One feature of my job is that I select the titles that go out to listener advisory services, which is another way to say that I send out free audiobooks to reviewers! Some of the listener advisory services are easy in that they want the whole monthly slate of titles or all titles in a specific genre. Other reviewers require more thought: Reviewer “X” really doesn’t like narrator “Y” (and never will) or can’t stand violence against animals or only likes a very narrow sub-genre… Then there’s the part where I’m asked to provide only the best of the best and that’s really tough. There are big titles with big narrators; but then again there are some smaller titles with great narrators too! At this point, I actually use an unusual standard, What was the narrator’s response to the book when it was assigned or while s/he was recording it? There are narrators who are game for anything and everything and will take whatever we throw at them; but then there are those narrators who come back and say things like, “Oh. My. God. This book was absolutely incredible! I love this book! That denouement was mid-bending!” Or whatever. You get the idea. It’s that little extra something that, while intangible, comes through on the recording. I never hesitate to recommend these titles even if I have not personally listened to them or worked on them. In this way too, those same audiobooks make it onto my own personal TBL-to list.
But believe it or not, I actually listen to audiobooks above and beyond the borders of the Blackstone Audio campus! My tastes are extremely eclectic and so I heavily rely on other bloggers’ opinions. The blogs of Bob Reiss (@guildedearlobe at theguildedearlobe.wordpress.com) – Zombie, PA, SFF; Jennifer Connor (@lithousewife at literatehousewife.com, – litfic, #shakennotstirred #ArmchairAudies #ListenersList; “Beth Fish” (@BethFishReads at BethFishReads.com) – whose tastes are as equally as eclectic as mine, plus she also reviews graphic novels; and Jennifer Karsbaek (@DevourerofBooks at Devourerofbooks.com) – wide range of different genres as well – are written by major audiobook advocates and audiobook bloggers whose views I respect immensely. I also like reading audiobook reviews from people who don’t normally blog about audiobooks; but feel so strongly about what they’ve heard they have to post (e.g. Mike Alatorre a.k.a. @le0pard13 at It Rains… You Get Wet) – movies and references to “she who will not be named” and; some of the up-and-coming audiobook bloggers like Cassandra Neace (@CassandraNeace at Indiereaderhouston.com) – whose enthusiasm for the audiobook form is refreshing. There are dozens of others as well who are probably reading this and saying “What About Me?” To those audiobook bloggers who I have overlooked (mea culpa), please feel free to leave your blog URL in comments below!
Where I actually get my audiobooks varies. Sometimes I pull them off the shelves over at the warehouse; sometimes I request a review copy from another publisher; sometimes I troll the publishers’ sites and, yes, I’ve been known to try an audiobook I would not normally have considered if it was on my Maybe list but is now on sale 🙂