Tag Archives: audies

Award-Worthy Advice from Indie Voices

The Audies were last night, and there was a strong showing from the ACX community, with several outstanding independent creators receiving nominations for their work. The Audies are the Audio Publishers Association’s annual awards for the best titles in audio publishing, and we have the inside scoop on what made these productions stand out, how they came to life, and why their creators submitted them for the consideration. Read on for inspiration, and let us know at the end if you’ll be submitting your title for next year.


Lauren Blakely – Birthday Suit

What makes Birthday Suit unique?

Birthday Suit is narrated by 12 amazing performers, full-cast style, so it sounds like a book met a radio play. It’s an aural experience, a book experience, and a theatrical experience all at once. The cast sounds great together and you can tell they had fun playing off each other.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

I’m a theater lover, so I’d wanted to produce a full-cast audiobook for some time and Birthday Suit was the perfect story for it because the romance includes an interesting cast of characters that the hero and heroine interact with during a scavenger hunt. I felt each character was unique, with his or her own quirks and traits, and because of that, the story called out for a new audio style. More so, I believe Birthday Suit has a powerful love story at its core—one that plays out over ten years, with all sorts of angst for the hero, which Sebastian York captured brilliantly as his character falls in love with his best friend’s girl.

I worked closely with two talented people who I partner with on most of my audio books—Andi Arndt, who is both my primary heroine narrator and the force of nature behind Lyric Audiobooks, and Tyler Whitlatch at Plunk Productions, who edits and produces all my ACX titles. The project was a true collaborative production, with us bouncing ideas off each other, then assembling the cast and sending them to a studio in New York. Not only is Andi an award-winning narrator, she makes casting call spreadsheets like nobody’s business! And Tyler is vital to all of my books with his terrific ear for detail and his focus on creating a fantastic final product—he was in studio working with the actors during the recording, and he made sure everything sounded amazing in post.

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I fell in love with this production from the very first minute I listened to the files. It was everything I’d hoped it would be and more—bright, dynamic voices interacting together. I decided before it even released to submit it, though I never expected the nomination to come in audio drama! That was a terrific surprise!


Stephanie Bentley & Miranda Ray – Lustily Ever After: The Audiobook Musical

What makes Lustily Ever After unique?

We are thrilled to be the first audiobook musical for adults!  This multicast narration of a novella-length fictional story includes 20 original songs inspired by 90’s pop music peppered into the book, which heightens the comedy of the romance parody. Characters voice their own dialogue and chapter headings are sung by a trio invoking the R&B group En Vogue.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

I am a full-time audiobook narrator and a longtime musical comedy performer, so the inspiration for this book was truly as organic as it could get. I narrate mostly romance novels and would find myself giggling in the booth over and over at some of the tropes. Suddenly these lyrics just started coming into my head for the classic billionaire character—“the models in my bed don’t keep me warm at night, and no amount I spend can make me feel alright”—I started writing, and pretty soon a whole musical just came tumbling out! The songs were mostly written before I hired Miranda Ray to pen the actual book, so this was very much an audio-first project. 

There was so much creative collaboration on this project. Miranda was sending me pages from her theater tour on a cruise ship, I was sending vocals to Aaron Wilson to create the tracks, and I brought in very funny comedians from The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater to voice the other characters in my home studio. This was such a labor of love and every person who touched this project changed and enhanced some part of it and made it into what it is today! 

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I hope more than anything that this nomination will inspire ‘regular people’ like myself to go out there and just create whatever they are dreaming of! This is such an exciting time to be an author and anything truly is possible! I submitted my work for an Audie because I absolutely love it, and I believe that this audiobook musical niche is about to be a huge marketplace in audiobooks.


Tanya Eby & Blunderwoman Productions – Nevertheless We Persisted: Me Too

What makes NWP: Me Too unique?

This is truly a unique audiobook. It was created by survivors of sexual abuse/discrimination and features original essays and poems, as well as original music and art for the cover. When casting, we asked our narration community for people who felt a connection to this topic, and we did crowd funding to underwrite the production so that we could pay all participants in it.

Tell us about the vision for this project—how did you bring it to life?

Blunderwoman looks for unique and important storytelling, and I try to do one passion project each year. I was deeply touched by the #MeToo movement and saw that so many of my loved ones had similar experiences. I wanted to amplify the message that abuse and discrimination still happens—is happening—and to give those stories a chance to be heard. An audiobook seemed to be the natural way to amplify voices—literally—so I created a call for submissions from writers, and narrator and writer Karen White joined me as co-editor for the piece. Friends and fans helped me spread the word about submissions, and we received pieces from all over the world. Narrators recorded poems and stories in their studios, Amanda Rose Smith did post-production and created original music, and singers who recorded tracks in their own studios and sent them in to be mastered. This was truly a sprawling project, and sort of a marvel on what we can accomplish using modern technology.

