Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in publishing. Little wonder so many lesbian authors and publishers are jumping into the audio game.
Ylva’s no exception, and right now we already offer lesbian audiobooks, including feelgood dating romance Popcorn Love, corporate lesbian romance Under a Falling Star, and the housewife-meets-handywoman lesbian erotica, Heart’s Surrender.
We have a selection of new lesbian fiction audiobooks planned in 2018 and beyond, too. Bookmark this page: www.ylva-publishing.com/product-category/audiobooks
We caught up with an expert in the field of this booming business, Colleen Predergast, to find out what all the fuss is about.
Colleen, the Digital Acquisitions Manager at Findaway, a global leader in digital content delivery and creation, explained what’s next in audiobooks, how best for authors to maximize interest in their titles, and how smartphones changed everything for readers and publishers.
Why do you think audiobooks are so popular right now?
Digital audio is one of the most easily accessible forms of entertainment out there. You can drive to work, or clean your house, or walk your dog all while listening. You can’t read a physical book or watch a movie on the go.
At the heart of the matter is the rise of smartphones. One of the first audiobooks I listened to years ago was a Ken Follett novel on audio CD that came with 32 discs! I lugged the case and my CD player with me between school and work. I couldn’t imagine doing that now. I’m listening to the latest Follett novel through a subscription service right on my phone.
People are consuming more digital audio because it’s far easier to consume. The growing popularity of podcasts mimics this same trend. In fact, access to smartphone technology is so integral to audio consumption that when we are exploring a new market for audiobooks, the proliferation of smartphones in the country is one of the first stats we look at. It helps us gauge how easy it would be to reach new fans.
Where can readers buy lesbian audiobooks? Any options other than Audible?
The options for consumers really are endless. Findaway’s distribution services alone reaches twenty different outlets globally and we will be adding more distribution partners in 2018. First and foremost, most local, school, and private libraries with digital services offer audiobooks to their patrons.
We have also seen a surge of investment in the expansion of dozens of retailers over the past year. Google and Kobo both just launched new audiobook platforms and traditional bookstores like Barnes & Noble also sell digital audio on their apps and websites. On top of that, most countries have a variety of local retailers—such as FeBe in Japan, eStories in the US, Nextory in Sweden, and the list goes on and on.
I’m particularly excited that audiobooks are starting to become available on services you wouldn’t traditionally think of for audiobooks. For example, within Germany, Deezer the music streaming platform, is offering a great collection of audiobooks, and they will be launching in more European territories in 2018. It is increasingly getting easier for new audiences to discover audiobooks.
Should lesbian authors/publishers go exclusive with Audible, for more money in the short term, or try to cover as many platforms as possible?
There are so many opportunities for authors to explore. It is important as a content creator to be aware of the restrictions any exclusive deal places on the ability to grow your audience down the road. First, most retailers are not available to all consumers globally—maybe your book could find an audience in America or in Brazil or in France? You never know where you are going to find your next biggest fan! Diversifying your portfolio of retailers expands your opportuntiies to cultivate an audience. I’d also mention that many exclusive retailer arrangements restrict access to library and schools.
Our mission is to give all readers access to the largest variety of content which is why distribution in school and public libraries are so important.
Libraries are still a significant driver of discoverability and consumption for digital – almost thirty percent of audiobook consumption in America alone happens through libraries, according the recent reports of the Audio Publishers Association.
I think there is a misconception for some publishers that making your content available in libraries means giving away your book for free, but that is not the case! Publishers are financially compensated for participating.
How long does it take you to produce an audiobook?
It typically takes between eight to twelve weeks from start to finish, to produce an audiobook via Findaway Voices, but we can cater to the scheduling needs of the author or publisher.
What makes a good audiobooks narrator?
I admire narrators so much for their ability to convey and inspire emotion with just their voice—a challenge that most film or stage actors don’t have to overcome. Control over your voice in regards to accent, tone, speed, and intensity are all crucial. They also require a great deal of patience. Some audiobooks are upwards of thirty hours long and you can imagine the commitment required to ensure that each and every word of the narration is perfect.
Do narrators have to audition to read each book, or do you match a narrator to a book you think they would be best for?
After learning about the manuscript and the author’s preferences, the Findaway Voices team creates personalized recommendations of five to ten narrators from our network that they think are well-matched. The author can select a narrator from that batch or select narrators to audition for that particular title. That way narrators are only spending time auditioning for titles they are already identified as well suited for and authors are not sifting through hundreds of narration samples.
The use of accents—both done well and done badly—often causes big discussion on social media. Do you give your narrators any guidelines on that? Or is it their choice, or the choice of the author as to whether they attempt them or not?
Personally, I love it when a narrator has an accent that corresponds to the characters within the story. That being said, there are some pitfalls to avoid. I’ve heard audiobooks before that have a British narrator when the story takes place in Australia which is jarring. Or a narrator who can do an amazing southern American accent but sounds horrible when doing the dialog for a standard American accent. Not to mention avoiding stereotyping. So I’d confirm that your narrator can do a range of accents well before committing. Findaway’s platform lets authors choose those details and express their own vision for their title.
Colleen Prendergast is Digital Acquisitions Manager at Findaway, a global leader in digital content delivery and creation. She previously worked in subsidiary rights and licensing for Scholastic and HarperCollins.
You can already find a few of our books as audiobooks too, and there are more to come! So far you can find Heart’s Surrender by Emma Weimann, Popcorn Love by KL Hughes, Something in the Wine by Jae, and Under a Falling Star also by Jae.