Category: JIAM

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JULIE JAMES plus GIVEAWAY!

Before Julie James became a best-selling author, she practiced law and clerked in the US Court of Appeals, a background that she mines deeply for her smart and sexy heroines.  She’s been lauded all over the place for her writing – ALA, Booklist, Cosmo — I’m so glad I’ve been able to narrate her books. They walk the tightrope of humor and romance in perfect balance. My second project with Julie releases today:  Something About You.  It’s the first in Julie’s FBI/US Attorney series. Me:  The first book of yours that I read was Just the Sexiest Man Alive – one of my favorite titles ever.  Do you find that titles generally come to you along with the initial ideas for a book, or later in the process? Julie:  Moment of truth: Berkley changed the titles of my first three books, including Just the Sexiest Man Alive.  That book had originally been written as a screenplay titled “The Andrews Project”, but that didn’t really work for a romance.  So Berkley suggested calling the book “The Sexiest Man Alive” and, candidly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of that.  But as a debut author, I didn’t want to be too fussy, so I asked my editor to give me one extra word: “Just”. I felt that by adding that word, that made the title seem sarcastic.  I could hear Taylor, the heroine, saying, “He’s just the Sexiest Man Alive.  Whatever.” Me:   It is amazing how one word can change the tone like that!  JTSMA was set in Los Angeles (where I currently live) but the main character was from Chicago.  Something About You is set squarely in Chicago and the majority of the characters are from there.  I know you live in Chicago now – did you grow up in the city?  What do you enjoy about setting a book in Chicago? Julie:  I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I’ve lived in the city itself for the last twelve years.  It’s a great city–all the advantages of an urban environment (great food, museums, zoos for the kids, wine bars, and nice beaches along the lake) but it’s also a friendly, approachable city. Me:  Speaking of which – your descriptions of meals in various Chicago restaurants had my mouth watering.  Do you consider yourself a foodie?  Do you check out new spots with an eye for book research? Julie:  I like going out to restaurants, but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a foodie.  (I’m more knowledgeable about wine.)  But I do use many of my favorite restaurants in my books. Me:  Can you tell us about any research you did specifically for Something About You? Julie:  I’m fortunate to have a couple good friends in the . . .

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NIKKI BANKS: definitely unorthodox

I worked with Nikki as my director for my first book at Audible’s studios in Newark, NJ earlier this year.  She was a consummate professional and an impressive young woman, but also, quite funny (as you’ll see). KW:  What is your job title and what are your responsibilities? NB:  I am a freelance Audio Engineer and Audio Book Director.  I divide my time between recording/directing about 3-4 days a week at remote studios and spend most evenings and weekends audio editing from home.  I record/direct/edit at least 150 books a year, which means I try to stay as busy as possible. KW:  What’s your work zone like? NB:  My work zone at home looks an awful lot like a living room.  This could be because it IS a living room! While I have a proper desk, my “editing station” is far from usual.  I can usually be found on no particular piece of living room furniture, with a 2.5 feet wide by 6 inch deep plank of finished wood on my lap that was leftover from the cabinetry of a kitchen renovation eight years ago.  I wish I could say I was kidding.  On the plank rests my laptop, and it has enough room on the left side for a water bottle and a mouse on the right.  Headphones plugged in the front, of course.  I’ve looked for proper lap desks, but have found nothing better than what I currently have.  Definitely unorthodox, but it works. Aside from “my desk,” I am usually flanked by two napping cats, as well as a husband who always tolerates me saying “What?” when he asks a question while I’m editing.  Oh, and HGTV or tennis is almost always on mute in the background. KW:  How did you end up working in the audiobook industry? NB: Oh, man, by accident!  I received a BA in Music and went on to NYU to do graduate work in Music Technology.  From there, I was waylaid in music business at ASCAP (aka The Music Police) for a couple years but was doing my best to claw my way into audio engineering full time.  In about 2003, enter Charles de Montebello of CDM and John Cheary of John Marshal Media.  They both very, very kindly taught me most of what I know today.  I distinctly remember wanting out of the music business so badly that my resume’s cover letter to Charles was more of a plea, and mentioned something about a willingness to eat ramen regularly if it meant getting a new start.  Fortunately it did the trick.  Nearly 10 years later, I am doing the same kind of work, but with a plank of wood on my . . .

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LYSA WILLIAMS: “It’s an auction!”

