Category Archives: PW

PW Focus on Audio 2012: Part IV

Adam Boretz -- May 18th, 2012

Our final piece in Publishers Weekly’s Focus on Audio 2012 is a Q&A with comedian, actor, director, and writer Michael Showalter — narrator of the audio edition of his memoir Mr. Funny Pants and host of this year’s Audie Awards.

Michael Showalter is probably best known for starring in the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer; his participation in the comedy troupe, Stella; and from the ’90s, his role in the MTV show The State. But he’s also written a memoir and recorded its audiobook, and this year he will host the Audies Gala and Awards Presentation on June 5 at the New-York Historical Society. We caught up with Showalter recently to chat about audiobooks, his experience in the recording booth, and his latest projects.

Can you tell us how you got into the audiobook world?

I wrote a book that came out a year ago or so, and it’s now just recently come out in paperback, called Mr. Funny Pants with Grand Central Publishing. And we did an audiobook for it that was a lot of fun and people really liked it. Now I’m a veteran.

Was your narrating the audio edition of Mr. Funny Pants your idea or the publisher’s?

I think my book is really humor writing. In a lot of ways it has the feel of almost a standup comedy routine. My book is written very much in my own voice and with my own vernacular, so it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would do the audiobook myself rather than having, like, Sam Elliott do it.

To read the rest of the Q&A, CLICK HERE.


PW Focus on Audio 2012: Part III

Adam Boretz -- May 17th, 2012

Our third installment in Publishers Weekly’s Focus on Audio 2012 — “Extras! Extras! Audio Publishers Deliver” — is all about audio extra features: music, comedy routines, Q&As, and other creative additions that enhance the listening experience and help distinguish one audiobook from all the rest.

Whereas print books allow the reader the familiar heft of a novel, minimal eye strain, and the chance to inspire literary Missed Connections on Craigslist, and e-books offer a lightweight way to download up to 3,500 titles lightning fast and read everything from e-Fifty Shades of Grey to e-Think Like a Man without attracting undue attention, audiobooks aim for a different niche in the market.

Sure, audiobooks are for those who want to “read” while tidying the house or driving or hitting the treadmill, but they’re also for an audience that seeks an experience that mere text or pixels can’t convey—including the feeling that the author or narrator is speaking to them in their living room, car, or the cardio machine in the gym.

Publishers increasingly offer audiobook extras—everything from original music to exclusive author interviews.

To read the rest of the story, CLICK HERE.


PW Focus on Audio 2012: Part II

Adam Boretz -- May 16th, 2012

Our second feature — “Cooking Up an Audiobook” — in Publishers Weekly’s Focus on Audio 2012 takes us inside a Random House Audio recording studio to see how an audiobook gets made as Marcus Samuelsson records his memoir, Yes, Chef.

Celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson knows kitchens better than most people, but today he is mixing them up with chickens. “I never forgot that lesson, even though as a kid we didn’t kill the kitchens we ate for dinner,” reads Samuelsson.

He says the line into a large, futuristic-looking microphone, reading from a stack of pages in front of him—chapter 4 of his new memoir, Yes, Chef, which will be published by Random House in late June. Samuelsson is a James Beard Award–winning chef, among stacks of other culinary distinctions, and a fixture of Food Network programming, and has his own popular and acclaimed restaurants, including most recently, Red Rooster Harlem.

But today he sits perched on a stool in a cramped sound booth at Beatstreet Productions in New York City, being corrected about the word he just used.

“You said ‘kitchens’ instead of ‘chickens,’” says John McElroy, a veteran audio director and owner of Eljin Productions Inc., who sits at a large desk in the main room of the recording studio, on the other side of the booth’s soundproof door. “Let’s take that again.”

To read the rest of the story, CLICK HERE.


PW Focus on Audio 2012: Part I

Adam Boretz -- May 15th, 2012

It’s time once again for Publishers Weekly’s annual Focus on Audio: our annual, in-depth look at what’s new in audiobook publishing.

And this year, we have four great articles that are chock full of audio information, trends, inside stories, and a whole lot more.

Let’s kick things off with our first story, “Aligning the Stars in Audio” — a feature all about the pleasures and perils of celebrity narrators.


On paper, getting Johnny Depp to narrate Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life, should have been simple: Richards’s representatives agreed to have Depp narrate and Depp’s representatives ironed out the deal with publisher Hachette Audio.

While convincing a Hollywood celebrity to narrate an audiobook is usually a long shot, in this case it was the most straightforward part of the process: Depp had long been friends with the Rolling Stones’ guitarist. “He does an excellent impersonation,” says Michele McGonigle, director of audio production and executive producer at Hachette Audio. “They’re very close.”

But that closeness nearly derailed Depp’s participation in the project, and at the same time proved to be its saving grace…

For the rest of the story, CLICK HERE.