At no additional cost to you, as an affiliate of Amazon and other organizations, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Using my links allows me to keep bringing you awesome content. Thank you for your support!
You can become a voice narrator easier than you think!
A voice narrator job allows you to get paid for reading out loud and voice acting. One easy way to get into this field is by joining ACX. It is a free network to match voice narrators with authors that need their books turned to audiobooks.
ACX is free to join. And you don’t need to be experienced.
Here, I will tell you my tips to working from home as a voice narrator.
What makes me qualified to tell you about this? I have landed two audiobook contracts with my very first audition! I had no voice acting experience. So, I’m here to tell you, you can do it!
What kind of recording equipment should I use?
Unless you are SURE you want to stick with voice narration, don’t splurge on equipment. You want quality sound, but you don’t want to put yourself in a financial hole when you aren’t even sure you’re going to stick with voice narration.
The two main things you will need are:
- A microphone
- Foam acoustic box or panels (to limit echoes)
Here is the equipment I use:
My microphone was gifted to me. So, if the Shure MV51 is outside of your budget, I suggest you use the link to go to that listing and see what alternatives that Amazon offers you. Just be sure to read the reviews of whatever microphone you get. The microphone is your most important piece of equipment. So, choose carefully
The Pyle Foam Acoustic Box minimizes the echo in the room. This will help you get a better quality sound so you don’t sound like you recorded in a cave.
To hear myself clearly during recording, I use these Sony XB550AP Headphones. They are comfortable, and they have top-notch sound.
I use Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter to filter out harsh sounds like those popping “p” sounds, and annoying hissing sounds. It’s adjustable, and can be connected to a table, or many other surfaces.
I also got a tripod stand to go under the Pyle box and give it a lift. It is listed as a laptop stand and DJ equipment holder, but it has many uses. Trust me, after hours of leaning into the box, you’ll wish you had this stand.
How to edit audiobooks.
ACX requirements for audiobooks are VERY STRICT. The decibels must be between a specific range in order for ACX to accept the upload. Plus, you must have 3 seconds of room noise (the sound of a quiet room) at the beginning and end of each chapter. Not silence. If the system detects dead silence, your upload will be rejected. You can find more on the specific requirements here.
Most voice narrators use Audacity to edit their projects. Not only is this program free, but there is also a plugin, ACX Check, that can be added to the program. This plugin checks your audio to ensure it meets ACX requirements.
If you try to upload an ACX project that doesn’t meet the requirements, it will instantly be rejected. So, be sure to get that ACX Check plugin.
As a YouTuber, I’m so used to Final Cut Pro X for editing my sound and videos, that I used it to record my audiobooks. I then uploaded it to Audacity to be checked for compliance. I do suggest you just use Audacity. It was just faster for me to use FCP, since I have so much experience with it.
How to sign up with the audiobook narration company, ACX.
It’s super easy. Go on the ACX website, and sign up for a free account. They are a subsidiary of Amazon. So, if you already have an Amazon account, you can log in with your Amazon account info.
How much do audiobook narration jobs pay?
There are 3 ways to get paid with ACX:
- Royalty share: Get a portion of the sales, usually 50% …for seven years.
- Royalty share plus: Get the royalty share + an additional flat rate.
- Pay for production: Get a flat rate, per finished hour (PFH)
To clarify, if you get paid, per finished hour (PFH), this is not the actual hours you worked. It will take several hours of invested time to get one finished hour. Finished hour rates range from $50-$1,000!
In my opinion, I would rather get a royalty share, or royalty share plus deal. That way, once that book is done, you get paid for seven years. And if you and the author advertise that book well, you can get many sales.
The downside of royalty deals is that if your audiobook gets no sales, you get no money. So, keep that in mind.
How to audition as a voice narrator.
To audition, you can upload a voice sample and wait for authors to find you. But the best approach is to look for jobs yourself. Here’s how:
- Go to “search,” in the upper left hand corner, an
- Select “Titles accepting auditions.”
- Filter for the book that you want to audition for
You can filter jobs by gender, age, accent, compensation, and more. One thing you want to remember is that you are voice acting, so your actual demographic does not matter. If you can sound like a child, go for a book that needs a child’s voice. If you have a great English accent, but you’re American, go for it!
Once you find the book you want to audition for, go to the “audition script” tab. In there, you’ll find the script, which is usually a brief portion of the book.
PRACTICE reading that script. Then, record and upload the audition.
One thing that I quickly realized, was that a book seemed like it fit me, but after reading the audition script, I didn’t like it. The last thing you want to do is take a job that doesn’t interest you. You want a book that will resonate with you. Not put you to sleep!
How to get a voice narrator job!
After submitting your audition, you will either be accepted or rejected. If you are accepted, a contract will be sent to you. You sign it right there on the website.
Read your terms carefully. The contract will specify your pay, your due dates, and other specifics you want to pay attention to.
After you accept your contract, your next step will be to provide a 15-minute sample for the author. This is the first 15 minutes of the book. They want to know what it sounds like before you continue producing the rest of the book. No one wants hours of work to be done, only to find out things were mispronounced, or the sound wasn’t good.
After that 15-minute sample is provided, the author will approve it (if it’s up to par). From there, you continue producing the rest of the book. Then submit it for approval.
Learn more about becoming an audiobook narrator…
I have learned so much about ACX since landing my audiobook deals. I do suggest reading through ACX’s posts regarding requirements and tips that they can offer. But if you want a real look at my experience, be sure to check out my audiobook videos: