By Jenny Hilborne
Author of mysteries and thrillers
Two years ago, at the LA Times Festival Of Books, I got my first request for my book in Audio. The request came from a non-sighted reader, and I was sad I couldn't help her. Back then, I'd never even considered audio. I promised her I'd make them available...and then, as I often do, I procrastinated. Actually, I just didn't know enough about it, or how popular an audio book would be.
Move ahead two years, and the request for audio books seems to be on the rise. The question comes up at almost every book signing I attend, including the 11th Annual Duarte Festival Of Authors last Saturday. This time, most of us had at least one title available in audio.
As my booth buddy and I were discussing the trend, he happened to have a sample of his audio book with him, and he set it to play at our table. The narration was fab and brought his book to life. It got attention from readers who were passing by. As I was listening, it struck me as a fun idea to have an audio sample playing in the background at book signings. Not so loud it drowns out any conversation or interferes with other authors - just enough for a reader at that particular author's booth to get a nice sample. Much more enticing than a pen or a bag of candy (although those freebies never fail to draw people to a booth). It was just very cool listening to a sample of the book you were about to buy.
Most of the readers who asked us about audio like it for the convenience. They listen when they commute or work out at the gym. A lot of them weren't aware of the significant discount Amazon makes available to those who have already purchased the eBook. For example, the regular price set by Amazon for Madness and Murder audio book is $17.46, reduced to only $1.99 with the purchase of the Kindle eBook. With Whispersync for Voice, it's easy to switch between reading and listening, once the reader buys the Kindle EBook and adds the narration. Bargain.
I've started downloading audio myself. While it's not for everyone, I love hearing a narrator's interpretation of mood and character and letting them set the tone for the story. The energy of a good narrator brings the book alive. I felt that way when I listened to the audio samples of my own book as it was produced. I've gone back and listened to audio on a few other author's books that I enjoyed. Kind of like watching the movie after reading the book, only better because nothing gets left out.
What's your experience with audio?
Readers: do you enjoy hearing a narrator depict the mood and tone of a story, or do you prefer to create your own relationship with the book and the characters?