Self-Assessment for Aspiring Audiobook Narrators

  • Voice-over
  • 19-Jan-2022
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Audiobooks are getting more and more popular these days and popularity is not only limited among the book readers or people found exclusively in the libraries but also extends to anyone who likes audio content. The new age is about multitasking and therefore, people take advantage of an unlimited supply of audio content from audiobooks while working with other things. Let’s not get into the details of popular and in-demand audiobooks are these days, we all are well aware of that. Creating an audiobook requires two basic things – a good book and a great voice to narrate it. So, how to assess if a voice is good for audiobooks or not? Most importantly, as a voice artist how would you assess yourself if your voice is good enough for audiobooks and should you choose to do it? Well, Voyzapp – the paramount voice-over agency has brought you some self-assessment quizzes or say some points to reflect on and then decide as a voice-actor, are audiobooks your thing?

First things first, there are some prerequisites of the genre and these are very crucial in determining whether should you choose to move forward or not.  So, do you like to read? If yes, then it's great, let’s go ahead, but just in case you are not fond of reading, maybe you should not proceed further in the field of audiobooks. Next, is, do you listen to audiobooks? If not, then get to an audiobook platform and start listening to audiobooks and get a better understanding of the craft. Nevertheless, let’s move on to some more serious questions of the self-assessment quiz.

Setting the Baseline –

  • Have you heard your recorded voice?  - it is crucial that you listen to your recorded voice. It helps to analyze the quality of voice and highlights those areas of speech where you need to work on. While listening to audiobooks listeners won’t be having the advantage of text or expressions, so hearing yourself can highlight the points at which diction or speech needs improvements. However, one must listen too much to their own voice recordings, as they would be likely to fall in love with it and start including some more variations and modulations. That results in your voice over-powering the text and listeners being distracted from the story. Remember that in audiobooks it is the narrators’ job to make the words of authors shine not their own voices. 
  • Do you practice reading out loud? – while we read things in our minds, we have the habit of jumping over or missing a few words here and there. In audiobooks, you need to read each and every word clearly with proper inflection and in the order, they are written, without adding or subtracting anything from the text. Recording audiobooks asks for vocal stamina and you need to develop it. You can refer to some vocal exercises recommended by the industry experts to develop your vocal abilities and stamina.
  • You like telling stories, right? – Well, to make your narration gripping you need to acquire this skill if don’t already have it. Audiobook voice-over artists are needed to be great storytellers, you must be able to enthrall the audience. Your narrations should be able to transport the audience in the story itself and get them involved. Regardless of the type of book, you need to be able to take your audience along with your narration. Also, different books require a different style of storytelling. You cannot read an adult self-improvement or self-motivation book in the way you read a children’s fairy tale storybook.
  • Are you properly trained or have experience in voice acting? – it is a very significant point. In order to connect with your audience, you need some skills. These skills are needed not only to successfully covey the text but also to set the scene and deliver the emotions. Audiobooks are more intimate than performing in from of an audience. Here you are directly into the ears of the listeners and you need skills to navigate through different scenes without shouting while making a full impact. So, if you are a newbie you better start training yourself under the guidance of great industry professionals or veterans.

Your Language Skills Matter –

  • Do you love language? – well, most of the audiobook narrators do, and words are an absolute delight for them. They not only enjoyed their language classes but also are very good with grammar. However, not all books are heavy on words most of the books lack interesting literary devices. A narrator must be able to make the simplest writing sound captivating and elevate its beauty.
  • What’s your native language? – the popularity of your native language in your current place of work and the audiobook industry, will be decisive in getting you to work. For instance, if you are native to Hindi or English, then it might be a little difficult to land an audiobook recording job very often. However, there are so many languages around the world and if you are proficient in more than one, you have better chances of making it great in the industry. As professional voice-over actors, more attention is paid to learning skills than languages, but being proficient and having native-level expertise in more than one could open doors to numerous opportunities.


