The American Federation of TV Radio artists reports audiobook narration in the United States is the fastest growing industry. People everywhere are choosing to listen to audiobooks rather than read because it fits into their busy lifestyles better. Authors are searching for voiceovers or narrators now more than ever, so they can stay connected to their audience.
Not all voiceovers can be narrators. It takes special voice techniques to become a successful audio narrator. Text interpretation skills with a background in theatrical training is often the most helpful when it comes to being able to narrate books well. Each genre also needs specific skills. Some voiceovers are successful with fiction books but don’t do as well with non-fiction or self-help topics.
For voiceovers who believe they have what it takes to become an audiobook narrator will need to create an audiobook narration demo. This demo is usually much longer than demos for other types of voiceover because they should include different genres you’re best at narrating. Many authors prefer to hear a voiceover for an extended time to ensure he or she can carry the characterization for a prolonged length of time, as well.
Recording the Audiobook Demo
You will need all of the usual voiceover equipment: microphone, headphones, computer, and recording and editing software. In addition, you’ll need the book(s) you’ll be using for the demo. It’s best to practice them away from the mike first and then with the mike. Once you feel comfortable with the voice you will be using; you can start recording.
Remember, there are many factors in your studio that can affect sound quality. Wood floors often sound much better than carpet. A lot of wall hangings and furniture is not recommended as that can distort the sound. You want clear, concise sound, which often comes from a minimalistic decorated room. Ensure you are using a professional quality microphone, so you don’t risk a noisy recording. Finally, schedule your recording when there is the least amount of noise around you. For example, when the kids are out of the house or when the neighbors aren’t mowing their lawn or having a barbecue. If you have a soundproof studio, this may not be as much of an issue.
Remember your voiceover skills such as pacing and microphone techniques. Speak faster when there is anticipation or excitement, and slow it down when explaining a situation. When there are loud parts of the book, move your head away from the microphone. When you want the listener to experience a more intimate connection to the character, move your head close to the microphone. Angling your head will change sound as well, so play around with that as you pinpoint how the character should sound.
Once you have the recording, you will need to promote it. Send it to publishers, authors, and agents. With enough exposure, you should soon receive calls for auditions for your first audiobook gig.