Books and podcasts ultimate guide blog cover image. Helen's book shelf with plants, headphones and a lego unicorn!

Books and podcasts for voice overs – the ultimate guide

I LOVE a good podcast. And I do enjoy losing myself in a good book. The chance to learn and experience new things should never be underestimated.

Like many people, I used to commute to work. I had quite a few different jobs before going self-employed and I freelanced for a few years too. I always hated the commute. Manchester trams pre-covid were rammed. Many mornings I’d have to wait for 2 or 3 to pass while I shuffled to the front of the platform to get on one. And the crush on the tram was at times unbearable. One year, the job I had required me to drive 1 or 2 times per week Birmingham down the M6 which would take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours each way. It was – quite frankly – grim. However, it did allow me a lot of time to listen to podcasts and read books (obviously I wasn’t reading when I was driving!). When I was freelancing, lunch breaks were almost always spent reading.

As much as I completely adore working from home (I often feel smug when wind and rain are lashing at the house and I no longer have to drag myself through the streets) I do miss the time it gave me to consume books and podcasts. These days I listen to podcasts in the gym or on a walk. I’m back into the habit of reading before I go to sleep too.

To inspire me to read and listen to more – and to give you the opportunity to benefit from that too – I asked our wonderful newsletter subscribers for their recommendations. I’ve added a few of mine too. And I want this list to GROW so if there is something you think absolutely should be on this list that isn’t yet, pop me a quick email telling me what we should all be reading or listening to and why.

Please note: these are not all personal recommendations – I haven’t read and/or listened to everything here! If you want to suggest additions or changes please get in touch.


1st posted April 2023. Last updated May 2024.

This post does contain affiliate links. I might get a small commission if you click on the link and buy something. I try to avoid Amazon when I can (I like HIVE), but sometimes it’s cheaper and not everything is available elsewhere.


So here goes…

The ultimate reading and listening guide

Recommendations from me and other voice over artists.

The Voiceover Social Podcast

Hosts: Helen Bee and Rob Bee. Listen to The Voiceover Social Podcast here.

When I first wrote this list, Nic and Leah were hosting The VO Social Podcast, but (and this came as a surprise to us) now me and Rob host it. We’ve given it a little re-brand, a glorious new theme tune which features LOTS of voice actors and we’ll be releasing new episodes each month. Find a mix of chats, interviews, industry and Equity news and the Panic Room. We cover all sorts of topics to help voice artists with their performance, business and wellbeing.

Voiceover-related podcasts:

Real You, Real Money podcast

Host: Ray Dodd

I know what you’re thinking – a podcast about money… BORING! Well, you’re wrong. This podcast is a mix of pep talks and interviews and Ray has transformed my approach to making money. Do NOT listen to this podcast if you think making money isn’t impacted by the white-male-dominated capitalist system. DO listen if you think that the system is broken and stops many people from being able to make money.

Listen to the Real You Real Money podcast here.

More general podcasts:

Voice Over Secrets 2

by Elroy Spoonface Powell (and 21 others!) available in paperback, hardcover, kindle and audiobook from Amazon.

Rob and I have both written a chapter for this book, so how can we not recommend it? Lots of stories from voice overs and people in the industry talking about their careers and working in the voice industry. A percentage of the proceeds goes to Children with Cancer UK. There is also VO Secrets 1 and VO Secrets Japan to read too.

On The Mic

by Nic Redman

This one is hot off the press – and I got to go to the launch event too! Whoop! It’s so new to my collection I’ve not had time to read it all yet (I’ll update this when I have) but it’s already proved useful when I lost my voice and still needed to have a client call. I’m also very grateful for Nic showing me some neck stretches and spine rolls – those are great when I’ve been sitting at a desk all day! On The Mic is available in paperback from Amazon and on Kindle.

Performing for Motion Capture

by John Dower & Pascal Langdale available from Amazon.

A deep-dive into the world of motion capture, explaining how it works but also listing all of the ways in which actors and voice actors can improve their skills to be ready to work in that medium.

Voiceover Narration

by Dian Perry available from Amazon

Review by Tony Collins Foggarty: “I recently read Voiceover Narration by Dian Perry and loved it. I think the title understates what the book is about. I’ve spent years asking different voice coaches and other voiceovers about “what is going on in their head” whilst performing a voiceover. It’s the invisible bit you can’t necessarily see when observing others’ work.

Dian talks about “mental chatter” and the “psychology of narration”. This is the first book I’ve read that I felt spoke about these topics in the context of voice-over work. I felt previously, that others kicked my questions on this topic into the long grass, in pursuit of technique.  Finally, here was someone who spoke to me about it.

To quote Dian, “Language is just the transport vehicle, while energy, intention and emotion are the precious cargo”.  I would add that it’s also the difference between humans and robots.

More books about voice:

Brand Yourself: A no-nonsense brand toolkit for small businesses

by Lucy Werner & Hadrien Chatelet

Working with a good brand designer isn’t (and shouldn’t be) cheap. But it’s a cost that can feel very out of reach for a lot of voiceovers. But starting your business with branding in mind can help with consistent & confident marketing. It will also help get you more and better-paid work. There is A LOT of shit advice out there – so much of it is aggressive and heavily corporate. Or just full of fluff and nonsense,= giving little or no advice. This book isn’t like that. It’s packed with practical things you can do yourself to start working out what your brand is. Brand Yourself – available from Amazon.

The Little Book of Colour – how to use the psychology of colour

by Karen Haller

My copy of this book is marked with scribbles, underlines, highlights and sticky notes. It’s a great guide for anyone wanting to know more about colour psychology and how that impacts our lives. It’s not specifically about branding, but the principles of colour psychology cross into branding time and time again. If you want to know more about how colour influences our motivation and feelings, this book is for you. The Little Book of Colour – available from Amazon.

Unashamed

by Harry Baker 

Harry is a maths obsessed poetry world slam champion and half of a comedy rap jazz duo ‘Harry & Chris’. I’ve seen him perform live many, many times. Usually in a festival field, but not always. To say Unashamed is a poetry book is a massive understatement. It is wordplay, number play and a celebration of things that make us different and beautiful. I laughed & cried and occasionally thought maths wasn’t completely awful. It is inspiring and uplifting. Unashamed is available from Amazon.

To give you a taster of the magic it holds…

“All the best bits of your story are still yet to be unfurled.
You are the caterpillar that becomes the butterfly
that flaps its wings to cause an earthquake halfway around the world.
You are amazing.

And if they try to rain on your parade, let it remind you how much fun it is to party while it’s raining.
May you take up space and stay there
unashamed.”

More books:


Recommendations

These suggestions are not just from me – thank you to the lovely voice overs who have contributed to this list so far. They are… Stephanie Matard, Liz Drury, André Refig, Tony Collins Foggarty, Sara Starling

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