Listening to and writing for audiobooks

Do you listen to audiobooks?

It seems like audiobooks are becoming more and more popular these days. I’ve had folks tell me that they listen to audiobooks in a variety of places and ways — everything from while they are in the car or on the train commuting to work or even while they’re at home doing housework.

Out of my various books, the audiobooks for my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series are the most popular. They are narrated by the awesome Lauren Fortgang, who does a great job of bringing my heroine Gin Blanco to life. Instead of getting e-mails asking when the next book will be out, now I get e-mails asking when the audiobook will be out. LOL.

Spider's TrapThe audiobook for Spider’s Trap, Elemental Assassin #13, was released on July 28, the same day as the print and e-book versions. You can order the audiobook through Audible and Amazon.

I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but I’m interested in trying them. But what has really impacted me is that I find myself writing my books with the audiobook version in mind.

When I’m writing a new character, I will ask myself questions like “What does this person’s voice sound like?” and “How can I make them sound different and distinctive from the other characters?” Then I’ll put in some tags for the audiobook narrator to pick up on and hopefully use. Here’s are some examples from Spider’s Trap:

“Well, Blanco?” Dimitri demanded in a low, gravelly voice.

“I can’t let you go anywhere, can I?” Owen murmured, a teasing note creeping into his deep, rumbling voice.

“But what about you, sweetheart?” Mallory said in a twangy voice that was far more hillbilly than high society.

I think adding the voice tags not only makes for a better audiobook, but that it is also a little bit of extra description for folks reading the print and e-book versions as well.

What about you guys? Do you listen to audiobooks? And for all the writers out there — do you describe your characters’ voices with audiobooks in mind?


Thanks to the folks at Audible, I have a download code for the audiobook of Spider’s Trap to give away. To enter, use the form below. Open to those 18 and older, worldwide.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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16 Responses to Listening to and writing for audiobooks

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Jennifer,

    What a great idea, putting in tags for the voice actor to use! I am definitely an aural reader, and those hearing cues are important to me. I also enjoy varied speech cadences, from the clipped, short sentences Avenue New York native to the long rambling expositions of a country storyteller. Thanks for sharing your audio book tip 🙂

  2. Michelle B says:

    I have really grown to love audio books in the last year. I have been doing the “immersion reading” thing on my Kindle Fire, buying the Kindle version and getting the Audible at a discount and listening to the audio while I read. It adds another level to the books and when the narrator is “right” for the story, it makes it even more enjoyable.

  3. Ezinwanyi says:

    I love Lauren Fortgang in this series. She nails Gin’s character. I’m looking forward to the new villainess. It should be full of drama.

  4. Edie Ramer says:

    Jennifer, putting those tags in is a brilliant idea.

    I used to listen to audiobooks when I worked outside of the home. I can remember bawling as I drove down the expressway, listening to The Horse Whisperer.

    In my home now, there’s too much to distract me, and I miss too much to listen to books. A friend listens while cleaning, but she must clean a lot more than I do. As much as I clean, it might take me months to finish a book.

  5. Eleonora says:

    I started last year with audiobooks.
    I really thought I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on them and it would give me a headache.
    But the truth is, it makes a book more pleasant. There’re some wonderfull voice-actors out there who give a book something extra.
    I also enjoy a book longer if I listen to them, it takes about 3 to 4 times as long to listen to a book than to read it. Plus it’s great to fall asleep with.
    So I really like it, a big downside is that I can listen during my commute (train) or in the waiting room because it’s too noisy. And another downside is that the nailbiting, hairrising scenes take much longer to get through.

  6. Jennifer says:

    You know how I feel about audio books. The more the better and yes Lauren does an amazing job with the EA series. Even after I read an ARC for one of the books I still get the audio so I can listen. And now when I’m reading I hear Lauren’s voice doing the characters. LOL
    Jennifer`s last blog was …Audio Review: A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter

  7. Ezinwanyi says:

    I listen to audiobooks while I cook, clean, fold laundry and my 1hr drive to work everyday. If the story is interesting I am engaged. I love hearing the voices just like I love watching movies before reading books. The characters are kind of teased out for me already.

  8. Candice Poppell says:

    I absolutely love audiobooks. I listen to them in the office when I’m working and mindlessly entering data into spreadsheets for hours on end. Also I love listening to them in the car. I get tired of hearing the same songs on the radio.

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