Craig Black, the owner of Blackstone Audio, was honored at this year’s Audies.  One of the things that struck me in his introduction was how he has always made room for great literature, even if those books might not be great sellers.  I love how Lysa talks about this from her point of view. KW:  What is your job title and what are your responsibilities? LW:  I am an Acquisitions Associate for Blackstone Audio, Inc.  I meet with agents and publishers to take a look at their upcoming lists to choose the titles that will appear on our list in audio formats. Naturally, I read a lot. KW:  Can you tell us about a typical day? LW:  A typical day involves either starting or continuing in auctions for literary properties, accepting queries on submissions, reading several excerpts a day from various titles, and perusing periodicals and papers for current issues and any associated literature with those issues. I meet with agents outside the office during the week at either their offices or  over lunch and usually fall asleep at night reading. KW:  What’s your work zone like? LW:  Since Blackstone’s offices are located in Ashland, Oregon, I work out of my apartment in New York. I receive maybe twelve to twenty galleys a week – not including electronic manuscripts- so my little office is definitely stacked with reading material. It can be difficult to weed through the stacks so they don’t totally encroach on my living space, as several of the titles will be pubbed three or four months in the future. During the time from when I receive the galley to when it pubs there could be a terrific publicity burst which will call attention to a title I might not initially be interested in, so I do like to hang on to quite a few of them until they near the pub date. KW:  Does anyone share your workspace? LW:  My office is similar to Blackstone’s offices in that there are dogs and cats lollygagging  on the floor and furniture, other than that, I work alone. KW:  Hmmm.  I have similar office mates.  How did you end up working in the audiobook industry? LW:  My sister works in Acquisitions as well. She brought me into the company for a different position and I migrated over to her neck of the woods. KW:  What is your dream job? LW:  I have to say, my job pretty much is a dream job though I would like to do a little humanitarian work – which is partly fulfilled by getting books on issues that are so important to the world such as Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee and It . . .

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GIVEAWAY #3 for Audiobook Week: FARM CITY

This is one of my all time favorite books!  Not only does author Novella Carpenter have a great sense of humor, but I got to live vicariously through her and experience a little bit of my “having a farm” dream. I’m giving away one copy of the CD version of FARM CITY.  Just fill out the form below (18+, Continental US addresses only, please) and a winner will be chosen at random this Saturday, June 30. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Patsy H.!

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JANET BENSON: inspired by the customer

I met Janet when she was president of the Audiobook Publisher’s Association (APA) and saw her speak at my very first APA Conference.  I was very impressed with her passion for the industry then, as I am now. KW:  What is your job title and what are your responsibilities? JB:  Vice President at Audio Editions, an audiobook retailer (via catalog and online at www.AudioEditions.com). I was also an audiobook publisher, until we sold that side of our business 5 years ago. KW: Tell us about a typical day: JB:  I sell audiobooks, so most of my day is spent deciding which audiobooks to feature where – catalogs, online and in email. KW:  Can you describe your work zone for us? JB:  It’s a small-ish office over a large warehouse in small-town northern California (think foothills-of-mountains, not a beach setting). KW:  Who works near you and what do they do? JB:  Lots of great people who’ve been with our company for years. We specialize in real-person-on-the-phone customer service. KW:  How did you end up working in the audiobook industry?:  In 1990 I moved to this town and found a local publisher (to my astonishment)… and learned about audiobooks. KW:  What is your dream job? JB:   It WAS to be a Shakespeare-only actress. Long ago. Now… what I do feels pretty dreamy! KW:  What was your major in college? JB:  A combination Theater/English Lit degree called “Perfomance Studies” at my alma mater, Northwestern (I’m a midwesterner). KW:  What do you love most about the work you do? JB:  We work with books – what could be better for a reader? KW:  Do you have a pet peeve? JB:  People who complain without trying to understand the other side’s point of view. KW:  Do you have a favorite audiobook/genre and/or author? JB: audiobook: different favorites every year… loved Graveyard Book, The Help, and most recently a funny one, I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (read by Jayne Entwistle). genre:  mostly fiction author:  Louise Penny KW:  Do you have any stories to share: JB:  Here’s the story I tell would-be narrators, to demonstrate how little anyone can know about their ability to master audiobook narration. We recorded a title written by a college professor who was sure he could read his own book because he talked all day for a living. After an hour in the booth, having to start over every minute for a mis-speak or breath control or a cough, he realized how tough it was. We finished the project, but it wasn’t the funnest two days! KW:  What inspires you? JB:  Our customers inspire us every day. Their enthusiasm for audiobooks is unflagging. Also the privilege of being APA President . . .

