We’re so pleased to have author Isobel Starling with us today to celebrate the big win for As You Wish in the Audiobook Reviewer Awards, and be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win one of five free audio downloads of the book.
As You Wish Wins the Audiobook Reviewer Award for Romance
Hello M/M Readers and Audiobook listeners,
In February this year, I was amazed to discover that my audiobook of As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) narrated by Gary Furlong, was selected as a finalist in the 2018 Audiobook Reviewer Awards – Romance Category.
The ABR Listener Awards is voted for by listeners only. It focuses on Audiobooks by Indie authors and small presses, so gives recognition to authors and narrators who would otherwise not get much of a look in from the wider, publisher-based audio industry.
The growth of self-publishing and the fact sites like ACX.com, Findaway Voices, and Spoken Realms.com, enable authors to produce quality audiobooks means that a whole new wave of LGBT authors can get their audiobooks to the masses. The audiobook industry is hard work for independent producers and discoverability is always a problem as we work without big marketing budgets to push a new release.
I’m sure that if you listen to M/M audiobooks, you are aware of the amazing talents of the narrators whose work is primarily in our genre. Gary Furlong, Greg Tremblay, Joel Leslie, Gomez Pugh, Tristan James, Derrick McClane, the list goes on! These narrators are just the tip of the iceberg, and they don’t get the recognition they deserve because they work in a genre that isn’t represented by any of the organizations who run mainstream audiobook awards.
The AUDIES is the equivalent of the Oscars in audiobook terms, and they are dominated by work from major mainstream publishers and producers. It’s very much a ‘closed shop,’ it’s expensive to join the Audio Publishers Association, and you can only join if you are a producer, educator, or voice talent, so Indie authors are generally not eligible to have their books nominated. This award event has been running since 1996, and there is no LGBT category on their awards list. Then, we have the Earphones Awards from AudioFile Magazine, which gives website prominence to winners, but, again, search for LGBT and Gay Romance on that site, and you get zip, nada, nothing. So, even though we know there are amazingly talented narrators working in the M/M Romance and LGBTQI genres, they have to step out of the genre to be seen. It is unlikely that either the Audies or Earphone Awards will add the category, so the ABR Awards was our best shot at being included in a mainstream award event.
On the 8th of June 2018, the Hear Now Festival took place in Kansas and hosted the Audiobook Reviewer Awards. Neither I nor my narrator Gary Furlong was able to make it to the ceremony. I’d been unwell that night and so slept in. It wasn’t until I logged onto Facebook after mid-day and saw a rather shell-shocked video where Gary informed that we’d won the Romance category award. I still can’t quite get my head around it. I nearly drove myself mad promoting the awards and asking M/M fans to vote for us… and did they ever deliver! This was a worldwide vote of listeners, and we are the first M/M Romance to win a mainstream romance award. I hope we are not the last. Gary and I are so very grateful to listeners who took the time to vote for us. I promised that a vote for us would help me to push for changes, and as a woman of my word I have pushed!
Last year when I saw the list of categories for these awards did not contain an LGBT category, I contacted the organizer and asked if they could add an LGBT category to the awards. I was informed that there was no proof that there was a big enough audience to justify the addition of an LGBT category. I did not agree and set out to prove that LGBT readers and listeners are many, and are loud and passionate about our books.
I am delighted to announce that the win of As You Wish has convinced the organizers of the passion of our readers and listeners, so for the 2019 ABR Awards, there will be an LGBTQI+ category.
Authors, you now have the choice to submit your books for subgenres like historical, paranormal, and romance, etc. AND for a dedicated LGBTQI+ award. I encourage authors to submit their audiobooks and get a little more visibility for the genre and their super talented narrators.
© Isobel Starling 2018
About the Book
One wedding, two best men, one hell of a love story!
Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairytale castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided that Annabelle’s gay younger brother would share the best man duties with Declan. Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.
But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.
But, is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?
About the Author
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.
Isobel is currently working on her fifteenth book. The Shatterproof Bondseries is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller and is being translated into French with Juno Publications, German with Deadsoft Verlag, and Italian with Quixote Edizioni. The series is also available as audiobooks, narrated by Gary Furlong.
Sweet Thing will be translated into French by Rienes-Beaux Publishing, and Italian by Quixote Edizioni.