August/September 2015

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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34 n AudioFile/ AudioFile spoke with Amy Rubinate about Ideal Audiobooks. AF: How did you decide to start your own audiobook company? AR: I've been a narrator for a little over four years, and I just completed my 200th book. Because I narrate nearly every day, it's more than just work; it's a huge part of my life. I especially enjoy narrating thought - ful women's fiction, lighthearted romance, young adult, and children's books. These books have emotional resonance for me outside of my work; this is what I like to read and listen to in my free time. I discovered that not all of the books I wanted to hear were being produced on audio. I began to consider publishing a collection of satisfying audiobooks that dealt with complex issues in a positive way. I realized that with my background in producing and casting, and a strong vision for the type of work I wanted to develop, I had an opportunity to bring good stories to listeners. AF: What can a small, independent audiobook company like yours do that a larger one might not be able to? AR: Because we have developed person- al relationships with many of our authors, who have entrusted us with their work and their livelihoods, we have an imperative to help them gain the widest readership possible. I approach Ideal as a full-service boutique publisher, working with authors to find a larger audience for their stories. A business consultant told me early on, "You're a marketing company that sells audiobooks." I love that idea, because it emphasizes the need to not just produce quality audiobooks but to actively build a market for them. I flew up to San Francisco last week- end to meet with Ideal author Tamara Ireland Stone to work on publicity for her young adult novel, Every Last Word. It's a special book about a girl struggling with mental illness whose life is changed when she finds a secret poetry society in the basement of her high school. The Bay Area, where Tamara is based, has had a dramatic increase in teen suicides recently, so this is a book that is especially relevant to her community. We're working to put her book in the hands of anyone who might need it. By offering a title in a new format, we can reach a wider audience, and in this case, the subject naturally lends itself to the audio- book form—the listener gets to hear the poems read aloud as the members of the secret society do. AF: Who is your "ideal" listener? AR: I like to imagine mothers and daughters listening to Ideal's audiobooks together. Because our catalogue focuses on quality women's fiction, romance, young adult, and children's audiobooks, we have something to appeal to a wide age range of listeners. When I was still in the beginning stages of setting up my company, my mom found my first book for me. She read a review of Heather Vogel Frederick's award-winning middle-grade novel Absolutely Truly, called me up, and read me the review over the phone. I knew that this was the type of magical, bighearted book I wanted to develop in audio. I acquired the audio rights to three of the author's middle-grade series (including The Mother-Daughter Book Club and Spy Mice), and we'll release one a month for our first year. I love that my mom discovered my first titles; since I want my audiobooks to be personal and family oriented, this seemed like a good way to start. And Heather's books fit perfectly with Ideal's slogan, "Stories With Heart." Acquiring this collection early on helped set the tone for my company and honed my focus on the types of books I want to share with the world. AF: Anything else you'd like to share? AR: The audiobook community has been incredibly welcoming. I think it helps that, as both a narrator and an audiobook lover, my goal has been to share with the listening audience what I find won - derful on audio, whether it's a book I narrated, a book someone else narrated, a company I work for, or a publisher I don't yet know. I made it my goal to celebrate audiobooks in as big a way as possible, and I appreciate that the audiobook community has extended that approach to my work. This is a small, dedicated industry, committed to further - ing the goal of producing great products and building audiobook listenership. I'm proud to be an active part of that process and grateful for the warm welcome I've received as I bring more audiobooks into the world! Indie Publishers Corner Tamara Ireland Stone (l) and Amy Rubinate More Listening ABSOLUTELY TRULY Heather Vogel Frederick, read by Amy Rubinate Ideal Audio Unabridged Ages 10+ Trade Ed.: DD EVERY LAST WORD Tamara Ireland Stone, read by Amy Rubinate Ideal Audio Unabridged Young Adult Trade Ed.: DD THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND Kasie West, read by Shannon McManus Ideal Audio Unabridged Young Adult Trade Ed.: DD THE OPPOSITE OF MAYBE Maddie Dawson, read by Hillary Huber Ideal Audio Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD

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