For me, second only to the story and writing, the most important component of an audio book is
the narrator. Through Audible.com I had several narrators audition using a short excerpt from my
manuscript. I chose a sexy scene with dialogue from both the hero and heroine so that I could
1) How does the narrator handle male and female voices? This can be tricky – some
narrators switch with natural ease. But for others, doing the opposite sex voice can sound harsh and unnatural, jarring the listener out of the experience.
2) These books are erotic and I wanted to make sure the narrator sounded natural in the sex scenes and using the language. I needed to feel like I was in the character’s head, not being read a script. Just as important, I needed to be able to work with the narrator on erotic material with professionalism. I had one narrator who auditioned also contact me through social media with some adolescent type comments about how hot my book was for him to read. I crossed that narrator of my potential list immediately.
4) Someone who will do corrections and work with me on any issues that come up. Ryan was fantastic about that, very professional. I actually only had a few corrections for him, and he did them promptly. I really appreciated that. After about ten auditions in total, it came down to two narrators. But ultimately it was Ryan’s voice and talent made the choice very easy for me. He ticked all the boxes and frankly, has one of the sexiest voices I’ve heard yet. I really had a good experience working with him.
But like all things, this was a learning curve for me. The one thing I wish I’d done better was to have all three books recorded and released at the same time, or at least closer together. I started slow, having Ryan do only the first book to see how well we worked together. In retrospect that was a mistake, as the first two books in the series, The Proposition and Possession end on cliffhangers and that really frustrated listeners. By the time I contracted Ryan to do the next two books and he could get them in his schedule, I ended up with a time lag of months between the books. That really wasn’t fair to listeners chomping at the bit to get the next book. But I learned from the experience, and if I ever put a cliffhanger-type series in audio again, I will absolutely release the books as close together as possible.
One fun note about my experience with audio books: I discovered that listening to my sex scenes is a vastly different experience from reading them. Whoa, it feels a lot more personal and intimate. While Ryan handled the scenes wonderfully, I had a hard time listening to them to proof for mistakes. My husband thought it was hilarious that I can write the scene but blushed when I listened to them in an audio book.
Today I’m giving away one full set of the three audio books in my Plus One Chronicles series, The Proposition, Possession and Obsession, and a bonus audio book of The Baby Bargain under my other name of Jennifer Apodaca. (Please note, I must be able to deliver the audio books to the winner through Audible.com. You may have to sign up to pick up your audiobooks.) To enter, just tell me if like listening to audio books.