Category Archives: Features

The 2012 Listen-Up Awards

Adam Boretz -- January 8th, 2013

With another year gone, we can look back at the amazing crop of audiobooks from 2012 and find a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of literary fiction or thrillers, celebrity memoirs or classic literature, history, theater, or romance, the audiobook industry had you covered. Among my personal highlights from 2012 are Symphony Space’s great Edgar Allan Poe collection, Selected Shorts: Poe!; David Colacci’s brilliant reading of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Joan Rivers’s performance of I Hate Everyone… Starting with Me; Johnny Heller’s narration of Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan; and Alan Cumming’s one-man interpretation of Macbeth. Of the hundreds of audiobooks PW reviewed last year, here are the very best.


★ Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, read by Joshilyn Jackson (Macmillan Audio)

PW said: “While Jackson conveys all the book’s humor, her reading is also full of empathy, and she brings out the characters’ underlying humanity. This masterful, flawless narration of an imaginative novel is something special and not to be missed.”

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, read by Tom Hollander (Hachette Audio)

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk, read by a full cast (Random House Audio)

Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers, read by Dion Graham (Recorded Books)

Goats by Mark Jude Poirier, read by Ray Porter (Dreamscape Media)

Selected Shorts: Poe! by Edgar Allan Poe, read by multiple narrators (Symphony Space)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, read by David Colacci (Brilliance Audio)

Blind Goddess by Anne Holt, read by Kate Reading (Blackstone Audio)

A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama, read by Simon Vance (Macmillan Audio)

Pocket Kings by Ted Heller, read by William Roberts (HighBridge Audio)

The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy, read by Sneha Mathan (Dreamscape Media)

For the rest of the story and all the winners, CLICK HERE.


Audiobook Self-Publishing: A Brief Primer

Adam Boretz -- October 4th, 2012

If you love audiobooks and have ever thought about self-publishing one yourself, then you need to check out “If You Build it, Will They Listen?” — a feature story from Publishers Weekly’s self-publishing supplement, PW Select.

The story is full of tips and advice on what’s required to successfully self-publish an audiobook, as well as some of the common pitfalls and challenges inherent to the process.

Below, you’ll find a preview of “If You Build it, Will they Listen.” And for the rest of the story, CLICK HERE.

The improbable idea was this: Jack Reacher in sex therapy. The notion that the towering and tacit ex-MP, the creation of crime writer Lee Child, would submit to such an exhibition is at best completely out of character.

But during the summer of 2011, novelist M.J. Rose wrote a short story in which Reacher sought counsel from Rose’s recurring protagonist, Dr. Morgan Snow.

“Lee said if I could figure out a way to get Jack Reacher into sex therapy, I could do it,” Rose recalls. She wrote two additional short stories of hardened men in sex therapy—Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone and Barry Eisler’s John Rain—to round out the self-published collection, In Session.

But the audiobook version of In Session is where the project got truly audacious. Rose used a service called the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), a networking service created by Audible, that connects the rights holders of books—usually but not always the author—with producers, voice talent, and studios who could help the rights holder create and distribute an audiobook independent of the major publishing houses.

Through ACX, Rose and her producing partners assembled the same actors who had previously created the voices of Morgan Stone, Jack Reacher, Cotton Malone, and John Rain, to contribute to a multicast performance. “[Self-publishing] opens up the avenue of things you can do,” Rose says. “If a publisher went to another publisher to use those characters, it would take years. The lawyers would come in and they’d have to decide who would get paid. I started writing in June and [the audiobook] went live in October.”


Focus On Audio: Marketing

Adam Boretz -- May 18th, 2011

In the third piece from this week’s focus on audio, Publishers Weekly takes a look at the latest and greatest innovation in audiobook marketing.

Our very own Shannon Maughan has the scoop on what audio publishers are doing to market their books and why.

Here’s a sample:

The Audio Publishers Association is set to kick off its 14th annual June Is Audiobook Month campaign, designed to celebrate the industry and bring greater awareness of audiobooks. As formats and consumer habits have changed over the past 10 years—sometimes dramatically—audio publishers have kept pace with evolving marketing efforts. We checked in with the APA and publishers to see how they’ve been getting audio titles heard.

On June 1, more than 50 popular authors and narrators will take part in a coordinated social media blitz, championing audiobooks on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and author blogs as part of the APA’s Author Advocate Initiative. David Baldacci, Meg Cabot, Michael Connelly, Cory Doctorow, James Patterson, and Lisa Scottoline are among those lending their voices to the effort. The program is at the heart of APA’s June Is Audiobook Month. The APA estimates that, in 2010, the Author Advocate Initiative reached approximately four million people. “For certain fans, it makes a difference coming from an author,” says Stephanie Hargadon, associate   publicist for Macmillan Audio. She notes that when, say, Chelsea Cain plugs Sue Grafton’s audiobooks, “The numbers we’re going to reach when these authors talk to their fans is huge.”

Check out the rest of the feature here: Getting The Word Out.


Focus On Audio: The Pale King

Adam Boretz -- May 18th, 2011

In this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly, we take a no-holds-barred, in-depth look at the audio industry, with features on latest innovations in audio marketing, an intimate chat with an acclaimed narrator, and a look behind the scenes at the making of the audio version of David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published masterpiece The Pale King.

I sit down with all the major players — the directors, the producers, and the actors — at Hachette Audio and talks about what it took to bring DFW to audio.

Here’s a little sample from the feature:

Converting any book to audio is an exacting endeavor. When the book is written by a celebrated author known for his expansive, experimental style (think: footnotes, endnotes, digressions, jargon, acronyms) the process is that much more challenging. And when the book is an unfinished, fragmentary, posthumously published novel, the task looks almost impossible.

The decision to publish the unfinished work at all was not taken lightly. “There were months between when [Wallace's wife] Karen Green and I found the manuscript on David’s desk in his office to when [Wallace's editor] Michael Pietsch came out to Claremont, where Wallace lived, to when we made the decision to publish,” says Bonnie Nadell, Wallace’s longtime agent. “We felt that David wanted to see the book published.”

Check out the rest of the story here: Case Study: The Pale King.