Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Questions about the criteria for the Audie Award Nominations.

I am really not trying to be contrary or snarky with this post I am just asking some questions that have come to my mind while listening to the titles up for the Audie Awards.

After listening to two categories of Audies Award nominees, I can’t help wondering what it is the APA looks for in a nominated audiobook. I feel like if a book is going to be up for an Audie Award the narration should Wow me, it should completely blow me away, but what I’ve found in many of the nominated titles is just your normal narration, they are good yes, but there are many out there that are good… so I have some questions for the APA:
  • What sets this one title above the others?
  • What was it about this title that warranted being nominated?
  • Is it all about the money? Does everyone pay the same amount to have a title up for consideration? If not, do people who pay more get more consideration?

 How does the APA decide what books will be up for Audiobook of the Year?
    ·        Is it from listening to it and thinking this is the best narration I heard this year (to me that is what it should be).
    ·        Is it about sales totals?
    ·        A celebrity name (This is the one I believe it is this year)
    ·        Is it how much money the publisher paid?
    ·        Or I am missing a key component?

I guess I expect a nominated book, no matter what kind of award it’s nominated for, must Wow me (Yes with a capital W). Since these awards are about narration this is what I would look for in nominating a book for an Audie award:
·        I want the narrator to bring me completely and wholly into the book they are reading.
·        I want the narrator to have perfect (at least too my ear) accents.
·        I want complete differentiations between every character.
·        I want tone and cadence to follow throughout the book.
·        And as I have said I want to be WOWED…If it is a new to me narrator I want the narration to make me go  and add everything they have ever narrated onto my wishlist, because they blew me away, if it is a known to me narrator I want it to reaffirm their place as a favorite.

These are the things I would look for if the nominations were up to me. What would you look for?


  1. Oh, I so agree! I have basically enjoyed everything I've listened to for Armchair Audies, and been surprised by a couple, but for the first time I've also DNFed an Audie nominee b/c it was SOOOOOOO boring! And while the narration itself was fine, the story wasn't worth sticking with.

    I think the story has to be a component. With so many categories dependent upon the genre of the audiobook, clearly the story being told has to be one of the APA's criteria. Not that I expect the Audie to go to the best text within a category, but as much as I'd joke "I could listen to him read the phone book," I really couldn't. The content has to be engaging enough to make the narrator's interpretation believable.

    I'd love to hear the answers to your questions about the criteria!

  2. Yes I DNF'd one too that I just couldn't get into. I agree story is a component but even then how do they decide? If a book wins an award for story I still want to be Wowed by that story.

  3. This is an excellent post! I can't believe I missed it. I share your questions. From what I've been able to gather it takes $$$ to submit a title for consideration. A great title without the backing from the publisher will never even be considered. It's disheartening, really. I am hoping that by shining the light on the awards - however small and dim that light is, we can get some changes made.

  4. Thanks! That would be great! As I have said on numerous occasions my favorite audiobook of the year was from a small publishing company (iambik) I was sad it wasn't even considered because they don't have the money to submit a title.

    What I would like to see is more transparency as to how and why titles are chosen.

  5. I had the exact same thoughts while listening to the Young Adult nominations this month. I felt that some were just normal, the narrator being entertaining, but not outstanding. Yet, it seems that when discussing the nominations with my fellow reviewers the one book we all decided would win the category for this year, is the one that has the biggest fan following/readership because of the popularity of the author, not the actual product on the market.
    I am interested though to see how it turns out. Indeed if it wins the category most of my assumptions will be correct.
    Yes I am being vague on purpose as I don't want to name specific names, but think you have a point in questioning the finalists.

  6. Here's some real-world answers for you. The biggest problem (in my opinion) with the process is this. The nominations are made by publishers, mostly those who have paid their dues to be members of the APA. To nominate a work costs in excess of $100 per title per category. This, as you might guess, severely limits the small and medium publisher titles that make it in.

    The person nominating decides what category to pay for a nomination in. This often means that someone with a horror or thriller title will post to general fiction instead. When I was a judge I was angry several times because I thought that a title that was in one category would have done a lot better in a different one. Frustrating.

    There is no quality qualification for getting a nomination in. It's whatever the publishers decide to push...

  7. Krista- Yes it will be interesting to see which ones win and which ones were just really that good!

    David-That is very interesting David thanks so much for stopping over, we had a conversation on twitter too about the categories too, you would think that a publisher would know where a book fits but I guess that is not the case.