Are audiobooks responsible for a return to an “oral tradition,” due to the “unbridled power of the spoken word” and our evolving culture of multi-tasking? Or, as a narrator, am I simply paying more attention to the industry than before? I think the numbers speak volumes. The audiobook boom is a thing.
“…Despite the forces fostering the audio-storytelling boom, Susan Shipley of Dorchester, who often listens while she knits, sees the rise more as a return than a digital-age innovation.
‘Storytelling was originally an oral tradition,’ Shipley said. ‘When the scribes came along, I imagine the bards thought that was really new.’
D’Acierno of Penguin Random House Audio said she thinks the boom is pretty easy to explain. She believes that there is something natural in the attraction.
‘All of us love to hear stories,’ she said. ‘This is a way to get in touch with that again.’
Source: Interest in audiobooks rockets, along with other digital storytelling – The Boston Globe
“Even if you’re doing a work of nonfiction, talking about, say, the history of immigration at the turn of the 20th century, you still have to know how to best communicate the through-line of the author’s intent or the character’s thought.”
Source: William & Mary – Giving voice: Elizabeth Wiley finds niche in audiobooks
via Ira Glass on Storytelling, part 3 of 4 – YouTube
Who doesn’t love Ira Glass? No hands raised. In this five-minute video, he absolutely nails the struggle of the artist, in my opinion; the gap between vision and creation. That seemingly insurmountable thing, whatever it is, that keeps an artist from achieving a work that actually expresses what they intended in all its nuance and effect, a work that resonates with those who experience it and satisfies and fulfills itself. What makes an artist continue for years striving to close the gap? I believe Ira’s answer is pretty clear. Love.
Many thanks to Karen Commins for surfacing this video.
via Global Audiobook Trends and Statistics for 2016
A thorough and detailed December, 2015 article by Michael Kozlowski on Goodereader.com shares the continuing and dynamic growth and expansion of the Audiobook industry into 2016 and beyond. New players in the industry, new platforms, expanding technologies, new markets and distribution models, greater competition, impressive statistics, increasing demand for narrators, and in particular, (deep breath) reviewers. “There simply are not a lot of review websites that specialize in letting you know what new ones are worth listening to and what classics have been done by really good narrators. The average customer only knows what the front-page of Audible says is good or their local library. There needs to be significant investment in helping people discover great new content and blacklist titles.” Growth and opportunity for reviewers and bloggers, not to mention the increasing demand for great narration. Grab a cup and have some encouragement along with it.
I’ve always played with accents and impersonations. They came naturally and quite frankly, they made me crack myself up. Not a lot of accents, but a few. Some fit my mouth quite nicely; the Middle Eastern sound was not one of them. But I’m in the ballpark.
One of the fun/challenging aspects of Omari and the People was that, in addition to the characters, the narrator also sounds Middle Eastern- ish, which makes him a character too in a sense. Something different from that normative sort of inside-your-head type voice. I like the added dimension and how it seems to enhance the storytelling somehow and make you wonder who he is. He’s the tribal historian. Like that wonderful Aussie narrator in the movie Road Warrior. I can never escape that image of the unseen storyteller doing “the tell” around the big tribal fire somewhere lost in the desert. I love romantic fantasy.
If you’re a listener, I’d be interested in hearing about what you need from the narrative voice.
Fiction > Literary
Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield, narration by Curt Simmons. A thief leads the survivors of a devastating fire into the desert in search of a new life.
At the time of this posting, the audiobook version of Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield, which I narrate, has yet to be released. It will be coming out in a few days and both the author and I still struggle over the genre. That, in fact, is one of the things I love most about Stephen’s genre-bending work, i.e. the question of Fiction or Fantasy is at play for the reader/listener at the heart of the story. However, at this point, I’m not absolutely certain but I think Stephen and I agree that Omari is Magical Realism, a branch of Fiction. Of course, some will disagree with that as well as whether Magical Realism is a branch of Fiction. I like the position taken by Bruce Holland Rogers on Writing-World.com. What is Magical Realism, Really? “Magical realism is not speculative and does not conduct thought experiments. Instead, it tells its stories from the perspective of people who live in our world and experience a different reality from the one we call objective… Magical realist fiction depicts the real world of people whose reality is different from ours… Magical realism leaves you with… the feeling that maybe this view is correct.” It will be interesting to see in which genre Audible decides to place Omari and the People, the audiobook.