Some of us call it reading with your ears.
Call it what you will, it’s a rapid-growth segment of the book market, and I don’t see it quieting down any time soon. When I set about publishing my expanded and updated book for writers, Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel, I knew I wanted to bring it out in audio as well, and thought I probably ought to narrate it myself.
I’ve narrated several of my own books over the years, and have been happy with both the process itself and the results. But the last time I did it, with The Night and the Music, I found the whole business exhausting, and my voice was falling apart toward the end of each day’s recording session. And so with a heavy heart—but with a light larynx—I decided to pick a voice artist.
That part was easy. I’d worked with Mike Dennis before, when I chose him to narrate Borderline, and neither I nor the audio audience could have been happier with the results.
So how’d he do with P2P2P?
Brilliantly, I’d have to say. And I’m not alone in this; here’s what Peter Ackerman tells us all in his incisive Audible review:
“Mike Dennis is an excellent narrator for this…If I ever meet author Lawrence Block, I think my biggest disappointment will be that his voice is not Mike Dennis’s—because I really felt like the author was speaking to me via the writer’s first person voice in the text.”
P2P2P‘s also available as an eBook and a trade paperback, and has been getting a heartening reception all three forms. Readers have said they like having it handy on their Kindles, that they want the easy repeat access of a printed copy on their desk or bookshelf, and that listening to the book is less effortful than reading with one’s eyes, and allows the material to penetrate on a different level. Well, your mileage may vary, but if you enjoy audiobooks and have an interest in writing novels, you might want to give Mike a listen.
You mentioned that he narrated Borderline. What other audio have you self-published?
Defender of the Innocent, the collection of all 12 Ehrengraf stories, was narrated superbly by the late Don Sobczak. It continues to sell well. Don also voiced one of my John Warren Wells books, Wide Open: New Modes in Marriage, and did a wonderful job with it.
Emily Beresford is the voice of Jill Emerson in three novels: Warm and Willing, Enough of Sorrow, and Thirty. Her narration is a treat, but sales have been slow—because, I’ve since been told, there’s not much of an audio market for lesbian fiction. If you’re willing to swim against the tide, give her a listen. The first two titles, I should point out, are sensitive novels of the lesbian experience; Thirty, a more candidly erotic work than the others, is the diary of a housewife reinventing herself as her 30th birthday approaches.
(And there may be another explanation for the slower Jill Emerson sales; I’ve just discovered that the audiobooks don’t show up on Amazon searches, and Thirty doesn’t seem to be listed there at all. The links for the first two books will get you to the right Amazon page, while Thirty is linked to its listing on Audible. And yes, I’ll have to get them to straighten all of this out…)
Any more audio planned?
Planned, but not yet scheduled. I’m hoping Mike will once again become the Voice of Lawrence Block and narrate The Crime of our Lives, my collection of reviews, personal reminiscences, and critical essays on the crime fiction genre and some of its notable practitioners. I can’t think of anyone better suited to the material, or more of a pleasure to work with, so it’s largely a matter of his finding time in his schedule.
Speaking of TCOOL (pronounced T-Cool around here, notwithstanding that it sounds like the name of a second-tier rap artist), it’s readily available as an ebook or paperback. But your best move by far is to snap it up in hardcover as an Amazon close-out, where it can still be had for $9.99 with free shipping to Amazon Prime members. (The ebook is $4.99, the paperback $14.99, and the hardcover in LB’s eBay Bookstore is $24.99. If you want the book, you really ought to jump on the Amazon deal while it’s still there.)
What about that Sunlight/Shadow deal? With the Edward Hopper pictures?
That would be In Sunlight or in Shadow, known around here as ISOIS. Coming this fall from Pegasus Books, with 17 stories by 17 stellar writers, and illustrated with 18 of Hopper’s magnificent paintings. (No, that’s not a typo. 17 stories and 18 paintings. What, it bothers you to get a bonus?) You can pre-order it now, and soon you’ll have a chance to get your order in for the deluxe limited edition from the renowned small press Cemetery Dance.
And that’s all for now, except for a couple of schedule items. This coming Wednesday, May 11, I’ll be at the Mysterious Bookshop to help my friend Tony Bellotto launch his new book from Akashic, Rio Noir. Tony’s a writer and musician based in, duh, Rio de Janeiro, and this volume is the first in Akashic’s iconic series to venture into Latin America. I don’t think I’ll have much to do besides sit there and smile, but it should be an enjoyable evening.
And on the month’s last day, Tuesday, May 31, I’ll be at World Stamp Show at the Javits Center at 4pm. My talk’s entitled “A Hit Man and his Stamps,” and you can probably figure out that the chap in question is our good friend Keller. Admission’s free to all, and I’ll most likely bring some books to sell and sign.
And that, dear friends, is it for now. I wish you all pleasant reading, whether with your eyes or ears.
PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to email@example.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.