Audiobooks have quickly become one of the fastest-growing areas of publishing in recent years, and Ooligan Press has recently taken on the task of exploring this exciting frontier. As we get ready to start including audiobooks in the publication of a few of our upcoming titles, we have begun testing the process by putting together a mock sample using one of our most well-known titles, Ricochet River. Here is an inside peek at the process, which we have undertaken with the help of the School of Music & Art’s new program, Sonic Arts & Music Production (SAMP).
Testing the audiobook production began with Ooligan’s digital department choosing a title well-suited for the project—they ultimately decided Ricochet River was the perfect candidate. From there, it was announced to the press that we would be exploring this medium in the coming terms, and anyone interested was invited to come to the weekly digital meetings to learn more and begin brainstorming and volunteering to partake in the process of putting the test chapter together. Of course, the first thing to do was select the chapter we would be using in our audiobook test. Next, we selected a section of that chapter we felt would most demonstrate a voice actor’s range in an audition. From there, we were off and running! SAMP’s area coordinator and instructor Andrew Willette was kind enough to not only help us gather talent for our voice actor auditions but also recorded and engineered the audio for those auditions. Those of us who have been interested in the process along the way got a chance to attend the auditions and provide feedback to the actors, which allowed us to experience a broad range of what could be done with our selected text in terms of audio.
After the auditions were complete at the end of Winter term, Andrew sent us the audio files of our candidates, and our digital department put together a survey with the compiled audio clips and sent them to the press for a vote. After much deliberation and a nail-bitingly close vote, the press chose the very talented Jason Drury as the voice for Ricochet River. This Spring, we began holding rehearsals with Jason as we prepared for our audio test of the chosen chapter. We held a rehearsal in the brand new, state-of-the-art recording studio in Lincoln Hall, and then finally, we recorded our test! The goal is to work hand-in-hand with the students of SAMP (which is experiencing some very exciting rapid growth itself!) in this venture, with the guidance and expertise of Andrew and our own digital department leads and audiobook directors. For the many audiobook lovers in our program, this is a very exciting time to be a part of Ooligan Press.