Day in the life of
Audiobook Narrator – Lillian Rachel
If you love reading, this may seem like a dream job – getting paid to read books! There is, of course, a lot more to the business than that. A typical day depends on where I am in any given project, but most often involves some, or all of the following: researching and emailing prospective clients, auditioning, exploring roles and prepping a script for audio, marketing, bookkeeping, working with coaches, as well as recording of course!
Every day, my job includes drinking water. Lots of water. Yup, hydration is really important when you’re talking to yourself all day long!
Preparing a manuscript for audio includes first reading the entire book. During this initial review, I will mark up the script to some degree, depending on whether I’m working from home in my own recording booth, or if I’m lucky enough to be recording in a publisher’s studio with a director. I’ll note any accents needed for characters in the book, get their personality and circumstances clear in my mind, and look up pronunciations of any words I’m not familiar with.
Recording days mean a lot of time in my booth. Hours. Any stumbles, or words I’m not 100% sure of I stop, check the pronunciation, go back and start that sentence again. I need to wear the hats of a technician, director, actor, and editor to guide the listener on a unique journey maintaining the author’s truth. My booth is set up with the book on my tablet at eye level to facilitate the best posture, both for my back and neck and also my voice! My microphone has to be placed at the right distance from my mouth and still enable me to see the text unhindered.
Once the book is finally all recorded, I send it off to my editor and proofer, who makes sure what I said actually matches the text and sounds good. He’ll send back the edited audio files and a list of “pick-ups” I need to correct. These could be little changes I inadvertently made while recording: a “the” changed to an “a”, or something completely weird, or even an incorrect pronunciation I hadn’t even thought about. It’s really good to have an extra set of ears to professionally, critically listen to your audio.
Once all needed changes are made the sound files are sent off for the rights holder’s approval. There usually aren’t any issues by this stage, so then there’s the waiting game for release.
- Reading books!
- Acting all the characters
- Work from home options
- Billion dollar industry that has consistently grown by double-digits for nine years in a row
- Enabling books to be more accessible to auditory learners or visually impaired
- Adding an experience to a book a reader won’t get from text alone
- Working with a wonderfully supportive community
- Learning from books I wouldn’t normally read
- Supporting and working with people who value creativity
- Supporting authors and helping to get their stories out to more readers and listeners
- Flexibility of freelance work
- Initial outlay for a professional grade microphone and recording set-up
- Hours working alone in a hot (or cold!) recording booth
- Not every book is from a genre you’d enjoy. I may have to read or listen to the book 3 or 4 times before it is finished
- A lot of prep work on dense non-fiction manuscripts
- Learning new recording software if not already proficient
- 5-6 hours of work for every 1 finished hour of audio ready to go
- If you’re claustrophobic life in a booth is not for you
- Instability of freelance work
- A cold, allergies, or sore throat can play havoc with your schedule