By Mark McNease
It’s a pleasure to welcome back author Joe Cosentino, “the hardest working man in M/M romance” … and mysteries and novellas and, now, audiobooks! Joe currently has four audiobooks out, with more on the way. Audibooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing world, and I wanted to get Joe’s take and experience on this increasingly popular way to enjoy our favorite books. (You can read previous interviews with Joe on his writing and life HERE and HERE.)
MM: Joe, thanks so much for finding time to answer a few more questions. You’ve got four audiobooks out now. Can you give us a quick rundown of the books they’re from?
JC: It’s great to be back, Mark. You are always a terrific cyber-land host. My audiobooks so far are Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah comedy mystery (Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015) performed by Michael Gilboe and released by Lethe Press; The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews’ Poll Favorite Audiobook of the Month/October 2016) performed by Joel Leslie and released by Dreamspinner Press; A Home for the Holidays performed by Joel Leslie and released by Dreamspinner Press; and Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery performed by Charissa Clark Howe and released by me. Coming out in the next few months are In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016) performed by Joel Leslie and released by Dreamspinner Press, and Porcelain Doll second Jane Lane mystery performed by Charissa Clark Howe and released by The Wild Rose Press. Phew!
MM: Your books represent three publishers (including yourself for Paper Doll: a Jana Lane Mystery). What are some of the differences you’ve found working with each, and what are the ups and downs of producing one yourself?
JC: Dreamspinner Press posts the book on ACX [Audiobook Creation Exchange] for narrators/producers to audition, sends the author the auditions, and permits the author to select the narrators/producer. When the audiobook is completed, they listen to it and offer the narrator/producer any notes for corrections before publishing. Lethe Press posts the book on ACX and selects the narrator/producer. They forward the completed audiobook to the author for any notes or corrections before publishing. The Wild Rose Press posts the book on ACX for narrators/producers to audition, permits the author to select the narrator/producer, and forwards the completed audiobook to the author for any notes or corrections before publishing. When self-publishing the author posts the book on ACX, listens to the auditions, selects the narrator/producer, and listens to the audiobook for any notes or corrections prior to publication. Whoever is publishing contracts the narrator/producer. So if you’re a control freak, you definitely want to self-publish. If you prefer to not be as much involved and bask in the glory of rave reviews and huge sales, Dreamspinner Press is for you. If you are somewhere in between in terms of wanting control, check out Lethe Press (gay fiction) and The Wild Rose Press (straight but not narrow fiction).
MM: Were you able to make the decision on a narrator for all your audiobooks? Also, did you get to know the narrators beyond the work-for-hire relationship?
JC: Yes, in every case, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. As the reviewers of my audiobooks mentioned, Michael Gilboe perfectly captured the hysterical humor and numerous diverse characters in Drama Queen. Award-winning audiobook legend Joel Leslie used his solid acting and gift for accents to bring the sights, sounds, smells, and residents of the magical and romantic Island of Capri to life in A Home for the Holidays. Joel’s gift for impersonation, humor, and drama were quite evident in The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland. And he has an incredibly sexy voice. Charissa Clark Howe perfectly embodied Jana Lane and all the suspects in Paper Doll with amazing realism, humor, and heart. Her timing was perfect in building to the suspenseful climaxes in the book. In every case I got to know the narrators well. Some of them are probably sick of me. Hah. We had many communications about the characters, style, humor, drama, and vocabulary. In every case they told me my contributions were quite valuable. I hope they weren’t lying. Hah.
MM: Promotion: With Paper Doll, I’m assuming you received promotional codes to use for giveaways. How did you go about promoting Paper Doll and the other audiobooks? What were the differences, if any?
JC: Yes, I received the codes from ACX for Paper Doll and from the publishers for my other audiobooks. In each case I contacted bloggers and magazine editors to request reviews and interviews. Thankfully, they “liked me, they really liked me.” And they really liked the narrators/producers as well.
MM: Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the book publishing industry (sales of ebooks have actually fallen). What has been your experience so far as an author with audiobooks?
JC: I love them! What can be better than resting in bed, doing laundry, driving, eating, cleaning house, working out in the yard, etc. and being transported into the world of a wonderful mystery or romance story? And Audible.com offers discounts and deals that can’t be beat!
MM: Advice, please, for other authors considering putting out audiobooks: investment, creative input, and is it worth it?
JC: It’s totally worth it—if you can find a good narrator/producer. I’m quite fortunate since my spouse is a successful audiobook narrator/producer. Thanks to him, I’ve learned quite a lot about the industry. As an actor myself, I also know a great deal about audio performing. So I entered the audiobook world with some savvy. And I was quite thrilled to find such incredibly gifted narrators/producers who brought my characters and books to life. I laughed, cried, felt romantic, and gasped in surprise when listening to the audiobooks, and I wrote the books! Everyone tells me that my books are quite cinematic. Until Hollywood comes knocking at my door with offers I can’t refuse, an audiobook is the next best thing. Try it. I know you’ll like it!
Until the next time, thank you!
Joe Cosentino http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Mark McNease is the editor and publisher of lgbtSr, “where age is embraced and life is celebrated.” He’s the author of the bestselling Kyle Callahan Mysteries and the recently launched Detective Linda Mysteries, as well as the co-editor and publisher of the anthology Outer Voices Inner Lives (Lambda Literary Award finalist). He’s also the co-host of The Twist Podcast, and the co-creator of the Emmy and Telly winning children’s program Into the Outdoors.