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AUDIOBOOK WEEK JIAM GIVEAWAY #2:

ZOOBIQUITY by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers.  Audiobook published by Random House. This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in awhile.  I just can’t stop thinking and talking about it – and luckily I got to narrate it.  Maybe it’s cuz I’m an animal person, but I think pretty much any human interested at all in science would also be a fan. Giving away a CD version of this title, open to anyone living in the Continental US.  Just fill out the form below and a winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, June 30. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Mary S.! Related articles ZOOBIQUITY by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers (karenwhiteaudiobooks.com) Pay It Forward Giveaway Hop! (karenwhiteaudiobooks.com)

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VIKKI WARNER applauds change

I have never worked with AudioGo, but they sure do have a fabulous group of go-getter women working there: Michele Cobb and Traci Cothran, and now we get to meet Vikki Warner, from acquisitions.  (To me the most mysterious part of audiobook publishing.) KW:  What is your job title and what are your responsibilities? VW:    Acquisitions Editor, AudioGO I’m one of two editors here at AudioGO who comb through deal announcements, submissions, rights guides, and ye olde Internet, and choose the titles we record and publish. Once I set my sights on a title, I negotiate with the agent or publisher that controls the audio rights—and if the stars align, we settle on a deal. Then our fabulous crew takes over and makes the recording real! Then we do that same thing over and over again. KW:  Can you tell us about your work zone? VW:  Figuratively speaking, I work from atop a princess-and-the-pea-style pile of books. It’s a glorious place to be. I am guilty of donning earbuds and disappearing into an iTunes-induced haze while I work, getting way into the zone and appearing lost to the world, I’m sure. I like reading in that state. KW:  How did you end up working in the audiobook industry? VW:   I lucked out. I was working as a freelance writer after having left the medical publishing world. Work was not exactly rushing in, so I casually decided to start looking for a job. Where I live, in Rhode Island, is by no means a publishing mecca, so I assumed I’d be moving away from my little dreamland on the sea. But one of the first available jobs I spied was a Managing Editor position at BBC Audiobooks America. I nabbed it, and in the five-plus years since, the company and my position have changed frequently, which makes things hectic but really fun. KW:  What is your dream job? VW:  I’m going to be a dork and say I’m pretty close to it at this point. Barring a few pie-in-the-sky options—travel writer, NPR host, renegade farmer, junk-picking antiques dealer—I’m working in an industry I love, at a job that is—mostly—supremely fun. KW:  Oh, I share the farmer dream.  We almost bought a goat farm six years ago, but I think my husband and I would’ve killed each other by now if we’d gone that route.   What do you love most about the work you do? VW:   I think it’s pretty great that I sit here and read books for much of the day—and that those books are largely months ahead of publication. Some of them have been life-changing. I love to get into a manuscript, get totally lost in it, and begin . . .

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CASSANDRA MCNEIL: organized chaos, in and out of the rink

I met Cassie at Tantor’s annual APAC party last year and was delighted to learn that not only is she Tantor’s voice on Facebook, but she competes in roller derbies! KW: What is your job title and what’s a typical day like for you? CM:   I am the Marketing Project Manager at Tantor Media. A typical work day for me really isn’t very routine, my flow changes more on a weekly basis depending on my project deadlines. One regular task is me hopping around on Facebook, Goodreads, blogs, and sites to see what is going on in the social media world. Some of my more common projects are proofing the marketing materials produced by the department, writing posts for tor.com, maintaining the Tantor Wikipedia page, creating all sell sheets and catalogs, organizing materials and set-up for trade shows, sending out prepub title listings and review titles to reviewers, working closely with authors to market their books on audio, and helping the Sales Department with any necessary materials for their accounts. I know it all sounds thrilling. KW:  It sounds like a big job!  Can you describe your work zone? CM:  It is organized chaos. I don’t think anyone else can function in my work space — either on my computer or on my desk, but it works for me. KW: How did you end up working in the audiobook industry? CM:   I never planned to work in the audiobook industry. I suppose working for a publisher was a small consideration, but I had always planned to be the author submitting my work, not the one helping market other authors’ works. I have been an avid reader and writer for a very long time and even went to college and got myself a wonderfully useful BFA in Writing. However that hasn’t panned out at this time, odd. KW: I think once you get there, you’ll have some fantastic tools for marketing yourself.  What do you love most about the work you do now? CM:  What I really love about my job is the ability to spread the word about a title that someone might not have known about. I’m always a fan of the sleeper title that creeps up and grabs you unexpectedly. KW:  Are you able to listen to books at work? CM:  I do not listen to audiobooks while working, I find it too distracting for me as much of my work involves me writing and researching. I do listen on my way to and from work. KW:  Do you have a favorite audiobook? CM:  I do have a favorite audiobook, but I think I will look like a brown noser since it is one of your titles. Interestingly . . .

