The world of publishing is not always fun, games, and chuckles. As writers, we do get a lot of say-so when it comes to our books, but we also have to compromise and sometimes acquiesce to the good judgment of our publisher.
So, for example, the publisher gets to decide the title of your book. Some publishers are more than willing to entertain a title if it means a lot to you, but more times than not, Marketing and Editorial are going to meet and have the final say. Authors are usually asked about their preferences for a cover, but at the end of the day, the cover designer and Marketing Team get the final word, and if the truth be known, you want them to be the deciding vote because this is what they do for a living. Fortunately for me, I have had amazing luck and good fortune with When Stars Rain Down. Everything my publisher, Thomas Nelson (imprint of HarperCollins), suggested, I loved -- with some minor tweaks here and there. Trust when I say, that is a rarity in this industry, so if you do find yourself in the position to be published, make sure you and/or your agent hammer out those things you are adamant about because once the contract is signed, renegotiating the terms of that contract are not going to be easy. And anyway, things like titles, covers, audiobook narrators are not the things you'll find in a contract. Those details will need to be discussed along with the contract details.
So, a week or so ago, my editor, Kimberly, asked me to listen to some audio book narrators and make a suggestion for which one I liked best. We went through several. Some sounded too old. Some sounded like they were trying WAY too hard to sound southern and Black. Some just didn't move my spirit at all. I was worried. I feared that at some point, we were just going to have to "make do" with a good reader, but not someone who felt like Opal, my main character. Thankfully, my publisher was as committed as I was to find just the "right voice," so we listened to reader after reader and then finally...IT happened! We listened to Joniece Abbott-Pratt read from another book, and immediately we knew. SHE WAS THE ONE.
Joneice is an actress and writer, known for Luke Cage (2016), Blindspot (2015) and Why Did I Get Married? (2007). She has been the audio book narrator for books like: Grown by Tiffany Jackson, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, and Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins.
I haven't stopped smiling since I received the news that Joneice was available and had agreed to narrate When Stars Rain Down. Selecting the audiobook narrator isn't the final step in the process of getting the book onto bookshelves but it is an important step. SO, when/if you find yourself in the position of having to select the audiobook narrator for your book, make sure you and your publisher vet them properly. Their voice will forever be associated with your book. You don't want to mess up and have the wrong voice attached to your work.
If you would like to order the audiobook for When Stars Rain Down, click here. If you would like to order a paper copy of the book, click here.