Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Get the Skinny on The Audiobook Market


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

September 10, 2007

Comments (20)

There is good news about audiobooks and we're here to tell you all about it!

Here's a special message I'm happy to bring to you from Pat Fraley with some neat statistics and facts about the current state of the audiobook recording industry.

Lady bench headphones

Nothing warms the cockles of this old teacher's heart more than receiving news from my students that they are landing work. I get this weekly, and it's thrilling.

Many of the reports of work are about audiobook deals. I want more and more reports of work!

My problem is that I teach in workshops and events, which are usually limited to twelve participants.

That's why I've produced a two-hour Audio CD Set and Companion 50 page Workbook, called, The Billion $ Read: How to Make Money Reading and Recording Books. The set covers all the performance business skills you need to work the audio book market.

Now for some very good news. The Audiobook Market is the best opportunity for voice over talents to get work in the industry.

I've taught workshops and events on this area for years now, and the probability of work just gets better by the moment.


Currently 4000 Audiobooks Recorded a Year

According to my friend and president of Blackstone Audio, Craig Black, this figure will balloon to 24,000 over the next four years. Why? Because of the success of downloadable audiobooks on the Internet. What this means for the Audiobook publishers is they have "virtual inventory." They have no duplication, packaging, or shipping costs, and no returns. This frees up production money for producing titles. "No returns," by the way, is a big deal. In the publishing business, if a book, magazine, or audiobook doesn't sell, it can be returned to the publisher for a full refund. This is very ugly for the publisher. For the Voice Over Talent, it means a huge amount of work.

Need for All Kinds of Voices

More good news: 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.

Union and Non-union Work Available

Audiobook jobs are union, and non-union, and pay very low up to high, depending on how deep the Audiobook Publisher's pockets are. This means you can start working for a small Audiobook Publisher that doesn't pay much, but is not expecting Meryl Streep, and 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 taking a non-union gig, and making it union. Still more good news....

Gender Equality for Narrators

40-50% of the jobs are recording by women, which makes it the most equitable area of work in voice over of them all.

No Agents Necessary

There is no need to go through an agent. Audiobook Publisher deal directly with the Talent. Deals are simple and easy to bid. That information is included in, The Billion $ Read.

Easy-to-Maintain Relationships

You only need one relationship with an Audiobook Publisher at a time. Your name and voice comes up, they call or e-mail 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.

I could go on, but won't. Know that there are specific skills and a way of going about getting work, which are unique to the industry.

All you need to know is included in The Billion $ Read: How To Make Money Reading And Recording Books.

You can purchase this set at a discounted price for a limited time at my patfraley.com website store. Just use this link to go directly to The Billion $ Read.

Get the skills you need, get a job, and make me happy!

Pat Fraley
Studio City, CA


P.S. Listen to this week's episode of VOX Talk (Episode 43) to "hear" straight from Pat Fraley with some really neat examples!

©©©iStockphoto.com/Anna Bryukhanova

Related Topics: agents, how to, industry, Non-Union, union


    Wow, 4000 a year. That's amazing. Definitely one of my biggest weaknesses in an audiobook setting would be my reading abilities. I'm a great reader, but I'd need to practice a LOT with reading out loud before I'd be comfortable.

    Posted by:

      The market for audio books is really fantastic. I've just signed a deal with one of the biggest publishers, Audible.com. They're handling my first audio book called Road Stories of the Real Highway Comics. Let me tell you, that I really had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get on with them.

      I'm finding out that this end of the business is wide open... but you have to dig to get a deal. They say that everyone has a book inside them. IMO if you don't, you probably can at least read one aloud.

      Cheers from Canada,


      Posted by:

        It's interesting to see how many voice actors are doing audiobook work. I just finished my first work recording for a book called CelebSystem at http://www.celebsystem.com. It was far more difficult than I thought it would be. It took weeks to finish and I'm not that happy about the quality of my work. But it was my first job, so I'm not stressing about it too much. There's no doubt about it though - it's pretty tough.

        Posted by:


          Without a doubt, anyone seriously interested in audiobooks should try to study with him in person; but if you can't then get a copy of his book and CD package.

          Just as an illustration of the value of his audiobook seminar, less than a month after I took Pat's seminar, I had signed with an audiobook publisher as one of their house voices. In the following 12 months, I started working with 3 other publishing companies. One of those jobs is a massive project cast through Voices.com.

          Or to put it another way, I made back the money I spent on his seminar multiple times over in the first year after taking Pat's audiobook class.

          Be well,

          Posted by:

            I would love to do audio books. For the past 4 years I have been reading for the (RFBD) recording for the blind and dyslexic.

            Posted by:

              I recorded books for the blind and sight-impaired for the RNZFB in New Zealand over a couple of years and tried to get in with RNFB when I moved to London. They didn't take me on because they didn't need my accent nor did they need any other accents I could put on but the experience I had was invaluable.

              The money for blind recordings is very low. You have to think of it as work experience and giving to a charity, but the low budget also meant that they edited while recording which is grueling. That is, if you make a mistake, pronounce a word the wrong way, miss a word out, or drop your accent noticeably mid-sentence they go back and re-record the line till you get it right, at least this was my experience in New Zealand. This really ruins your flow and makes you nervous and so teaches you not to make mistakes.

              You also only have time to read through the material once to work out pronunciations so you have no time to practice your delivery. Often you will be asked to cover for someone recording a periodical or magazine and then it's an entirely cold read. The turn around on these is very fast as they are weekly publications so you have a narrow window of time in which to complete the recording, so the pressure is on to get it right first time!

              Now in London I have recorded audio guides for the National Portrait Gallery and a couple of corporate DVDs and am being considered for blind audio description tracks on a series of DVDs and the producers are always impressed with my speed, accuracy and stamina.

