Are you curious how much money audiobook narrator’s earn? Frankly, not much too begin with. There are several ways to get paid. A flat fee (per recorded hour), Royalty shares or both. Don’t expect to get both when you are first starting out.
Flat fee books are great, EXCEPT….let’s say you decide to do a 5 hour book for a flat fee of $50 per recorded hour. Ooohhh, an easy $250 right? Wrong. You need to figure when you are first starting out, it is going to take you a MINIMUM of 15-20 hours to record, edit and produce that book. That’s equivalent to $16/hour and could be down to $12.50/hour. Not too bad, but I think you can work fast food for that. By the way, that is not counting your time spent finding the project and auditioning for it. I did quite a few regrettable flat fee books when I first started. They weren’t written very well and I am a little embarrassed now that they are my project list. I made about $2500.00 in 5 months.
Royalty shares are good, they are out there forever, but you have to pick the right projects. With everyone and their mother writing a book nowadays, you take a chance that the author/publisher won’t really spend time promoting it. They are good practice though.
Where you really want to become is what ACX (www.acx.com) calls an “approved Audible narrator”. This is not easy. I have 38 completed projects and counting and I am still trying to get to this “esteemed” status. Then you can demand up to $100-$200 per recorded hour, PLUS royalty shares. Not too shabby.
Please don’t be under the impression that you will rise to fame quickly, this is a long, slow process. I have a 5 year plan myself, and still work 40+ hours a week at my day job. It takes a lot of hard work and determination, but could be worth it in the end.
I started out all starry eyed, dreaming of narrating Stephen King, John Grisham, Nora Roberts…and make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well, I came down off that cloud pretty quickly. I am still not quite sure how to break into the “big leagues” of narrating, but when I find out, I will let you know!
Here is my 5 year plan….I hope to be earning equal to my day job salary within a couple of years. If so, I will CONTINUE both jobs for another year. Then, I will leave my day job and pursue this full time.
Here is my schedule right now….get up at 5 am, have coffee and shower. Work on books from 7-8 am. Go to my day job from 8 am-4pm. Get home, cook dinner, clean the house, speak with the hubby for a bit, and then work on my books from 6 pm-till however late I can keep my eyes open, usually 9-10pm. Weekends, I spend an average of 6-8 hours every Saturday and Sunday in my studio. I have been doing this for 8 months now. I have made a total of $3000.00 so far. Is it worth it? I sure as hell hope so! I have that long term goal in my head, and one day you will see in big bold letters “LATEST RELEASE BY STEPHEN KING, NARRATED BY CASSANDRA ARNOLD” and I will retire and buy my husband that Shelby Cobra he has dreamed of all his life. He deserves it, especially since he has an “absent” wife right now. Wish me luck!
Until then…I will keep my day job.
Don’t forget to follow me on leighlovestoread.com (and like/share please!) Below is an excerpt from my latest release, The Journey Home by K’Anne Meinel. It is available for purchase at ITunes and Audible.com.