Category

Industry Professional

Let’s Chat with Jess the Audiobookworm

Before we begin, I have to thank Terri (my fellow “Carolina girl”) for the opportunity to be featured on #CarolinaReads!

First and foremost I have to ask why audiobooks? What draws you to this format?

Primarily, the convenience. I grew up with a voracious appetite for reading, but as I got older, it dwindled. Life got in the way. I became busier and began to accept that reading was a luxury I didn’t have time for anymore. I’m sure this is something a lot of folks can relate to.

My seemingly incidental introduction to audiobooks re-opened a door I thought had been shut forever. I’m not being dramatic, I genuinely thought that part of becoming an adult meant that I wouldn’t have time for a luxury such as reading. Audiobooks not only allow me to fit reading into my schedule but now I’m able to consume more books than ever!

Do you think every book lends itself to the audio format? Why or why not?

No, I don’t. Most do, but some still translate better than others. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t think all books should be translated into audiobooks. Every book deserves an audiobook!

But a lot of times, audiobooks are afterthoughts for authors. Something they don’t even think about until the book is well underway, if not already finished. That’s completely understandable because writing a book and getting published are hard.

Sometimes, a book is written in a manner that’s just meant to work best on paper.

Two popular examples come to mind: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and Taherah Mafi’s Shatter Me. Both are excellent novels but seem (to me) to work better when visualized rather than heard. Attachments is written as a series of emails between coworkers. The novel was formatted in a very unique way to resemble email attachments. In audio, the novelty of this formatting doesn’t come across as well as it should. In Shatter Me,  the protagonist constantly strikes through her words as she writes journal entries. Again, I love this idea, but the only way to convey it in audio was to use a scratching sound effect to mimic the protagonist’s writing utensil striking through a word. It took me a good portion of the novel to understand what was happening there.

How do you fit listening to audiobooks into your schedule?

Listening has become a habit to me now.  I always have an audiobook playing.  Luckily, I work from home, so I’m able to listen continuously and at whatever volume I want!

There are so many daily opportunities to listen. Think about all the times you have music playing.  That’s when I play an audiobook.  

  • In the car
  • Exercising
  • Working in the yard
  • Falling asleep at night
  • Doing housework
  • At the beach or swimming pool

Anytime I’m performing a mindless task (something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration), I listen to an audiobook.

When I listen to a book, I find it even easier to picture the whole story in my head. How does listening to the story enhance the experience for you?

Oh, absolutely. I love relaxing in bed at night when listening to an audiobook.  I can close my eyes and see the story play out in my mind. It’s effortless.

It’s also fun to create mental images of the characters.  I love casting the characters of the audiobooks I hear. I ask myself  “If this story were being made into a movie or television series, who would I want to play the parts?”. That takes the visualization to another level.

Tell us a little about your company. How did it start? What services do you offer?

It all happened in a very kismet sort of way.  I began looking for blog tour companies to work with as an audiobook blogger.  After applying to several of them, I was politely told that there likely wouldn’t be many opportunities for me to participate because audiobook blog tours weren’t very popular.

I thought that was odd because I was getting several review requests a week from authors, narrators, and publishers. Why weren’t these people approaching tour companies about promoting audiobooks? This felt like a gap in the book marketing world that needed to be filled.

Shortly after that,  I was approached by an author about coordinating an audiobook blog tour for his audiobook that I had previously reviewed. My first instinct was to say “No, I can’t do that.”,  but then I thought “Hey, maybe I could do that…” , which eventually turned into “ I can do that!”.

A little over a month later,  Audiobookworm Promotions was born. I explicitly cater to the audiobook community, of which I am proud to be a part. I believe that, with a little creativity, audiobooks can be marketed just as effectively as traditional books.

Audiobookworm  Promotions seemed like a natural progression from The Audiobookworm.  I’m excited to be unveiling a new website for Audiobookworm  Promotions in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be gradually expanding my services. Right now,  I offer blog tours, review tours, graphic design and web design services, as well as a number of other brand management and marketing services.

I  organize virtual tours for all genres and I’m always looking for tour hosts. Anyone interested can sign up here! There are also a number of audiobooks available for “adoption” on my Adopt-An-Audiobook page.

What is the first book you remember reading?

That’s tough because I’ve been reading from a very young age. Like most of my generation, Harry Potter was my childhood.

It’s much easier to recall my first audiobook.  The first audiobook I heard was Stephen King’s 9/22/63 and it remains my favorite to this day.

What are you listening to right now?

I’ve gotten to the point now where I can’t just listen to one audiobook at a time. Maybe it’s a commitment thing. I like having several options available to me because of my listening mood changes with the wind.

I currently have about 30 minutes left in Night Broken, the 8th installment in Patricia Briggs’  Mercy Thompson series. That series is a must-listen for paranormal fans.  Lorelei King (the narrator) is doing an amazing job.  

I’m also listening to  Mary Roach’s  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and it’s every bit of what it sounds. Although, I’m having to hear it in stages and never while eating.

Why did you choose that story?

I started the Mercy Thompson series after it was recommended by too many people to ignore. I love the paranormal genre and this series (as well as its spinoff) has become one of my all-time favorites.

Whenever I’m in a listening slump,  I temporarily switch over to podcasts for a day or so. That’s how I came across Mary Roach’s TED Talk, which sparked my interest in her writing. I highly recommend her work (and her TED Talk), but not to those with weak stomachs!

Who is an author or book character you would like to meet one day and why?

I feel like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin are the obvious answers here, but they’re also pretty far-fetched (probably). Now that I’m thinking about it, I’d love to have a conversation with Mary Roach. After hearing her TED Talk, I immediately searched for more of her interviews because I found her work so fascinating. She seems very down-to-earth and to have a great sense of humor,  which is evident in her writing. Dinner with her would be fun and informative, although we’d probably have to set some parameters about what could be discussed at the table (for my sake!).

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What would they be and why?

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their bookshelf. Physical book are pretty scarce around my house,  but I have hung on to a few:

What Is My Cat Thinking? This is probably my most referenced book (unfortunately). I have three cats and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows which one of them makes me pour over these pages.

The Lady of the Rivers– It’s about Jacquetta of Luxembourg (my 18th-great grandmother). I love doing genealogy and having such a popular book written about one of my ancestors excites me. This will be neat to pass down a future generation one day!

The Everything Dreams Book: What Your Dreams Mean And How They Affect Your Everyday Life– I’ve had this since I was 12. It may be the oldest book I own.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed.– From my grad school days. I still reference it occasionally and it’s handy to have around.

Gone with the Wind– I read this every summer between 8th and 12th grade. Even though time has significantly changed my view of the story, I can’t bear to give up my tattered copy.