Interview with Richard Rieman

What is it like to be an audiobook narrator?
Being an audiobook narrator. I’m a performer in the theater of the mind. I’ve been a pirate, a cowboy, a bootlegger, six aliens, two monsters, a world famous balloon pilot, and a B-17 bomber pilot shot down in WWII. I’ve traveled to other times, dimensions, mysterious islands and haunted houses. I’ve helped you sell stuff on eBay and self-publish your Kindle book.

When I narrate an audiobook, I quietly tell you in your headphones: Listen to me, I have something important-interesting-
dramatic-funny-entertaining-wonderful to tell you! How much fun is that?
When did you first begin writing?
I’ve been a professional writer since I was seven years old. I discovered that if I wrote stories that included the names of my second grade classmates (on a ruled piece of paper, both sides, in pencil), they would give me five cents to read them. Bingo! Now I had comic book money!
Why did you write "The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation?"
There is very little information out there about audiobook self-publishing for authors. Amazon's ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) website has some great guidance, but it is just for those authors who want to publish through Amazon and its partners. My book is an easier guide on how much it will cost to produce an audiobook and how to make money doing it - not just on Amazon, but everywhere Smashwords reaches with print copies.
Are Audiobooks a good idea for authors?
With a few exceptions, like photography books and books with many charts and graphs, I believe every book should have a voice. Audiobooks are a $2 Billion dollar a year industry and growing quickly. The fastest growing way people listen to audiobooks is on their smartphones. New cars have built-in audiobook reading apps. It's another revenue stream for authors that reaches a different buyer base.
What are the biggest audiobook genres?
The Top 10 are:
1. Mystery and Suspense – mystery narrators do a great job of scaring the crap out of you when their voices are in your head.
2. Bestsellers – guess what? Sell a lot of books and people will buy the audiobook too!
3. Science Fiction and Fantasy – there are times we all would rather be someplace else in time or space, and the audio versions beam us there.
4. History and Biographies – Napoleon Bonaparte said, “History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon.” And this way, narrators can lie to you.
5. Business and Self-Improvement – multitaskers of the world unite by powering up “down time” with information on improving their lives.
6. Children and Young Adult – an Audio Publishers Association’s study shows 36% of audiobook listeners buy children’s or young adult audiobooks,
7. Inspiration and Religion – a good audiobook narrator can take you to church.
8. Erotica/Romance ‒ only 10 percent of audiobook sales, but the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to a "rising"
interest in erotica and “romance” with differing degrees of blush inducement.
9. Sports – especially fantasy football, where we are losing a generation to fake football competitions.
10. Westerns – because there is a little cowboy or cowgirl in each of us.
How can audiobooks improve all author's writing?
I quote the late great author and writing coach Gary Provost in "100 Ways to Improve Your Writing," who says reading your written words out loud will make you a better writer:

"This sentence has five words. Here are five more words.
Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting
boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.
I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with the energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
So write with a combination of short, medium and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear.
Don’t just write words. Write music."
What do you consider to be the most important message from audiobooks?
It's not just about the technology of smartphones and iPads allowing the next generations to hear some of our best storytellers.

Read to your children, so they will grow up with an appreciation of how a storyteller uses his or her voice to bring words to life.
Published 2016-02-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 13,490. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
This is the essential, easy to understand companion you need if you are considering creating an audiobook, whether you are the voice or you hire a professional narrator. You will get the critical elements on what steps you need to take; how to engage a narrator; what costs to expect; how to produce your audiobook; and how to work with Amazon and other publishers. Join the Audiobook Revolution!