How To Become An Audiobook Narrator: 5 Vital Skills

From The Write Life:

Becoming an audiobook narrator can open an array of opportunities and take you places you haven’t considered possible. For example, imagine narrating for one of your favorite authors or being paid to read books aloud!

If you dream of working as an audiobook narrator you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll cover the equipment you need to do the job and review five key skills to develop as you begin your journey. Lastly, you’ll find options for finding your first audiobook narrator job. Let’s get going!

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Audiobook Narrator: 5 Skills Needed

Now that you know some of the equipment you will need, it’s time to discuss the soft skills that help set you apart from other audiobook narrators. 

Public Speaking

Public speaking is often viewed as a “public” career—after all, it is in the name. However, public speaking is an immeasurably helpful training ground for the private career of audiobook narration. 

The more opportunity you have to speak in public, the better you will be able to articulate your words under pressure. 

Voice, Tone, Inflection

Just as the speaking voice, chosen tone, and the various inflections you choose impact how others perceive you in conversation, the same is true for audiobook narration. 

Imagine reading a thriller in a happy, comedic tone. Your voice would not reflect the content you are reading. Mastering these three aspects is crucial to lasting success as an audiobook narrator. 

Acting Classes 

With the idea of inflection in mind, think back to the last time you heard someone read aloud. Did they impersonate the characters they read with their tone? If they were reading a narrative, did they speak softly in appropriate parts and raise their voice in others? 

As much as acting is about gestures and facial expression, much of the subtext in our favorite movies comes from tone. Consider the following dialogue: 

“I would love to take you on a date tomorrow evening.”
“Would you?”
“Well yes, of course.” 

These three lines could be read as a joke, sarcasm, or genuine. Audiobook narration is acting without facial expression. 

Self-Awareness

I took a speech class in college and the feedback I received most was to slow down my speeches. I talked too fast and although people enjoyed my content, they struggled to understand me because of my pacing. 

Self-awareness is a valuable asset, particularly for audiobook narrators. If you are aware you are speaking too fast, too slow, or not adding enough inflection then you can make the necessary changes. 

Research Skills 

Have you ever been reading and stumbled across an unfamiliar word? This is an audiobook narrator’s nightmare. Honing your research skills can help you proactively avoid these issues. When choosing to become an audiobook narrator, invest in educating yourself on a myriad of topics, particularly concerning the genre you would like to record. 

Even if you plan to be an audiobook narrator for sports memoirs, familiarizing yourself with a variety of topics will help your recording process run smoothly. You never know what illustrations or examples a writer may use!

Link to the rest at The Wright Life

1 thought on “How To Become An Audiobook Narrator: 5 Vital Skills”

  1. I’d suggest a prerequisite skill. Sit in your closet for an hour with an eBook, read slowly, if you stumble, pause and re-read. If you’re cool with that, then check on those other skills.

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