So You Want To Be A Narrator

Tanya Eby, before and after narrating for 17 hours

Tanya Eby, before and after narrating for 17 hours

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately that say “Hey! Can I buy you a coffee and pick your brain about how to be a narrator?” While I appreciate the offer of a coffee, How To Be A Narrator is a HUGE question, and while it may seem that anyone can do it, it’s a hard gig. Intense. Exhausting. Challenging. And at times ego crushing. It’s also the best gig on the planet (in my opinion).

So keep in mind, that when you ask “How to become a narrator?” it’s actually a really big question, with a really big answer. It’s not really something a narrator can quickly chat with you about or get a coffee over. It’s sort of like asking how you become an attorney, or a wine maker, or a dog breeder. There are lots of steps, and you have to be dedicated. It also helps to have a knack for it, which is something you can’t teach. And if you know a narrator who is narrating full-time for a living…trust me…it’s not just luck. It’s skill, training, tenacity, thick skin, and a passionate love for storytelling. It also helps if you don’t like people. You won’t see many locked away in your booth.

Narrating is truly wonderful, and I’m so lucky I get to do it full time. It’s also extremely challenging. You need to be able to sit still for about eight hours a day, have an ability in acting, read well, be able to research, be a self-motivator, and be extremely organized. It also helps if you know another language besides English.

I was a double major of writing and acting in college. I did voice-overs for TV and radio, taught creative writing at the college level, worked a million other jobs, and auditioned for audiobooks. It took me ten years before I could narrate full time as a paying gig.  The industry is strongly pro-union, and I have been fortunate to belong to SAG-AFTRA for over five years now. 

Here are some resources for you to research to see if this is the thing for you. I would also encourage you to practice reading out loud for many hours. Every time you mess up, stop and start the sentence from the beginning.  Practice in a closet and see if you can handle the small-booth feel.

The best way to learn is to listen to audiobooks. It’s fun and you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Once you’ve listened a ton, practiced a ton, then you’ll need a demo. But I don’t suggest sending out demos until you’re ready. 

I’m not a coach. I’m a narrator and writer, but there are plenty of wonderful, talented coaches out there who can help you. See below for some links. 

 Best of luck to you and sending you well-wishes!

-Tanya Eby-

 
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This blog was written by Audie-award winning (and nominated) narrator, Tanya Eby. Tanya is the performer of nearly 700 audiobooks, a USA Today Bestselling author, and you can check her out on Episode 2 “Winter Blunderland” on Netflix’s NAILED IT! HOLIDAY! If you want to send her a Starbucks gift card for all of this information, she will gladly accept.