If you’ve been watching trends and sales figures, you know that narrating audiobooks is a booming part of the voice over industry.
There is a wealth of opportunity for those who are willing to explore and produce their own audiobooks.
This article focuses on how narrating literature in the public domain, specifically classics, can help you to build your audiobook portfolio without having to pay licensing fees.
Audiobooks Are Smokin’!
Craig Black, President of Blackstone Audio said in the year 2007 that 4,000 audiobooks were being recorded, and over the next four years (2011), that number would increase dramatically to 24,000 audiobooks.
That’s great news for authors, recording artists and audiobook consumers, but why is this even better news for publishers and distributors?
Each audiobook sold online at sites such as Audible.com can be downloaded, literally providing virtual inventory for publishers and distributors which costs significantly less to store and doesn’t present any additional production fees. An added bonus is that customers are able to purchase these products unassisted.
Why Narrate Classics?
- Established in the literature market
- Low hanging fruit that have good track records
- Potential best sellers
- Acknowledged by the academic community
- Beloved by generations of people
- In many cases easy to get your hands on
- Considered public domain works if published before January 1, 1923 in the USA
How Can You Make Money From Audiobooks?
The short answer? Become your own audiobook publisher provided you are:
1. Recording works in the public domain
2. Recording original works that you own the copyright to
3. Or, recording works that you have licensed from the author or copyright holder for resale (* this may cost you money and we’ll explore this option in a future article)
Make Some Money, Honey
Here are a few ideas to try that will help you to maximize your opportunities:
1. Sell your audiobooks as products in the Voices.com Store (highly recommended)
2. List them and sell them on your own website
3. Put on some agent boots and see if you can get additional distribution
We highly recommend that you sell your recorded audiobooks at Voices.com as products because you’ll be able to:
- Market your audiobooks through your very own store located within your profile
- Your work will be listed in the main Voices.com Store for more promotion and visibility
Before You Go…
Acknowledge That It Isn’t Easy
Take a look at some narration techniques and also prepare for your responsibilities as narrator, one in particular to note is the soon-to-be pact with your audience to suspend their disbelief. Your audience will only believe the unbelievable, the fantastical and otherwise if you are committed to bringing them the goods and keeping your agreement to journey with them throughout the book.
Get Some Training
One fantastic resource that you’ll want to consider is Pat Fraley’s Billion $ Read. I have a copy myself and recommend it to anyone who is interested in becoming an audiobook narrator or would like to fine tune their skills. Pat also holds workshops throughout the year for audiobook narration based upon his book.
Listen To Established Narrators
Also, you’ll want to do a bit of research and listen to the people who are already making money in this field. Drop by Audible.com, look for titles that you’d like to record and then listen to the voices who are narrating the audiobooks. You’ll get a good idea of what you can expect competition wise and also pick up some pointers from some of the best voices out there. Don’t expect to become the next Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, or Hillary Huber on your first day.
Just as audiobook narration is voice over’s equivalent to long distance running, honing your narrative and artistic skills will test your endurance as well.
Looking forward to hearing about your new audiobook projects!
P.S. If you have any other questions about getting into narrating audiobooks, please leave a comment or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.