Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Counting on Trust, Audio Book by Mary Ferguson Powers

"The author writes fluently and convincingly, and all the principal characters are well developed - easy to get to know and to empathize with. I felt the plot was well-paced throughout, and the ending just right. Perfect for the story, in fact!" C.Gonzales, Goodreads


In this suspense-charged, touching novel, Counting on Trust, information is stolen from a U.S. genetic engineering company (Omniprotein) by an employee promised payment by a Chinese general who wants to profit from selling the company’s technologies in the military region of China he commands.

To force quick payment the thief attacks fellow employees and threatens to continue until his money arrives. Will his next targets be: young lovers, computer geek Gabriel and gorgeous biologist Selena, who are discovering loving sex while trying to overcome post-traumatic effects of Selena’s girlhood rape.

Company president, Eleanor, who’s determined to keep some privacy and intimacy although her job’s high profile and her husband, Charley, has just had prostate cancer surgery.

Venture capitalist, John, who plans to duplicate Omniprotein’s facility in China and reunite with his ex-wife, fashion designer Ziyi, who returned to Shanghai after their only child died.

The personal stories of these couples explore how privacy, intimacy and trust are changing in our social-media age. They paint a compelling portrait of our time.

Why I Chose to Create an Audiobook for Counting on Trust

As an author, you want to make your work available to the widest possible audience. You have to decide where and how to promote and distribute your work. One of the considerations today also includes the technology format – print, ebook and / or audiobook. 

Audiobooks are one of the fastest growing formats in publishing. Why? Some of the reasons include: 
· Convenience – There are a wide variety of devices that support audio (smartphones, laptops. tablets), as well as many new venues where they can be purchased and downloaded or streamed.
· Easy to consume – Listening is generally easier for most people than reading . The work is being read to you. You can also listen to an audiobook in bed with the lights off. Reading, whether ebook or print, requires much more focus and attention.
· Flexible – Like listening to the radio, when you are listening to an audiobook, you can do other things.
· Emotional tone Good narrators can add emotional dynamics to the work that are not available with reading. This can make the work more interesting.
· Extended audience – Audiobooks can be used by those with visual impairments for whom reading type on a page is impossible or is just too much of challenge.
· Other advantages – Some other advantages of audiobooks that I like are they are environmentally friendly, they are durable (as long as you remember to back them up somewhere), and they don’t take up space in your home. 
These are all great advantages, but there is a flip side. Some of the downsides of audiobooks are: 
· Reliance on technology – Listening to an audiobook requires a device, that requires power, adequate storage, with the threat of obsolescence always lurking.
· More involved purchase experience – Getting an audiobook onto your device also involves interacting with the technology of the venue you are purchasing it from. The user experience there can sometimes be challenging.
· Scanning and skipping content is harder – Audio is a serial medium. Sampling content or skipping around is more difficult than with print. Going back to a particular part of the story can be done, but requires more work. Bookmarking can be done, at least with Audible books, but is not as accurate as print. And highlighting is not possible. To do that, you need to pair with a print book or ebook.
· A narrator you don’t like – If, for some reason, you don’t like the voice of the narrator or find him or her distracting, it can greatly diminish your enjoyment of the work. 
All of these factors are things an author should weigh in making the decision of whether or not to create an audiobook. 

What tipped me in favor of creating an audiobook version for Counting on Trust was the length of the story and the number of characters and subplots with it. I believe the audiobook format is a good fit for the way the book is structured, and allows the audience to experience it more like the episodes of a TV drama. Also, since the book was already available in print and ebook format, the audiobook could be paired with one of those if a listener desired. 

The advantages and disadvantages I listed above all pretty much relate to the audience experience of the audiobook format. If you are an author considering an audiobook, there are two very important considerations you must be aware of before taking on such a project: 
· Expensive to produce – Audiobooks are expensive to produce, especially if you use a professional narrator and a digital audio engineer – both of which I highly recommend.
· Learning curve – There is a steep learning curve associated with producing an audiobook. Don’t underestimate the work required if you decide to undertake an audiobook project. You have to find a good narrator, make sure the audio formats and meta-tagging meet the specifications of the venues you want to distribute your work to, and you have to learn to find and fix the audio errors that will routinely crop up in a work of any length. It can get complicated. 
The audiobook is an exciting new format whose time, judging by the sales figures from the publishing industry, appears to have arrived. Just be sure you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages before your plunge in.

About the author:
Themes of novels by M. Ferguson Powers reflect the author’s varied interests, including preservation of the natural world and its creatures; 

Challenges of building and maintaining loving relationships in a culture with decreasing respect for personal boundaries and privacy;

Influences of globalization on world events and how the U. S. and other nations relate to one another 

Public policy issues such as controlling the military-industrial-political complex and requiring the health care industry to be more respectful of its clients 

The need for cooperation across governments, cultures, and societies to address global challenges such as climate change 

Developments in business and university administration and management;

Powers has taught microbiology, headed a university office of research, served as executive director of two university-business partnership programs, and co-authored two books on university administration. She has a bachelor of science degree in bacteriology from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in experimental psychology from George Mason University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. 

She lives on an island near Seattle with husband David R. Powers and their two shelties. Her first novel, Each Unique and Fascinating, about a bullied young girl whose father has gone to war, was published in 2012. OrcaSpeak, a novel of relationships and suspense, was published in 2013, and its prequel, Counting on Trust, was published in 2017. 

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