Personality & Work Ethics –  

  • How Comfy you are with Technology? – it was not long ago when narrators were only responsible for performing the texts of the book and the rest other audio professionals handled everything. Audio engineers would process the recording, a voice-over director would guide the narrator throughout the read, etc., which were common practices. Nowadays, professional voice-over actors are presumed not only to have the skills of processing, refining, & producing a flawless recording but also to be able to self-direct & perform the read. As more and more professionals work remotely, all are either well-versed in handling modern technology or spend time learning it. Even if you record in a commercial studio you need to have at least working knowledge of all the modern tech involved in the process.
  • Are you good with Communication and Customer Service? – it is the need of the hour in the voice-over industry to have good communication and networking skills. You need to be in continuous touch, without being a pest, of a potential publisher. Also, your communication skills will be very much handy in explaining the whole production process to someone new to this world. Using a professional, non-argumentative, & explanatory tone will be very much helpful in easing out a situation with a new publisher that might seem to be getting tense. Also, you need to inform your clients if there are going to be delays in the delivery of the recordings in such a way that it does not jeopardize your relations with them.
  • How do you feel about researching? – many times narrators have to research the pronunciations & accents. Mispronounced words distract the listeners and break the flow of engagement with the audiobook. It has happened in many audiobooks where proper research was not done. You must research how locals of the area pronounce a particular word, city, or street name. You might also want to document your research and share it with your proofer and publisher for a go-ahead. Also, when you are detail-oriented, that means taking notes of clients’ requirements, it helps you to live up & surpass their expectations and maybe build a long-term relationship.
  • How is your focus & patient level? – audiobook recordings are a time-consuming process. You need to learn how to concentrate on one thing for a longer period. If your focus can deviate easily, your work will be vastly affected. Also, it takes a whole lot of patience to establish yourself as a professional audiobook voice-over artist. It takes time to gain the trust of the publisher and recognition for the work.
  • Do you consider yourself as a self-starter & organized? – being a self-starter & planning things beforehand would provide an additional advantage to your work. You can assess how much time will be needed for preparations and for recording, and intimating the same to the publisher puts you as a professional. Also, your organizational skills matter a lot. Any client would like to get the project completed within the scheduled time, your time and project management skills would help you achieve your goals. Most audiobook narrators are working remotely nowadays with less to zero supervision, so the organizational skills become more prudent.
  • How do you take rejections and criticism? – when it comes to rejections, how you handle them is crucial. You might get rejected more times than you ever thought, or maybe even for the book, you thought you would be the best choice. You might not even receive a rejection mail, and be completely ignored. All this can be heart-breaking, but you need to be in frequent touch with the publishers and clients & follow up constantly without being annoying. Listeners nowadays can go under pseudonyms on the internet and post various soul-destroying comments about your narrations. Even professional listeners would put up some flaws and talk negatively about your performance or the quality of your voice-over recordings. You need to be thick-skinned and not let all those things make you lose your calm.


Financial Considerations –

  • What are your financial expectations? – it is true that earning potential is huge in the audiobook narration works, but not everyone gets it. Many narrators remain underpaid for years until things turn around for them. Always remember, those who sit on the top of the mountain did not just land there. It depends a lot on your drive and dedication to the work. Before you just declare yourself as a professional audiobook narrator, you must make sure that you received proper training and have some kind of work experience in the field. Initially, this will be a low-paying job, so make sure you have some other financial cushions until you make it big here. If you work as a freelancer, well the studio setup is going to pinch your pocket. Therefore, it would be better to have one or more sources of income before you set audiobook narrations as your sole source of income.
  • How do you feel about constantly marketing yourself? – landing a narration job initially can be considered as a reward for your constant and successful networking and marketing yourself. You need to be present at the places where people from the industry gather and make an unforgettable impression about yourself. Connecting with more and more people and keeping in touch with them is going to put some more pressure on your wallet, hence, you need to make sure that your day job or the other source of income is able to fund your trips to these industry-favored locations.


However, audiobook narrators also market themselves online these days. Some of them have their own websites, where clients could find them, check out the demo reels, and can connect with them. While many professionals in addition to their own online portals, register themselves on professional voice-over marketplaces like Voyzapp. At Voyzapp, the artists and the clients are directly connected and no intermediaries are involved. This practice ensures transparency in work and also enables Voyzapp to help artists find more clients, and clients find the best quality services at unbelievably economical prices.


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