Have any of you ever considered having your published work adapted into an audio format? Is it a difficult process?  Would you want to hire a voice actor or would you want to read the book youself?  Is it even worth the trouble?  I'm curious to know how big of a share audios have in publishing.  I have found that when the author reads the story the narrative becomes more engaging.  Although, you have to be a bit of an actor to pull it off effectively.

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Audio is absolutely still viable. The only place many people can read is during their daily commute. That certainly applies to me. A local library does a booming business is MP3 downloads of books. I agree that an author reading the narrative can be beneficial as they know where the emphasis belongs based on their intent. Madeleine Albright's book is a good example of this. However, I recently returned a mystery to the library because the author was such a poor reader that I never made it beyond the first five minutes. Unless a writer is accustomed to public speaking, performing, or teaching, I don't recommend that an author read their own work.
I had some poetry professionally read several years back and was so unhappy with it I threw it away. The emphasis was wrong and the words weren't inflected properly. I redid the tape reading everything myself and even put some very light music in the background and it was much better.

The tape was made as an advertisement for readings I was doing at a dinner theater in Florida.

I just listened to the audio version of my short story UnderBelly that appears on the First Thrills anthology from Brilliance and Audible (Tor/Forge in hardcover) - and I was absolutely thrilled with what the narrator did. You always worry as a writer if the correct emotion behind your words is being conveyed to the reader, and when you hear the actor reading it the way you imagined it, it really is a treat. Wonderful experience. Now I just wish I could sell the audio rights to my debut novel, Switch. Love to hear that!
That’s great, Grant, that you had such a good experience from it. At risk of sounding like a Hobbit, there are few things I enjoy more than sitting down with a full pipe, a glass of scotch, and listening to a well written story.
I became an audiobook junky seven years ago when I got my first iPod. I'd listened to books on tape throughout the years and was a fan of radio theater, selected shorts from PRI, basically any source for hearing stories. But the iPod and Audible.com sucked me in for good. I've listened to nearly a thousand books. My experience has been that books read by the authors are not usually as easy to listen to as those read by professional narrators. There are exceptions of course, Neil Gaiman comes to mind right away. But the challenge is that narrating is a specific skill. Narrating is acting with nothing but your voice. To be a great writer takes hours and years of practice to develop. Narrating takes hours and years of practice to get good too. An author who puts in the time and effort to develop narrating skills, and has a "good" voice can be a joy to listen to. Listening to Toni Morrison read her work was spellbinding. I couldn't multitask, I just had to listen. Authors who think narrating is just reading out loud - painful.

I am a writer and narrator. I'm working towards a dual career because writing and narrating are my passions. That being said, most of my work has a very "male" voice, so I'll only narrate the pieces I feel my voice is a good fit for. I'd say if you feel passionate about narrating too, then do some recording and get some feedback from people who's opinions you trust. If you don't want to put the effort in, get a professional.
Audio books are so expensive, I just read out loud and turn up the radio at the end of every chapter.


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