Melanie’s #RT17 #Audiobook Wrap-Up

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Miscellaneous | 34 comments

Melanie's Great time in Atlanta

I just got back from the RT Convention in Atlanta. If you’ve never gone to this event, it is a lot of fun for book lovers. This is my second time attending this event (I attended RT15 in Dallas in 2015). This one was even more fun because there was basically an audiobook track. Though all the panels were geared towards authors (and one for librarians), I still had a ton of fun going and listening, learning and even chiming in as a listener. I’m going to share some of the things that I learned or that were discussed at the event. This post will be all about audiobooks/narrators. Check out my post at Rabid Reads for non-audiobook stuff.

Dual Narrators: Is Two Better Than One? #RT17 - Kai Kennicott, Wen Ross

Dual Narrators: Is Two Better Than One? #RT17 – Kai Kennicott, Wen Ross

Dual Narrators: Is Two Better Than One?

Kai Kennicott (narrator)
Michelle Mankin (author)
Wen Ross (narrator)
T. Torrest (AKA: Tina Torrest) (author)

So this was an interesting panel to start me down my audiobook tract in Atlanta. Kai and Wen are narrators who perform in a style called a Duet. If you’re not familiar with the different styles, there are:

  • Solo – single narrator does the entire book and does all the voices.
  • Dual – usually a male and a female narrator. The male narrator does the entire sections that are from the male POV (including all female voices). The female narrator handles the entire sections that are from the female POV (including the male voices).
  • Duet – usually a male and a female narrator. The male does the male voices and the female does the female voices throughout the entire book.
  • Full Cast – is similar to the Duet, but there can be many different narrators who handle one or more of the characters.
Dual Narrators: Is Two Better Than One? #RT17 - Michelle Mankin, T. Torrest

Dual Narrators: Is Two Better Than One? #RT17 – Michelle Mankin, T. Torrest

So, these narrators do the duet style where they go back and forth throughout the book. They did a few different readings in the panel. There are a few things I should point out about this panel. One, Duet is my least favorite type of narration. I have only listened to one Full Cast narration and it was amazing, but I don’t have a lot to go on here. Two, this panel was entirely scripted. The authors had a script that they read as if they were trying to find a narrator for their book. It didn’t make the panel seem very genuine to me. Lastly, I felt these narrators talked as if all other types of narration was inferior to their kind, which I completely disagree with. I think there are great reasons for all types of narration and that it is the personal preference of the authors, narrators and even the listeners choice as to which is the best best. I don’t think any of them should be put down over the other.

Swoon-Worthy Audiobook Voices

Swoon-Worthy Audiobook Voices #RT17 - Audible, Andi Arndt, Kristen Ashley, Tanya Eby, Jeffrey Kafer

Swoon-Worthy Audiobook Voices #RT17 – Audible, Andi Arndt, Kristen Ashley, Tanya Eby, Jeffrey Kafer

Andi Arndt (narrator)
Kristen Ashley (author)
Tanya Eby (narrator)
Jeffrey Kafer (narrator)

In this panel, we had narrators talking about what they go through to produce a great product for authors and listeners. I got to hear some great stories about how the process is done. There were also suggestions for authors, such as supplying character bios including things about personality, accent, etc, so that your narrator can give you the best performance possible.

Audiobooks 101 for Authors

Audiobooks 101 for Authors #RT17 - Andi Arndt, Tavia Gilbert, Jeffrey Kafer, Janet Metzger, Aiden Snow

Audiobooks 101 for Authors #RT17 – Andi Arndt, Tavia Gilbert, Jeffrey Kafer, Janet Metzger, Aiden Snow

Andi Arndt (narrator)
Tavia Gilbert (narrator)
Jeffrey Kafer (narrator)
Janet Metzger (narrator)
Aiden Snow (narrator)

Audiobooks 101 for Authors #RT17 - My Prize #NarratorsRock

Audiobooks 101 for Authors #RT17 – My Prize #NarratorsRock

This panel was very similar, but went more into the nitty-gritty of finding a narrator and negotiating a contract between the two of you. There was talk about royalty share vs. Per Finished Hour pricing. There was also discussion about trust and that a narrator and an author must have a trusting business relationship. Lead-time is another big discussion point. If you want your audiobook to release the same day as the print/ebook, you need to give time to the narrator to get that done. Not only, do they have to fit it into their schedule, which can be backed up for months, they must also have post production stuff done (clean up, quality control, etc). Added to that is Audible’s process, which also takes usually two weeks to get a book available for order (which explains why it seems that Audible preorders always seem to go live so late to me). There was also discussion about publishing only through Audible/iTunes, which may give you larger royalties, but will also keep you out of libraries. They also mentioned how close the narrator community is. If a narrator you’re looking for is booked full, they can probably recommend someone else for your book. The same is true if they don’t feel that they are best person for the book. I should also add that they gave away these great headphones, which I won. #NarratorsRock