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PAY IT FORWARD GIVEAWAY HOP!

As part of my June is Audiobook Month celebration, and just cuz it’s fun to give stuff away, I am participating in this Giveaway Hop, hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader.  Head on over there to find out more about the hop — basically, lots of bloggers are giving away lots of stuff!  I’ll also be giving away more audiobooks all during the last week of June, so do come back to visit. I will choose a winner for my giveaway randomly from the entries to the form below.  (Entrants only from the continental US, please.) The winner will receive the CD version of his/her choice of these audiobooks: THE ZEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING by Shama Hyder Kabani BE HAPPY WITHOUT BEING PERFECT by Alice D. Domar OR WHEN ORGANIZING ISN’T ENOUGH: SHED YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE by Julie Morgenstern THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED . Congratulations to the winner, Lisa F.! All of the giveaways on the hop will run for one week, from June 23 – 30 (depending on the location).  Winners will be contacted within 48 hours of the deadline. And now that you’ve entered my giveaway, check out the rest! Roof Beam Reader (Int) Shooting Stars Mag (Int) Karen White Audiobooks (USA) BookHounds (USA) BookHounds YA (USA) Jinky is Reading (Int) Abel G. de la Cruz (UK) Noble Valerie (USA) There’s A Book (US/Canada) Tales of an Intrepid Pantster (USA) Leeswamme’s Blog (Int) The Lupine Librarian (USA) Sweeping Me (USA/CAN) Kristen Pelfrey Writes (USA) Love Saves the World(Int) Reading With a Broken Heart (Int) Book Addict (Int) Cheryl Rainfield (Int) Candace’s Book Blog (Int)

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DANIELLE GREEN: an English major who didn’t want to teach

JIAM2012 Behind the Scenes Interview #10 Danielle works at Blackstone Audio, but we’d never met or even emailed.  I’ve worked as a proofer myself, so I have a great deal of respect for this job! KW:  What is your job title and what are your responsibilities? DG:  My job title is: Audio Proofing Specialist. Broken down in its simplest form it is listening to a recording of the narrator while following along with the manuscript. Now I know this sounds like an easy job, a job where anyone can do it. But let me set the record straight: this is a very difficult job that requires the ability to focus on precise details all day long. If I miss something then it goes out to production with errors. No pressure, but my department is the last stop for quality control. After a book has been assigned to me I am in charge of making sure the narrator stays true to the written text. This is a very important step because we want to honor what the author wrote; they put it in there for a specific reason and we do not have the right to change it. I am also in charge of making sure the narrator has pronounced every single word correctly. This step requires many hours of research — digging around in the depths of the World Wide Web can be very exhausting. I need to provide sources for every mispronunciation; I can’t go off a hunch or a guess.  Finally I need to make sure the audio engineer is aware of every single noise that disrupts the listening process. Some of these noises (pops, clicks, breaths) I can fix myself, but the really bad ones need to be noted in my Adobe Audition program and will be fixed by the engineer after I’ve finished the book. KW:  Who works near you and what do they do? DG:  The room my department is located in has 6 other proofers. Each proofer does the same thing I do, we each have smaller side projects we do when a book isn’t ready or we are waiting for answers. It’s great to have other proofers close by; we bounce ideas off each other, answer research questions, and give moral support when needed. Our department is very well rounded, each of us having something we excel in. KW:  How did you end up working in the audiobook industry? DG:  I started working in the audiobook industry out of dumb luck. I worked at an airport during my college years. My major was English Literature. I knew I didn’t want to teach, but I didn’t have any other concrete plans. I was kicking . . .

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