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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Guest Post: Stacy Allen – Audiobooks: An Author’s Experience

Recently, we recorded Stacy Allen’s Expedition Indigo. We loved the book and we loved being able to work so closely with Stacy during production. When the audiobook was completed, we asked Stacy to write a guest post for us about what is like to have your book turned into an audiobook from the author’s perspective.

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stacyallenI was at Bouchercon (the world mystery convention) last November, in Long Beach CA, having lunch with my agent. We were nearing the end of the meal when she casually mentioned “Oh, you got an audio offer.”

WHAT? An audio offer? I was catapulted over the moon with those 6 words! An audio deal! I was so excited. It made me feel like a real author. Real authors had their work on several platforms: eBooks, Print, and Audio. This audio deal made me feel like I had completed the Trinity in publishing.

I wasn’t shy about spreading the word. I was already at a writing/book conference – a reader’s conference – and I told anyone who remotely looked interested. I was so excited to know that an audio company wanted to produce the first in my series.

Expedition Indigo audio coverWhen I received the contract, I signed it and sent it back to my agent, and made a note of the Publisher, ListenUp Audiobooks. I googled them, and found out they are in Atlanta, and I was thrilled. I reached out to them, and explained I had just signed a contract for EXPEDITION INDIGO, my debut novel, and would they be open to a visit from me?

I heard back from them immediately. Holly, the Public Relations Coordinator, invited me down to the studios, and we worked together to find a time and date that would work for everyone. In the meantime, she sent me some audio auditions and asked for my input on the narrators. I loved all the audition samples, but one stood out. I thought this narrator could be my Riley Cooper, and I did some quick research on Kristin Kalbli. She was prolific, with lots of titles to her name.

The sample I got was about five minutes long, and I was mesmerized. I smiled. I giggled. I cried. Here were my words being brought to life by a professional actor/narrator. It was an extremely emotional moment for me. I tell everyone that it was like experiencing the story for the first time. Even though I wrote it, and re-wrote it, and editing and changed and deleted and added over all the editing rounds, this was a whole new story to me. Hearing Kristin’s beautiful interpretation of my words was so moving. We writers always want to hear from our readers how they felt when they read our work.What passages really spoke to you? What passages confused? Where did you tear up? What made you laugh aloud?

I torture my readers with endless questions. I desperately need validation that what I wrote was entertaining, made them think, amused them, moved them to tears. I want my words to make a difference.

And now I was hearing Kristin narrate a scene between my protagonist, Dr. Riley Cooper, and her mentor, Dr. Peter MacAbee. It is Chapter One, and sets the tone for who Riley is, what the situation at hand is, and both of their personalities. Kristin did a beautiful, beautiful job. When I listened to her narration, it was a fresh, new adventure to me, and it sounded as if she wrote it, because it came out so naturally.

The day finally came when all the stars aligned and my husband, Ron, and I went down to the studios one Friday. We got to meet much of the team at ListenUp. They were so friendly and welcoming, and they made me feel super-special. They all said they often never met their authors, when I asked them that question.

They asked if we wanted to watch an audition. We quickly said, “YES!”

We sat in a sound booth with Kristin, Casey (the Casting Director), and Vinnie (Sound Engineer). I looked up to see my book on the screen! They were auditioning a narrator for other projects, and they were using my book for the audition. It was an amazing gift to watch the audition, and to see Kristin giving tips and clues to the reader in the soundproof booth in front of us. She gave the reader all the clues and the nuances about my book, and really showed how much she knew my characters and my story.

We also got to meet Diane, the Director of Business Development. She was wonderful, and we all talked liked we had known one another for years, not minutes.

I have to say my overall impression was one of awe and gratitude. First, that ListenUp loved the story enough to send a contract offer to my agent. Second, that cared as much as I did about my book. The care they took through every step, the respect they gave me, and the finished product all show what a class act ListenUp Audiobooks is. From the moment I stepped through their doors, I felt as if I was home.

