How a Retired Air Traffic
Controller Launched a
Thriving New Career as an
Audiobook Narrator (Video 1)

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(WATCHING: VIDEO 1) How a Retired Air Traffic Controller Launched a Thriving New Career as an Audiobook Narrator
Don’t believe “The 7 Myths You’ve Heard About Narrating Audiobooks!”

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17 thoughts on “

  1. Hello! I enjoyed using Dan’s prep service for radio jocks in the past, and met him at a seminar a few years ago. So, hello to Dan from Phil Reaser, aka Phil Gardner. Thanks for this intriguing Video #1 on becoming an Audiobook Narrator. I’m retired, now, from 61 years in radio, but could use a little income to supplement our fixed income.
    Just a few questions here.
    1. Typically, are there deadlines to meet, or can I work at my own pace?
    2. I’d prefer working on “shorter” books. Would I have that option?
    3. I’m after part-time work, not full-time. Could I choose how much, or how little, work I would take on?
    4. What’s the cost of the monthlong course you refer to?
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Philip Gardner Reaser

    1. Phil – Great to hear from you! I don’t know if you’re aware that David H. Lawrence XVII — my partner in this class, although he doesn’t really do anything and I do all the work — is from Cleveland. And just a few minutes ago I received an email from someone who might’ve been one of your co-workers at WGAR: The Real Bob James.

      Excellent questions. I now will do my best to give you vague, unsatisfactory answers.

      1) There are deadlines, but they are agreed upon by the narrator and the rights holder (usually that’s the author; it also can be the publisher, the estate of the original copyright holder, etc.). The default on a contract is 60 days — which is plenty of time to produce an audiobook. But you and the RH can agree to change that to some other time frame.

      2) Yes, you could work on shorter books. Understand, though, that if you agree to a Royalty Share arrangement (whereby you and the RH each receive 20% of the selling price of each copy), probably you’re going to make far less money per book — because the selling price on Audible is based upon the finished length of the audiobook recording. The longer the book, the higher the price.

      I suspect what will happen is you’ll choose a “shorter” book for your first project, and when you’ve proven to yourself that you easily can do the work you’ll drop the “shorter” requirement for future projects.

      3) Absolutely, you determine how much or how little work you take on. (And when you reach the point where you’re doing the maximum amount of work you wish to….and you find yourself turning down good work due to your limited available time….Raise your rates.)

      4) Cost of the ACX Master Class: We don’t announce the tuition until we open Registration. But it’s a premium class. (“Premium” = “You charge HOW much???”)

      Again, great to hear from you after a bunch of years.

      P.S. If you haven’t already seen this, please go here:

    2. Fellow Big 1220 alum here. Everything Dan said – I too narrate and produce audiobooks as part of a larger portfolio of acting work (on camera, other categories of voiceover, stage etc.), and I’ve never encountered any sort of difficulty in working out how to fit a book or even two or three into the 60 days that is standard when you contract to do a book on ACX.

    1. Mark –

      Don’t be so hard on yourself. In addition to procrastination, it might also be laziness.

      We’ve had lots of students say, “I should’ve taken this class 2 or 3 years ago!” But we’ve never heard, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t taken this class so soon; I should’ve waited another year or two!”

      P.S. If you haven’t already seen this, please go here:

  2. Dan and David, hello from Australia. A couple of questions please:
    * Are there any geographical boundaries to working with ACX?

    * How much does the narrator work with the author to clarify meaning, character profiles, pronunciations etc.? I had 30+ years as a radio writer and producer. I am now retired and an avid consumer of audio books. I often find myself reaching in my mind’s eye for my old studio intercom button to say “Could we just do another take on that last line? I think you need to think about the intended meaning of the sentence.”
    Do narrators work with authors?

    1. Slight addendum to David’s explanation re: geographical boundaries:

      If you are not a citizen of the US, UK, Canada or Ireland BUT you are a legal resident with a physical address in one of those countries AND you have a Tax I.D. for that country (e.g., in the UK it can be your national health I.D. number) AND you have a bank account that is physically located in that country…

      …the door is wide open to you, too.

  3. There is a complete process for working with RIghts Holders (what ACX calls authors and publishers) that deals with the boundaries of what can be discussed and when. Once you have that conversation, there is no micromanagement for the rest of the production – you make your acting choices and you’re not directed by the RH.

  4. So, I feel like I’ve had *some* success with audiobook narration. I’m on book #12 right now, but I feel like it’s been more luck than anything else. The 12 books took about 200 auditions, lots of recording, hours and hours of editing, and uncertainty about the best way to get paid (PFH, royalty share, or royalty share plus). One book turned out to be a scam project, but I only discovered that after spending endless hours on it. Anyway, here’s my wish list: I’d like to audition less, record more, and greatly simplify editing. Sound reasonable? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. John –

      Your wish list absolutely is reasonable and achievable.

      As part of our curriculum, by the way, we teach you how to evaluate potential projects, including some really helpful tips on how to identify the scammers out there.

      Please go to, where you’ll see 100+ class reviews from previous graduates. They address every point you raised…plus a bunch more that you also might be wondering about.

      Hope to see you in class!

    2. I’m on board with everything but “audition less” – unless you mean “lower my audition to booking ratio and spin my wheels less with fewer unnecessary auditions”. That we can absolutely help with.

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