Posted On February 3, 2017 by Print This Post

Audiobooks: The Fastest Growth Sector of Publishing by Renae Mason, Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard

Becke says: I’m pretty new to audiobooks, and I think that puts me in a minority. My friends are always raving to me about different books they absolutely adored as audiobooks. Back when there were what we called “books on tape,” my husband and I enjoyed listening to those book tapes whenever we went on a road trip. Those old books on tape were Model-T Fords compared to the new world of audiobooks. Co-authors Renae Mason, Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard join us in their debut visit to RU.


Did you know…
Audiobooks are the fastest growing sector of publishing?
There are ways to produce your book on audio with no upfront costs?
Audiobooks allow you to reach a whole new market of readers?
Audiobook production is both an art and a business?
Authors, whether indie or traditionally published, are always looking for new ways to reach readers.  Whether it be through dreaded marketing, networking, or expanded distribution channels, every new avenue creates an opportunity. Most authors have little to no help with these endeavors, forcing them to become marketers, salespeople, graphic artists, book formatters, publishers, and more. Most find that every new uncovered skill to master causes a groan because it’s going to pull them further away from valuable writing time. Research, though tedious, is necessary to make sure you’re taking the best approach with each unfamiliar topic. Not to mention it’s nearly impossible to make sure they’re viewing the new mission from all possible perspectives. For authors, audiobooks are one those ventures that can seem overwhelming, but they don’t have to be.
Timing is everything, it’s often said, and now is the time.  With audiobooks on the upswing in the market, it’s the perfect time to produce your portfolio, but there’s much to consider—budget, style, timing, collaboration approach, and more. Audiobook production, just like writing, is both an art and a business. It isn’t about just finding someone to read and record your book. There are many different strategies you can use and getting it right from the start is important. Making the wrong choice can be very expensive, depending on which path you take.
I produced my first audiobook in 2015. Having been a huge audiobook fan prior to becoming a published author, I was picky about the quality of the production. My high expectations paid off when my first production won an Audie Award from the Audiobook Publisher’s Association the following year.  I was fortunate enough to not only find two immensely talented actors, Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard, to perform my book, but they are also have become splendid business partners.
After speaking with many other authors about their audiobook experiences, and in conversations with Noah and Erin, it became apparent that our audiobook production experience was vastly different than some. We had a highly collaborative style and even though the production itself is a business transaction, viewing each other as partners opened a variety of opportunities for promotion and further collaboration. This ultimately led to us co-writing The Audiobook Book.
You might be wondering why I have two narrators. As with any other art form, audiobook narration has different styles. Narration is voice acting and there are different ways to cast your audiobook production to give your words the best impact. Some books are read by one narrator, this being the most popular style.  Others are read by two narrators alternating reading entire chapters at a time, or like mine, with duet narration, the male reads all the male lines throughout the book and the female reads the female lines, much like a play. In The Audiobook Book we explore why you might want to choose one style over another.
Our book also addresses audiobook production, not only from the author’s perspective, but also from the narrator’s perspective, giving readers a 360 degree look at the process.  Our intention was to make a guide that would build understanding, help the reader gain knowledge quickly, and supplement the already robust instructions provided on websites like The Audiobook Exchange – ACX. We provide instructions, opinions, strategies, anecdotes, and key learnings to help ease the burden of the process, while having a chuckle here and there at our expense.
Many authors I’ve spoken with assumed audiobooks required a huge upfront investment. Depending on which path you take, that could be true, but it doesn’t have to be. Platforms like ACX allow the author and the narrator to share the royalties from audiobook sales, thus allowing you to bypass any upfront expenses. We explore the times this kind of arrangement might be a good option and when it might be best to wait to pay for the production per finished hour.
So essentially, we made the mistakes and we’re passing along our knowledge to make the process easier for you.  Now, you don’t have to scour the Internet reading three-year-old blog posts and piecing together feedback.  Plus, we provide a healthy marketing section to help you connect with others in the industry, in case we left out something you need. But we’re always happy to answer any questions.


