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Getting Started with Audiobook Narration

By March 1, 2024No Comments
People ask me all the time:
How do I become an Audiobook Narrator?
Honestly, my journey to audiobooks has been a long road. I’ve been an avid reader, actor, and singer since I was a kid, so I had the foundation for performance and a love of literature, but the actual business of voice-over and narration is a whole different animal!
I made the decision to pursue VO full time in 2015. I actually spent a few years training and researching before I really jumped into auditioning and working, and even then, I only dabbled in audiobooks and had a love/hate relationship with them for a while. They’re hard work! And, working in isolation, it’s so frustrating not knowing if you’re doing the right thing or not.
I was also being too much of a perfectionist, which is so hard with long-form narration. If you nitpick too much, you’ll never finish an audiobook. I eventually had to adopt the mantra “Progress, Not Perfection!” Being a narrator means forever learning, growing, and improving on your craft, and I’ve learned to love the journey!
I fumbled around for years learning stuff, but I’ll direct you with the biggest game changer for me, which I only took last year:  The Great Audiobook Adventure.
Since taking this course, I’ve seriously leveled up my audiobook game and have since started focusing on audiobooks as my main genre of voice-over. My booking rate went up like crazy, and I’m starting to foster relationships with publishers and producers. I wish I had taken it when I was just beginning my journey, because it gives you everything you need to get started, plus a community, which is so essential!
Some other things I recommend:
Take the webinars and watch the archive videos from the APA
I haven’t joined yet, but I hear PANA is also great for training and networking.
The VoiceOver Network has lots excellent workshops
Penguin Random House Producer Julie Wilson offers workshops and coaching:
Join Facebook groups and be a fly on the wall. Search the archives to learn stuff. And beware of posting things without searching the topic first. Pros start to roll their eyes at the newbies who are too lazy to search for the information that’s been discussed a million times.
Of course, coaching and workshops are always great. Do your research for vetted coaches (The FB groups have some good discussions about this). Several I’ve coached with or attended workshops with include:
  • Elise Arsenault
  • Ronnie Butler
  • Scott Brick
  • Julie Wilson
  • PJ Ochlan
And once you get going with recording audiobooks, I highly recommend Pozotron for proofing your audiobooks. You can also export a report with any typos you find, which my indie authors appreciate.
Places to start building your profiles, adding samples, and finding auditions:
ACX (Beware of scams! Research titles and authors!)
AHAB (Note that this is the big leagues, run by Penguin Random House. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward if you choose to audition. But absolutely start making your profile! Producers search keywords looking for the right narrator, and newbies have been hired)
Additional Narrator Profiles:
There are so many more things I could list, but this is a good place to start. Please share any resources, coaches, and workshops you recommend in the comments!
Happy Narrating!
Izzy Tugman

Author Izzy Tugman

Isabella “Izzy” Tugman is a professional Voice-Over Artist, Actor, Singer, and Film Producer based out of Phoenix, AZ. She has also lived and worked in the Los Angeles, New York City, Austin, and Kansas City markets. Izzy has a Bachelors Degree in Music from Thomas Edison State University. In addition, she is a graduate of a rigorous two-year college performing arts program from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles. She also spent two years as a Vocal Performance major at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), where she studied to be an opera singer. Having spent a lifetime acting and singing on the stage, in front of the camera, and behind the microphone, a career in voice-over harmoniously blends her talents for voice, acting, story-telling, and language. Isabella is an incredibly hard-working individual who is committed to quality. She works consistently to improve on her talents and her business while maintaining a strong sense of integrity and a positive attitude. When she’s not pursuing her career goals, Izzy loves to sing, dance, read, practice yoga, play video games, travel, and indulge in spicy foods. An animal lover, she has two cats and two small dogs that might as well be cats. When looking for a Voice-Over Professional, Izzy is the Voice of Choice!

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