Audiobooks

From a Sept. 2nd article by Shannon Maughan in Publishers Weekly entitled “Hear This”:
No one knows an author’s work better than the author. And, frequently, no one can read an author’s work aloud as effectively as the author. Audiobook listeners are discovering that Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman are two authors who can read as well as they write: both give assured, entertaining performances on the audiobook versions of Summerland (HighBridge Audio, Sept.) and Coraline (HarperChildren’s Audio, June), respectively…

…”You rapidly learn all the unusual things you have to be aware of in the studio,” Gaiman said. “I would be moving right along and then someone would say, ‘We’re going to have to say that again; your stomach rumbled.’ ” The recording experience proved very different from the live readings Gaiman often does at his appearances. (He recently read Coraline in its entirety to approximately 700 fans at Cody’s Books in Berkeley, Calif.) “When you read in front of a group you have a sort of rhythm, backwards and forward, bouncing off the audience,” he explained. “In the studio, you don’t have that, you’re on your own. You have to sort of imagine an audience and hope that what you’re doing is going to work.”

When an audiobook does work, it can quickly win loyal fans…Coraline already boasts 10,000 copies in print, an impressive number for the genre. “I love audiobooks, but it’s so hard to get people to listen to them,” Gaiman lamented. “It was a strange idea I had, to release the audio a full three months ahead of the book. I thought it might reach some people who wouldn’t think of picking it up otherwise,” he noted. The audiobook of Coraline did arrive in stores ahead of its print counterpart, but only by a few weeks. HarperCollins moved up the publication date of the print book from September to July after strong advance demand.

Now that they’ve taken the narrating plunge, what do Gaiman and Chabon think of the finished products? “It’s very uncomfortable for me to hear myself,” Gaiman said. “It’s kind of like when you phone home and a day later you listen to your message and it sounds like a horrible parody of your voice.”…

…As for future recording sessions, Gaiman would like to eventually create a CD that includes The Wolves in the Walls, his forthcoming children’s book from HarperCollins, as well as his first picture book, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and some original music. “Whenever I’m the best person to read something, I would love to,” he said. “[Recording Coraline] was enormously fun.”