My Job in 5: Paul Stark

My Job in 5: Paul Stark

Describe your role
I help manage Orion’s audio list: supporting acquisitions, scheduling editions, casting narrators, booking studios, hiring producers, managing distribution, pitching to retailers, editing podcasts and generally getting involved with anything to do with our audiobooks.

What do you like best about your role?
Casting. I really enjoy getting a new manuscript, then sitting down and trying to fi nd the perfect narrator for it. The choice of reader has a huge impact as the wrong voice can turn listeners off instantly but the right voice can take a book to another level. So we take a lot of time and care to make sure that the narrator and book match. I am lucky enough to produce audiobooks across the whole Orion list—I don’t think any other role would have given me the opportunity to work so closely on such a wide range of titles. This autumn we had science writer Adam Rutherford, economist and former presidential adviser Dr Pippa Malmgren, Reverend Richard Coles, Alan Partridge, Davina McCall and Samantha Bond in our studios in the space of just a few days . . . it was a great experience to watch them all tackle such different books in contrasting ways.

Which new projects are you working on at the moment?
We’re well into casting for 2017, and we have some exciting titles to start the year. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (Trapeze) has been receiving rave early reviews and we’re set to start recording soon and Stephen Baxter’s The Massacre of Mankind, an authorised follow-up to H G Wells’ The War of the Worlds, is going to be great.

How is the audiobook market evolving?
The growth of downloads has made it easier for consumers to listen how and when they want. It’s also given publishers the opportunity to expand the number and breadth of titles they produce. Science fiction and fantasy are particularly strong areas for us in audio now that we don’t have to worry about fitting 900-page titles onto CDs. We’re also seeing younger, tech-savvy listeners move from podcasts into audiobooks—we’re finding that this is growing our non-fiction sales.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the publishing industry?
Don’t just focus on a single department or section of the industry. Publishing is an exciting, varied industry, so don’t rule anything out.