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The goal of the project was to create high-quality audiobooks of titles that had never been presented in this format. Gaiman chose the books and oversaw quality-control of the audio edition. (In one example of what not to do—and how careless publishers often get it wrong—Gaiman recalled the experience of a bestselling author he knew: “He’d written a book that was narrated by a 20-something black male and the audiobook was read by a 50-something white female. He had no say in this and after listening to it for five minutes he stopped, feeling physically sick.”) (

The Gaiman project is associated with Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX, on the internet at ACX was created to bring new titles to the public by hosting a service through which authors can connect with professional narrators and production people. From the website: “At ACX, those unused audio rights will be matched with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other producers capable of producing a finished audiobook, as well as with audiobook publishers.” As the rights holder, you have control over the process and can pick and choose from a menu of services and royalty structures.

A good example of how upscale an ACX audiobook production can be is the fantasy novel Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, narrated by the author (and produced in the Neil Gaiman Presents project).

If you listen to the free sample audiofile, you’ll notice the recording includes sound effects and additional cast. It’s the sort of treatment you (and/or an ACX producer) could arrange for your own work, depending on your budget. (Don’t have the cash? Then see above: crowdfunding!)

Laura Resnick invites you to send her information about writers creating and employing various Long Tail strategies, so that she can write about those examples, too.

Business Briefs

Pittis leaves HarperCollins

HarperCollins announced that SVP, Publishing Transformation Carolyn Pittis had left the company, effective March 29. She was with the company more than twenty years and served in roles ranging from editorial management and author services to business development and sales to consumer forecasting. Pittis will work as a private change management consultant.

Publishers Lunch 

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