Every single person I met at ListenUp cares. They are professional, but more than that, their focus and drive to make my debut novel into a professional audio book has been one of the best experiences of my professional writing life.

What’s it like to have a professionally produced audiobook? It is an amazing adventure. The final product is so much better than I imagined it would be. I tell people, when they inquire, than on listening, it is like having a movie going in the family room and I run to the kitchen for a beverage. It is an entirely different experience than reading the book.

One of my primary concerns with readers is the foreign phrases I have in my novel. EXPEDITION INDIGO is set primarily in Italy, and my character is an archaeologist who speaks Italian and French (as do I). There are smatterings of both languages through the book, and it was critical to me to have these read in a natural way, because the characters are fluent, and it needed to come across that way. Kristin did a perfect job with the passages.

Thank you, ListenUp. All of you. You have my loyalty forever.

Stacy Allen
www.stacyallenauthor.com

Expedition Indigo is available through ListenUp Audiobooks and through Audible.

Audiobooks about Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter how you are spending today, just know, ListenUp loves you.

Today we want to showcase some of our favorite audiobooks about love. No matter what kind of love (or anti-love) you are in the mood for, we’ve got you covered.

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Damn Love, by Jasmine-Beach Ferrara, narrated by Courtney Patterson and a Full Cast. 

This is a book about love in all it’s different forms – romantic, familial, platonic, straight, gay – all love. The stories of connected characters are heart-breaking and heart-warming. There’s a story in here for everyone.

Rebecca, by Daphne Du Marier, narrated by Anna Massey. 

If you are in the mood for a classic, pick up this novel, first published in 1938. Rebecca is a gothic tale that includes a a rags-to-riches love story with a creepy mansion and a mysterious dead first wife.This rich novel reads like a fairy tale.

Sin Brothers series, by Rebecca Zanetti, narrated by Karen White.

Blind Faith is the 3rd book in the Sin Brothers series, which is a little paranormal, a little suspense, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance and passion. If youa re in the mood for an exciting romance listen, this is the series for you.

Searching for Grace Kelly, by Michael Callahan, narrated by Kristin Kalbli.

Searching for Grace Kelly is not strictly romance. This story follows the lives of three young women living in New York’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel. It is filled with personal discover, love, and heartbreak.

Beautifully Broken series, by Courtney Cole, narrated by Shannon Gunn

Sometimes what you need is a romance novel about a super-rich bad boy with a dark past. The Beautifully Broken series will fulfill that need wonderfully.

 Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler, narrated by Khristine Hvam. 

Why We Broke Up is a break-up letter. It’s in first person and it’s a bit of stream of consciousness and it feels very, very real. If you are looking for emotional catharsis, this is the audiobook for you.

What are you listening to this Valentine’s Day? Do you have any favorites you’d like us to add to our list? Let us know in the comments!

Audiobook News & Reviews: 02/11/15

News and Reviews

Today’s audiobook news & reviews from all around the web. If we missed your link, leave a comment and we’ll add it.

News:

 

Reviews

  • Audiobook Treasury reviews The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, narrated by Stephen Fry
  • The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud, narrated by Katie Lyons review by Reader of Fictions
  • Booked and Loaded and Rainy Day Ramblings both reviewed Burned by Karen Marie Moning, narrated by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross
  • Black Widow by Jennifer Estep, narrated by Lauren Fortgang review by Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog
  • Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, narrated by Kevin T. Colins and Khristine Hvam review by Bookshelfery
  • The Reading Date reviews Lost and Found by Brook Davis, narrated by Helen Walsh, Nicolette McKenzie and Nigel Carrington
  • Kris and Vik Book Therapy Cafe reviews Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, narrated by Becca Battoea
  • Flat Out Celeste by Jessica Park, narrated by Tavia Gilbert review by Undercover Book Reviews
  • Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy, narrated by Antonia Murphy review by Nocturnal Book Reviews
  • The Bookaholic Cat reviews Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost, narrated by Tavia Gilbert
  • Holly Every Day reviews The Good Life Elsewhere, by Vladimir Lorchenkov, narrated by Daniel Thomas May
Don’t miss any more audiobook news or reviews – follow us on WordPress, Tumblr, & Twitter and like us on Facebook. Check out ListenUpAudioooks.com to download your favorite audiobooks and discover your next great listen.

