With more and more romance audiobooks flooding Audible these days, it’s not all that easy to locate those audios that may be of particular interest to you. Just two years ago, the romance audio pickings remained slim with proven narrators performing the majority of titles. As with the eBook market, I imagine most readers/listeners understand that increased selection doesn’t necessarily mean increase in the number quality titles.
Of course, with this tremendous increase in audio titles, it only makes sense that there is an increase in the need for narrators as well. Unfortunately, this also means publishers are looking for the most affordable way to bring those narrations to their doorstep and home studios provide them with such. Combine an untrained narrator with a home studio with no director, and the consumer pays the price of an unsatisfactory listening experience.
The result? The percentage of overall quality narrations has decreased with untrained narrators performing not only those numerous new-to-us authors but also well-known authors with backlists just now releasing in audio format. Since successful audio purchasing requires the combination of a talented author (who speaks to you) and a gifted narrator who effectively delivers, it’s more challenging than ever to find these winning combinations. Fortunately, Audible provides an easy return service. If an audio isn’t working for you, return it and state your reason.
Keeping this in mind, Speaking of Audiobooks will now mention a few titles each month that should prove to be exceptional while cautioning listeners on a number that may prove to be disappointing. I hope you will join in and share with us those that are exceptional listens or utter disappointments. Continue reading →
Narrators/Bloggers Breakfast – from left to right – Xe Sands, Simon Vance, Amy Rubinate, Gayle Weiswasser, Anne Flosnik, Lea Hensley, Patrick Lawlor, Lauren Fortgang; Standing – Karen White and Robert Fass
In late May, I attended the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC) in New York City, a first time event for me. Not only was I there to meet face-to-face those narrators and publishers I’ve come to know over the years by working together online but to participate in a panel discussion on Listening Community Reviews.
Not knowing what to expect from a one-day conference, I was thoroughly impressed, first with the community of narrators – professionals who work more often than not, alone in a sound booth and hail from all over the country. I discovered it is a close knit group, not large in number, that is highly supportive of one another. And warmly appreciative of bloggers and sites that feature their work and personally promote audiobooks. Continue reading →
It’s finally here. Romance listeners have eagerly awaited The Prince of Midnight, the first audio release from Laura Kinsale’s fascinating backlist. Earlier this year, Ms. Kinsale announced that her entire backlist (twelve titles) would be released in audio during 2013 and into 2014 and now we have a taste of Kinsale’s skillful writing combined with Nicholas Boulton’s talented performance. It’s sheer audio perfection. Continue reading →
When making a decision to buy an audiobook, the cover doesn’t influence my choice one way or another. If I want a particular audiobook, I’ll buy it, and if I don’t like the cover, I’ll remind myself that with my iPod, I’ll seldom see it.
But can an attractive or catchy cover influence me to take a second look at a book by an author unfamiliar to me? Or does a non-appealing cover have the power to repel me enough that I won’t consider taking a deeper look at an unknown author? The answer to both of those questions is a “most definitely.” Do those second looks lead to an audio purchase? I admit that it seldom does but if a cover speaks to me, I’m often inspired to take a closer look at the synopsis and reviews.
When you consider that choosing the right audiobook is a series of decisions as one must consider the author, narrator, and the publisher’s history of production quality as well as the synopsis and reviews, I think a case can be made that audiobook covers need to make an even stronger statement than their fellow print versions. After all, their duty is to attract listeners despite the fact that both the author and narrator may be unfamiliar to the buyer. And that’s what a cover is to me – a sales job. Can they entice me to stop and look just a little longer? Continue reading →
I’ve read all Gibson’s books and was excited about listening to It Must Be Love on audio. I’m pleased to say the narrator is a win, but certain aspects of the plot make the book less enjoyable than I remembered.
Gabrielle, our heroine, mixes herbal remedies and essential oils and talks about auras and karma. She meditates and chants and attempts to find her peaceful center. The street festival in our local university town would be an ideal place to find Gabrielle, and perhaps that’s also true for Boise, Idaho where the book is set. While many of the beliefs Gabrielle espouses are still quite popular, the New Age phenomenon was much more prominent in pop culture when the book was published in 2000. Continue reading →
Last June during June Is Audiobook Month, I penned a complaint here at Speaking of Audiobooks about the Audie Awards and how out of touch they were with the romance listening community. What are the Audie Awards? Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, they give recognition to those within the industry for excellence in narration, direction, and engineering. The 2013 awards gala is scheduled for May 30th this year.
