Audiobooks, like so many elements of publishing (and the world in general) have changed greatly in recent years. Once upon a time, only huge bestselling mainstream books had audio editions. They were really expensive and libraries were the primary market. (In those days a lot of audiobooks were on cassettes! Remember them? <G>)
But there was interest in audio, so gradually more genre books like romance began to be recorded. My first audiobook was The Wild Child, which came out in 1999. I was so excited–I felt that I had arrived!
I don't know if at that time any authors were producing independent audio version of their books–probably not. The norm was for the print publisher to subcontract audio rights to a specialist audio producer. The production company chose the narrator and did the engineering and distribution. (I never had any input on any of that, but I was happy that the audiobooks were available for those who wanted them.)
Then the digital revolution arrived and everything changed, contracts at well as technology. Not only did most print books routinely be released with simultaneous e-book editions, but the tools became available for authors to independently publish their own e-books, and we all know what tsunami that has become!
A couple more years passed, and the tools became available for authors to produce their own audiobooks, working directly with narrators and cover designers. That's where we are now, and I've produced a number of audio versions of my older stores.
Originally published in 1990, Dearly Beloved was my first full length historical romance , written after I'd done seven shorter Regency romances. I wanted to do something different, stronger and edgier than my traditional Regencies, and I did, but at that time, there were no ebooks and audio wasn't even a gleam in my eye.
Last summer I did a blog when Dearly Beloved was released by my current publisher if you'd like to know more about the story and its history.
This time around, it was routinely released as an e-book at the same time, and now, happily, an audiobook version has just been released as well. Since this was a commercial production, I don't have any free giveaway codes, but the book is now available in audio if that's your preference.
Readers in other countries have told me they couldn't buy some of my audiobooks because of territorial distribution limits, so I'm happy to say that there is good news on this front.
I've been working with my agent to see if older commercial audiobooks could be expanded to world wide availability. It's a complicated issue because most of the original audio contracts were held by former publishers of mine, so much detective work was required. Not by me, but by the audio specialist at my literary agency. She is a goddess, and has tracked down the current status of those audiobooks and negotiated with the audio producers to expand the territories. We've just reached a mutual agreement, so in what will hopefully be the not-too-distant future, audiobook fans outside of North America should be able to acquire audiobooks of older titles.
Also, a mystery was solved. A UK reader told me recently that there was no audio edition available of The China Bride, which surprised me because I knew it had been recorded–I have a copy on my audiobook shelf. It turns out that for reasons unknown, that audiobook was contracted for library distribution only–there was no consumer edition even though the other two books in the Bride trilogy were available. So that is an issue that will soon be corrected and people who would like to listen to the story of Troth and Kyle will be able to do so
In my last bit of audio news, Siobhan Waring will begin work on the audio edition of Silk and Shadows, book 1 of my Silk trilogy. She has scheduled time of the other two books as well, so by the end of this year or early in 2021, audio editions of the trilogy will be available. And after that? Well, I have more books in need of audio editions! I hope someday to have all my books available in audio. Stay tuned!