This interview appeared March 19, 2020
For my third novel, Birdie & Jay, I chose Audible as my publisher. So, how is that different from other methods of “traditional” publication? What it means is that my book will be available exclusively (and only) as an audio book on Audible for nine months. Like Netflix (and other premium services) Audible wants to provide content to their subscribers that can be found ONLY on Audible, to keep them loyal, and I’m part of that emphasis.
Why would an author do such a thing? Publish with no print book?
First, I adore audio books. I “read” about 75% of my books through my ears. I find the experience to be incredibly rich, plus there’s a significant multitasking aspect that I love. I never begrudge laundry or driving when I have a book on.
Second, I had a traditional publishing experience with my first two books. I’ve done the launch parties, the bookstore signings, the library readings. These are exciting things, but confession time, they are also very draining. I know I’m not the only author who’s showed up at a reading only to entertain four people (two of them bookstore employees). With Audible, I can’t do this, I have no book to read from, nothing to sell. There’s so much less pressure.
Third, the experience has been wonderful! As with other publishing houses, my book went through several thorough editing sessions. I got to help select my cover. I even had input on my narrators.
Finally, at the end of the nine month exclusivity period, I can sell the print and eBook rights to another publisher or I can self-publish, just to get a paper book (something tangible) into my own hands. Publishing exclusively with Audible is a relatively new program-something my agent hasn’t yet navigated. We’re learning together, but I’m not worried because I love what Audible has done for Birdie & Jay, thus far. The book is featured as one of their Women’s History Month special selections, and their algorithms know just how to reach listeners who are interested in historical fiction with romantic elements. They can suggest Birdie & Jay to listeners who’ve enjoyed Gilded Age or New York City fiction.
Plus…for Women Writers, Women’s Books, Audible is offering a GIVEAWAY of one copy of Birdie & Jay. You can enter by following @ellajoyolsen on Instagram. If you win you’ll need to provide the email address you use for Audible and they will drop the title directly into your library. If you’re not an Audible subscriber, you can still listen by downloading the app and providing your email address. This giveaway is offered to worldwide listeners. Oh, and it would be fantastic if you posted a written review on Audible when you finish listening.
A lovely early review:
“In Birdie and Jay, Ella Joy Olsen splendidly captures the grand opulence of the Gilded Age in Manhattan and Newport, with descriptions of people and places that are both nostalgic and grimly reminiscent of current struggles among the social classes. The love story at the core of this listen is everything—a version of Lady and the Tramp that involves an intellectually curious debutante, drawn to artistic pursuits frowned upon by her family, and an honorable paleontologist, born to Irish immigrants, who soon discover they have much more in common than that which divides them. For truth seekers and believers in science, the themes contained within this novel will resonate far and wide.”
From the famed halls of the American Museum of Natural History to the opulent parties of Manhattan’s Gilded Age elite to a muddy dig site that may be hiding a groundbreaking discovery, Birdie & Jay is a captivating historical novel that will take you on an unforgettable journey.
Birdie, a young woman born into wealth, has a deep passion for art and science which leads her to a position painting landscape habitats at the new Museum of Natural History. Her mother – who sees this pursuit as a distraction from her daughter’s obligatory society functions – tries to forbid her from the museum, but Birdie’s dedication only grows once she meets Jay, an intelligent Irishman who’s yanked himself up by his dusty bootstraps to join the museum’s elite team of researchers.
Captivated by each other despite their class differences, Birdie and Jay steal away to Central Park each day, where they discuss the work of Darwin and other forces shaping their changing world. When the two are pulled apart for the summer – Jay to an expedition in England that could make or break his career, and Birdie to the mansions of Newport towards more acceptable suitors – both of them will have to fight for what’s right, and for a chance to be together.
A rich blend of romance, history, and scientific adventure, Birdie & Jay is a powerful story that will transport you to an era of both extraordinary risk and glittering opportunity.