MF 294 : Should you record an audiobook?
Updated: Jun 16
Today, we kick off a new mini-series on recording an audiobook, starting with considerations for being a voiceover for one. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Considerations for recording an audiobook
Today, we kick off a new mini-series on audiobooks. I refer you back to episode 291 and my conversation with Angelo Spenillo, where we talk about working together for his audiobook, I Am a Professional Metalhead.
Angelo’s book came out in December 2019. I was one of his early readers and I loved it. As I was reading it, I kept hearing his voice in my head as I learned more about Angelo’s story and how heavy metal music was such an influential part of his journey and career path.
I suggested he think about doing an audiobook version with himself as the narrator. Since it was his story and I already had his voice narrating it as I was reading it, it seemed like a no brainer.
Angelo had a different opinion. While he liked the idea of an audiobook version, he didn’t think he was necessarily the best one to bring the book from eyes to ears. He had a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here but our conversation continued into January. Then, one Saturday morning on the way to Panera, I had an idea. As I was sipping my hazelnut coffee, I thought why don’t I do the voiceover for his book?
As a podcaster, I have five years under belt with an audio medium. As a public speaker and presenter, I also had experience projecting and communicating to an audience. Finally, my past experience as an actor make me comfortable finding a voice for a character.
I quickly recorded an “audition tape” using my notes app on my phone, reading a few passages from Angelo’s book. He listened, gave me some feedback and we go into a conversation about me being the narrator for his book.
Next time, I’ll share more about how we ended up going from idea to making this a reality. For now, here are some considerations for whether you should be an audiobook narrator.
Do you host a podcast or have you guested on other podcasts?
Have you done a lot of public speaking or presentations?
Have you done any acting, whether on-camera, stage or voiceover work?
Any of the above will make you a worthy candidate for doing an audiobook. Obviously, there will be differences and adjustments but the more experience you have using your voice to communicate to an audience, the easier the transition will be to become an audiobook narrator.
But what if you don’t have any of the above experiences and just want to try something new? Maybe this is an itch you want to scratch or you’ve always wanted to narrate a book as a bucket list item.
Figuring out if you’re a good candidate to be an audiobook narrator
There are two ways to “test the waters” so speak on whether you might be a good audiobook narrator if you don’t have a lot of speaking or performance experience.
Guest on podcasts: if you don’t host a podcast, think about pitching yourself as a guest on one or two. Think about your skills and expertise, be it career or job-related or a hobby. Find a podcast that is accepting guests and pitch yourself.
DIY tryout: Take your phone, open up a passage or article, and read aloud while recording yourself. Listen to it in playback. Immerse yourself to get comfortable with reading / narrating and to remove any self-consciousness from listening to yourself.
Recording an audiobook can be a fun endeavor and some make a living or create side-hustles from voiceover work. However, it is not for everyone. Testing the waters by guesting on podcasts and doing your own tryouts can be a quick an easy way to determine whether this is a good fit for you.
Next week, we’ll go into workflow hacks for working with an author to bring his or her book to life.
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