Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
I do almost all of my reading via audiobook. It’s a great way to turn a boring activity like driving or dinner with the family into a thrilling escape to a fantasy world. The surging popularity of audiobooks, combined with the fact that every artsy dilettante already has a USB microphone from their failed attempt to start a podcast, has made the role of audiobook narrator one of the most coveted jobs in literature.
As long as there are artistic professions, there will always be untrained wannabes who think they can succeed with minimal effort. And where there are wannabes, you can be sure there are irresponsible articles like this one about how to break into the narration racket. Let’s begin!
What You’ll Need
- A good microphone and recording software. I assume you already have these (see the cheap joke about podcasts from paragraph one of this article).
- Reading glasses. You may or may not need them, but it’s always fun to buy new equipment!
- A British accent.
- Listen to lots of audiobooks. You’re probably already doing this, but even so, pay close attention to which narrators make good use of inflection and voice. Also note their pacing, particularly pauses; after a comma, the rule of thumb is to pause long enough to take a breath; after a period, pause long enough to mutter to yourself, “Pfft, I sound better than this hack.”
- Practice reading out loud. Start with your own work, since you’ve already got the rights to it. Reading your own work is also helpful from a writing perspective—reading a piece out loud helps you catch grammatical errors and plot holes, of which you have an alarming number. The despair you feel after noticing these mistakes will add a note of poignant melancholy to your performance.