Is listening cheating? by Tara Lyons

Excuse the blatant attack of self-promo, but stick with me for a minute… I’m excited to share my debut novel, In the Shadows, is now available in audiobook format on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

When I self-published in March the thought of audiobooks didn’t even occur to me. I guess there’s two reasons for this: one, I’ve always assumed it’s something only “big” publishing houses offer, and two, I don’t use audiobooks myself so they escaped my thought process. Tut tut to me.

In the last six months I’ve discovered audiobooks are hugely popular, and a few readers asked if this was available immediately after publishing. There are a multitude of people who want this format – be it for health reasons, because they have long commutes or because they take their dogs for long walks.

A friend pointed me in the direction of ACX – an indie publishing tool via Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s a very simple, self-serve website. After I uploaded the necessary details about my book, and an excerpt for auditioning, it took off from there. I received two auditions and, using the website search engine, I narrowed down what I was looking for from a narrator – style, accent, gender etc. – and I found Craig Beck. It was a pleasure to work with Craig and although it felt time-consuming during the creation, it actually all happened really quickly. There’s an open portal of communication and Craig made all the alterations I requested. Also, what I liked about ACX, is the option to choose to split the royalties with the narrator, which means there is no upfront cost to pay (of course there’s that option too if you so desire).

Now, for those of you who don’t know In the Shadows, the story is heavily split between a male lead and a female lead character. So, the decision of which gender the narrator should be was a difficult one to make. Again, especially as I’m not an audio listener, I wasn’t sure if there was a preference. In the end, I chose Craig because I thought he picked up the Detective Inspector’s personality brilliantly and gave enough distinction to the women in the story too.

It’s very strange to hear your work read by someone else. At first I struggled to get into the swing of things, thinking: I wouldn’t have delivered the line exactly like that or that dialogue needed to sound more dramatic. However, I was soon caught up in the world of audio and thoroughly enjoyed the process. It also spurred me on for book two, which I’m in the process of writing now.

What I’d like to know is, do you listen to audiobooks? What’s your thoughts on them and how important is it they’re made available? To the authors, have you created an audiobook, and what’s your experience? If you’re interested in listening to In the Shadows, I have promotional codes – which can only be redeemed on – that I’m happy to share with you. Just send me an email (details at the bottom of the post) and I’ll send you the details; I’d love your feedback.

Oh, and the title – is listening cheating? I’ve seen a few social media posts recently, people asking if they can count audiobooks on their Goodreads reading challenge. What do you think? It’s that very popular statement that always creates a debate, kindle vs paperback – and I wonder, if you’re enjoying a book, does the format really matter?

Contact me at: if you'd like an audible code. 
More information about the audiobook can be found here:

Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter - just search Taralyonsauthor - if you'd like to know more.


Susan Price said…
Well done on getting the book out there as an audio Tara! (I really should make an effort and get a couple of mine out as audios).
An interesting question, which I hadn't really thought about. I suppose my immediate thought is that you're not engaging as deeply or completely with a book if you listen to it because someone else is deciding what tone to speak those words in or what emphasis to give this or that line.

But I know madwippit of this parish is a great lover or audio-books, so I bet she'll disagree.
Bill Kirton said…
Very enterprising, Tara. Best of luck with it. My experience with two of my books has been disastrous but I had no control over the choice of narrators in either case. I'd never recommend them to listeners. Rather than put me off, though, it's encouraged me to follow your route and make my own choices. This post is a good reminder. Thanks.
Umberto Tosi said…
Audiobooks enriched my life and saved my sanity during the many years I commuted to work as a staff writer and editor at various print and online publishing outfits - sometimes for as long as an hour each way. I remedied the crushing boredom of traffic by "reading" new books and listening to sonorous renditions of classics that I had not visited since college days, gaining fresh appreciation of same. Sometimes, I could hardly wait to get in my car to continue a novel or story! I've thought about audio editions for my indie published books - particularly "Ophelia Rising" "Milagro on 34th Street" and "Our Own Kind" - but the imagined logistics of production and narration always seemed too daunting. Not now, thanks to your helpful post! Bravo, Tara!
Unknown said…
Thank you all for your comments, I'm glad you found it interesting. If you have any questions about ACX or my experience, I'd be more than happy to answer them. You know where to find me already, but my email is up there and the offer of a free audiobook too, of course.
Chris Longmuir said…
I'm a reader, not a listener. I find my mind is too active to be a good listener, because in the middle, no matter how interesting, I start thinking about something else. Maybe the plot of my work in process, what my character is getting up to when I'm away from the computer etc. However, I know a lot of readers like audio books, and I have occasionally thought of them but the cost always put me off. I'm afraid I'm a control freak and like the control to be firmly in my own hands. I like the sound of your Craig, though, because I write multi-viewpoint so have the same dilemma, male or female narrator.
Unknown said…
Like you, Chris, I'm a reader and not a listener. My mind is always wandering. I think Craig done a good job... I know some authors have multiple narrators and I'm sure that could work too. Check out ACX, Chris - there's a few price options that you might consider.
Chris Longmuir said…
Last time I checked I reckoned I'd get off light with £2,000.
AliB said…
Interesting post, Tara. I used to listen to e-books while commuting and found the narrator to be crucial. I don't at the moment but when I find my (lost) i-pod I may well start again. I think it's a perfectly valid way to 'consume' literature anyway, although if the book is abridged the experience will obviously be a bit different. I preferred the full versions myself.
thanks for posting how you went about it. Ali

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