Monthly Archives: May 2011

Life Is Great!

Adam Boretz -- May 31st, 2011

By now, you already know that the audio version of Keith Richards’s fabulous memoir, Life, won Audiobook of the Year at this year’s Audies.

Well, PW and Listen Up caught up with Joe Hurley and Team Hachette. And here’s what they had to say about the project and their big win.

Narrator JOE HURLEY:

“I was in Paris, playing a festival, sound-checking with ‘Sing Me Back Home,’ when I got the exciting call. Ninety-eight percent of France was on strike. I caught the only flight back to NYC at 6 am, arms full of guitars and luggage, and arrived sleepless at JFK, where I was driven to the studio, had a cup of tea, and began recording an hour later.

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And The Audie Goes To …

Adam Boretz -- May 25th, 2011

Listen Up Planet Audiobook:

The Audie Awards were last night. The contests were decided. The prizes handed out. There were some surprises. There were some audio coups. And we at Publishers Weekly and Listen Up would like to congratulate all the Audie Nominees and Winners!

Among last nights results, Keith Richards, Johnny Depp, and Joe Hurley took home multiple awards — including Audiobook Of The Year — for Life. Alan Cumming nabbed the prize for Solo Narration – Male.  Queen Latifah won for Personal Development.  And Simon Vance added another Audie Award to his collection, winning Thirller/Suspense for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Check out Marc Schultz’s coverage of The Audies in PW’s BEA Show Daily and all the 2011 Audie Winners RIGHT HERE.


The Audie Awards: The Final Countdown

Adam Boretz -- May 23rd, 2011

Let’s Get Right To The Heart Of This Thing:

The 2011 Audie Awards Gala is tomorrow night and Publishers Weekly and Listen Up will be covering all the excitement and reporting on who walks away with The Hardware.

But for now, let’s take a moment to honor the nominees — the actors, publishers, directors, producers, and authors — and take a peek at some of the major categories and contenders, as well as my predictions, prognostications, and very brief commentary.

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Audiobook Tea With Star Jones

Adam Boretz -- May 23rd, 2011

Listen Up, Audio Fanatics,

If you’re not doing anything on May 25 at 4pm, we here at Publishers Weekly Audio HQ suggest you make your way over to the  Javits Center in NYC for the 11th Annual Heard Word Audiobook Tea — brought to you by the APA and BEA — and hosted this year by talk show personality turned audiobook narrator Star Jones.

Among the panelists will be the likes of Tony Horwitz,  Karin Slaughter, and Brad Meltzer. Check out the OFFICIAL RELEASE for all the details.


Calling All Audio Fanatics

Adam Boretz -- May 20th, 2011

Listen Up, Audio World:

Here at Audio HQ, we’re all very excited about the launch of Publishers Weekly’s audiobook blog.  In the coming weeks, we’re going to be bringing you all the audio news from BEA and The Audies, as well as the latest from the APA and the industry in general.

And — on a weekly basis — we’re going to deliver a whole lot more audio content, including the following recurring features:

  • Reviews Spotlight: A sampling of some of the best audio reviews from Publishers Weekly’s monthly audio review section.
  • Weekly News Round-Up: A quick and dirty recap of all the latest news — deals, castings, rights acquired, etc. — from the audiobook world.
  • Author and Narrator Q&As: Conversations with authors and some of the industry’s best narrators.
  • Coming Soon: An advance look at soon-to-be released audiobooks.
  • On The Shelf:  A rundown on the audiobooks currently under consideration for review at PW.

And of course, we want to hear from you.

If you want to pitch a story, set up an interview, plug an upcoming project, talk shop, or simply tell me about your favorite audiobook narrator (HERE’S MINE), shoot me an email at


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: Scott Brick Q&A

Adam Boretz -- May 18th, 2011

As part of this week’s focus on audio, Publishers Weekly talks with an award-winning narrator about bringing books to life, how he prepares for a recording session, upcoming projects, and all things audio.

Here’s a sample of my conversation with the great Scott Brick, narrator of more than 500 audiobooks and winner of audio awards galore:

What drew you to audiobooks? How did you get your start?

There’s no purer form of storytelling than audiobooks; it’s just the narrator’s voice and the listener’s ear. I got my start when an old buddy of mine from UCLA got me an audition at Dove Audio, where he’d been working. Stefan Rudnicki was running it at the time and hired me for a few short stories. The day I went in to record them, Dan Musselman was leaving Dove Audio to become executive producer at Books on Tape. Stefan suggested to Dan that he listen to me in the studio before he left, Dan liked what he heard and gave me his card. Since then, of the 500 or so titles I’ve recorded, easily 300 have been for Books on Tape. I wonder every day what would have happened had I not met Dan that day. I owe that man my career.

Did anything in your background, aside from formal training, come in useful?

Other than my acting training, the thing that came in most handy was my passion for books. I know lots of people love books. I’m not unique there, but I was voracious in how I’d devour them. I’d set goals, challenge myself to see how much I could read. A hundred books a year was pretty much standard for me, and absorbing that many books, you tend to get an instinctive feel for how stories play out, their pacing, their resolution, character development, etc. That helps tremendously when narrating a book, because you really have to be aware of the ending of the story, even when you’re narrating the beginning.

Check out the rest of my Q&A with Scott Brick here: The Storyteller.


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.


Welcome to Listen Up

Craig M Teicher -- May 13th, 2011

Listen Up is dedicated to all things audio.  We’ll be bringing you the latest audiobook news and reviews, casting coups, innovations in marketing, Q&As with authors and narrators, audio clips, and plenty of recommendations.

Feel free to contact our blogger, Adam Boretz, at