The Gals Answer 5 Questions About Audiobooking for New Listeners: Why, What, Where, Who and How!
In order to begin your Audiobooking Journey TM, the new listener should focus on the 5 important aspects of listening. We break it down for you here, starting with a definition of audiobooking.
And don’t miss the Giveaway! As part of the Audio Publisher’s Association June is Audiobook Month celebration, there will be 4 winners of a pair of earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads from Audiobooks.com! There’s an easy entry form at the bottom of this post!
Melinda: I audiobook because it enhances the reader/listener experience – I actually like to first read it in print then listen, which allows it to sort of “bloom” in my head. Outlander was my first serious audiobook, and wow – I sure skimmed a lot while reading! I’m not sure readers realize how much they miss in print until a great narrator reads to them.
Caz: One of the things I quickly discovered I liked about audiobooks was that listening to them enabled me to catch up with series I was behind on that I had been kidding myself I was ever going to get around to reading! I wouldn’t say that I specifically set out with the thought “I know! I will listen to audiobooks as a way of catching up!” But I can’t deny that they continue to be extremely useful in that regard. Having been an avid listener for some years now though, I can echo what Melinda says about the effect of having a book read to you by a really great narrator. The best will pick out aspects of the characterisation that perhaps you missed when reading, or will give you a different perspective. The example I often cite is Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm, and how Nicholas Boulton’s incredible performance made some of Maddy’s actions later in the book easier to understand because of how well he portrays her. And I really like the extra dimension that a great narrator can bring to a story.
Shannon: I audiobook because I’m blind, and it’s much more enjoyable to have a real person read books to me rather than a synthetic voice from my computer or iPad. As both Caz and Melinda have said, a great narrator adds so much to a story, personalizing it in a way other types of reading can’t manage.
BJ: I enjoy listening to audiobooks because they help me pass the time while I do chores, like driving, working out at the gym, or cleaning or cooking at home. Before I discovered audiobooks, I used to read a lot more, but I’ve found that even when I’m not doing chores, I much more prefer to listen to a great narration of a book than to just read (especially after a long work day). As the other Audiogals have noted, a good narrator can add so much depth and feeling to a story and actually make its total effect so much more pronounced. Unlike Melinda, however, I prefer to only read or listen to a story once—once I know the twists and turns a story will take it’s just much harder for me to get engaged in the book again (unless it happens to be an all-time favorite and a lot of time has passed).
Shannon: I’m the same way, BJ. There are a few books I read more than once, but usually, once is enough for me.
Kaetrin: I audiobook because I hate exercise. When I started walking for fitness I needed to do something that could distract me. I began with a Georgette Heyer which was terrible (the narration was so boring!) but then I moved on to Outlander and haven’t looked back from there.
I usually listen to audiobooks I haven’t read in print but not always. There are some books/series where I mix it up.
Melinda: My preferred audiobook genre is Contemporary Romance (sub-genre, RomCom) but I also listen based on good narration and trusted recommendations, including other Romance genres and also non-romance [gasp] occasionally. I’m currently listening to a popular teen fiction title, The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin.
Caz: I’m an Historical Romance junkie (as is obvious) but I listen to Historical Fiction and I enjoy Romantic Suspense, too. I genre-hop more in audio than in print, because if I like a particular narrator, I’ll look for their other work and am much more likely to try something in another sub-genre of romance or other genre entirely if I trust the person reading to me.
Shannon: I audiobook a number of genres. Paranormal romance, historical romance, historical fiction, and romantic suspense are a few of my favorites. Psychological suspense also ranks up there too.
BJ: Like Shannon, I prefer an eclectic mix of romance sub-genres—I don’t think there is a romance sub-genre that I haven’t listed to–and have even started listening to more and more other genres, like psychological suspense, general or women’s fiction, and even historical fiction (I even have a non-fiction title tee’d up at the moment for listening to sometime soon!). I find that given the large number of audiobooks I listen to (over 125 last year), it’s the only way to cleanse my palate between listens to avoid listening slumps and so that I can maintain my enthusiasm for listening.
