I love audiobooks. With all that’s going on in our busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to take the time out to sit down to read. So, mucking out horse corrals, cleaning the kitchen, driving the car, I’m usually found, with earphones attached, listening to novels.
Often Amazon’s Audible reviewers or an exceptional narrator send me on an unexpected journey, far beyond the obvious bestsellers such as Girl On A Train, Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl. I’ve found myself gallivanting about the high seas with the YA bestselling series, Bloody Jack, about a young orphan lass who joins the British Royal Navy disguised as a cabin boy. I’ve schemed and battled my way through Game of Thrones, sweated through the tumultuous backstreets of Bombay with Shantaram, corralled wild brumbies and fallen in love in the Australian Outback with our own Janet Gover’s The Wild One. I find the narration – often award-worthy performances – lends colour to characters or adds to the emotion in a way that is different from reading the print edition. Honestly, that can be great or awful. Nothing is worse than a bad narrator. And conversely, it can be almost unbearable to listen to some tense moments of horror, longing to fast forward but afraid of missing a crucial point.
‘Ellie Campbell’ has had her own adventures with Audible’s ACX service. ACX is a program designed to pair authors with narrators/producers on either a pay or profit-sharing basis (with, for some lucky books, an ACX stipend awarded to further entice the narrator). So far we’ve launched two audiobooks, How To Survive Your Sisters, our first novel, and Looking For La La.
It was fascinating listening to the different audition samples of our chosen segments. Some were too cultured to our mongrel ears, more suitable for A Room With A View or an elocution lesson. Others didn’t get the humour. But Elizabeth Klett, an experienced Audible narrator, and Stevie Zimmerman, an amazing character actor, hit the exact tone we envisaged for both novels. We eagerly awaited each chapter and marveled. We were much too inexperienced and intimidated to give notes but luckily our narrators didn’t need them. We laughed as they brought comic scenes to life and sometimes cringed at our own bitchiness. Those sister squabbles, for example. Yes, we are two of four sisters; yes, we do – occasionally – indulge in digs, spats and snarky comments at each other’s expense, but, like hearing your own voice played back on a recording, we positively winced when hearing our fictional sisters’ exchanges vocalised by another and questioned if our standards of normal family interactions were somehow morally warped. I’m sure actors feel the same watching their own performance.
Anyway, those audiobooks were so much fun we’re all gung-ho to produce the rest. What’s less obvious, from an author point of view, is the marketing. Audible do offer some credits to authors and producers to entice would-be reviewers but beyond the usual outlets of Twitter and Facebook, we’ve discovered few bloggers or websites who focus on audio as opposed to the written word. It’s still in many ways a developing market and one we’re thrilled to be part of. A real adventure, in fact.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in hearing two of our favorite novels come to life, we recommend joining Audible. For a small subscription you get a monthly book credit which can save a fortune if you have a habit like mine, given that audiobooks can be expensive.
We’re offering a free audio book to four readers who sign up for our newsletter at https://chicklitsisters.com then tweet using the hashtag #TakeFiveAuthors.
We’ll choose the winners on 18th July. Good luck!