the character voices yourself?
Mais oui! Who else is gonna do it? Except for multi-cast audiobooks, wherein a different actor plays each character – similar to an audio play – every character in the audiobook is voiced by one narrator. Which leads me to...
How do you come up with the character voices?
How (much) do you get paid?
An audiobook is paid PFH – per finished hour. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to read the book ahead of time, research it, mark up the script, prepare all the character voices, then get into the studio and record it, with all of the errors and the stumbles. None of that is “paid” work. Narrators are paid for the finished product. The average rate for audiobook narrators (once they have some experience) is between $100 and $250 PFH.
I love to read. Can I be an audiobook narrator?
Well, for this question, may I refer you to my blog entry from October: How to Start a Voice Acting Career.
Do you have any burning questions that I haven’t answered here? Please put them in the comments and I’ll add them in! Thank you for reading all about audiobook narration. And if you’re interested in listening to any of my audiobooks, you can find most of them HERE. Enjoy!
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