Romance listeners in the past have talked very little about the Audie Romance Finalists here at Speaking of Audiobooks and at our Romance Goodreads group. Why pay attention to an awards ceremony that often doesn’t even fill the romance category with books actually categorized as romance? After all, the Romance winner in 2011(The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James) was categorized as general fiction. I understand that the list of romance finalists is not meant to be a statement of romance listeners’ favorites. However, generally those lists (and the winners) haven’t generated many warm fuzzies among the romance listening community. Continue reading →
There’s a new trend sweeping the audiobook industry and it’s the frequent use of untrained narrators. Narrators who are more likely to take away from the audiobook experience rather than add to it. It’s a trend that I hope will simply spend itself and go away, but one which I’m afraid is here to stay. I can only assume that somewhere along the line, the decision to use untrained narrators (with lower pay) translates into the ability to produce more audiobooks. But in the process, an invisible price is paid as the listener’s trust slowly erodes. How many listeners will continue to buy audiobooks (or even use the library) if the experience is less than enjoyable? It’s not only a waste of the listener’s money but their time as well.
Fortunately, there are still a number of audiobook publishers who choose to use well-trained narrators for the majority of their releases. As we often see expressed here at Speaking of Audiobooks, listeners develop a trust relationship with narrators, so much so, that listeners are known to follow narrators as well as authors from one audiobook to the next. Continue reading →
It looks like 2013 will be one of the best years yet for historical romance listening with many popular print books finally scheduled for audio release.
It starts this month with the release of Julie Garwood’s The Secret, a book that has made every AAR Top 100 Romances Poll since it started in 1998. It’s classic Julie Garwood and one many recall from their early days of romance reading with its original 1992 publication date. And it is being narrated by one of my favorites for historical romance – Susan Duerden.
Brilliance has scheduled the majority of Garwood’s backlist (that is not already in audio format) for release in 2013. A month ago, we saw the release of Prince Charming (Rosalyn Landor) with projected release dates for: Continue reading →
It’s once again time to take a look at the previous twelve months of listening and choose my Top Ten romance audios for the year. Over the past two weeks, I’ve relistened to portions of each of these choices, bringing vividly to life the reasons for their inclusion on this list. I recall my excitement and pleasure as I listened to each of these outstanding releases.
I find I’m no longer a purist when it comes to my romance listening. Oh, I still require a thread of romance or the potential (in a continuing series) for such but my favorites no longer have to feature the romance first and foremost. And this year’s Top Ten is evidence of such with books bordering on women’s fiction, paranormal with future romance potential, or fantasy with overtones of romance. Continue reading →
Romance audio enthusiasts have something splendid coming their way in 2013 – the ever so loved and admired Laura Kinsale. I’m not talking about our usual experience of seeing an audio release here and another there as we wonder about the timing of the next release and especially the chosen narrator. It’s much bigger than that.
How about seeing her entire backlist in 2013? That’s the plan – twelve extraordinary tales as only Laura Kinsale can deliver. And our wait won’t be all that long with five to six of those titles released around mid-year followed by the balance before year-end. As one of my favorite authors in print, I was thrilled with this news. After all, I’ve been wishing for Kinsale audios out loud for several years now.
We won’t need to wait anxiously for the choice of narrator either as Ms. Kinsale chose, with great care, one narrator for all of her titles – Nicholas Boulton. An accomplished British actor, you can explore his background over at IMBD as well as listen to sound bites at Audible. After listening to samples from A Battle Won and David Copperfield, I’m convinced his gorgeous sexy voice combined with obvious talent and excellent material will spell scrumptious listening!
If Laura Kinsale is a new name to you, it’s a good time to check out her books in eBook format as Amazon currently has six of her titles priced at $2.99. If you are looking for a place to start, I recommend The Shadow and the Star, Flowers from the Storm or Uncertain Magic. Don’t expect anything ordinary – these are intricate stories packed with emotional depth and unusual characters.
Here’s a toast to all the Kinsale listening in our future!