This project was definitely created with audio in mind—there is something deeply powerful about hearing a story told. In this case, having people speak directly to the listener and say “here is what happened to me.” It’s incredible the impact that audio can have. It connects emotionally with the listener, it can be transformative, and the team who came together to produce this (all 100 of us as writers, singers, artists, and performers) felt connected not only to a project, but also to something bigger: the power in telling a story, of the end of secret keeping, and the empowerment and healing that can come through expressing your truth.

What gave you the confidence to submit this project for an Audie?

I knew no matter what happened, I was going to submit this. While this is not an easy listen, I wanted to give it a chance to be heard by as many people as possible, and I thought the Audies would be a wonderful way of thanking the creators of this project by acknowledging their hard work and commitment to creating something powerful. I’m so honored and pleased that it received a nod as one of the Best Original Works. In my mind, we’ve already won.


Congratulations to all this year’s Audie nominees! Your boundless creativity and drive to create never fail to inspire us. Let us know in the comments what you’re feeling inspired to create, and if you’ll be submitting your 2020 title for next year’s Audies!

This Week in Links: August 11 – 15

Did you know that the submission period for the 2015 Audies is open? Sponsored by the APA, the Audies recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. As a publisher or producer of an audiobook, you can enter your ACX title for consideration as a nominee, and yes, rights holders, by “publishers,” we mean you!

Titles released between November 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014 are eligible during the current submission period. Submission runs $175 per title ($100 for APA members), and must be completed by August 22. Complete submission info can be found here (PDF). Submit your ACX production today, and you might find yourself the winner of a shiny new Audie!

Now, on to your weekly links roundup.

For Rights Holders:

J. R. R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers (Infographic) – via Galleycat – Take a look at the Lord of the Rings author’s advice for wordsmiths.

The Joy of Writing Longhand – via Lit Reactor – Writing longhand: antiquated idea or inspiring throwback?

10 Essential Tips for Dating A Writer – via Buzzfeed Books -Check out this fun look at what it takes to date a writer. Do you resemble these remarks?

For Producers:

This Much I Know…10 Things I Learned From Getting Into Voiceovervia steveoneillvoice –  Steve O’Neill helps you learn from his time in the VO business.

Game Of Tones: How To Play Your Voice For Maximum Impact – via Gary Terzza’s Voice-Over Blog UK – Gary’s got the “moves that will sharpen your voiceover skills.”

What Growing Grass Taught Me About Voice Over – via Marc Scott Voice 0ver – Find out why the voiceover business is all about patience, perseverance, and endurance.

This Week in Links: February 17 – 21

Winter getting you down? If you live in much of the US, you’ve likely spent a good portion of the past month battling cabin fever from gray days spent locked inside.  While more time inside can mean more time to write or record, it’s also important to take a break once in a while. Watch a travel show, call a friend just to chat, or strap on the booties and go for a (wet) walk.

When you’ve got a new outlook, read our weekly links roundup to get some education on writing and producing audiobooks. Then dive back into your art with a clear head and a fresh batch of ideas to inspire you!

For Producers and Rights Holders:

34 Audible Productions Named as Finalists for 2014 Audie Awards – via BusinessWire – 7 of the 34 nominations were made via ACX! You did it!

For Producers:

So You Want to Be a Voice Actor – via Backstage – The first in a new series designed to introduce voiceover to stage actors.

Twitter for Voice Over Talents – via Lance Blair American Voice Over Talent – Lance offers a crash course on the  basics of Twitter for VO’s.

Are You Suffering From Audition Fatigue? – via vo2gogo – DHL17 shares his advice for making a mountain of manuscripts scripts feel energizing instead of tiring.

What “Friends” Should Expect – via Voice Acting in Vegas – Dave Courvoisier polled VO’s on Facebook and came away with data on what people will and won’t tolerate on social media.

For Rights Holders:

Author Branding—Harnessing the Power of Digital Age Storms – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – “Proper branding is one of the most critical elements of author success. Brands that are outdated, boring, rigid, abandoned, fractured, negative or nonexistent are not only unhelpful, but they can spell disaster to our career and earning potential as artists.”

Tips for Managing Writer’s Block – via CreateSpace -Maria Murnane has a three step process for overcoming the scourge of writers everywhere.

5 Steps to Self-Publishing Success – via The BookBaby Blog – James Ventrillo of ReadersFavorite.com stops by with “some steps that will guide you through the self-publishing “system” so you and your book will be more successful.”