              One told me.. "It's so easy to edit because you take few breaks and only make a mistake once every 6 pages, which you pick up yourself before we even notice. The amateur people we got in before you stumbled at every second line and we spent hours and a lot of money afterwards in the edit!".

              Subsequently I have received more work from them and the fee has increased!

              If you want to get into talking books you need a bit of practice. It is hard at first but with a couple of books under your belt you start improving and your confidence builds too. You doubt you need an agent or experience to audition for the various Blind Foundations and Organisations - I know I didn't - and your country is very likely to have one, so why not give them a call? Then you can move on to commercial reads and really get ahead of the competition!

              Hope this was helpful.

              Rex. =)

              Posted by:
              • Rex Duis
              • September 14, 2007 9:27 PM

                I'm still amazed by the one comment that said her project took "weeks to finish". I've been recording audio books for the last 7 years for a small local publisher, and it takes me usually 2 days in the studio to finish a 5 hour recording.

                Other than getting a character list, and choosing voices for each character, I do almost NO prep work, because I find the material is fresher if I don't know the story ahead of time. I may make a few more mistakes doing the whole thing as a cold read, but the results are much better.

                Now for the real question.... how much are other people making for national Audio book gigs? I make under a thousand for each project because the publisher is small, but I'm anxious to go national.

                Posted by:
                • D.L. Walker
                • November 20, 2007 9:43 AM

                  I have a small studio and I'm looking into the actual recording as opposed to the reading part of the audio books. How do I get myself in contact with people who need to be recorded?

                  Posted by:
                  • Kenny
                  • May 13, 2008 6:02 PM

                    I wish you only the best of luck and much success with your recording studio.

                    Where are you located and do you have a website? I'm interested!

                    Posted by:
                    • Ron Hyer
                    • August 22, 2008 12:25 PM

                      OK - this might need to be directed to an archived discussion as I'm sure it's been answered before.

                      I am as green as they come when it comes to wanting to read audio books for a living. I've been volunteering with librivox.org and getting positive feedback. I absolutely love doing it (having read fiction to my child for the past ten years) and have absolutely no clue on how to even begin approaching the profession.

                      All the advice out there seems to be aimed at voice actors who already have a resume of voice-over work and such. Where does one begin if one doesn't have that foundation to build on?

                      Any/all constructive advice is welcomed - including pointing me toward a different blog/site so I won't take up space on this one :)

                      Thanks so much!

                      Posted by:
                      • Ilia
                      • September 17, 2008 1:28 PM

                        Hi Ilia,

                        Thank you for commenting and for your question. It's great to hear that you've been exploring your vocal talents through LibriVox - good crowd there :)

                        I suggest looking into some books about the art of voice acting and also downloading this free guide:


                        Pat Fraley has a great one that focuses on audiobook narration called The Billion $ Read.

                        Go to his website to read more:


                        Best wishes,


                        Posted by:

                          Anyone that would like to either voice-track books for pay, that we have contracted, or would like to partner with our professional voice recording studio to have your books read (as an author or publisher) and placed into a market, please reply to nuzphtg@yahoo.com or ccall direct to Philip with KDK One at (509) 624-9400. If you would like to send us your demo for voice recording consideration, please mail a CD or DVD (no cassttes) to KDK One, 1516 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201

                          We set up a third studio for www.booksinmotion.com for overflow, but we have many open holes iin our schedule to accomodate you. We will not entetain soft or hard-core pornography related material. Passion/romance novels are OK, however.

                          We format books for distribution in CD, MP3CD, and various MP3 Audiobook Download formats.

                          Mike Dixon

                          Posted by:
                          • Mike Dixon
                          • March 5, 2009 8:10 PM

                            I am about to tap into this awesome market 80 million dollars a year on this market!!! I am a writer and created my own print version on my home pc and sold several copies. However, I am discovering that people simply don't have the time to sit down with a book anymore, our society is too fast paced. So, I am going to record the books myself and sell them. It is cheaper to sell CDs of my stories than it is to physically print them! Not only that but the market is doubling up every year! I am so excited as a writer!

                            Posted by:
                            • April
                            • January 22, 2010 4:18 PM

                              Well Audio Books are the future, that's for certain, I am from India and we have only one comprehensive website that sells Audio Books the website is called www.audiobookindia.com

                              I appeal to all leading publishers in Canada to enter the Indian market and they would receive much fanfare.

                              Posted by:
                              • Abilash
                              • May 13, 2010 6:57 AM

                                I've read much of the write-ups on this site and they all look quite encouragin.I'm in nigeria and the audio book thing hasn't gotten that popular over here.i'm good at voice-overs but don't know how to go about selling my talent.I need some direction.

                                Posted by:
                                • Ozoemenam
                                • May 23, 2011 6:56 AM

                                  Yes, thanks to Voices.com!

                                  Posted by:
                                  • Tony Fragale
                                  • December 14, 2011 10:32 AM

                                    Yes....I did the voice for the book Good Dog Carl.....Since then, I haven't stopped working.

                                    Posted by:
                                    • Mark Gizel
                                    • December 14, 2011 10:32 AM

                                      Currently finishing the editing of one. Takes a lot of time to record and edit!

                                      Posted by:
                                      • David A. Bucci
                                      • December 14, 2011 10:33 AM

                                        I'd love to do an audiobook recording! I've got some audiobook demos on my website so feel free to have a listen :-)
                                        Plus I speak in other languages so I can record audiobooks in different languages too :-)

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Himani 'Vanita' Gandhi
                                        • December 14, 2011 10:33 AM

                                          Audio book voice work would be wonderful. I've done voice work for Ken Burn's of PBS documentary fame.

                                          Posted by:
                                          • Albert McFadyen
                                          • December 14, 2011 10:34 AM

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