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'A Part Of Something Truly Special' ...
APAC and The Audies Gala in New York

June 5, 2013

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor

(VOXtra) - Every once in a while I take some time to reflect upon who I am as both a voice talent and a person.
  • Why do I do what I do?
  • Why is narrating audiobooks food for my soul?
I may never know all of the reasons, but I can give you two of them: APAC and The Audies.

APAC, the Audio Publishers Association Conference, is a three-day event culminating in The Audies Gala, an award show that recognizes the finest in both audiobook performance and production.

But there's even more: a pre-APAC Mixer, a chance for the APAC attendees to get together, meet for the first time, or catch up with friends and colleagues. Like last year, the Mixer was held at Three Monkeys in Midtown Manhattan.


APAC  was held on Wednesday, May 29, at the Jacob Javits Center, also in Midtown Manhattan. There were separate Narrator and Publisher tracks, so we had a great choice of seminars to choose from.

The first session I attended was Marketing Successfully and with Manners (pictured), led by the wonderful narrator Tavia Gilbert. My pal Dave Courvosier was on the panel and I learned quite a bit about how to reach out to potential clients with professionalism and class.

Next up was Home Studio Work Flow, moderated by my friend Jeff Kafer, who did a great job of guiding us through some best practices to maximize productivity when working out of your home.

A particularly interesting session was Listening Community Reviews, moderated by Karen White. This panel discussed how and why some titles get reviewed while others don’t, and the process involved.


The last session of the APAC day was my favorite: The Listening Lounge - a highly entertaining session hosted by narrator Johnny Heller.

A dozen A-list audiobook narrators including Simon Vance, Tavia Gilbert, Kathe Mazur, Peter Berkot and Johnny himself read selections from some of their favorite works.

The selections ranged from the gripping ... as Eduardo Ballerini read from [sic]: A Memoir by Joshua Cody ... to the clever, as Barbara Rosenblat read from How I Met My Wife by Jack Winter ... to the just plain goofy, with Simon Vance reading Spike Milligan and Eric Idle excerpts.

Listening to these amazing talents was like eating milk and cookies for ninety minutes straight!


The following evening was the 18th Annual Audies Gala and Awards Presentation at the New-York Historical Society, where scores of narrators and publishers were honored as the best in their fields for recent works. (Pictured, Audie winners Katherine Kellgren and Simon Vance.)

Everyone was dressed to the nines, and the evening's host was none other than Lemony Snicket (author Daniel Handler)!

And a highlight of the evening was watching publishers Bob and Debra Deyan receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Click here for the complete Audie Awards winners list.

The evening was capped by The Naudies, a fantastic unofficial after-party hosted by Jeff Kafer, Johnny Heller and Melissa Exelberth at Mustang Harry’s in Chelsea. A wonderful time was had by all.


There are many, many nuggets of wisdom I could share with you on both an educational and networking level. Sure, I learned a lot about the audiobook industry and I met a bunch of great people as well as spent quality time with good friends.

Instead, I will leave you with this: Attending APAC and The Audies feeds my soul because they make me feel like I’m a part of something truly special, something bigger than me or anyone else involved.

They make me feel responsible to the millions of audiobook listeners out there who deserve my best effort.

Regardless of your profession, strive to be the best at what you do for both yourself and for everyone you touch.


The Audio Publishers Association (APA), which sponsors the annual APAC and Audie Awards, is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals are to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers.

Since 1986, the APA has worked to bring audio publishers together to increase interest in audiobooks. Please visit for more information. 
Tom Dheere is a 17-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a voice over business consultant, content programmer for the Voiceover Café podcast, marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference in September, coach at Edge Studio, and is currently writing and producing a comic book.


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Comments (5)
Elizabeth Wiley
6/6/2013 at 10:02 AM
Yes, Tom! To be a part of this community, the warmth and generosity, the good humor, to feel how the work reaches us all - like Robert Fass' touching reading at the Listening Lounge - is truly food for the soul. So glad to have a chance to meet you last week!
Tom Dheere
6/5/2013 at 9:50 PM
Thank you Donna and Pearl for those kind words. It was a pleasure seeing both of you as well!
Dave Courvoisier
6/5/2013 at 7:50 PM

Wonderful summary! .... and thanks for the mention.

Best observation you made is that APAC gives you the chance to be part of something bigger...a community that, now, you are part of!

Thanks, Tom!
Donna Postel
6/5/2013 at 6:34 PM
Tom, thank you for expressing so eloquently what I've been feeling, as well. I go to APAC not just to meet and reconnect, but to celebrate the art form that I have become so passionate about. Next year I hope to get to spend more time with you!
Pearl Hewitt
6/5/2013 at 6:27 PM

The description of your feelings is a perfect analogy of my own!!!! I learned a lot last week in NYC, too, and it was so fantastic to meet and mingle with so many like-minded people. It felt like one big family and I felt so at home spending time with these wonderful human beings, including yourself. It was great to catch up with you again.

I came home with a renewed vigor to get the job done and do it really well, which has always been my rule of thumb but, like you my soul is being fed by recording these audiobooks. Going to APAC was like icing on the cake and has boosted my energy levels. Thanks for your article! Keep narrating and stay well-fed!
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