Turning Chaff into Wheat – via Hugh Howey – ACX author imagines a world where “[r]ather than beg readers for contributions with no idea of the quality of the final product, you have the financial backers begging to be included in something they see as worthy.”

Did you read a great audiobook article this week? Share it below!

Best of 2013: Books: Audio and More

As we enter the final weeks of 2013, listmakers near and far are weighing in on the “Best of 2013”. Whether you’re looking for inspiration while writing or recording, in need of a break from hours of creative work, or just looking for your next great listen, you’ll find something to love in our roundup of the Best of The Best of 2013.

ADBLCRE-3105_BoYE_LPBanner._V365982733_Audible’s Best of 2013: Check out the best listens in every category from Audible’s editors, as well as listener favorites.

The Washington Post‘s Best Audiobooks of 2013: TWP offers their top listens of 2013, all of which are available on Audible!

The Audies – 2013: The Audio Publisher’s Association named their top books of the year, and 4 titles produced on ACX took home awards (Swordspoint, The Privledge of The Sword, Anita, and The Personal MBA)!

imagesThe NY Times Ten Best Books of 2013: The Grey Lady offers top picks in fiction and nonfiction, all of which make great listens.

The Audiophiles’ Best Audiobook Listens of 2013: BookRiot has a fun take on the written and spoken word in their list is full of unique recommendations.

Goodreads Best Books of 2013: THE place to discuss books discusses their favorites of the year.

Publisher’s Weekly – Audiobook Bestsellers: Publisher’s Weekly lists their top ten audiobooks as we near year’s end.

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NPR’s Book Concierge – Best of 2013: Another great list of the top reads from 2013, with links to in-depth reviews of each.

Now that you’ve got a feel for the best written and spoken words of 2013, think about how you can apply what you’ve learned to your writing and recording in 2014. What trends did you notice this year? What genres topped everyone’s list? Take good notes, share them below, and let them lead you into a productive and successful 2014!

What A Week It Was – A Recap

Last week was a fun and exciting one for the audiobook industry, especially here at Audible/ACX . We loved meeting so many current and future ACXers at  BookExpo America (BEA), The Audies, and our in-house Narrator Knowledge Exchange, and we can’t wait to share some of the good times.

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ACX Production Coordinator Charles Clerke gives ACX Knowledge Exchange attendees a walk-through of the site.

Kicking off our busy week, ACX and Audible Studios hosted 55 fabulous voice actors, studio pros and producers at the Audible offices Thursday, May 30th. Jason Ojalvo, Audible Vice President and head of ACX opened the day with an update on the burgeoning audiobook market and the many opportunities available through Audible Studios and ACX. Guests then enjoyed sessions from Audible staff members on home studio setup, self-recording, editing and mastering. A lucky few were randomly selected to audition for Audible Studios, while others enjoyed tours of our offices and brand new solo recording booths. We love meeting audiobook professionals of all stripes in person, especially ACX members, so keep an eye out for additional opportunities like this in the future.

Click here for more photos from the ACX Narrator Knowledge Exchange.

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Members of the ACX team demonstrate the many ways to enjoy listening to an audiobook.

Thursday was also the opening day of BEA, and ACX participated with our first-ever booth. Our team spread the gospel of ACX to authors, agents, and publishers over the three day show, and many had excerpts of their titles read live by ACX narrators at our in-booth recording “studio.” We’re looking forward to the outstanding new titles that this outreach will bring to ACX in the coming months!

Click here for more photos of ACX at BEA.

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ACX’s own Nicole shows off her dress at the 2013 Audie’s.

Finally, Thursday night brought The Audies, and ACX headed into the festivities with four finalist titles. These included The Personal MBA, written and read by Josh Kaufman (nominated for Best Buisness/Educational book), The Privilege of The Sword, written by Ellen Kushner and read by a full cast (Best Multi-Voice Performance), and ACX’s first two Audie wins, Swordspoint, also written by Ellen Kushner and narrated by a full cast, which won for Best Audio Drama, and Anita, written by Keith Roberts, read by Nicola Barber, which won for Best Fantasy Book! Three of our four finalists are part of the Neil Gaiman Presents line, and we couldn’t be more proud of all involved. Audible Studios had a stellar evening as well, with The End of The Affair winning the coveted Audiobook of The Year award! Narrator Colin Firth’s win is among nine for Audible Studios, which also received the prestigious Audie award for Distinguished Achievement in Production for ‘Dracula.’

We now turn our attention to the second half of 2013, and all the exciting ways we have planned to grow and improve the ACX experience for all of our users. If you were a part of our wonderful, crazy week, tell us your memories in the comments!