Audio?

Not long ago someone asked in a comment about audio versions of any of my romances, and I replied that nothing like that was on the horizon. That was true at the time and may still be true, but coincidentally there is now a thread in the Writers’ Cafe section of Kindle Boards discussing audio books. It seems just as Create Space is an Amazon company that makes it possible for indie authors like me to put out trade paperbacks for those who still love paper, there is an Amazon company that does the same for audio books. The discussion makes it sound very doable and worth doing, so I’m going to investigate further.

The fact is, however, I’ve never “listened” to a book in my life. (Something I’ll remedy as part of my investigation.) So I’m curious for those of you who do listen to books, what do you want in a romance? For instance, Dancing on Coals, is told primarily from Katherine’s point of view. I’d guess Eyes, Sing and Bad Man might split closer to 50-50, although I’ve never calculated. If I were to listen to a romance, I think I’d prefer a male voice, but wouldn’t that get creepy in a sex scene from a female POV? And vice versa? If anyone has any thoughts on the whole thing, I’d love to hear them. (Hmm. And right there is a “hear” meaning “read.” It’s a tangle.)

News: The Maldivian Book Reviewer has just posted a very nice review of Beautiful Bad Man on her website. I know she also posts to Goodreads but don’t know if it’s there yet.

~Ellen

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5 Responses to Audio?

  1. Jken2000 says:

    I prefer men voices when listening to audios no matter what the genre. Males voices in sex scenes are just sexy..

  2. Kate Culley says:

    Personally I usually prefer a male voice, even reading a women’s book. If its a women’s voice I prefer a low timbre. I don’t usually listen to audio books these days but a had a phase the years ago when I was doing a lot of driving and did listen. One of the best I had was an older male reading Gworgette Heyer’s “The Grand Sophy”. He did all the voices and really brought the comedy out of the book. It was hilarious. Obviously the voices have to be English! 😉

  3. Thanks, Jken and Kate. All my instincts are for a male voice too. However, I subscribe to an email group of almost 3,000 romance writers, and it’s interesting that the posts I find saying, “I’ve found a great narrator for my audio book,” all refer to women. One reply I got to a query said that while women lower their voices to do the male POV, men often do the female parts in falsetto or with an irritating, breathy voice and that men either get melodramatic with sex scenes or you can hear that they don’t like doing them. I never thought about things like needing English accents for Regencies. Which makes you wonder about something like Sing My Name where Sarah’s from Boston and Matt is very Texan.

    So far the best advice I’ve gotten may be that the quality of the narrator is the most important thing, whatever the gender. Obviously I need to do a lot more research before jumping into this.

    ~Ellen

  4. Anonymous says:

    You bring up an interesting question. I’m not sure I would be inclined to purchase a romance novel to listen to but that doesn’t mean other people wouldn’t. I’ve only heard and purchased two audio books. One was James and the Giant Peach read by English actor Jeremy Irons. I bought it for my students to listen to. They loved it. The other was Lolita also read by Jeremy Irons who had starred in the 1997 film version. Irons has a beautiful reading voice so he pulled both off brilliantly. Who usually does the voices for indie romance novels?

  5. Most indies are having audio books done by ACX. It’s an Amazon affiliate. Narrators also sign up with them. I have not yet gone to the site and experimented, but my understanding is narrators post samples of their work. Someone like me can go to the site and post details about her book and narrators interested respond. Then I get to decide if I’m interested in the people who respond and ask them to do a sample from my book. So it’s a winnowing process on both sides. The narrator has to want to do a particular project and the author has to want the particular narrator for her book.

    Fees and payment agreements vary. Experienced people in demand command more, and I understand some things are negotiable.

    I think the best advice I’ve gotten is that it’s important whoever does it is GOOD as opposed to which gender, although from the romance forum I’m on, most romance authors want female voices. I’m finding out about things I never thought of and am going to have to make time to listen to some books. Evidently the narrators do at least some “acting” of the characters, pitching their voices differently for different genders. There was also mention of some people sounding embarrassed when reading a sex scene or doing it a dramatic voice that comes across as silly.

    The whole thing definitely needs research, at least from someone like me who has never listened to a novel at all.

    ~Ellen

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