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OPLIN 4cast #507: Authors and audiobooks

Posted in 4cast

Audiobooks are having a growth spurt. The Wall Street Journal reports that “audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today.” The reasons usually cited for the upsurge are our ubiquitous smartphones that can easily handle the audio format and the increasing tendency for people to multitask. So these days publishers are increasing their audiobook catalogs at a very rapid pace. But what if you are a self-published author?

  • The audiobook boom: What’s happening and how can I be included? (Digital Book World | Michele Cobb)  “Audio publishers are constantly mining the coffers of agents and publishers to find their next great title to record. If a title is not picked up by an existing audio publisher, however, it does not mean the title cannot make it to audio. Authors and book publishers have the option of doing it themselves, through a number of roads. Audiobook production studios across the country are available to assist, and they will help with casting, recording, directing and mastering an audio production.”
  • The state of indie audiobooks (Publishers Weekly | Ryan Joe)  “There’s also more understanding about the importance of effective audiobook distribution, especially given the proliferation of digital portals that traffic in audiobooks. Audiobooks published exclusively with ACX are distributed on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, but not on other platforms such as Hoopla, OverDrive, and Bibliotheca’s 3M, which serve libraries. ACX also offers a nonexclusive option, which allows authors to distribute their books via any platform. ‘The library market has always been an important part of the book market,’ Cobb says. ‘It’s where a lot of discovery happens, and a lot of people feel it’s important that their titles are there.’”
  • Letter of recommendation: Audiobooks read by the author (New York Times | Wyatt Mason)  “The necessity of the author’s actual voice came most clearly into view when I heard W. G. Sebald read from his final novel, ‘Austerlitz.’ This was in Manhattan a few weeks after Sept. 11, and the city was still wreathed in gloom. I’d loved Sebald’s previous work but disliked the new novel, feeling it to be clouded by self-seriousness. And then Sebald started reading, in his authentic German-accented English. As I listened to the cadences of Sebald’s voice, deep and unhurried, the self-seriousness I ascribed to ‘Austerlitz’ disappeared. As Sebald delivered his syntactically complex sentences, grace and lightness and, oddest of all, humor were present, as clear as a slap in the face.”
  • Should authors read their own audiobooks? (Writers Write, Readers Read)  “Not everyone agrees that authors are the best people to read their books. We know many people who won’t buy an audiobook unless it’s read by a professional actor. It’s true: some authors are wonderful writers and terrible narrators. However there are a number of authors who apparently passed their auditions with flying colors. For example, Elizabeth Gilbert reads the audio version of Eat Pray Love. Maya Angelou’s reading of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is excellent. Tina Fey reads the audio version of her book Bossypants. Malcolm Gadwell reads his novel Blink. And when Neil Gaiman reads any of his own work, it’s a true joy to listen to.”

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