When I earned my degree in Vocal Performance from the Master's University in 2007 I thought it would equip me to teach voice lessons and lead music at women's conferences. This has indeed been the case, but only Jesus knew it would also prepare me for a world of voice acting in video games, narrating audiobooks, recording childrens songs, and voicing phone systems, and commercials!
Since 2011 I have honed my skills in my home studio, with my favorite AT2020 large diaphragm condenser mic and trusty acoustic dampener, bringing the world of words to life.
Hiring A Voice Artist
Your words are your legacy, and you know best how they must sound in order to best communicate your message. Whether you are needing a simple voicemail, a promo video, or a full-length audio-book, it is imperative that the artist fits your objective. The VO you hire must not only have the tone and timbre that will enhance your project, but also the ability to deliver your heart with their voice.
When you hire a VO it is reasonable to ask for a demo for a small fee, with the potential of that cost being put towards the final cost, should you decide to officially hire the artist. This may be a reading of up to 150 words, either finalized (edited as if it were an official order) or not (recorded simply to show the artist's vocal quality).
Rates vary considerably, determined by the project length (in word count or final minute length), editing (whether the artist edits their own work, or if you send it to an engineer), any necessary batching (simply sending audio files or uploading and formatting), and turnaround time. Remember that you may choose only two of the following three options: cheap pricing, high quality, and quick turnaround.
For short promos of under 2 minutes I am one of the most cost effective VO artist these days. As most English speakers average 150 words per minute, your two minutes will land right around 300 words. I charge $40 per job, with one free revision due to style preferences. Any errors on my end are rerecorded for free, but changes to the script are priced at $5 per added/altered phrase. Initial recordings are delivered within one week as .wav or .mp3 files, fully edited and ready to be uploaded wherever they are needed.
When it comes to larger projects, such as an audio-book, word count is key. 9,500 words will land at roughly an hour, with 28,500 words coming to right around three hours of final recorded time. If you are looking for a simple narration (with excellent tone and diction, feeling, inflection, and proper intensity) you can expect to pay about $900 per hour. To add character voices, especially for more epic tales with multiple voices, you may need to budget upwards of $1100 per hour. This may seem absorbent, but many clients do not realize that, for each minute of recording, there is often 10 times as much time spent editing, in addition to the price going towards the artist's talent, skills, training, and necessary equipment.
Many VO artists will be willing to work with reasonable budgets, especially if there is consideration of future collaboration. You can also save money if you are willing to create an abridged version of your work. Many books can be pared down, which will cut your word count and thus your costs.
Record Your Own Book!
As long as you have an engaging voice and are willing to fight through a learning curve of tone, timbre, tenacity and tech, it is preferable that you record your own work! A simple recording setup will cost less than $500, and you can use the computer you already own. Your readers will appreciate hearing from you, and you know best how your characters and concepts should be voiced.
PLEASE NOTE, though, that you may end up pouring upwards of 80 hours of your time, energy, and brain-cells to achieve your first hour of recording. Once you get past that first hour, however, it will get MUCH easier. If you anticipate wanting to record future audio-books, or if you want to start a podcast, this is an incredible investment. If you simply want to give voice overs a whirl, however, you will be spending, rather than investing your time, which is a decision worth deliberating wisely.
Collaborate With Me!
It would be my delight to help bring your words to life! Whether it's a short excerpt to use as a promo for your book or the whole shebang I would love to discuss how I can serve you as a voice over artist.
Below are a few (very old, some from 2013!) links that will allow you to judge if my vocal tone will carry the right flavor for your work. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I will be happy to help you take the next step on your VO journey.