All About Audiobooks

All About Audiobooks #RT17 - Michele Cobb

All About Audiobooks #RT17 – Michele Cobb

Caitlin Augusta (AudioFile Audiobook Romance Reviewer)
Michele Cobb (executive director of Audio Publishers Association, publisher AudioFile Magazine)

This panel was geared towards librarians and booksellers. Michele Cobb from the APA brought some great audiobook stats. You should check out the APA Fact Sheet and their Audiobook Industry Sales Survey Results. They also discussed how AudioFile Magazine has more than 4,000 audiobook reviews on their site and include quite a few in each Magazine print. AudioFile reviews the technical aspects of the narration.

Where is Your Listening Audience?

Where is Your Listening Audience? #RT17 - Karen White, Michele Cobb, Viviana Izzo, Felicia Sparks

Where is Your Listening Audience? #RT17 –
Karen White, Michele Cobb, Viviana Izzo, Felicia Sparks

Karen White (narrator)
Michele Cobb (executive director of Audio Publishers Association, publisher AudioFile Magazine)
Viviana Izzo (blogger, designer)
Felicia Sparks (Audio Publishers Association 2017 Audiobook Blogger of the Year)

This was another fun panel. Again, it was geared towards authors. They covered how to do get reviews, like making sure that the blogger actually reviews audiobooks. Making sure that there’s a Soundcloud sample for bloggers to use with their reviews. Harness the power of your narrator (if they are one who is willing to help market your audiobook). Promoting on social media. There was also discussion of June is Audiobook Month (#LoveAudiobooks).


I had a great time learning more about the process to make an audiobook. It makes me appreciate the audiobook experience even more. I will say that narrators are really funny. I was laughing a lot in these panels. I know one thing I stressed during the Q&A of every panel, avid audiobook fans will fangirl over narrators the way most booklovers fangirl over authors. You can bet I was following the narrators around and talking to them. They had a booth in the Bazaar, which I visited frequently to see who was there. I even got my picture taken with a few of them (as a whole, I wasn’t great about getting pictures with people. I would talk to someone and forget to ask). I hope we continue to see narrators coming to these events. I hope that they also have some fan panels too (great topics could include blooper type stories, talking about fun and interesting books that they’ve narrated, how they got into audiobook narration, etc.)

If you want to see the list of narrators who attended, Felicia (TheGeekyBlogger) did a great posts for the narrators SPECIAL In My Ear: #RT17 Narrator Edition #RNL Part 1 and SPECIAL In My Ear: #RT17 Narrator Edition #RNL Part 2. She listed all the narrators and some of their works. Since she did a great job, I won’t duplicate it. Just check out her post. I would also recommend that you check out And remember “Narrators Give Good Aural” (I love that tag line and the narrators had t-shirts with this saying on it)

Melanie with narrator Xe Sands #RT17

Melanie with narrator Xe Sands #RT17

Melanie with narrator Karen White #RT17

Melanie with narrator Karen White #RT17

Melanie with narrator Tavia Gilbert #RT17

Melanie with narrator Tavia Gilbert #RT17

Melanie with narrator Traci Odom #RT17

Melanie with narrator Traci Odom #RT17

Don’t forget to stop by Rabid Reads to see about all the non-audiobook stuff that I did while in Atlanta.

MLSimmons Reviewer

Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. Great post, Melanie! I had a great time, too. Atlanta was a blast, but it went so fast.
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy listening.

    • It did go by really fast. I had so much fun. I need to decide where I want to go next year. I’ve heard great things about NOLA Storycon and Coastal Magic. I might do one of them next year.

  2. I would have loved to when to those panels! I am glad that audiobooks are really getting out there and becoming a bigger thing than they use to be. I love Karen White!(She was so nice in person when I met her last year) I recognized a few of those other narrators but some I haven’t heard yet.

    • I really loved all these audiobook panels. I made it known (as did Felicia) that we love the narrators coming and would love to see them at more events. It sounds like they are interested.

  3. Sounds like you had a good time and congrats on winning the headphones!

    • Thanks. I was very surprised. I wasn’t expecting to win anything that nice. I’m one of those people who usually never wins anything.

  4. Wow fan(envy) girl here Melanine RT is on my bucket/wish list. They are one of the publications I review for.

    • It is one of the more pricey cons, but I like that I get to see so many of my blogger friends and authors. You might get a better rate being a reviewer.

