The Inside Story: Audiobooks

Imagine holding your published book for the first time. Pretty exciting isn’t it? Now imagine there’s also an audiobook. With an actor reading aloud every single word you wrote, bringing your story to life. We think that’s very exciting, so we thought we’d speak to the person who helps make that happen: Audio Editor Abi Fenton.

The Authonomy team has the pleasure of working in close proximity to the HarperCollins Audio team, which is how we know Abi works very hard – probably because she’s so busy publishing audiobooks for almost every book published by HC. She has kindly agreed to answer our questions about what her job entails, what goes in to making an audiobook, and how audiobooks could be the answer to never having to put a book down. She also has some impressive facts about the Game of Thrones audiobooks. Read on to find out more about the fascinating world of Audiobooks.

The Quotidian

"Fiction needs time. It needs to settle. It needs to be ready. It’s not an immediate genre. You can’t rush a story. It took me years to write my grandfather’s story, years to write those ten pages about my grandfather and a Polish boxer. And not because I wasn’t trying. I kept making attempts to put his story on paper. But I couldn’t figure out how, couldn’t find the angle, couldn’t find the voice or the tone. The story wouldn’t let me in—it wasn’t ready, or I wasn’t ready. Until I realized that it wasn’t really a grandfather’s story that I wanted to tell: it was the story of a grandson as he receives his grandfather’s legacy, his family story."

- Eduardo Halfon

Sunday Shorts - State Farm

Short stories often depict the starkly melancholic in strangely beautiful ways. Some writers are able to render the ordinary striking, Dave Housley amongst them. In State Farm, lines like, "parking his car in an emptying lot" and, "Soon the first inklings of sun will smudge the windows along the empty row of cubicles on the back wall" are vivid images of mundane, everyday events. Your language needn't be flowery to achieve beautiful imagery. Indeed, it's usually more effective to use simple yet striking language, creating a vivid image that calls on the reader's senses and memories.

World Book Day - What Are You Reading?

In honour of World Book Day, we want to know what you're reading. What do you think of it and how will it influence your own writing? I'm also interested to know whether you favour physical books, e-readers, tablets, or a combination of the above. And, most importantly, do you like to read in trees, gripping your book firmly with your hands and feet? Or do you have some other place?

Reading for Writers - The Pros and Cons of the Present Tense

The Authonomy on Writing series touched upon the implications of writing in the present tense. Saying,

"Most of the time the past tense is more suitable than the present. It has been fashionable in recent years to write in the present tense, with many such novels being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, but I would generally advise against it. Some people are of the opinion that the present tense somehow makes your writing more vivid or immediate but, in the words of Philip Hensher, “Writing is vivid if it is vivid. A shift of tense won’t do that for you.” You do see the present tense used effectively. It gives Cromwell’s story an unpredictability in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Those authors that make successful use of it do so because they know why they are using it, because it lends to the tone, or the characterisation in some way. It used to be more effective, due to its rarity, but it has become a cliché, particularly in historical fiction. Generally, it is the tense of film treatments, jokes, and anecdotes."

Recommended from The Workbench

We've really enjoyed your entries for the latest prompt on The Workbench. It's great to see such a response. You're clearly keen to challenge yourselves and show us what you're capable of. The entry that caught our attention most on this occasion was by 'Bob'. (If anyone knows who this is, please let me know in the comments so that I can credit him and take a look at his Authonomy profile.)

Here's his entry...

One to Watch Wednesday - Letters from a Shipwreck

I first came across Raymond Holland while reading The Origin Of Writing In The Footprints Of Birds. This wonderfully written and funny book made it to the Editor's Desk and I've set it aside with a mind to pick it up again when time permits. Alongside a predilection for long titles, Holland continues his poetic and humorous prose in this week's One to Watch: Letters from a Shipwreck in the Sea of Suns and Moons.


A research team and a blind old sailor slyly spar over the truth of a long-ago shipwreck, a mad island of dead gods and the mystery of a lost manuscript. A romance of memory across the sea of time.

The Workbench

The Workbench is a feature where we post a prompt, image, or basic premise, and you write a short scene/extract around it and post it in the comments. It's a great way for you to showcase your ability and persuade us to check out your work on Authonomy. We re-post entries that catch our eye.

Sunday Shorts - I Found

I Found is hauntingly spare and unadorned. The narrator is melancholy yet seemingly at peace and contented. The first half is especially good. The repetition is carefully composed to compel you forwards and build tension, while adding significance to the changes and constants in their lives.

I Found


Mel Bosworth

I found her in a white tee shirt that was too big for her. The collar was all stretched out. Her neck was thin and pale. Her hair was short and blonde. She was sitting on a dirty carpet. She had ashes on her cheeks—thumb-smudged, a game. She was drunk, young, and laughing. She was surrounded by summertime friends.

We sat on the curb in the dark. Our knees touched, our feet traced nervous circles. We spoke of things we thought important. Like how we missed people and how quickly things change. We spoke of time and distance.

Check out our other Sunday Shorts!

The Quotidian

"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know."

- Mark Twain