IndiePub and the Declaration of Independents

First and foremost – we are sorry we haven’t been doing our daily Audiobook News & Reviews posts. They haven’t been forgotten and we are hoping to get them going again soon.

The reason those posts have fallen to the wayside recently is the launch of our Indie Publishing division. ListenUp Audiobooks has been creating audiobooks for major publishers – Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Penguin/Random House, and Audible – for years. This year, though, we opened up the same services to independent and self-published authors through ListenUp IndiePub.

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We’ve been busy creating audiobooks for amazing independent authors, including Eve Langlais, Kate Danley, Natasha Boyd, Catherine Lea, and Sara Hubbard.

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And now, it’s the middle of June, audiobook month. To celebrate Audiobook Month, we are giving away a finished audiobook! The winner of the Declaration of Independents audiobook contest wins his or her audiobook production and keeps all the rights. No fee to enter, the last day to submit is, fittingly, July 4.

We are also offering a $50 per-finished-hour discount for Indie Authors who use the code “JUNE” this month.

If you know any independent authors, pass it along!

If you’ve listened to any really wonderful audiobooks lately, please let us know and link us to your reviews.

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Our Favorite Fiction Audiobooks of 2014 (so far!) and Giveaway!

June is Audiobook month and, to celebrate, we are presenting our favorite audiobooks of the year so far AND giving away a free copy of High Midnight, by Rob Mosca! Check out the list below and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

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Our Favorite Fiction:

Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Sereis: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, & Imago, narrated by Aldrich Barrett.

The Story: In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is “awakened,” she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever. Bonded to the aliens in ways no human has ever known, Lilith tries to fight them even as her own species comes to fear and loathe her. A stunning story of invasion and alien contact by one of science fiction’s finest writers.

Narrator Review: “Her pronunciation of a fictional language was brilliant. She was easy to understand, she did very well with the subtle nuances that indicated a different character was speaking, especially considering how many characters ended up being introduced.”

Michael Smerconish’s Talk, narrated by James Edward Thomas

The story: An explosive novel exposing the inner workings of conservative talk radio and campaign politics from New York Times best-selling author and one of America’s leading talk-radio hosts and political commentators, Michael Smerconish.

Stan Powers finds himself at a crossroads. Poised to take the last step in his unlikely ascent to the top of conservative talk radio, his conscience may not let him. Set amid the backdrop of “the most important presidential election of our lifetime”, Powers – as the most influential voice in Tampa’s hotly contested I-4 Corridor – holds the key to Florida, and therefore the Oval Office. His on-air attacks singlehandedly put an abrupt end to the top candidates’ main competitors in the primaries, and now he is in the singular position to influence who wins the highest elected office in the world. Will he continue playing the game according to his cynical advisors, or listen to his own conscience and drop an even bigger bomb than expected?

With a story that could have been ripped from the headlines, deeply developed characters and interconnected plotlines, and one of the most shocking and rewarding denouements you’ll ever experience, this is the perfect political thriller for today’s America.

Narrator review: Was Talk worth the listening time?

“Yes, I did listen to it twice.”

Alex Hughes’s Marked (Mindspace Investigations #3), narrated by Daniel Thomas May

The Story: Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death…

Narrator review: What does Daniel May bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

“I though Daniel May did a fine, fine job. He was credible with the different characters, which made them stand out. I like it when a narrator does this, it enhances the story and brings additional life to the characters.”

Kristin Scott’s Motherlunge, narrated by Leslie Bellair

The Story: Motherlunge is an eloquent and irreverent debut audiobook about first sex, true love, chronic sibling rivalry; it’s about the deepest fear of young (and not-so-young) adulthood: the fear of inheriting a disappointing life. It’s motherly advice, too – featuring wigs, dogs, road trips, and medicine – a guide to the essential experiences of being female, “born unto a librarian, named for the goddess of sight”, waiting for the future to arrive.

With sly wit and surprising joy, Motherlunge considers the flaws in the family line and celebrates the promise that staggers alongside. Funny and smart…in Thea and those around her Scott has created characters we believe in and wish well, characters who feel real – strange and sad and happy, like real people are.

Matthe Jobin’s The Nethergrim, narrated by Jeremy Arthur

The Story: Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!

Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together – and work apart – in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.

In a story reminiscent of the Ranger’s Apprentice epic and the Chronicles of Narnia, Matthew Jobin weaves reality, magic, and adventure into the next great fantasy phenomenon.

Narrator review: “The Nethergrim is a great book, I have already reviewed the print version. I purchased the audio version because I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my commute to work, and so far I have been very pleased with the quality of the narration.”

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Rob Mosca’s High Midnight, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark

This one just released a few weeks ago and it is one of our favorites, probably ever.

The Story: 

High Midnight is a modern day supernatural Western set against a preternatural backdrop. It is a surreal trip into a world of fanciful cryptid-creatures – a menagerie of monstrosities that literally crawl from a crater perched at the mouth of Hell. The ‘Devil’s Outhouse’ emits both a stink and an allure for vagrants, vagabonds and those wishing to be lost or forgotten – or simply left alone. It is the perfect place to build a nowhere town.

Welcome to Unity, Texas. Population: Bizarre. The only thing protecting the residents of Unity from a stream of nightmares is Laredo Beaumont, the town’s hard-drinking, ass-kicking sheriff, and Cicero, his knife-wielding chimpanzee deputy. It’s a thankless job that leaves Laredo drained and nearly broken. The only solace he can find is in the arms of his beloved Sally Mae, a ghostly soiled dove from a phantom bordello where only the most daring of men would think to step foot.