What is your biggest fear about turning your book into an audiobook? Or what was the biggest challenge you had during your audiobook production?



The Audie Award-Winning team of Renea Mason, Noah Michael Levine, and Erin deWard share their experiences and ideas on indie audiobook narration, publication, production, and marketing. 

This self-help and reference guide for authors and narrators promotes collaboration, communication, understanding, and encouragement as foundations for approaching or refining a career in the fastest growing sector of the publishing industry—audiobooks.

Author Bios:


“Sexy, fun and so creative it makes my head spin! I’d read the damn phone book if Renea Mason wrote it.” 

-NYT and USA TODAY Bestselling author ROBYN PETERMAN


Multi-award-winning and bestselling author Renea Mason writes erotic romances which challenge the definition of conventional love. Whether it be contemporary or paranormal, the author of the 2016 Audie Award-Winning Curing Doctor Vincent, prides herself on bringing readers unique storylines, memorable characters, and top-notch audiobook performances in her tales of love, lust, and mystery.


In addition to being an author, Renea has spent more than two decades in leadership roles, from manager to vice president, in various fundraising and healthcare organizations. Currently, she works under her legal name, Sheila Hollums Bates, as a Senior Business Advisor, providing management and process consulting services to internal constituencies for the seventh largest revenue producing company in the US.


When she isn’t crafting sensual stories which stimulate the mind and body alike or providing the latest management and process guidance, she spends time in the Laurel Mountains of Western Pennsylvania with her beyond-supportive husband, two wonderful sons, and two loving but needy cats.


Renea loves connecting with her readers. Visit her on…


Website –

Facebook –

Twitter – @reneamason1

Instagram – @renea_mason

YouTube –

SoundCloud –

Friends and Reader Club –

Click here for audiobook samples and bonus material.



Noah Michael Levine is an Audie Award-Winning narrator, actor and author, living in the beautiful Hudson River Village of Nyack, NY. He has narrated 200 audiobook titles and looks forward to doing many more. He truly loves his work.


Sometimes known by #AuralSexpert, he’s performed a lot of Romance and Erotica, but his catalog spans the full breadth of genres, from history, philosophy, science, and literary critique to drama, comedy, young adult, and thriller. He is deeply thankful for and grateful to both Audible and ACX, as well as the authors and lovers of audiobooks who make his work possible.


Noah’s career in the entertainment industry spans over thirty years, including a long run as lead singer, lyricist, and keyboard player for the largely unknown 1980s-era band PLCourage and as owner of Eleuthra Productions. He’s appeared in many productions from stage to TV and Film, in addition to writing and producing works for large and small screens.


When not in “The Booth,” he’s an avid home chef, lover of animals and is working on his first novel.


Website –

ACX Narrator Profile – Noah Michael Levine

Facebook –

Twitter – @badnoah

Instagram – @therealbadnoah

YouTube –

SoundCloud –



Erin deWard is an Audie Award-Winning narrator with over fifty titles in genres ranging from Spirituality to Young Adult to Adult Contemporary and others. She’s worked on stage, screen, and behind the mic for over thirty years. She is beyond grateful to have come to this place in her life and thanks all of the people and organizations that sped her on her way.


In addition to her love of acting, Erin is passionate about her work as an audio describer, translating visual images in media and performance into aural pictures for people who have low or no vision. She studies and performs Shakespearean text and can most frequently be seen cavorting onstage with The Strange Bedfellows, the adult troupe of the Children’s Shakespeare Theatre of New York.


Erin lives in lovely Nyack on Hudson, New York with her husband, daughter, sometimes her college-aged son, and two ill-behaved but loveable dogs, Annie and Benevolio.


