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We've had a couple of questions here about the format. In particular, there was a question about writing for audiobooks in 2010, and now we have a question about producing audiobooks, currently on hold.

Some discussion in the latter question's comments lead me to wonder: What topics relating to audiobooks would be considered on-topic here? Obviously anything involving writing would be appropriate for Writers, but are there any other related topics that would be on-topic here?

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The publishing and editing process itself

Producing audiobooks is about publishing. I vote for on-topic.

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    I think I agree (not sure yet, so haven't voted yet). One could argue a slippery slope -- if audiobooks are in then what about production aspects of film adaptations? But I don't think that's quite right; an audiobook is still about the book -- that is, its text -- in a way that a film isn't. So just throwing that out there for further thought. – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '14 at 17:47
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    We should keep in mind that in case of fiction, paper books were just a handy tool to spread the stories. Originally stories were told (verbally). So audio books are much closer to storytelling than everything else. – John Smithers Feb 14 '14 at 22:58
  • So if a question is about storytelling or writing via audiobooks, it's on topic? (Like a question about writing a screenplay or a presentation.) – Neil Fein Feb 17 '14 at 0:39
  • @JohnSmithers - What are your thoughts on the points raised in the comments re: the production aspects of audiobooks? – Neil Fein Mar 2 '14 at 3:38
  • @NeilFein, this discussion gets a little bit distributed, so I'm not sure where to answer. First: list question does not make it off-topic. We can discuss if it is a list question. Second: Awards: How I read it, the OP wants to inform about what makes narrators good so he can look for these skills. Like asking what are conditions you should look for at a publisher contract (e.g. to avoid vanity publishers). Which means: on-topic! – John Smithers Mar 2 '14 at 19:34
  • Okay, just trying to understand your position here. Since folks have been upvoting this, we should reopen the question in question. – Neil Fein Mar 2 '14 at 21:14
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This site is about writing, and not about recording or voice technique. Just as we've ruled out other sorts of activities since they're not about the actual writing - book design, for example - I think that the actual production of an audiobook is off-topic here.

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    Well, we ruled out book design, because there exist a better site for it: GraphicDesign.SE. And that was only about the typography. Audiobooks are just another book form. Publishing paper books in on-topic, publishing ebooks is on-topic, I do not see, why publishing audiobooks should be off-topic. As I said, they are much closer to the original narration technique than anything else. – John Smithers Feb 16 '14 at 14:42
  • @JohnSmithers FYI - chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/13800525#13800525 – Neil Fein Feb 17 '14 at 0:38
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Audiobooks are part of the publishing process, but the production of audiobooks is a whole 'nother thing.

I'd have a difficult time drawing the line decisively, but I'd say the cut-off should be this: Is the question clearly relevant to the perspective of an author, or a publisher, or an editor.

So, for example, "How much say does the author get in audiobook production?" is fine, "How do I market an audiobook alongside the original?" is fine, but "What skills do I need to narrate an audiobook?" would be off-topic.

  • Now, what does that mean to the question in question? – John Smithers Feb 16 '14 at 14:43
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    The current question would be problematic even on a site where it was squarely on-topic. "Where do I find..." is usually a warning sign on SE; this is very close to a list/recommendation question. Furthermore, the connection he's trying to draw is very awkward - imagine somebody saying "I'm looking to produce my own movie; is finding lists of Academy Award winning actors a good indicator of quality?" It doesn't add up. – Standback Feb 16 '14 at 16:00
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So long as the subject is still about the craft of writing itself, I don't see why not. We already have people with questions about screenplays, which to me is quite a bit further away from the paradigm of narrative, "read it in your head" style writing that appears to be the paradigm.

I'm not sure that the production of audiobooks is actually on topic though. Directing a movie isn't on topic, so why would the process of producing an audiobook be?

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