Sample Some Post Hypnotic Press Audiobooks
Check out these audiobooks by clicking on the covers to go to an audio sample of each title:
On Constance, by Karin Konoval, read by the author
Kinship with All Life, by J. Allen Boone, narrated by Michael Puttonen
When Animals Rescue, by Belinda Recio, narrated by Hayden Panettiere
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Post Hypnotic Press: Bringing New Voices to Independent Publishing
It is rare to find a small independent publisher that specializes in audiobooks, but that is exactly what is happening at Post Hypnotic Press, located in Burnaby, British Columbia. Founded in 2010 with the clever slogan, "Sometimes it's ok to hear voices," Post Hypnotic Press offers an eclectic mix of audiobooks made-up of classic to current fiction and non-fiction for all ages. That's right, audiobooks are not a sideline, but the main line.
Press co-founder Carl Craig has over 40 years of experience in the audio world, and co-founder Carlyn Craig has 40 years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries. The Craigs have worked with many well-known actors and a variety of experienced voice talent to record audiobooks but have also recorded many bestselling authors reading their own books.
“The decision to hire a professional narrator or actor versus the author recording their own book is an important one," says Carlyn. "There are several factors to consider, first and foremost, can the author read well out-loud? We are not all gifted with the same performance abilities. This isn’t to say that authors should never narrate their own books, but it is important to be honest with oneself."
"The genre makes a difference, too. If the book is fiction with a lot of characters to voice, the author should evaluate whether they have the acting ability to do their book justice. Fiction writers should also consider whether their book would benefit from more than one narrator. A popular choice in romance is the 'two-hander,' while multicasts with music and other folie effects are becoming more and more popular, too. Of course, these approaches require bigger budgets and there are copyright considerations when it comes to using music, so be sure you know what you’re doing. On the other hand, sometimes the best narrator for a book, especially nonfiction and memoir, is the author.”
"As for what little print publishing I have done since I started Post Hypnotic Press, most of that has been creating new editions of public domain titles of favorite books. So, for instance, we created both audiobook and print versions of Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. I had Richard Lingeman -- whose biography of Sinclair Lewis is superb -- write an introduction, and Dr. Sally Parry, executive director of the Sinclair Lewis Society, write a foreword for the audio edition, which we included in the print version, too."
In case you wondered, Carl and Carlyn are in fact fraternal twins, the two youngest of ten siblings. “I take care of the publishing end of things, while Carl handles all things audio. I go after rights and provide quotes regarding producing for other companies. I take care of casting and contracts and organize our recording timetable, scheduling talent and engineers/directors, and keep track of deadlines. If we produce a print project I produce it, do the layout, and procure new forewords and introductions.”
“Carl is the audio expert. If we need to check out a new studio, he's the one who vets their audio. He does all of the 'mastering' at the end of the production process and oversees the quality control. Mastering can be quite involved, depending on the recording and the length of the audiobook, smoothing out the audio so that the levels are the same across the project. Like with print books, once the audiobook is ready, it still needs to be gone over to make sure that no errors have been introduced during post-production and that everything is correct and ready to go.”
The family connections within Post Hypnotic Press extend even further, to include two of their sisters, Sarah-Jane Craig who does general bookkeeping and Louise Craig Howatt who does royalty bookkeeping. Carlyn’s son Nat Puttonen does proofing and odd jobs, and Carl’s son Adam Farnsworth does some proofing, engineering, editing, and narration. Niece Jenny Craig does some proofing, engineering, and is a talented narrator. Nephew Ken Craig does social media and marketing and has also done proofing and directing. Carlyn’s husband Mike Puttonen is a television and film actor, notable for appearing on all three of the longest running North American science fiction series: The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, and Smallville. “Mike has narrated several titles for PHP and was up for an AUDIE award for his fantastic recording of Carl Sandborn's book Becoming the Kind Father, but he was up against Oprah, and she won that year,” recalls Carlyn. “Part of what makes Mike a great narrator is that he is an avid reader. We have a library of around 5,000 books. I have a few hundred books, but most of the books in our library are his. He started collecting when he was seven years old!”
According to research from WordsRated, audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the publishing industry and are expected to be a driving force behind the growth of book publishing over the next decade. Publishers Weekly reported in 2022 that audiobook sales made double-digit increases for a 10th straight year. This growth is being driven by several factors: one is the plethora of smart phone ownership, which gives virtually everyone their own audiobook listening device, and more and more of us are listening to news, music, podcasts, and books on our phones. Also, it's now becoming more routine for publishers to release new titles in all three formats -- print, ebook, and audio.
Another lesser-known factor is the increasing availability of great backlist and public domain titles. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 kept many great titles published after 1920 out of the public domain until 2019. Since then, new titles of interest from the early part of the 20th century come into the public domain every year. There are also many overlooked backlist titles not yet recorded. These works represent a great opportunity for independent publishers like Post Hypnotic Press.
