How to Become a Voice Actor for Audiobooks

So you're thinking about becoming a voice actor for audiobooks, but you're not sure where to begin? Don't worry–we've got you covered. Here is a guide to help you get started with your dream gig.

Audiobook narration is a competitive field, and it may take time and effort to build a steady stream of work. However, with dedication and a strong portfolio, it can be a rewarding career. In this article, we will first look into ways to get started in a career in voice acting, then focus on audiobooks specifically, including the Audible and ACX platforms. Let's get started!

How can I start my voice acting career?

Before we focus on audiobooks specifically, let's talk about getting started in the field of voice acting in general. Starting a voice acting career typically involves the following steps:

  1. Develop your skills: Study voice acting techniques and practice regularly. Take voice acting classes, work on improving your voice and diction, and study scripts to understand how to deliver dialogue and convey emotions. Work on developing a versatile voice range and control. Voice acting classes online can be particularly beneficial for aspiring audiobook narrators, as they can provide specialized training in voice modulation, pacing, and storytelling techniques that are essential for bringing the characters and story to life in an engaging and captivating way.
  2. Build a demo reel: Record a professional voice reel. Build a portfolio of voice samples and a resume. Create a recording of yourself performing various types of voice acting, such as commercials, narration, or character voices, to showcase your range and abilities.
  3. Network and market yourself: Network with audiobook producers and publishers. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and create a website or social media presence to promote your services.
  4. Invest in professional recording equipment.
  5. Find work: Audition for audiobook projects and secure gigs. Look for job listings on online platforms like or Backstage, or reach out to casting directors and production companies directly.
  6. Keep practicing and improving: Continuously hone your skills, build your portfolio, and take workshops to improve your work, attract more work, and advance your career.
  7. Consider becoming a Strawberry Hill Studio member, so that you can have access to an exclusive community of like-minded voice actors, professional instructors, and key networking opportunities!
  8. You don't have to limit yourself to just audiobooks, either. Consider other pathways in the field of voiceover, such as recording voiceover for cartoons.

Can I make a living narrating audiobooks?

Yes, it is possible to make a living narrating audiobooks. However, like any freelance job, the earning potential can vary greatly. Factors such as experience, skills, demand for audiobooks, and competition in the market all impact the income that a narrator can earn. Some narrators may earn a steady income from audiobook narration, while others may supplement their income with other voice acting or freelance work.

In order to maximize earning potential, it's important to continuously develop and showcase your skills, market yourself effectively, and seek out new work opportunities. Building a strong portfolio of work and a good reputation can also help attract more work and increase your income.

Is narrating audiobooks a good side hustle?

Even if you don't start out making a living narrating audiobooks right away, recording audiobooks has the potential to start as a good side hustle for many people. However, it depends on a few factors, such as:

  1. Skills and experience: Having a clear, engaging, and versatile voice can increase the chances of getting hired and earning more money.
  2. Equipment: Investing in good quality recording equipment and a quiet workspace can improve the quality of the recordings and increase the chances of getting hired.
  3. Availability: Audiobook narration is a freelance job and the number of opportunities depends on the current demand.
  4. Competition: The number of narrators in the market affects the demand for their services and their earnings potential.

Overall, narrating audiobooks can be a good side hustle for those with the right skills, experience, and equipment. But, like any freelance job, the earning potential can vary greatly. Which leads us to...

How does voicing audiobooks make money?

Audiobook narrators can make money through various revenue streams, including:

  1. Royalties: Many narrators receive a royalty for each audiobook sale or rental.
  2. Upfront payment: Some narrators are paid a flat fee upfront for their work on a particular audiobook.
  3. Platforms: There are various platforms, such as Audible and ACX, that connect narrators with audiobook producers and pay them for their work. We will discuss these platforms in detail later.
  4. Freelance work: Some narrators work as freelancers and charge clients for their services on a per-project basis.
  5. Ads: Some narrators may also earn money through advertising or sponsorships related to their audiobook work.

How much do audiobook narrators make?

The amount audiobook narrators make can vary greatly, depending on factors such as their experience, the length and complexity of the project, and the producer or publisher they are working with.

On average, a narrator can make anywhere from $100 to $500 per finished hour of recorded audio. More experienced narrators with a strong reputation in the industry can make $1000 or more per finished hour. As we mentioned before, it's worth noting that narrators often receive royalties from sales of the finished audiobook.

How to read audiobooks for a living?

To make a living reading audiobooks, you would need to find work as an audiobook narrator. Here are the steps to become an audiobook narrator:

  1. Develop your voice acting skills: Take voice acting classes, work on improving your voice and diction, and study scripts to understand how to deliver dialogue and convey emotions.
  2. Create a demo reel: Record a selection of voice acting samples to showcase your range and abilities.
  3. Find work: Look for audiobook narration opportunities on platforms such as ACX, Audible, and Findaway Voices, or reach out to audiobook publishers and production companies directly.
  4. Complete audiobook recordings: Work with the author, publisher, or producer to record the audiobook and ensure that the final product meets their standards.
  5. Get paid: Audiobook narrators typically earn a royalty based on the sales of their audiobooks, which can range from 25-40% of the retail price.

How do I become an Audible voice actor?

