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Audiobooks: Growing Market
Is Great News For Voice Talent
 
By Pat Fraley
 
Audiobook publishers need all sorts of talents and sounds. If you have struggled because you sound like you're 16 or 60, guess what? There are audiobook projects out there that need your sound.
 
It is just a matter of finding the door where the welcome mat is ready and waiting.
 
Whatís more, the demand for audiobooks is expected to skyrocket from todayís approximately 4,000 per year to a whopping 24,000 just four years from now. Yes, thatís great news for voice talent.
 
Hereís an overview of your opportunities, plus an insight into this marketís growing popularity. (Also hear related podcast.)
 
STARTING FACTS
 
Audiobook jobs are union and non-union, and pay from very low up to high, depending on the depth of an audiobook publisher's pockets.
 
This means you can start working for a small audiobook publisher that doesn't pay much - who is not expecting Dusty Hoffman Ė while you build up to bigger projects for more money. What a concept: on-the-job training.
 
And if you are a union member, there is a legitimate way to take a non-union gig and make it union.
 
Still more good news:

1. Forty to fifty percent of the jobs are recording by women, which makes this the most equitable area of work in voice-over.

2. There is no need to go through an agent. Audiobook publishers deal directly with the talent. Deals are simple and easy to bid.

3. You need only one relationship at a time with an audiobook publisher. Your name and voice comes up, they call or email you, and you start working. And when you work, you are in the studio for an extended period of time, perhaps 15 hours for a project, getting paid for all the sessions.

WHY SO POPULAR?

The audiobook market sprouted up in 1978, grew a healthy stem in the early '90s, and is budding and blossoming right now. Why? Here are a couple of theories:

  • The world is bored with talk radio.
  • People have longer commutes to the workplace.
  • Employees with redundant jobs are seeking relief.
  • Educational Institutions are discovering that comprehension shoots up when kids are listening to - rather than reading - books.

POOR BRAD & ANGELINA

All theory aside, this market has unusual demographics, inasmuch as it supplies products for the Great Unperceived Audience out there - those who are over 35, educated, and computer savvy.

This is one of the reasons that the transition from cassettes and CDs to compressed downloadable audio files is proving to be seamless; 16, 000 of our 18,000 public libraries are funded for audiobooks!

And it's a remarkable figure considering itís a completely "grass-roots movement,Ē spearheaded by real people, with no sales force, advertising campaign or lobbyists.
 
The only requirement by libraries (the primary market for audiobooks, by the way) is that audiobooks be unabridged.

Not only culturally satisfying, this is even more good news for those of us who don't appear on television, in films, or on the stage. In fact, it yields the greatest news for most: 85% of the readers for audiobooks have no name recognition!

Apparently, Brad and Angelina don't have time to sit in the studio and record for a week or two.

Pat Fraley is a highly successful voice actor and producer of audiobooks. Based in Hollywood, he is a multiple Audie Award nominee and winner. (Audies are the Oscars of audiobooks.) He has created voices for more than 4,000 characters in animated programs, conducts Master Event workshops, and is author of many voice-over how-to books and CDs. He recently published Billion $ Read - How to Make Money Reading and Recording Books - a set of two CDs and a 50-page workbook about succeeding in audiobooks (see below to order).

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