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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Neil Gaiman Presents" is open for business!

This poor website's had quite a buffeting in the last 24 hours, what with the launch of All Hallows Read (the allhallowsread.com website is run off neilgaiman.com). Sorry if you've had trouble. The Webgoblin has upgraded everything, and it should be working again by now.

I just came back from Radio K.N.O.W. in St Paul, where I recorded a segment for NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED - they've started the Back Seat Book Club for kids, and picked The Graveyard Book as their lead title. Here's their article on the Book Club. More questions are still coming in, so I promised I'd answer some next week at their site.

I also recorded a couple of little things in the studio there for the introductions I've been doing to the Neil Gaiman Presents line at Audible.com.

This is something I'm really excited about. Don Katz at Audible.com knows how much I love audio books, and offered me the chance to have my own record label at Audible, getting books I loved and wanted to hear that had never been audiobooks made as audiobooks and out into the world, with the best readers I could find, using Audible's ACX platform. (The idea of ACX is that there are a lot more books out there than there are audiobooks, so ACX is a way of introducing authors and rights-holders to actor/performer/readers and producers/directors. It's very simple and sensible, and should, I hope, result in a lot more audiobooks out there in the world.)

It's been a year in the planning and now the first five books are out, with a lot more at various stages in the production process.

The first round of audiobooks consists of:

LAND OF LAUGHS by Jonathan Carroll read by Edoardo Ballerini.
YOU MUST GO AND WIN written and read by Alina Simone
PAVANE by Keith Roberts, read by Steven Crossley
 LIGHT by M. John Harrison, read by Julian Elfer
 THE MINOTAUR TAKES A CIGARETTE BREAK by Steven Sherrill, read by Holter Graham

Which is to say, one beautiful work of  magical realism about the dangers of having a favourite book, a collection of really funny essays about travel and Russia and being a musician, a collection of stories that become a moving alternate history, a strange and glorious space opera and a work of contemporary americana with a minotaur in it.

You could say "Why aren't these books all the same kind of thing?" and I would say "Because I like lots of different things. And so might you."

Coming up in the next round we will have Ellen Kushner reading SWORDSPOINT and John Hodgman reading Robert Sheckley's hilarious pre-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy galactic travel fantasia DIMENSION OF MIRACLES. And lots, lots more...

 I recorded introductions to each book, worked with Audible to acquire the rights, worked with the authors (when they were alive) to choose the readers. I'm ridiculously proud of the whole thing. (There's a lady at Audible.com named Christina Harcar who has done all the heavy lifting and I am very grateful to her, to everyone involved at Audible, and particularly to Don Katz for indulging my madness.)

If you've never tried Audible, it's amazingly easy - you can use your Amazon ID and password to log in and sign up. The full list of what "Neil Gaiman Presents" has coming out is at this link.

If you've never tried an audio book before, this might be a good time to find out if you enjoy them. They will go and live on your phone, your tablet, your computer, your iPod...

(And if you're an author or an actor or a director/producer/engineer, you can get started using ACX at http://www.acx.com/help/learn-how-neil-uses-acx/200680340.)

I don't really have a good photo of an audiobook being recorded to round this out, so here is a photo of my wife chasing a chicken.


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