We sat down with Allegra Bandy, Founder & CEO of ODDUA PUBLISHING.
ODDUA PUBLISHING is committed to helping authors to turn their published non-fiction hardcopy or ebooks into audiobooks, specializing in author-narrated titles. We handle the vocal narration coaching, recording direction, editing, and publishing. In addition, we produce content that helps people make their world a more peaceful, equitable, and joyous place to exist by sharing knowledge and wisdom through audiobooks. As CEO, Allegra Bandy directs and manages the productions and operations with a team of excellent artists, engineers, and designers.
Good morning and welcome to the Founder’s Corner. We are here today with Allegra Bandy, Founder & CEO of ODDUA PUBLISHING. Specializing in author-narrated titles, ODDUA PUBLISHING provides high-quality audiobooks in non-fiction and personal development genres and authentic “true voice” listening experiences.
Thanks so much, Mike, for having me on here. This is super exciting, and it’s been a while.
We will get into what you do in a minute. For the folks out there, this is not usually the side of the camera that Allegra is on. Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
Sure, I produce and publish audiobooks with my company, Oddua Publishing, and we specialize in producing non-fiction author-narrated titles audiobooks. We handle the vocal narration, coaching, and direction for recording, editing, and publishing.
Why is this a perfect vehicle for digital marketing?
The audiobook industry has grown exponentially for 12 to 13 years compared to print books and print products. Now that everyone has a mobile device, they can download or stream content. As a result, we have seen that audiobooks have taken a more predominant role in book consumption.
Folks must get their brand out there, write a book and get their stuff out there. So now it’s like you can’t just publish a print copy; you also have to have an audiobook if you’re going to be able to get your stuff out there.
Right now, we have digital audiobooks, digital downloads, and digital streaming in the digital realm. So to be a part of or take advantage of that market is essential in developing your brand.
What platforms are usually available for these books?
The leading platforms that have taken over and monopolized the market for a long time were initially audible, Amazon, and Apple. Apple has Apple Podcast and now Apple Books, and you can get audiobooks. Those were the two main ones, but now there are over 40 different digital online platforms from which you can stream or download audiobook content.
With this many platforms – is that part of the service you provide in advising clients? What’s the best platform based on content?
We distribute on over 40 different platforms – cast a wide net, catch more fish.
Is the audiobook typically launched in conjunction with a bigger marketing effort, or is it usually a stand-alone?
My company handles the production and publication, and we leave it to the author or the rights holders to do their fair share of their marketing. We do some of ours and PR to promote our content and our company. But we do leave it to the authors to get their word out. It benefits everyone involved that they do that.
What are the components that make a good audiobook?
Well, number one – excellent writing. Good content; that’s the number one thing. If it’s crappy writing, no one will want to listen to it.
The second element is the narration itself. Whether it is the author or a professional voice-over actor, the person narrating it is. Their performance grabs and engages the listener for the long run of the audiobook.
The third thing is how it’s all put together, how it’s edited, how it’s recorded. If you have low production value, the production is as if someone decided to take a regular old digital recorder, hide in their closet with a lamp, and read from a page. Turning the pages and you can hear the rustling.
So, you’ve seen my productions, then.
Oh no, versus a higher production value – where someone is in a professional studio, has an excellent microphone to narrate on, and has a vocal coach or an acting coach to work with them before and after the recording sessions. Those are things we provide that we ensure are happening for every one of our productions.
Do you prefer the author narrating the books, or do you prefer a professional?
I believe that’s our niche because Oddua Publishing specializes in author-narrated titles. We believe that the essence of the work, especially
for non-fiction titles, personal development, personal narratives, historical journalism, and sexuality – all these different realms within non-fiction, that the nuances of the writing, the humanity in writing get brought forth a lot more when the author is narrating. You hear their sense of humor. You hear their pain. You hear all these different things that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you had an actor narrating someone’s life story or autobiography, or you know those types of titles.
It’s something that we are committed to. So make sure we get out works in the author’s voice. Plus, it’s also its niche market. So many fans want to hear the author’s voice and actively search for that.
That’s where we come in.
Have you read a book and had the author read it and come up with a different experience? When you read it, you had your interpretation, but when they presented it, it came out differently, or they emphasized something that maybe you hadn’t.
Of course. I have a wild imagination and like to turn a page and consume a book that way. It will always be different
from what you read and process in your brain as you consume a book. It will be different as you listen to a book; your brain works differently.
Nowadays, because audiobooks are so accessible, folks can consume them in different ways, whether it’s blasting them through speakers or in their cars or their headphones while doing other things. I’m a knitter. So I love consuming audio content while I’m doing other things. Your brain will process it differently depending on whether it’s active listening or passive listening.
Many people passively listen because they want something kind of in the background or when they’re stuck in traffic.
Or for the last year, we’ve been stuck in our house, so there’s been plenty of time to fill.
The audiobook industry did not slow down last year; if anything, it boomed.
How does an author go about trying to decide whether or not their book is a good candidate for an audiobook?
Well, if there aren’t many charts, there are many graphics and images. It does not image-heavy. If it’s a book with good stories and good lessons, I believe those are the best candidates for audiobooks, at least on the non-fiction side.
If someone’s writing a fictional story, you’re probably going to have several different voices, so more than likely; you will want to hire an outstanding voice-over actor or actors to cover all of those different voices and characters.
I thought of Samuel L. Jackson when he read the “Go the F@#k to Sleep” book. Have you heard that? I want him to narrate my book. I don’t care about the topic; I want him to narrate my book.
I’ve heard of it. I haven’t listened to it, but I’ve listened to snippets.
It’s worth it. It is hilarious. It’s worth it. What advice do you have for people when they are considering doing this?
Write a good book. Have a good editor. Have somebody edit your stuff, look at your writing, and ensure you know you’re halfway doing anything.
Have you offered that feedback to anybody where you’re like, oh, rewrite your book and see me in six months?
Luckily, I’ve had amazing writers that I’ve had an opportunity to work with. I just had lunch with one yesterday and told her to know how lucky I was to have been able to work with her. Her name is Dossie Easton, and she co-wrote with Janet W. Hardy The Ethical Slut. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that book. It’s a personal development and sexuality title that has been translated into ten different languages now. Initially published in 1997, it’s a brilliant book, and it’s considered one of those relationship bibles for folks in a relationship or who want to be in one. So it’s the book to read.
I had lunch with her yesterday and was reminded how freaking lucky I like to have recorded that because it’s so well written. You consume it in two seconds because you can’t stop reading it, and it’s still relevant. It’s one of those titles that still holds no matter how many years have passed.
Exactly, evergreen content. Well, they were written. Well, put together. They did a fantastic job writing it and then did an amazing recording.
Both of them participated in recording it. Was it more of a dialogue, or were they still reading the book but playing off one another?
Oh no. I recorded them at separate times. We split up the book. When you have multiple people or more than one narrator, I get them in the studio one at a time. It’s not something that I would want to have them deal with in a conversational style. It’s just not worth it. This way, the process happens faster when you can do one at a time.
Where can people learn more about what you’re doing and the type of projects you work on?
They can go to ODDUA PUBLISHING.
We very much appreciate you spending time with us. We look forward to checking out the Ethical Slut. I’ll put it right at the top of my list. But first, I’ll listen to the audiobook that’ll make my life easier. Plus, it will confuse the crap out of my partner.
“What are you listening to? Allegra said I needed to listen to this; it’s about relationships.”
Thank you for joining us, and we look forward to furthering our conversations.
Thank you so much, Mike; thanks for having me.