Kaetrin: I listen to mostly contemporary romance but also some historical and SFF romance too. Every now and then I slip in a biography or a non-fiction audiobook or some straight up Sci-Fi but I’m mostly a romance listener.
Melinda: Most of my audiobooking takes place in my car – the 12-minute commute to/from work and gym, occasional road trips. And, my guilty secret, I audiobook at home for hours with my feet up. Not gonna lie, I don’t take that time to clean closets or walk the treadmill!
Caz: I listen around the house a lot, but in the car, too. I recently introduced my eldest daughter (who is now coming up on eighteen) to the delights of audiobooks when we took some long car journeys together, and if I have a commute (I work in different locations, so some days I get more in-car time than others), I’ll get some listening in then, too. But mostly I listen around the house while I’m doing something mindless – cooking, washing-up, ironing – but sometimes I’ll just sit and listen and do nothing else – especially if I’m tired and can’t see straight to read!
Shannon: I have an audiobook with me pretty much everywhere I go. Most of my listening occurs around the house, but I’ve been known to listen to a great book while waiting to be called into an appointment, or when I’m on vacation.
BJ: As I mentioned in the Why section, I love listening while I’m doing chores. Beyond that, however, I pretty much find myself listening to audiobooks at just about any time that I can manage it (my addiction to them is that strong!). I usually fall asleep listening to a book (I find it helps me clear my mind—of course sometimes it backfires and I end up listening to a book into the wee hours of the morning!). Then I begin my day with my earphones back in as I eat my breakfast and get ready for work. One new pleasure I have found is listening while working on puzzles (I love building 1,000 piece or larger jigsaw puzzles), and I’ve found I can work on a puzzle for hours when I have a good audiobook on.
Kaetrin: Anytime I can conceivably be listening to an audiobook, I’m pretty much doing it. Exercising, housework, cooking, driving, showering, going shopping. Unlike Caz I can’t just sit and listen to an audiobook; I have to be doing something. Sitting and reading is for print/digital books.
Melinda: I have a long list of favorite authors, but the Awful Truth About Audiobooking (™) is this: The Narrator Rules (™). Favorite author/bad narration? Nope! I was spoiled early on in my Audiobooking Career with Davina Porter (Outlander series) and Anna Fields (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, pre-2007), so I don’t take much to sub-par narrations.
Caz: What Melinda said (™). I’m all about the narrator, too – no matter how much I love a book or author, if it’s narrated by someone I can’t stomach (I will name names for a price!) then it’s a great big NOPE from me. I pretty much hit the jackpot with my first (or one of the very first) audiobooks I listened to because it was narrated by Rosalyn Landor, who is easily the best narrator of historical romance around. I talk about my Fab Four – Landor, Reading, Boulton, Wyndham – and there are a few others who come close to getting onto the top shelf, but those are the people I’d listen to in pretty much anything.
Shannon: I’m not quite as picky about bad narrations as some of my fellow reviewers. As I said before, pretty much any narrator beats the synthetic voice of my screenreader, but I do have my favorites. Historical romances are especially great as audiobooks, as are long-running urban fantasy/paranormal romance series.
BJ: I pretty much second what Shannon said. I think I’m more willing to trudge through a difficult narration and have been known to try narrators a second and third time even if I didn’t particularly enjoy the narration (sometimes I have found that a narrator grows on me and will slowly become a trusted narrator, and then of course there have been a few times that I have thrown in the towel). That said, a great narrator can make a good book, great, and a great book, a top-favorite, so I have also been known to try a book by a new to me author just based on my familiarity with and like of a narrator.
Kaetrin: I’m more in the Melinda and Caz camp when it comes to narrators. If I really dislike a narration I won’t go back to that narrator for anyone. If I don’t mind a narrator, then I’ll give her (or him) another go – there are some who improve greatly with experience. And of course, I have my favourite narrators who I’ll listen to read just about anything. My favourites list is pretty long but they include Tanya Eby, Sophie Eastlake, Davina Porter, Nicholas Boulton, Shane East, Alex Wyndham, Grover Gardener, Kate Reading, Lorelei King, Callie Dalton, Sebastian York, Emma Taylor, Susannah Jones – I think I should probably stop now!
