Inside the Audiobook Studio: Anthony Goff
Posted by: Mary Burkey
Publisher and Director of Hachette Audiobooks, Anthony Goff has had his finger on the play button of many titles nominated for recognition at the Audies Award ceremony. But Goff doesn’t keep his enthusiasm for the audiobook publishing field contained at the office. He’s the immediate past President of the Audio Publishers Association, and currently serves on the APA Board of Directors along with last week’s “Inside the Audiobook Studio” guest Michele Cobb. Michele, who is also a past President of APA, and Anthony are two of the audiobook community’s most articulate advocates, and it is an honor to have had them both as guests!
I decided to invite Anthony to be our guest here on “Inside the Audiobook Studio” when I read the New York Times story on Hachette’s Dickensian serialized podcast release on iTunes of Transition by Iain M. Banks, as an abridgment divided into 23 episodes. These free episodes served as a novel promotion for the full-length audiobook release – and I love seeing great ways to introduce audiobooks to new listeners. Let’s hear what else Anthony has to share with us here in the interview seat…
1. What’s on your MP3 player?
Right now I am listening to NurtureShock by NYT Bestselling author Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, read by Po Bronson. He’s an amazing writer and fantastic narrator of his own works. It’s a timeless classic in my eyes that is the parenting book for those who don’t have time to read parenting books. Some great hot topics touched upon are the chapters “Inverse Power of Praise” (which Po and Ashley used to headline an award-winning piece in New York Magazine “Children and Race”) and “Why Kids Lie,” why even some from the best of upbringings end up aggressive, if not outright cruel…Fascinating stuff. I just finished listening to End the Fed by Ron Paul: talk about controversial, timely, and from the heart…In queue is Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, now available as an unabridged audiobook for the first time featuring narration by author David Foster Wallace, and the multi-cast of the film, including Director John Krasinski. Saw the just-released movie and some of the scenes actually (in my unbiased view) were better acted on our audiobook! ; )
2. Tell us about your role in the audiobook community.
I’m so happy to be involved in such a passionate community. Yes, everyone has multiple job functions, but everyone cares so much about the format that going home feeling worn out many days is merely a sign that we continue to wage the battle of growing the audience while putting out the highest quality audio recordings to hook new fans. The work NEVER ends, but neither do the opportunities to promote, nor the fun of it all! Serving as APA President was truly an honor. The highlights of my term were introducing Audies judging to digital listening for reviewing product, and reorganizing the Audies Gala to be a bit more succinct in a theater style setting. I continue to work on/with the Board of Directors, who in my mind are a select group of the most dedicated spirits in the industry.
3. What was your most interesting/embarrassing/hilarious moment in the audiobook studio?
I was once running a Q&A with Bill Bonanno (son of mafia Boss Joseph Bonanno), and Joe Pistone (alias Donnie Brasco of the FBI), and interviewing them after hours in a small, dark studio off of Times Square. Mr. Bonnano, “Sir” as I affectionately referred to him, turns to me (this after they were lost in Times Sq. and could not fine the studio for quite some time) and said “Who the hell wrote these questions!?! This is some real Hollywood Bullsh*t!” I laughed (instead of crying) and immediate ratted out our LA Producer that wrote the script, not by name of course. Then quickly said “Let’s just talk about whatever you guys want!”
4. What future trends or changing technologies do you think will have the greatest/worst/revolutionary impact on the audiobook production field?
Delivering audiobooks to consumers so they can listen everywhere they are, anytime they want is something that I feel would have a significant impact on the industry. Being device agnostic from couch, to car, to gym, would be a coup. Easy access, easy use is key. I’ll just keep it simple.
5. What’s new and exciting in your part of the audiobook community?
We here at Hachette geared up for fall in a big way, and have been blessed with an embarrassment of riches. From Ted Kennedy’s memoir True Compass, to Oprah’s selection of Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan, the great world-wide philanthropic effort of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales – never mind blockbusters from James Patterson, David Baldacci, Anita Shreve, Michael Connelly, Malcolm Gladwell, Sheri Shepherd, David Cross, and now a new live audiobook exclusive from David Sedaris entitled Live for Your Listening Pleasure (which will also be available on vinyl). Hachette Audio truly has something for everyone this coming holiday season!
Gosh, Anthony – I guess we’re lucky that you weren’t sent to sleep with the fishes, and that the directions were good for your visit here to “Inside the Audiobook Studio.” And I can’t wait for the VINYL version of the Sedaris title. I’ll bet Arnie Cardillo (who bemoaned the death of vinyl audiobooks in his interview here) will be thrilled to get his ears on it, too. Thanks so much for being our guest – and I’ll be looking for you at the Audies this year!