Website –

ACX Narrator Profile – Erin deWard

Facebook –

Twitter – @erindeward

Instagram – @erindeward

SoundCloud –


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8 Responses to “Audiobooks: The Fastest Growth Sector of Publishing by Renae Mason, Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard”

  1. A big thanks to Renea, Noah and Erin! I’m fascinated with audiobooks. There’s something so relaxing, almost luxurious, about having someone read a book to us. I do a lot of storytimes at a local day care – I love how the kids get into the stories, and I regret I’m not better at doing voices and sound effects.

    I think part of my love of books developed when my fifth grade teacher read books to us in class. They were almost always books I wouldn’t have considered reading myself (and I read a LOT even then), so he opened my eyes to a wider world of books. I would have passed on OLD YELLER as a “boy” book, which would have been a shame. Years later, my own kids fell in love with WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS when they read that in class. There is some kind of magic to reading aloud – and being read to. I guess I’m going to have to check into some audiobooks!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 3, 2017, 9:59 am
  2. Thank you so much, Becke, for having us! It was an honor to be featured today.

    I have two small boys and they enjoy being read too as well. You’re right there is something about having someone bring an author’s words to life. We talk about this a bit in the book. In fact, we tackle the notion that some people feel that listening to a book is somehow sub-intellectual than reading it. We, of course, do not agree with that notion. But just as you pointed, having some one read to you left a lasting impression. My love of audiobook stems from the fact that I’m dyslexic and reading, even though I can do it, is sometimes a chore and I remember things I hear much more readily. Not to mention, I’m a fierce multitasker and audiobooks allow me to enjoy books and get everything I need to get done done.

    Thank you so much again for this opportunity.

    Posted by Renea Mason | February 3, 2017, 11:24 am
  3. When my son was young he didn’t enjoy reading. When his teacher assigned THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS for the students to read, I knew I had to step in. That was one of my favorite books as a child, and the first book to make me cry. Up to this point, he had either avoided reading the assigned books or basically skimmed them. I suggested we read this one out loud – I’d read one page and then he’d read the next. He liked that idea, and quickly became engrossed in the story. When we approached the part that made me cry, it was his turn to read out loud. He excused himself for a bathroom break, and when he came back his eyes were red and he was blowing his nose. I read that page for him, and then told him it had made me cry the first time I read it.

    He discovered the Goosebumps books after that and read a lot of them. When the Harry Potter books came out, he shut himself in his room for most of one weekend, until he’d finished the first book. By the time he read the last Harry Potter book, he was an avid reader. Now that he is an adult, I love to see the walls of books at his house, and the shelves of books in his daughters’ room.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 3, 2017, 12:38 pm
  4. Renea – How do you deal with accents, ways to distinguish character’s voices, etc.?

    Back in our books-on-tape days, my husband and I bought a book by a humorous author whose books we enjoyed. A lot of books-on-tape were read/performed by professional actors, but he read this particular book himself.

    We were surprised to hear a kind of snooty accent. Also, he spoke in a way that came across as very condescending. It put us right off that author.

    On the other hand, I know friends who bought particular audiobooks because they liked an author but didn’t have the time or focus to read a long book. I’ve heard from some friends who so enjoyed the way certain actors read books, they now go out of their way to find audiobooks read by those actors. (Jim Dale comes to mind.)

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 3, 2017, 12:44 pm
  5. The way I deal with accents? I let Erin and Noah deal with them. 🙂 I don’t narrate my own work and for good reason.

    Noah is a MASTER at accents. My one book features three men that talk in a lot of scenes together. He gave each of them a different accent. They way he and Erin perform my books really feels like a full-cast production more so than a duet-narration.

    I’ve received new readers because people LOVE Noah and Erin’s work and they’ll listen to anything they do and they’ve received some new listeners from my reader base that will now listen to anything they do. The collaboration between has benefitted us all.

    Just as within in the author realm, helping each other helps you both go further.

    Posted by Renea Mason | February 3, 2017, 3:06 pm
  6. Hi,

    Interesting stuff! Are there certain genres that sell better than others as audiobooks?

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | February 3, 2017, 6:03 pm
  7. Thanks so much for joining us today, Renea!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 4, 2017, 12:05 am


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