Planning for 2020 and More!

By Johnny Heller



Facebook is brimming with people planning to come to NYC for APAC and Audie spectaculars. It’s also brimming with Neanderthal dolts spouting idiotic opinions about what we should be appalled about and how we should respond to the things we should be appalled about and how big a part of the appalling situation we are if we don’t respond in a very specific way…but that’s for a different blog post.

But still. It does irk me.

On to important stuff like Awards, Parties and Learning. And Parties. Here’s what’s going on.

  1. FEB 28,29 (It’s a leap year!) Bookworm Theatrics will be presenting A Man of No Importance featuring Lisa Flanagan and directed by Angela Rose Masi. It’s at the Alvin Ailey Theater and proceeds go to help kids in underfunded schools get some literature in their lives. (I’m in this too. And it’s a musical. God help me.)


  1. MARCH 1. NEW YORK AUDIOBOOK WORKSHOP 2 -Scott Brick and I are back with this must-attend event geared to the business of audiobook narration. We are at the Beacon Hotel again the agenda looks great! We will have a host of publishers and we will all go to FrankMac’s Pub after for a lovely pint or three.


  1. MARCH 2. The AUDIES 7:30-10:30pm at Gustavinos – 409 E. 59th  This is a fancy schmancy shindig featuring top industry actors and producers and a handful of celebs. It’s where many people get dressed up and try to figure out how history and biography are one category when they are totally different things. APA has streamlined the event and it runs quite smoothly. Everyone looks so lovely; one wonders why we are in VO instead of On Camera. Will Damron and Hillary Huber always look like they should be on Romance book covers. (Scott Brick and I look like we are midway through an Irish Wake!)


  1. MARCH 2. AN AFTER PARTY! I will have a place to go soon and I will tell you all about it and then everyone will ask me about it a bunch of times and then not come anyway. This is a place to gather and relax after the stress of the award ceremony. Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to go to the Audies to go to this party. In fact, if enough of you will be there early, I will set the start time to accommodate you.
  1. You don’t have to come back to New York for a few months. Rest up. Look back on your trip and see if you can recall which numbnut on the subway did the best job of manspreading. Which restaurant waiter was snarkiest? What was the most you spent for a plate of eggs? Did you see the “Naked Cowboy” in Times Square? Plenty of WTF?? moments to look back on. Do that. Try to avoid Times Square next time!
  2. May 26 – the 5th Annual Johnny Heller Splendiferous Workshop. This takes place at Baruch College at Lexington and 25th in NYC. It’s all day event. I feed you breakfast and lunch and tons of useful information. Follow me on FaceBook, Twitter and go to  to register. (Registration isn’t open yet!). Every year we feature top-flight coaches and we chat about topics of interest to audiobook narrators at all levels of experience. I can only tell you that so far, I have Karen Commins coming in to discuss Evernote and I know Scott Brick, PJ Ochlan and I will be there. The rest is, like Trump’s impeachment, unfolding. Stay Tuned! But this is a pretty cool event if I do say so myself.
  3. May 26 – PRE APAC-MIXER -5:30pm-7:30pm– Ellington Park (105th & the Hudson). The new venue replaces the Boat Basin, but it looks similar to me. It’s right off the Hudson and a little further uptown. It looks great. I love this shindig. You should plan on going and schmoozing. It’s a lovely way to start APAC.
  4. May 27 APAC – 8:30am-5pm at the Javits Center. You need to show up to this if at all possible. The day is divided into producer track and narrator track events/panels and everyone you want to meet but say you never can, is there. People ask me how they can meet producers and make new contacts. This is how. It’s a full day of audiobook wonderfulness. Go to it.


  1. May 27 THE NOT-NAUDIES. The history of this event is long and storied, and you should chat with me to hear it all. Jeffry Kafer, Melissa Exelberth and I started it way back when. It really should be renamed because now the Audies are in March and this event has nothing to do with the awards ceremony at all. Still – it’s a great big party at Connolly’s on 45th. It starts around 7pm and ends when the bar closes at 4am…although I’ve never lasted that long. Dress is casual, and they have food and drinks and it’s a really fine time. (And I want to add something – I get nothing for this. Not a dime. I heard some scuttlebutt about that so I want to be clear – I just found the spot and because we fill it up every year, we get it for free and no money comes my way – but Connolly’s does buy me a round now and again.)


In terms of what you should wear and do, most of the events are business casual.

For the Audies, you want to do better than you did at Prom. You don’t have to wear a tux, but you do not want to wear cargo shorts – even your good ones. As I recall, lots of ladies had Suzanne Freeman do their makeup for them last year.  If you enjoy looking like you are going to a big-time award ceremony, this is for you! This is not the time to hand our resumes and push your website. Don’t. Just meet, greet and enjoy.

As for my Business Workshop with Scott, that’s a great way to meet a whole lot of publishers and participate in a lively Q&A. You can schmooze with them at the pub afterwards.

My workshop in May is a learning event. Some attendees will get one-on-one coaching (it’s a lotto thing) and everyone will have a wonderful time. (They have so far!)
The APAC social is just that. And it’s a great way to meet fellow narrators and publishers in a relaxed environment.

I suggest that you can hand out business cards at the socials and at APAC for sure. Don’t hand out mugs and promotional crap to people who need their hands free to hold drinks. In fact, unless you are handing out new cars, don’t hand out anything save your card. More important than giving out your cards is getting a card from the publishers/producers/coaches you want to meet. I suggest you research the publishers/producers you say you want to meet so you know what kinds of books they put out. Remember that they are people just like you. They may be gregarious or nervous. They know you want to work with them. But try to be someone who solves their problems -not causes new ones. By all means, have a website with audiobook samples marked by genre and easy to find. Give them your time and respect but be respectful of their time too.

I promise you that this group – this audiobook community – is full of the best people. Just be yourself. Arm your face with a smile and prepare to enjoy yourself.
Oh! And if you happen to be a complete jerkwad, you might want to hold off on sharing that. Everyone will find out eventually so wait it out and hope for the best.

Some personal notes:

I have a NYC Audiobook Workshop coming up at Edge Studio. We start January 23 and meet every Thursday night 6:30pm-9:30pm.
Go to for more information and to register.

I want to wish all of you the happiest of holidays and I hope that in these divisive times, you will all count your blessings and share your love. Be of good cheer.


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