Interview with Neil Turner, Author of A Law Unto Itself (The Tony Valenti Thrillers Book 8)

01 May 2024

On Audiobooks, An Interview with Neil Turner

I’ve previously written about topics including the thriller genre and the inspiration for my books, so I’m going to switch gears this time to offer my thoughts on audiobooks from the perspective of an independent publisher.

I was intrigued at the thought of bringing my novels to audio from the outset, but I knew next to nothing about how to do so. A little investigating made clear that producing a quality audiobook (professional voice actor narrating, professional production, marketing, and distribution) would cost several thousand dollars per book—times eight books (and counting!). The math was daunting. Lucky for me, while I was at a writer’s conference last year, I fell into conversation with a narrator who was kind enough to connect me with a representative of Recorded Books, one of the top independent producers and distributors of audiobooks. I was fortunate enough to strike a deal with them to produce my series in audio. Book Three, A Case of Betrayal, was just released on audio on March 19th, and the rest of the novels will follow at the rate of one every several weeks. Fun stuff!

Every published author has experienced the thrill of holding their novel and thinking: OMG! I wrote this!!!! It turns out that listening to a professional voice actor reading your work is pretty darn cool, too! I got chills hearing the remarkable Gary Bennett bring my words to life. Once I got over the sheer fun of it, I realized that a professional voice actor also brings personality to characters in ways the writer may not have consciously considered. This may prompt a writer to see a character in a new light, which may then inform how that character is presented going forward, potentially breathing new life into a character that may be going a little stale.

From a strictly business perspective, audiobooks have extended my reach to new readers and markets: people with sight challenges who do not like to read in braille, people who don’t have much time to read but enjoy listening to a good story while driving, and others. Audiobooks now make up approximately 30% of the overall book market, so it’s definitely a market segment all authors should be aware of. Aside from the business case, however, consider this: I’m hearing from a different set of “readers”, and interacting with readers is truly one of the joys of writing. An author friend shared an additional motivation for publishing in audio with me last month: a film/movie scout listened to their novel while commuting, and now they’re negotiating a potential deal. Maybe not the primary reason to publish audiobooks, but what a sweet side benefit if it happens!

Neil Turner is the author of the new book A Law Unto Itself (The Tony Valenti Thrillers Book 8)

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