  5. Awesome Melanie! I’m so glad you had a great time. This is something I’d definitely have enjoyed.

    • I had such a great time with you in 2015. I would’ve loved to have had you this time too. πŸ™‚

  6. congrats on the headphones! Those panels would have been incredibly interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed them and jealous at all the narrators you got to meet. Hopefully having narrators at these types of conventions will become a norm.

    • I had such a great time at the panel. The narrators were so much fun. I was laughing frequently. I hope they keep coming too.

  7. I so want to be able to come one day!

    • It would be so much fun if you could make it. I know it is a long way for you. Maybe one day.

  8. Looks like you had a good time. If I ever met Luke Daniels, I’d have to abduct him and make him talk to me as if he were Atticus. lol

    Congrats on the headphones!

    • YES! I would’ve so fan girled over Luke Daniels if he had been there. Robert Petkoff too. I haven’t listened to any of the male narrators that were there, but some I had heard of. I really want to try them now.

  9. How fun. One of these years when my kids are older, I am going to one of these events. I have been listening to more audiobooks than ever this year as I find them relaxing and I can stitch while I listen. Two of my favorite hobbies together, win win!

    • I love the ability to do two things at once with audiobooks. πŸ™‚

  10. That’s neat they have some audiobook specific elements to the con. A few names I know and enjoy on that list. Too bad the first set gave off that vibe. I think I’d like the duet style. I need to try and find some.

    • There are people who love that style of narration. I get that. I just don’t think that a narrators should be saying it is the only way it should be done. That is like saying all books should romance or thrillers or whatever. There is plenty of room for us all. πŸ™‚

  11. Great post. Looks like you have tons of fun!

    • I did. I really hope that we can meet up at a con sometime very soon.

  12. The famous Karen White!

    That’s awesome, audiobooks are convenient. I haven’t listened to one in a while and depending on the book, I do love duets or a full cast. It’s better for me versus just one narrator doing everything.

    • I love Karen White. She is so sweet and I love her work. Everyone has their preferences. I’ve only listened to one full cast (Dracula from Audible). That had an amazing cast and it flowed really well. The only duet series I’ve listened to is a bit jarring. That could be the narrators. I have gotten more used to it, now that I’ve listened to a few books.

  13. Oh wow! They covered a lot. Great prize as well. Enjoyed your other post and this also makes me want to go to RT. I don’t think I’ve met any narrators in person.

    • This is the first time I’ve meet narrators in person. They were all so much fun. I hope you get a chance to make it. I’ve had fun both time I was at RT (this year and in 2015).

  14. Those do sound like interesting topics and neat that you got to give them the perspective of the listener b/c yes, we do fangirl all over our favorite narrators. πŸ™‚ Bet you got to meet and see even more authors and narrators by attending these tracts at the con than if you had gone to others.

    Great recap, Melanie!

    • We do fangirl a lot don’t we. I know both Felicia and I mentioned to them that they need to a fan panel. I did get to meet new-to-me authors and narrators by going to these panels.

  15. That’s great there were some audiobook panels at this convention and you got to see and meet some narrators as well! I haven’t listened to audiobooks myself, but from the reviews I read i can tell that the narrator is very important.
    The one about dual narration sounds fun. I don’t think I’ve heard about many audiobooks with full cast, it seems that doesn’t happen as often.

    • The Duets and Full Casts cost more to produce. I’m not sure about Full Cast, but the Duets tend to be done together in the same room, going back and forth between them. Full cast might be done separately, I’m not sure. There wasn’t much talk about Full Cast outside of it existing. I’ve only listened to one, Dracula (Audible edition). I liked it. I couldn’t tell who was voicing which characters, even though I knew some of he actors.

  16. I’m so jealous! But I’m hoping to go to Reno for next year. YOU GOT TO MEET TAVIA GILBERT!!!!!!!

    • Tavia was so sweet. I loved meeting all the narrators. They were all so fun and really funny. I’m not sure if I’m going to a con next year or not. Probably not RT if I do go.

  17. I’m surprised the duet narrators put down the solo and dual narration styles, bummer! But I’m a huge fan of duet narration in addition to the standard solo and dual narration styles. One of my favorites is The Scars of Us series (books 1 & 2 only) and Kai and Wen sucked me into it immediately. It’s so cool that this year RT did a much more expansive series of panels for audiophiles and you got to check them out. Last year was my first RT Booklovers Con in Vegas, and there was just one panel with Tanya Eby and Andi Arndt that I caught. I got to meet Andi and Traci and take fangirl pics with them which was fun.

    Thanks for recaping!

    • The male narrator made a comment that men couldn’t voice women. I listen to many men who do a great job with voicing women. I prefer solo narration, personally. I think there is room for all styles. I was glad to see all the narrators. I think they are looking at doing more cons. This year was mostly author related panels, and I know that several of us pushed for listener panels too.


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