Audiobook Publishing Insights - Producing Quality for Listeners Today

Marketplace Q&A with Ideal Audiobooks Publisher Amy Rubinate

The Art of Arranging Flowers
Ideal Audiobooks publisher Amy Rubinate discusses quality audiobook production. Ideal Audiobooks

As the audiobook market grew, Amy Rubinate saw a need for a particular niche. Here, the publisher of Ideal Audiobooks talks about what inspired to start her own company and about the importance of audiobooks to authors and audiences today.

Valerie: What was your motivation for starting an audiobook publishing house? Can you speak to the nexus of your passion and your sense that there was a need for the types of books that you do?

Amy: As I narrated audiobooks, I looked at the business from a big-picture perspective. Many of the print books I loved weren’t being produced in audio, and I knew there was a market for quality audiobooks.

With my background in producing and casting, I knew I could develop a catalog of audiobooks that was recognizable for its quality, choice of great books, and commitment to hiring veteran, award-winning narrators. So I founded Ideal Audiobooks, which enabled me to accomplish my vision of bringing listeners satisfying stories that deal with complex subjects in a positive way. I am creating a small catalog of titles carefully chosen to represent the best in women’s fiction, romance, young adult and children’s books.

Valerie: What are the elements that allow a book to successfully transition from words on a page (or e-page) to an audiobook?

Amy: The audiobook producer, director and narrator must pay careful attention to the text and the author’s intent.

The goal of the narrator is to bring the book to life in a way that resonates with listeners. Some books lend themselves to audio more easily than others.

We just released a young adult book called Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone, about a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder, whose life is changed when she discovers a secret poetry society in the basement of her high school.

This book is especially effective in audio because in Poet’s Corner, the characters stand onstage and read their poetry to each other. By speaking their words aloud the characters make themselves vulnerable and known. This effect is heightened by the act of the narrator reading the story aloud.

Valerie: How do you edit / optimize the book for audio?

Amy: We publish unabridged audiobooks, which are word-for-word spoken renditions of the text. Most of our books are read in the traditional way, with a single narrator for each book. Multi-cast audiobooks are a popular trend, and we have several books that we’ve chosen to produce with multiple narrators.

Valerie: I've written about audiobooks as an ancillary form of author revenue — would you share some facts about the financial realities?

Amy: It’s very expensive to produce an audiobook at a professional level, but audiobooks are a growing segment of the publishing business, and a great way to introduce a book to a larger audience.

Consumers want a choice of book formats and even to be able to move between formats. By making good books available on audio we help to increase revenue for the authors, and build awareness of [an author's] books and the audiobook format.

Releasing a book on audio is a great way to reach a wide and devoted audience, and to experience your own words in a new way.

Valerie: Speaking of audience, in your experience, what sells an audiobook? 

Amy: According to a recent report issued by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), subject matter is an important element for listeners, and both word of mouth and reviews also influence sales.

Many listeners will follow an author from audiobook to audiobook or series to series.

The narrator is also a major factor in audiobook selection, which is why it’s so important to me to hire skilled narrators at the top of their game. I want Ideal’s listeners to have a great experience, so I work with narrators who I know can deliver!

For more of Amy's expert information about audiobook narration and read more about audiobooks here.

Amy Rubinate is an award-winning narrator who has narrated over 200 audiobooks, and the founder of Ideal Audiobooks, an independent audiobook publishing company. Amy began her career as a cabaret singer, stage and voiceover actor. She was a scriptwriter, puppeteer and associate producer for children’s television, voiced hundreds of interactive toys and video games, and cast interactive projects. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Dan Rubinate, and dog, Buddy.