Oftentimes, voice actors looking to break into the audiobook industry begin by looking into recording audiobooks for major platforms such as Audible. In addition to following the steps outlined above, consider taking the following actions:

  1. Network with audiobook producers and publishers, including Audible.
  2. Audition for Audible projects or submit your voice reel for consideration.
  3. Follow Audible's guidelines and requirements for voice actors.
  4. Be flexible and adaptable to feedback from clients and producers.

How do I upload to Audible and get paid?

To upload an audiobook to Audible and get paid, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Become a member of ACX: ACX is a platform that connects authors, publishers, and audiobook narrators. You will need to create a profile on ACX in order to upload your audiobook to Audible.
  2. Create a high-quality audiobook recording: Record your audiobook using high-quality equipment and techniques. Ensure that the recording is free of background noise and that your voice is clear and professional.
  3. Upload your audiobook to ACX: Follow the steps on the ACX platform to upload your audiobook and provide information about the book, including the title, author, and description.
  4. Get your audiobook approved: Once your audiobook is uploaded, it will be reviewed by the ACX team to ensure that it meets their standards for quality and content. If your audiobook is approved, it will be made available for sale on Audible.
  5. Get paid: You will receive payment for your audiobook sales through ACX. The exact amount paid will depend on the retail price of the audiobook, the terms agreed upon with the author or publisher, and the distribution channels through which the audiobook is sold. Typically, narrators receive a royalty of 25-40% of the retail price for each audiobook sold.

Note: It's important to carefully review and understand the terms of any agreement before uploading your audiobook to ACX.

How much does Amazon pay for Audible audiobooks?

The amount that Amazon pays for Audible audiobooks can vary based on several factors, such as:

  1. Royalty rate: The narrator's share of the audiobook sales, which can range from 25-40% of the retail price, depending on the distribution channels used.
  2. Sales volume: The number of audiobook sales affects the total earnings.
  3. Length of the audiobook: Longer audiobooks tend to earn more than shorter ones.

It is difficult to estimate an average payout as it depends on these and other variables. However, some narrators have reported earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars per audiobook, while others may earn less.

Can I get paid for listening to Audible?

No, you cannot get paid for simply listening to Audible books! Audible is a subscription-based service where you pay a monthly fee to access its library of audiobooks, podcasts, and other audio content. While you do not get paid for listening to content on Audible, you can earn money by creating and narrating audiobooks for the platform through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).

Audiobooks with ACX

ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is a marketplace that connects audiobook producers, narrators, and authors.

Does ACX pay me to read?

Yes, ACX pays you to read! ACX offers two options for payment:

  1. Royalty Share: Under this option, the narrator and producer share the royalties generated from the sales of the audiobook.
  2. Pay-per-Finished Hour (PPFH): The narrator is paid a flat rate for each finished hour of the audiobook, regardless of the audiobook's sales. The rate varies based on the production budget set by the rights holder.

In either case, ACX handles the distribution of the audiobook to retailers such as Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

How much does ACX pay?

ACX, a platform that connects authors and publishers with audiobook narrators, pays narrators a royalty based on the sale of their audiobooks. The exact amount paid can vary greatly depending on the retail price of the audiobook, the terms agreed upon with the author or publisher, and the distribution channels through which the audiobook is sold (e.g. Audible, Amazon, iTunes).

Typically, ACX pays narrators a royalty of 25-40% of the retail price for each audiobook sold, with the exact amount depending on the terms agreed upon with the author or publisher. In some cases, narrators may receive a flat fee for their work instead of a royalty. It's important to carefully review and understand the terms of any agreement before accepting work on ACX.


Can anyone be an audiobook narrator?

Yes, anyone can be an audiobook narrator with the right skills and equipment. However, professional training and experience in voice acting, narration, or acting can be beneficial.

Is it hard to narrate audiobooks?

Narrating audiobooks can be challenging and requires certain skills, such as:

  1. Voice acting: The ability to bring characters to life and convey emotions through your voice.
  2. Storytelling: The ability to keep listeners engaged and maintain the pacing of the story.
  3. Focus and endurance: The ability to sustain focus and energy levels during long recording sessions.
  4. Technical skills: Knowledge of recording equipment and software, and the ability to produce high-quality recordings.

While narrating audiobooks can be challenging, it can also be a rewarding experience for those who have the right skills and are dedicated to improving their craft. Like any other skill, with training and practice, it becomes easier over time.

How long does it take to narrate an audiobook?

The length of time it takes to narrate an audiobook can vary greatly depending on several factors, including:

  1. Length of the audiobook: A longer audiobook will take more time to narrate than a shorter one.
  2. Speed of narration: The narrator's speed in reading and recording the text will impact the duration of the narration process.
  3. Recording quality: The time required to record a high-quality audiobook may be longer than for a lower-quality recording, due to the need for editing, retakes, and post-production work.

Narrating an audiobook can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the length of the audiobook and the narrator's pace. Some narrators may be able to narrate several hours of audio per week, while others may only be able to do a few hours per month. It is important to work at a pace that allows for high-quality recordings and meets the deadline set by the publisher or producer.


Recording voiceover for audiobooks can be competitive, and it may take time and effort to build a steady stream of work. But with perseverance, dedication, and a strong portfolio, it can be a rewarding career.

Consider attending some of Strawberry Hill Studio's voiceover workshops to hone your voice acting craft!