Tips for Growing into the Growing Audiobook Field


NOTE: This is a multi-installment article. Stay tuned next week for Part 2.

Audiobook production and sales have swelled lately. Which is, indeed, swell for the similarly growing number of actors and hopefuls wanting to work in the genre. Because, as in any acting field, typically there are more actors than acting job opportunities.

So every actor needs to explore every avenue available to his craft – especially considering that not every actor is a good match for audio book narration, even within the community of trained voice over artists. Those of us who narrate audio books regularly look askance at the idea that "anybody can do it" – pretty much the same way that all trained voice over artists feel when ordinary people say anyone can do other VO genres. We all know it’s not true that just anyone can walk in off the street, step up to a mic and do what we do. In fact, if the idea weren’t so naïve, it would be offensive. While the ability to read and speak the English language is a fine thing, it is not enough to succeed as an audiobook narrator. In fact, neither is VO training in most other genres sufficient. It helps, but audiobook narration and acting is such a specialized genre that it requires additional insights and skills, even a different sort of demo.

When you chat with someone at a party and get to the "what do you do?" part of the evening and the response is: "I'm a neurosurgeon," or "I'm with the TSA," I'll bet you don't say: "A neurosurgeon! Really? I've got two hands and an Exacto knife at home! I bet I can be a neurosurgeon!" And I bet you don't say: "The TSA! Really? I grope people all the time! I bet I can be a TSA guy!" No. You don't. Yet when you meet an audiobook narrator, I bet you might actually say: "You read books? Out loud? I could do that!" And if that was all there was to it, you might have a point - but it isn’t and you don't.

But, as I said, the field is growing. Here are some tips to help you grow into it.

TIP NUMBER ONE: RESEARCH

If you want to know about audio book narration, do the research. What does the job entail? What differentiates a good narrator from a bad one? How do I start? How much money can I make? How much will I need to spend? To improve my shot at success, what do I need to learn, or do, or have?

I suggest you do some or all of the following:

1. Listen to audiobooks. Select various genres and narrators, then focus on titles you think you would be good at narrating.

2. Find audiobook narrator or fan pages on Facebook or other social media sites. There's a wealth of information just waiting for you on the Internet. When in doubt, Google it ... or Bing it. Whatever. But look.

3. Read audiobook blogs and review sites. Audible.com has a world of people telling you what they like or hate about a given title or narrator. Remember, these are only opinions and you know what people say about opinions -- they are only good if they validate your own! So don’t form yours until you’re well informed.

Next week...Part 2!

Johnny Heller is an Edge Studio coach. For more information about coaching with Johnny or any other Edge Studio instructor, please call our office at 888-321-3343 or click here.

Audiobook narration

Johnny you're an incredible narrator & look forward to becoming an audiobook narrator myself. Thanks for the tips & advice. I will be looking you up soon to coach me in this incredible endeavor.

Marc.

Johnny Heller

Thanks, Edge, for including articles in the newsletter from the great Johnny Heller. He is singularly talented, not just as an audiobook performer, but as an insightful and very witty instructor! Can't wait for the next one!

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