How much money do professional audiobook narrators make per book and how many work hours are involved?

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  • 1 month ago
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    A well-known narrator and vocal coach, whose name I'm afraid escapes me at the moment, said that before you pester anyone with questions about how to do it and how much money you could make, you should do a simple test. Find a few books you like. Find a comfortable chair. Put the chair in a small space, like a closet, or just facing a corner of a room. Put a book on a desk or table in front of you. And then just read aloud from the book for several hours, for several days in a row. If you can do that without making a lot of mistakes, without your voice aching, without getting bored, then you might be suited to audiobook narration, and you can continue with your questions. If not, then this might not be the career for you.

    With that out of the way...

    I'm in a Facebook group for audiobook narrators (I'm brave enough or stupid enough to think I can narrate my own books). The rate they seem to think most narrators should be asking for is around $200 to $250 PFH. Whether you're likely to get that when you're starting out is another matter.

    PFH stands for "per finished hour". A finished hour is an hour of the audiobook as the listener hears it. A novel for adults usually plays for somewhere between 8 and 16 hours.

    Depending on how skilled you are with your equipment, and how good you are at not making mistakes, and what you hire someone else to do, as an experienced narrator you'd spend maybe 4 to 6 hours per finished hour. When you're starting out it will take a lot longer.

  • enn
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    I don't know about current pay, but professional narrators for books on tape are usually in the Actor's Guild and get standard allotted pay per day of work. Written into the contract should be a percentage of residual monies, meaning every time the recording gets used in a commercial, tv program, movie, or sampled in a online video, the narrator gets a percentage of the fee to use the recording. It does actually help to get an agent. But, a place to start is at the local radio station! They are always looking for new talent voices to record radio commercials for local businesses. The pay is nominal at first, but, with a few recordings completed an aired, you can then solicit for a talent agent to help you get more work on-air or with television commercial narration. Try this and good luck to you!

  • 1 month ago

    It's highly flexible, and some aspects depend on whether you join the union, which apparently has its own requirements for professional works completed.

    The pay scale has two basic forms: X amount per finished hour of audio, no matter now many hours it takes you to complete it, or a share of audio royalties.

    You will be expected to have your own professional-grade audio equipment to record your voice; it will not be provided.

    From what I'm seeing online, non-union readers top out at $150 per finished hour, although $80-90 is more typical.

    As to how many hours it takes, that depends on you. Using whatever recording equipment you now own, literally pick up a book you have not previously read and start recording yourself reading it aloud. Try thirty minutes as a goal.

    You will be stunned at the mistakes, stumbles, pauses, uhs, and other things that would mean starting over.

    If you really want to do this, rather than think it's easy money, buy yourself the audio versions of some books that are self-published or from small presses, then listen to them. If you honestly can do that well, given multiple takes, contact the reader or the author--or both--to learn more about the process.

    Source(s): I know at least two authors who hire audio readers, but what they pay isn't any of my business.
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