How to Not Become a Audiobook Pro.
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
Hey, there friend - you want to get into Audiobook narration, huh? Weeeelp - there's plenty of pointers out in the interweb pastures, but most of them are chock full of useless information that will get you exactly 0 inches further in your career. Why? Because they tell you the wrong things. Still curious what they have to say? Well - you're in luck rando person who likes to drive in circles! I've got my own personal top 5 examples right here and while I applaud your gusto for the know, I'm going to take a sentence or two to tell you why they aren't the hottest opinions to adhere to.
5. "You've got a great voice - you should do audiobooks!"
Look, more than one person has had that compliment that says they've got a "radio quality" tone to their voice - which I'm not bashing, good for you! But for audiobooks, unless you have training on how to utilize that rumble or storytell through that suave smooth tone, it's going to be a boring listen annnd you're not going to get booked. Audio is acting - yes even the non-fiction stuff - and if you don't have a way to connect to the material in your arsenal, you're going to be left in the proverbial dust. I suggest lots of things - but first and foremost, nab some training. Get someone with knowledge and experience to tell you what you need to focus on. It could be pace, engagement with the material, or characterization.. you name it.. they can help you and your wonderful sounding windpipe.
4. "Audiobooks are an easy get rich quick side gig option."
OOOOhhh this one has been making the TikTok rounds and it grinds my gears. Do I think anyone can do audiobooks? Yes. Just like I believe anyone can be an Olympian. Young Michael Phelps, you can do pretty much anything IF you invest the time, effort, and education it takes to make it happen. You're not going to be making bank the first few books you do. You're going to be lucky to break even because, like any business, you have to invest in your equipment, in your training, and in your space if you're going to really start rolling in the recording contracts.
3. "You don't need pro equipment, they can't hear the difference."
Yo- audio is their life. They can. While you miiiiight have gotten away with a phone recording for that one commercial voice-over audition your agent sent you randomly - you're still going to be putting yourself at a huge disadvantage when being compared to the people who have researched and gotten their space and equipment up to professional standards. You wouldn't hire a wedding photographer who shot solely on their iPhone, right? - Same thinking for casting directors, producers, and project managers of major publishing companies or really, anyone at all that will pay you well for your time and effort.
2. "Non-fiction books are easier than fiction."
A lot of so called audio aficionado's claim that you can get your start easier by doing non fiction books, since they don't require things like accents and character voices - which is just.... false. Non-fiction does not mean non-story - it just means not... fiction...story. You still need to take someone on a journey through the information, which is often also displayed in graphs, pictures, and columns of information that might require some communication and... you guessed it, training - to find best practices for how to deliver on said journey.
ANNNND The Fibbiest of Fibs I've come across
1. "I know others do it differently, but the way I do it is better."
This is such a load of dung beetle spit. If you take nothing else out of this please please please don't listen to anyone who says this. They're wrong. They do it wrong. They ignore industry standards. They undercut their peers who are trying to make this a livable career. They don't have the knowledge or backing of the publishing and audiobook community at large and have struck out on their own. Has it worked for them? IDK... they have 300 subscribers to their YouTube Channel so... you decide? But - thousands of others, including me, have done it through the well-worn channels of the industry pros and I suggest you run far far away from anyone who shuns their knowledge for snake oil instead.
Okay.. so convinced? Learned something? Re-evaluated your life's purpose with sticky notes in a mirror combating these false audio idols? Good. If not - chat me up... I've got Law-and-Order-Prosecutor-style conviction when it comes to this stuff.
I'm here for hit-ups and high fives, friends :)