“We’ve recorded all of Betty MacDonald’s memoirs, including The Egg and I, Julia Cameron’s It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again and more," says Craig. "Right now, we’re working on a recording of Shere Hite’s ground-breaking work: The Hite Report. Over 3000 women responded to Hite’s questionnaires, and their answers make up a good part of this book. We’re recording with a multicast which will include talents like Robin Miles, Dawn Harvey, Emily Lawrence, Kitty Henderson, Janina Edwards, Heather Henderson and more. We want to we give the listener a sense of the many women’s voices in this important book. And we have Karissa Vacker voicing the main part of the book. It’s very exciting and it’s a great example of how audio can add substantially to the experience of a book.”
It is important to note that while the overall market for audiobooks is growing, not every audiobook will sell huge numbers of copies. Carlyn says that when they started in 2010, one could expect the audiobook sales to be around 5% of the print sales for a given title. WordsRated notes that "as of March 2022, audiobooks represented 9% of all book sales in the United States." At the same time, some audio titles outsell the print and e-book versions. According to Jeremy Olshan of MarketWatch, Audible "found examples of books in every imaginable genre that sell better as spoken than written words -- sometimes four times as well." And sometimes, as in The Martian by Andy Weir, the audiobook can launch a book beyond the author’s wildest dreams. Check out Michelle Dean’s article, The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory,” in The Guardian (Jan 2016).
Overall, it seems like the audiobook market is worth considering for independent and self-published authors, but it's important to be realistic about sales expectations and to approach the production process carefully to avoid overpaying for services.
“Obviously, hiring a professional is going to cost more than recording it yourself," says Craig. "If you narrate your own book, unless you already have a professional recording set-up, factor in the cost of a recording studio and post-production services. Get lots of quotes and ask about their experience with audiobooks. Don’t pay more than you need to: an expensive music studio may make a huge difference if you’re recording your first album, but it isn’t necessarily going to do a significantly better job recording your audiobook. If you’re an American, consider working with a Canadian audiobook producer – the exchange can make this a very attractive solution.”
It is possible to create a recording set-up in your home, but as Craig notes, only do this if you know what you’re doing. “A set-up that works for a podcast isn’t necessarily going to work for an audiobook recording. We’ve had to give authors seeking post-production services the bad news that their recordings, and all the work that went into them, do not meet industry standards. If you want to go this route, make sure you know what you are doing and make sure you have your recording quality vetted by a professional before you start.”
How can independent authors take advantage of presenting their work in audiobook format?
- Ensure your book is a good fit. A book that relies heavily on visual elements may not translate well to audio. Before investing time and money into audiobook production, authors should evaluate whether their book is a good fit for the format.
- Choose a reputable audiobook production company. Not all have good reputations or offer fair pricing. It's important for independent authors to do their research and choose a company that has a good reputation, offers competitive pricing, and provides high-quality services that will translate into sales success.
- Choose a talented narrator. The narrator of an audiobook can make or break the listening experience for the audience. Independent authors should choose a narrator who is skilled at voice acting, can bring the characters to life, and has a style that is well-suited to the book's genre and tone.
- Market the audiobook. Once the audiobook is produced, it's important to market it effectively to potential listeners. This can include promoting it on social media, running ads, offering discounts or promotions, and seeking out reviews and endorsements from influencers in the book's genre.
- Offer the audiobook in multiple formats. While audiobooks are growing in popularity, it's still important to offer the book in print and ebook formats as well, to reach the widest possible audience. Consider bundling the audiobook with the print and/or ebook versions for added value.
By taking these steps, independent authors can take advantage of the growing audiobook market and hopefully grow the audience and sales possibilities for their work.
Whether you’re an independent author or indie publisher, adding audiobooks to the mix can be a way to bring your book to a whole new audience. If you have the budget, you can create incredibly entertaining adaptations with a full cast, music and sound effects, but even with a small budget and one good narrator, one can create a compelling audiobook that will expand your readership, and who knows, maybe even launch your book into stardom.
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About Post Hypnotic Press: Established in 2010, Post Hypnotic Press founders have over 40 years experience in the audio world (Carl Craig, Technical Director) and 40 years experience in the entertainment and publishing industries (Carlyn Craig, Publisher). PHP has worked with a variety of actors and voice talent, including well-known narrators like Simon Vance, Gerard Doyle, and Heather Henderson, experienced actors like Colleen Winton, Lisa Bunting, Rebecca Jenkins, and have recorded bestselling authors such as Gabor Maté, Maggie Scarf, Joel Bakan, and Jennifer Margulis. PHP offers an eclectic mix of compelling, informative and timely non-fiction titles and fun, exciting fiction titles for the whole family. Buy direct at the PostHypnoticPress.com website or at audible.com, simplyaudiobooks.com, emusic, ITunes, audiobooks.com, EBSCO, Overdrive, and more.