Caz: Like Kaetrin, I’ll give narrators a second (or third) chance if I think they weren’t too bad, or have potential to improve. But my tolerance for untrained, sub-par narrators, or those who are just plain wrong for a particular book or genre is low.
Melinda: I use my iPhone for everything, including audiobooks, and occasionally even to take phone calls. It’s always with me. And usually no earbuds for me – I just don’t listen when others are around.
Caz: I love my little Sansa ClipSport mp3 player – I’m on my second one – and I’ll keep buying them for as long as they keep making them. It’s very small, so is easy to clip on when I’m doing those chores I mentioned, and it can take a storage card of up to 64GB, so I never really run out of room. I do use the Audible app on my phone sometimes, but I don’t always wear stuff with pockets I can put a phone in, so I have to carry it around which can be a pain when I’m doing other things around the house. I have a hubby and kids at home, so it’s always earphones for me. I don’t get on with the in-ear earbud things, and for the last couple of years have used Sennheiser earphones which are fairly cheap (around £15) and have great sound quality. I also have a pair of over-ear bluetooth headphones which I like, but I forget to charge them so the wired ones are easier!
Shannon: I have an iPad mini that I use exclusively for audio booking. It’s bigger than my phone, but still small enough to fit in my purse. I use bluetooth earbuds along with it, so I don’t have to carry the pad around the house. Apple’s Beats X are my favorite brand of wireless earbuds right now. They have great sound quality, a comfortable fit, and pretty long battery life.
BJ: Like Melinda, I use my iPhone for most of my listening. I find it’s convenient since I always have it with me. I do, however, prefer to listen with earphones (and my favorite kind is blue tooth earphones because it allows me to move around while I’m doing my chores, getting ready for work in the morning, shopping, etc. without having to deal with dangling cords or having to carry my phone). I also, however, love the bluetooth speakers in my car. Whenever, I take a car ride alone, I immediately skip the radio and turn on a book!
Shannon: Those dangling cords can be a real pain, can’t they? I have one set of wired apple earbuds that I use when my bluetooth set needs to charge, and I’m forever getting tangled up in them or getting them caught on drawer handles and the like.
Melinda: My sister has killed multiple pairs of wired earbuds, especially gardening – death by garden shears! At the gym, I get them tangled up when I try to use wired ones on the treadmill – I think they’re dangerous!
Kaetrin: I listen on my iPod Nano and I use Bluetooth earbuds – I have a number of sets so I always have one charged. I’ve learned to take a spare set with me on a walk so I can swap them over if the ones in my ears run out of juice. My earbuds are pretty much a mandatory accessory for me – I most always have them around my neck. One never knows when there might be a listening opportunity!
OK – now you know The Rules of Audiobooking! Get thee to a download site and begin the journey!
(PS: none of our TM phrases are actually TM!!)
JUNE IS AUDIOBOOK MONTH – GIVEAWAY! All month long, bloggers will be sharing their favorites around the world in a Blog Tour organized by the Audio Publisher’s Association. Look for AudioGals’ favorites on Fridays in June and let us know your favorites in the comments – series, narrators, authors – plus visit the other blogs for more chances to win!
The Fine Print:
Enter for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. The giveaway is open from 12 am CDT Friday 2 June 2017 through 12:00 am CDT Monday 26 June 2017 (which is midnight Sunday). This is the same giveaway as the one posted June 2, 9 and 16; if you entered on those posts, you are already entered in the giveaway drawing.
Four winners will be chosen. The prize is a pair of earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads at Audiobooks.com (approximate value: up to US$45.00), which expire 15 July 2017. The codes have been provided by the Audio Publisher’s Association and Audiobooks.com. Entrants are restricted to US addresses only, please.
One entry per person, please. Winners will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter software. Winners will be notified by email used for entry by 11:59 pm Monday 26 June 2017, and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, another winner will be chosen.