As you know, I also do an audioblog or podcast of public domain audiobooks. I then archive them over at archive.org for the use of all and sundry. This provides me with download statistics (and the vast majority of my readers, truth be told).
So far, it seems that the way to go with fiction audiobooks is to do long-form poetry and short stories. As you might expect, snappy and appealing blurbs and good keywords also seem to provide results. Short Christian works are more appealing than long ones. Stories appealing to seasonal tastes (horror stories and dark fantasy put up pre-Hallowstide) seem to do well, also.
Most of the multi-part works start fairly well, but peter out. (Witness the dramatic drops on The Red Thumb-Mark and The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.) This may be because people get bored or irritated; because they fail to be interested enough to read on; or most likely, because they come to archive.org or my blog by chance, read what’s there, and just happen not to come back.
I am glad to see that holding up the banner of clan loyalty has also been a good thing for me. Fitz-James O’Brien is one of those great and influential American writers who has been unjustly forgotten, mostly thanks to his untimely death. (Not to mention his insistence, resented by scholarly posterity, on pointing out that Melville had become a victim of the Brain-Eater after he started putting out cruddy novels. (But they were cruddy! He was a reviewer! Pointing out bad value for the dollar was his job!) So it gives me great satisfaction to see Fitz managing once more to entertain the public, a hundred and fifty years later.
Obviously, I ought to do more in the areas and authors that are currently doing well. Still, I also mean to amuse myself, since I am the one who has to read all this stuff! However, suggestions — particularly for entertaining and enlightening bits of the Fathers — are earnestly solicited.
My Top Twenty Audiobooks, with Number of Downloads
1. “The Sword of Welleran” by Lord Dunsany — 102
2. “The Blue Sequin” by R. Austin Freeman — 93
3. “The Dragon-Fang Possessed by the Conjuror Piou-Lu” by Fitz-James O’Brien — 79
4. Annus Mirabilis by John Dryden — 67
5. The Red Thumb-Mark, pt 1, by R. Austin Freeman — 59
6. “Locksley Hall”/”Locksley Hall 60 Years Later” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson — 58
7. “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning — 56
8. “A Message from the Deep Sea” by R. Austin Freeman — 53
9. “Jubal the Ringer” by Fitz-James O’Brien — 51
10. “Of the Song of Angels” by Walter Hilton — 50
11. “The Man Without a Shadow: A New Version” by Fitz-James O’Brien — 49
12. “The Nightmare” by G.K. Chesterton — 46
12. “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley — 46
12. “A Terrible Night” by Fitz-James O’Brien — 46
13. “What Was It? — A Mystery” by Fitz-James O’Brien — 43
14. The Red Thumb-Mark, pt 2, by R. Austin Freeman — 37
15. Folk Tales of Napoleon — 35
16. The Red Thumb-Mark, pt 5, by R. Austin Freeman — 33
17. “The Didache” — 30
17. “The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans” — 30
18. The Bridal of Triermain by Sir Walter Scott — 29
19. The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena, pt 1 — 28
20. “Two Pioneers” by Elia W. Peattie — 26