Side Hustle Review: Audiobooks

Hello Hello F22 Crew!

Do you love listening to audiobooks? If you’re like me, the narrator is a make or break aspect of the entire experience. If their voice doesn’t fit the vibe of the book, or if their change in character voices doesn’t work I can’t listen. Often I apt for Kindle versions of books over audiobooks because of this. However, what I don’t like, often times other people do like! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and own unique listening experience.

BUT did you know there’s decent money to be made as a voice actor for audiobooks? That’s right! If you love reading, and have some acting skills, it can be a lucrative way to essentially get paid to read. Keep reading to find out how you can get started this weekend!

What is audiobook narrating?

There are many different types of voice-acting, and they are all essentially what they sound like. Either in cartoons, radio work, or in audio books, actors are paid to personify a character just via there voice. Usually narrating a book requires multiple characters, as well as actual omni-present narrating. Most times audio book voice acting is done solo, but sometimes multiple audio artists can work together on the same project.


How much do you get paid?

Like any side hustle, sometimes you do projects for no pay at all. However, I suggest only doing 2-3 of these projects to build your portfolio. One, because these are full length books and will require some time! And two, your time is money! Once you have multiple examples of your range you can apply for more lucrative projects. Starting audio book narrators can bring in $30-$50 and hour with small publishers. While larger publishers can go up to $400. Don’t forget that your quality of work is being judged. So the better you can act as a character without mistakes, the better you’ll be paid. Look for links at the end of this post to apply!


What skills do you need?

Acting and speaking skills are at the top of the list for being an audiobook narrator. Reading comprehension, problem solving, minor technical skills and people skills for pitching yourself to projects are also necessary! Many of these can be learned if you’re really passionate though!

The drawback? You may not always get a lot of time to prepare. You can definitely make your own schedule with this type of job, but if a last minute gig comes in and you really want it you may only get 24 hours or less to do your research and record! This can create a stressful ‘feast or famine’ type feeling. On the flip side, an average audio book can have 10-12 hours of audio. That’s a lot of talking! And even for a veteran narrator that can be up to a month of recording and editing. Pacing yourself, having other streams of income, and setting strict boundaries can help mitigate this issue.


What equipment do you need?

Now all side hustles require some investment up front, even if that’s just time. You can definitely start off with beginner quality and work your way up once you have completed more gigs though!

  • A computer for recording on, as well as any administrative tasks that come with a side hustle
  • A microphone.
  • A pair of good over-ear headphones so you can hear what you sound like and don’t get distracted.
  • A pop filter for your microphone to help with any stray S, P or T sounds that may get away from you and distract from the recording.
  • Recording software. Now there are professional versions you can pay for, but often laptops will come with a built in voice recorder. for your first few gigs this may be enough!


Where can I sign up?!

Luckily voice actors are in high demand right now! The sites listed below actually source for more than just audiobook narrators so you can diversify to radio ads, social media ads, interpreting and so much more! ACX even helps source for Amazon, so your voice could be heard by millions of people!


Overall, if you’ve got the vocal chops and want to work on your own schedule, voice acting is a good option. Did you know it even has it’s own version of the Oscars? They’re called the Audies. (which I think is adorable!) It allows you to pitch and take on jobs as your schedule allows, as long as you have a silent background you can record anywhere you can bring your recording equipment, and you can do it in your pajamas! The cons are that there is often a lot of work for one project, a lot of competition, and frankly no one really knows who you are! For my former theatre kids though, I bet a lot of your would find joy getting back in the acting hot seat and it could be a money making hobby!


So let me know, would you become a voice actor? Why or why not? 

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