But midnight is fast approaching Unity, leaving Laredo to face not only creatures from Hell and the walking dead, but a band of homicidal clowns who have their own score to settle. A gonzo pulp Western for the 21st Century, High Midnight is a timeless tale of blood and redemption.

Review by the narrator:  “I absolutely love the pulp genres and I got to do so many fun character voices on this one that I just had a blast. Plus it’s got a drunk chimpanzee with a sniper rifle. I mean, seriously, go back and read that last sentence. How is that not the best thing ever?”

Maybe even better than a drunk champanzee with a sniper rifle – how about a free download of High Midnight? 

Enter to win a copy of High Midnight, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark! Click here!
 

Audiobook Week Day 5 – Finding Audiobooks

The third week of June marks Audiobook Week, hosted by Jen, of Devourer of Books. This is the 4th Annual Audiobook Week. Jen has provided us with a daily discussion guide and links to audiobook posts, so make sure to check out her blog and add your posts to the list!

Friday: Finding audiobooks
Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us! We’d particularly love to know what narrators or publishers are active in social media or do a great job communicating with listeners.

To find new titles, we pay close attention to social media, especially Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads.

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Twitter is great for finding new titles, through followers and through hashtags such as #fridaylistens and #indiethursday.

You can follow us @Listen2Books!

We have developed this list of our narrators on Twitter. Follow them to find out what books they love recording.

This list includes some of the great book bloggers on Twitter. We are always looking for new bloggers to follow on Twitter, so please let us know if we missed you!

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We also turn to our Facebook friends and communities for recommendations. For great audiobook information, make sure to “like” ListenUp and the following communities:

Speaking of Audiobooks

Audiobook Community

Audiobook Fans

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GoodReads is such a great resource for book fans! We look to the Audiobooks group and the Audio-Bibliophiles group for reviews and recommendations!

Audiobook Week Day 3 – Midweek Meme!

The third week of June marks Audiobook Week, hosted by Jen, of Devourer of Books. This is the 4th Annual Audiobook Week. Jen has provided us with a daily discussion guide and links to audiobook posts, so make sure to check out her blog and add your posts to the list!

Wednesday: Mid-Week Meme

Current/most recent audiobook:

13 wordsListen Up’s COO, Pauline says, “Kids books, actually.” She was at home, listening to a few titles we have been working on, when she noticed her 5-year-old was a fan of audiobooks and an opinionated critic. It turns out that, during lunchtime, his teacher plays audiobooks for the class, which helped him develop an ear for audio. “We started listening more. Lemony Snicket’s 13 Words is his favorite right now.”

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

the conditions of love

Right now, we are really digging Dale M. Kushner’s The Conditions of Love. From the author: “The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents’ abandonment, her need to break from society’s limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love.”  Tara Och’s narration is spot-on.

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

We have quite a few favorite new narrators. William Neenan, a seasoned actor who has just recently started in audiobooks, is a great new voice. Also, keep an ear out for some brand new voices – Samuel Traquina and Joey Florez!

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

Narrator Brian Troxell would love to voice another title from one of his favorite authors, Daniel Woodrell. He has previously narrated Woodrell’s Give Us a Kiss, Tomato Red, and The Outlaw Album. Brian loves the way Woodrell builds his mysteries through “many layers,  amazing character moments, narrative time jumps, and brilliant turns of phrases” and hopes to narrate another soon.

Audiobook Day 1 – Our Year In Audiobooks

The third week of June marks Audiobook Week, hosted by Jen, of Devourer of Books. This is the 4th Annual Audiobook Week. Jen has provided us with a daily discussion guide and links to audiobook posts, so make sure to check out her blog and add your posts to the list! werelistening

Monday: 2012-2013, Your Audiobook Year

We are so excited to read everyone’s Audiobook Week posts, but ours will be a little different than the average listener. The listening experience for our engineers, narrators, directors, QCers (Quality Control), and editors are all a little different. Collectively, we’ve listened to countless hours of audiobooks including historical thrillers, science fiction, young adult, romance, business advice, zombie stories, erotica, and much more.

Since last year’s audiobook week, we moved into a brand new studio space, which took us from four studios to thirteen studios and professional sound booths, which has allowed us to narrate, record, edit, and engineer even more audiobooks than ever before. You can see a lot of what we’ve recorded here.

These are some of our favorite titles so far this year:

the perfect marriage the boy the book of why

max factorWise Men this is what happy looks like obsidian mirror last train to memphis 7 habits Fuse

great gatsby

kingonomics

Check out our favorite audiobooks of 2012 here.

Posted by Holly Simpson.

Another week down for #JIAM2013! Week 2 Round-Up

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Another week down for #JIAM2013! Yet again, there were great posts this week.

To begin, Book Reporter posted an audiobook-themed interview with author Mary Roach.

Another author-post comes from Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, who interviewed Luke Daniels, narrator of the Iron Druid Chronicles!

We love listening to narrator chats, like this one from AudioGals with Kaleo Griffith, Xe Sands, Karen White, and Angela Dawe!

This week, even the New York Times got in on the audiobook action with Andrew Adam Newman’s piece on expanding the audiobook market.

Don’t forget that next week is Audiobook Week, hosted by Devourer of Books.