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How to Get Started in Voice Over and Audiobook Narration: From Newbie to Pro

Updated: Jul 1

Breaking into the voice-over and audiobook narration industry can seem daunting, but with the right approach, you can turn your passion for storytelling and vocal performance into a rewarding career. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started, book your first gig, and eventually land higher-profile work.


1. Understanding the Industry

Before diving in, it’s essential to understand the voice-over and audiobook narration industry. This includes familiarizing yourself with different types of voice-over work (check out our article HERE) and the specific demands of audiobook narration (such as long recording sessions and consistency in character voices). The key here is understanding you are going to need flexibility. Auditions and work, in some occasions, can come in the day before and you will need to be available to go to a studio or take a session from home with minimal notice.


2. Developing Your Skills

Voice Training: Invest time in developing your vocal skills. This includes learning proper breathing techniques, vocal warm-ups, and how to use your voice for up to 6 hours a day without straining or any changes in tone and quality. And of course how to manipulate your voice for a range of characters.


Acting Skills: Voice-over and audiobook narration require strong acting abilities. This is strangely often overlooked and something casting directors mention A LOT. It is also what will separate you from AI voices and keep you booking jobs for longer! Consider taking acting classes or workshops to improve your ability to create believable characters and inspiring performances.

If you would like to work with me as a coach you can check out my coaching site HERE


Reading Aloud: Practice reading aloud regularly. Audiobook narration, in particular, requires a smooth, clear delivery with excellent story telling all while reading from the page.


3. Setting Up Your Home Studio

Basic Equipment: Start with essential equipment like a good-quality microphone, headphones, a pop filter, and an audio interface. You don’t need to break the bank, but investing in decent equipment is crucial for producing professional-quality recordings.

Take a look at my recommendations for starting equipment HERE

Recording Space: THIS IS KEY! Invest in your recording space. You can make a budget mic sound so much better by making good decisions here. Create a quiet, sound-treated space for recording. This could be a basic blanket fort or a converted closet to minimize background noise and echo.


Recording Software: Choose user-friendly recording software (DAW - Digital Audio Workstation) like Audacity, Reaper, or Adobe Audition. Familiarize yourself with basic recording and editing techniques. Reaper is definitely my favorite of the bunch!


4. Building Your Demo Reel

Voice Reel: Create a voice reel showcasing your range and versatility. You will want a separate reel for each different genre, from a short punchy commercial reel about one minute long, to another one minute reel showing different characters and voices for an animation reel. Both should have music and sound effect backing to give the illusion each snippet is taken from a fully produced project.


Audiobook Sample: Record around eight to ten audiobook samples from different genres and styles. Each should be around two minutes long. They should demonstrate your ability to maintain character voices and narrative flow and make sure each has something unique to show different abilities. Audiobook samples should not have any music or sound effects but should be mastered to ACX requirements.


5. Creating an Online Presence

Website: Set up a professional website to showcase your demo reels, resume, and contact information. Make sure it’s easy to navigate, visually appealing and that your reels are on the first page with an MP3 download option.


Social Media: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with industry professionals and showcase your work.


Voice Over Marketplaces: Create profiles on popular voice-over marketplaces like, Voice123, and ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange).


6. Networking and Finding Work

Networking: Attend industry events, webinars, and workshops to meet other voice-over artists, producers, and casting directors. Networking is crucial for finding opportunities and getting referrals.


Auditions: Regularly audition for roles on voice-over marketplaces and casting websites. Be persistent and use each audition as an opportunity to refine your skills.


Cold Outreach: Don’t underestimate the potential of reaching out directly to possible clients, production studios, and audiobook publishers directly. Send a brief, professional introduction along with a link to your demo reel.


7. Booking Your First Gig

When you book your first gig, ensure you understand the project’s requirements and deadlines. Communicate professionally with the client and deliver high-quality work. Building a reputation for reliability and professionalism will lead to repeat business and referrals.


8. Continuing Education and Improvement

Workshops and Classes: Continuously improve your skills by attending workshops and classes. Acting is a lifelong study and you can always discover more!


Feedback: Seek feedback from clients and other professionals. Constructive criticism is invaluable for growth.


9. Moving to Higher Profile Work

Agents: Consider getting representation from a talent agent who specializes in voice-over work. Agents can help you access higher-profile opportunities that are simply not available on the public platforms and negotiate better rates.


Professional Associations: Join professional associations like the Audio Publishers Association (APA) or the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS) to gain industry recognition and access exclusive resources.


Advanced Equipment: As you progress, upgrade your home studio equipment and software to ensure your recordings meet industry standards.


Remote Session Software

You might want to offer you clients the ability to direct live sessions from your home studio. While when you start out something like zoom will be fine, at the higher tiers of work the industry standard is to use Source Connect. Which allows high quality remote recording. It has a price tag but some clients won’t work without it.


Specialization: Develop a niche or specialization within the industry, such as monster voices for animation or specific genres of audiobooks. Specializing can help you stand out and attract higher-profile work.



Breaking into the voice-over and audiobook narration industry requires dedication, persistence, and continuous improvement. By developing your skills, setting up a professional home studio, networking, and actively seeking opportunities, you can start booking gigs and eventually establish yourself as a sought-after professional in the industry. Remember, every professional voice-over artist started where you are now – with passion and a dream. YOU GOT THIS!


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