Sweet potato soufflé, hidden butter, and Oreo turkeys – ListenUp’s Thanksgiving Traditions

Happy Thanksgiving from ListenUp! We want to share some of our favorite traditions with you and we hope you’ll share some of yours with us.

We asked the team at ListenUp for their favorite traditions and recipes.

When we asked Casey what her favorite Thanksgiving tradition was, she answered “making Oreo turkeys!”. We were confused. Casey said she made them all the time as a kid, so she schooled the rest of us in the art of Oreo turkeys.

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See more pictures on our Facebook here.

Tracey fondly remembers childhood Thanksgiving mornings and waking up at the crack of dawn to go to the apple orchard with her grandparents, dad, and brother. There, the kids would climb the apple trees and throw down apples to the adults. “My brother and I would try and confuse our dad by each throwing apples at the same time, so he wouldn’t know which one to go for.” Back at home, Tracey’s German grandma and mom would get to work on peeling the apples and making the best apple pies ever. “I would get an entire pie to myself. And I’d eat the whole thing.”

Thanksgiving is the big holiday in Mae’s family. The day starts at her aunt and uncle’s house for breakfast and bloody marys (for the adults). After that, they head to her grandparents’ house for a big bocce game, because “my family is really competitive, but not athletic”. Mae’s family has a tradition of hazing the newcomers – boyfriends and girlfriends who are invited along. “We would take a stick of butter and sprinkle salt on it. Then we tell them that when you put salt on butter, it creates heat and have them put their hand over it. Then we smash their hand in butter. It got so out of control that my grandparents had to hide their butter and we had to bring our own butter.”

Greg confirmed that Mae’s family Thanksgiving is the feast to crash, “my favorite Thanksgiving tradition is drinking tequila with Mae’s family”.

Ryan loves sweet potato soufflé (with marshmallows) and confessed that his “cousins and I all weigh ourselves before and after the meal to see who can gain the most.”

Brad also loves sweet potato soufflé, but his mom’s recipe skips the marshmallows in favor of coconut and candied pecans. He was kind enough to share the recipe, along with his mom’s recipe for green bean casserole, topped with Ritz crackers.

Brads recipes

Holly’s favorite Thanksgiving food is creamed corn. “And some people think that’s gross. Like the rest of my family, which is why I would get the whole bowl to myself. I think the key to real southern cooking is taking food that is originally kind of good for you and making it terribly unhealthy, which is why I love creamed corn.”

Kristin’s family makes homemade spätzle, which are german noodles. “We have to police them, though, because my dad will take them while they are still cooking. And we fight over the crispy ones. Actually, we fight over any crispy carbohydrate, but especially spätzle.”

What are your Thanksgiving traditions and favorite foods?

Best Audiobooks for Traveling

The holidays are almost here, which means it’s road trip time! Whether you are packing the whole family into the car or flying across the country solo, your travels can be improved with a good story in your ear. Here are our recommendations for what to listen to while you travel:

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Freak Show Without a Tent, by Nevin Martell, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark.

Freak Show Without a Tent is the first audiobook that came to mind for me. It’s Nevin Martell’s story of “swimming with piranhas, getting stoned in Fiji, and other family vacations”. Martell’s absurd adventures with his father, mother, and sister will bring some excitement to your holiday travels, even if you’re just driving across town.

Get It: ListenUp || Audible

See more below!

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Narrator & Director Workshop

Today, we had the first session of our fantastic narrator & director workshop, led by our casting director, Kristin Kalbli.
We live-tweeted the workshop, so check it out below. We’ll be having more workshops in the future, so let us know if you are interested in attending one by commenting below or contacting us through Twitter or Facebook.