For this installment of publishing platforms, I’ve reached out to Kate Parker. This is another perspective on audiobooks from someone down in the trenches. As I’ve said before, audiobooks are an important way for me to consume books, and there’s something lovely about being told a story by a good narrator.
D: Thanks for joining me Kate, before I get started on my questions, I wonder if you could tell us a bit about yourself?
KP: I’ve always written fiction, but it wasn’t until my youngest graduated from college that I began to seriously pursue a writing career. I had been a hospital microbiologist and a tech for the phone company. Now that I had the time to write, I tried romantic suspense and historical romance before I began to write cozy historical mysteries.
D: In looking at your published work, it looks like you’ve published under both your own imprint and an imprint owned by Penguin Books. Are you more of an indie author or hybrid, or something else entirely?
KP: After a dozen years and 18 manuscripts, I started out traditionally published. When they dropped me, there were readers who wanted more mysteries solved by Victorian bookshop owner Georgia Fenchurch. My contract didn’t prevent it, so I wrote two more in that series before I began the Deadly series in pre-WWII England. My agent sent the first one around, but when no traditional publisher wanted it, I published it on my own. I have an audience who enjoy historical cozy mysteries. It’s not a large enough audience to tempt a traditional publisher, but it is a steadily growing group who appreciate a well crafted, well researched, well-edited story and I am happy to supply this group with mysteries. So yes, I am a proud Indie author.
D: I did a bit of digging to have a look at your published work and I was able to find two titles on Audible from “The Deadly Series,” both of which are published under the JDP Press imprint. How did you come to the decision to publish these two titles as audiobooks?
KP: I didn’t. Tantor Media approached me with an offer to produce the first two in the Deadly series, and I said yes.
D: Could you describe how you went about finding a narrator?
KP: Again, I didn’t. Tantor gave me a couple of choices, and among them was Henrietta Meire, who I consider the perfect voice for Olivia Denis, the heroine of the Deadly series.
D: Thinking about audiobooks, it’s easy to forget the third most important part, after the book itself, and the narrator, the producer. How did you go about finding someone to produce the book?
KP: Tantor Media approached me. I think they did a wonderful job producing Deadly Scandal and Deadly Wedding.
D: Another author I interviewed told me that publishing audiobooks weren’t a particularly lucrative endeavor unless you have a pretty substantial audience. Would you say that’s been your experience?
KP: Yes. The audience hasn’t been large enough for the first two audio Deadly books, so Tantor told me they have no interest in producing any more.
D: One of the things that surprised me was the length of time it takes to go from finished draft to an actual publication. I know we’re all told this, repeatedly, by any number of sources, but it always feels like a surprise. What does the timeline look like for producing an audiobook?
KP: I don’t know. I plan to find out this fall and winter when I go about trying to make the third and fourth Deadly books myself, with the help of Audible or Findaway. Henrietta, if you’re reading this, I’d love to use you again as the narrator for the next two books.
D: In your experience, what was the most difficult part of getting an audiobook produced?
KP: There are several companies who make audiobooks, Audible and Findaway Voices being the two biggest. Which one to choose depends on which online retail stores you want to sell from and who is in their collection of narrators. The next barrier is cash. I understand it costs a few to several thousand dollars to produce one audiobook.
D: What would you tell authors is the most important thing to do or keep in mind if they chose to move forward with an audiobook?
KP: I don’t know yet. Ask me in a year when I have tried to do this on my own. I know it’s not rocket science, but I expect to hit a few snags. Fortunately, writers are an inventive and resourceful lot. If I can kill people off in believable ways (in my books!) I should be able to figure this out.
D: That covers all of my questions, is there anything else at all you think authors should hear about audiobooks or the publishing industry, in general?
KP: My biggest piece of advice for all authors of all genres is to find a good editor or two. Your finished product will be better because of good editing.
Thank you, Kate Parker, for taking the time to answer my questions. Kate Parker is the author of the Deadly Series, the Milliner Mysteries, and the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, which can be found in a variety of formats and locations, including Amazon , and Barnes and Noble. Her audiobooks can be found at Audible. You can also check out her website at https://www.kateparkerbooks.com/