I'm an audiobook narrator. I'm the voice pouring through your earbuds as you commute to work, sweat it out at the gym, or finish folding laundry. I'm reading you your YA, Fantasy, Inspirational Self Help, whatever you choose to listen to.
More often than not though, I'm reading dirty books to you. I've been doing this for about a year - I've recorded just over 25 titles and it's the best job I've ever had: fun, relatively easy, and just weird enough.
I mean who wouldn't want a job that sparks conversations where you say things like: "And THEN I had to read this thing about a serial killer-hairdresser-nun who falls in love with a literal purple monster that lives under the stairs in the basement of her dormitory (because I guess she's still in beauty-nun-college?). She goes down to do the laundry and they get it on and there was literally 3 paragraphs devoted to his monster-goo. I was so pissed off, I gave her an 80 year-old-lady voice." And everyone laughs, but then you take it too far and start moaning in your grandma-voice, and the room gets uncomfortably quiet again.
I was a little surprised to find a niche for myself reading Romance and Erotica. I don't know if there's something about my voice that lends itself to dirty book narration, or if it's just because I'm not afraid to say filthy things with conviction, but I audition for books in other genres, and 4 times out of 5, if I'm awarded a contract, it's for a dirty book.
And hell, that is fine by me. That's what pseudonyms are for!
People are always asking me how I got started doing this and you'd be surprised how many people want to try their hand at it. In case you're one of those people, here are 10 Easy Steps to Getting Paid to Read Smut.
1. Pick a pseudonym. I went with the old Middlename Streetyougrewupon.
2. Make a profile on a site like ACX.com.
3. Get a microphone. My Blue Yeti cost $150 at Guitar Center.
4. Find a place to record. My first studio was under a comforter on the floor of my apartment.
5. Pick some dirty books to audition for. These are located on ACX under Romance or Erotica.
6. Suspend your disbelief. Some of these books are not good. Some of them are cliche or poorly written. This is not your concern. You are here to make money reading dirty books. On the other hand, a lot of them ARE good. One of my favorites for example (Wanna hear what I sound like? Click there!)
7. Audition for some books, and when you get a contract...
8. Record the books.
9. Edit the books. (This will take twice as long as reading the books did. It is tedious and boring. I wish I could hire someone to edit the books for me. Seriously. Email me if you know anyone who is interested.)
10. Upload your audio files to the internet and click "I'm Done."
Now your dirty books are on the internet and you will receive a royalty check as soon someone buys them on Audible, Amazon, or iTunes.
And for real, people buy them. One of my best selling audiobooks is a book that is so bad I created a SECOND pseudonym to record under because I didn't even want my first fake name associated with it. It was a collection of short erotic stories that were so terrible the author included a recipe for meatballs when he ran out of ideas. But I sexy-read the shit out of it, and last month I received a royalty check for $623.30.
Now I don't mean to give the impression that Audible is just giving money away. There are various skill-levels when it comes to dirty-book reading. I humblebrag and mambleyag that I am remarkably good at it. I've got a nice, low voice that easily sounds like a man's or a woman's (important for sexy-reading scenes between male and female characters); I've got suitcases of character voices, an ear for accents and years of experience storytelling and doing solo performance. I've got no problem locking myself in a closet for 2 days in order to finish a 9 hour book. (I'm proud to say that my studio has graduated to a walk-in closet from underneath the comforter in the middle of the floor). I love learning new words and proper pronunciations and playing all the parts, no matter how cheesy or racy or weird the script may be.
I won't lie though: it's kind of hard being so happy with my job, but not really being able to share my work with most of my friends and family. I've played clips for my boyfriend and a few close friends, but aside from that, most people get a weird look on their face when I hint at the bisexual paranormal three-way I narrated today. And I can respect that. It's kind of like asking your friends to watch the porno you shot.
At the end of the day, I'm having a blast, flexing my favorite muscles, learning new things every day, bringing an author's vision to life and getting paid! And I don't even have to get out of my pajamas or worry that my neighbors will recognize me.
So. Have you ever done anything like this before? Are you going to take a shot at sexy-reading too? (Or do you have a secret identity already? And what have you been using it for?)