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Get Paid $250 Per Hour to Read Books Out Loud

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

This segment of the publishing industry is largely untapped and it's growing at a rapid pace, needing people like you who have the chops to do this.

Get Paid to Read
Get Paid to Read by Xynergystyx

Digital audiobooks continue to be the fastest growing segment in publishing.

In 2019 $1.2 billion dollars was generated in revenue In the United States alone; that's an increase of 16% from 2018's $940 million revenue.

In fact, audiobooks have actually surpassed Ebooks in sales since Ebooks only made $983 million.

That is shocking!

I'm shocked too. Apparently there are benefits to audiobooks that gave rise to its popularity.

The benefits of listening to audiobooks are the auditory storytelling nature, accessibility, and the ability to perform mundane tasks at the same time.

For all you multitaskers out there who like to drive, while eating, while surfing the net on your mobile device, while napping, then audiobooks are just for you!

But warning, you might get a ticket for that.

Because it's dangerous.

So where do you and your vocal chords come in?

Without a voice, there is no audiobook.

Not all writers are narrators. So they rely on someone like you who can provide the narration to their books.

But you need to actually be literate. Let's just get that out of the way.

Cause that would be the biggest barrier.

And since you're reading this article, it's totally understandable that I should be so presumptuous and claim that you're literate.

So congrats, you've passed that barrier!

I, on the other hand, am still pondering if I'm literate enough myself.

Because reading and writing are totally two different words with two different meanings.

Now will you be a millionaire narrating audiobooks? Not likely. But it's a really good paying side hustle.

Just remember, the income you make from several side hustles do add up.

I have a friend who had so many side hustles that he ended up making a six figure income yearly.

Do You Need a Good Voice to Narrate Books?

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning" - Maya Angelou

You don't have to have the most robust of voices or a voice that sounds like you should be on the radio, a regular sounding voice will do just fine.

However, for the sake of people who want to hear the sound of birds chirping again, make sure your voice doesn't damage people's ears.

The most important aspect in voice overs or book narrations is how you breathe life into a book.

Things like articulation, breathing, pacing, and pitch really help in engaging your listeners.

These are all impactful in your delivery.

No one wants to listen to a monotoned voice for hours.

Because you'll end up bored to death.

Unless that's your schtick to make you stand out.

But someone already beat you to that.

So take it up with Ben Stein.

Ben Stein
Ben Stein in Ferris Beuller's Day Off


This involves enunciating words and phrases correctly, clearly, and cleanly. Don't eat up your words or miss any consonants or vowels.

For example, "Nah-mean" should not be shortened from, "Do you know what I mean?"

Thank you Mr. Noah for that great observation on how we humans like to shorten things because talking long sentences is overrated.


Yes you need to breathe, we all do. Or else we die.

But in this particular case, you need to have enough breath so you don't run out of air mid-sentence.

There should be no swallowing or gulping your saliva and keep your volume consistent.

Also, be careful of the letter P.

Because P's threaten your livelihood. And this letter should be eliminated in the alphabet.

Alas, it's impossible to fully eliminate it because we can't do without this letter.

Or else you won't be able to use whippersnapper in your sentences again.

And that would be a sad day indeed.

So why do we have to be careful with the letter P?

The letter P pops. Literally, when you're doing voice overs it has this popping sound that hurts the ears.

A good way to lessen that problem is by purchasing a pop filter to place it over the microphone.

Like this Aokeo Professional Microphone Pop Filter that happens to have a Dual Layer Wind Pop Screen.


This is the speed at which a story is told. There are times where you need to slow down and times when you should speed up.

Here is an example of pacing:

[Read this fast] The man runs down the alley, climbs up the walls with his bare hands, and reaches the top of the tower. [Read slower] Only to be disappointed that the tower was only ten feet tall...[Pause for 3 seconds and read dramatically] How could he possible bungee jump a ten foot tower with twenty feet of rope?


Pitch or intonation is the rise and fall of our voice when we speak or the "highness" or "lowness" of how we speak.

To get an idea of this, let's watch a video from our neighborly neighbors on the other side of the Atlantic:

How Much do You Get Paid?

This all depends on the author and how much they're willing to pay a narrator in the marketplace.

When starting out, a good place to acquire narrating assignments is on Acx.com.

ACX is owned by Amazon and Audible and is a marketplace where authors, literary agents, publishers and other RIghts Holders can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other Producers capable of producing a finished audiobook.

There are 3 ways you can get paid as a narrator on ACX:

  1. Per-finished-hour - this is a one flat rate payment for the entire book. Example: for the entire book you could get paid $500.

  2. Royalty share - this could mean for every sale of the book you get 50%.

  3. Royalty share plus - this is a combination of per-finished-hour and royalty share


A PFH is when you get paid a certain amount for every hour of "finished audio" that you produce.

An example would be if your rate is $100 per hour (PFH) and the book is 8 hours of audio, you would get paid $800 for the completed audiobook.

The PFH is not how long it took you to record the book, it's how long the audiobook is.


Royalty shares is when you get a percentage of a product sold like the audiobook that you recorded your narration on.

An example of this is if an author gets $10 for every audiobook sold, you'd get 50% of that which is $5.

This is great if the book sells really well because then you're technically making passive income.

You'll be getting your royalty payments for as long as the book keeps selling.

Which means you'll end up making more from royalty shares than from a PFH.

Not so great if the book doesn't sell well.

PFH lets you earn money right away but royalty shares keeps paying over time.

A good one would be a mix of PFH and royalty shares.

A typical PFH rate for someone who has some experience is $100 to $250 per-finished-hour.

How To Get Started Narrating Audiobooks

"It's better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared" - Les Brown

It's to your advantage that you learn from people who narrate books for a living.

There's always free tutorials out there of which I'm an advocate of.

Here's a good tutorial by Plastic the Bag for you take a gander:

And obviously you need some equipment.

But it doesn't mean that your equipment has to be super expensive. If that's your route, then by all means do!



Professional Quality Microphone like the AT 2020 Condenser Mic by Audio Technica


A mic preamp to connect your microphone to your computer like Focusrite Scarlett Solo


A pop filter because those P's need to be tamed.


A mic stand:

Desktop Stand


Boom Stand


A computer


Sound proof booth to take out unwanted noises going on in your home or wherever you're recording



Portable Isolation Shield




Recording Software like this free one by Audacity

Here is a tutorial for Audacity to check out:

Once you have all your equipment in place begin recording book samples.

Even better is to volunteer your vocal services to an organization like Learning Ally that helps visually impaired and dyslexic children learn and succeed.

Open a free account on ACX. They include a step-by-step process on what you need to do.


Don't we just love bonuses?

I always look forward to my end of the year bonus, wondering what goodies I get.

Once you get the hang out of ACX and narrating audiobooks and having samples to boast, there are other places to find voice over jobs so you can rack up more income.




A huge upside to being a narrator or voice over artist, is its flexibility on location.

This is actually one of the most mobile work at home jobs because you can take your equipment and mobile isolation shield and work anywhere in the world.

So put your best voice forward and let us know how it all goes. We'd love to feature you on our site and showcase your stunning voice talent!

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