Meet Candyce Kanuchok President of Kalliope Audiobooks
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” —Ursula K. LeGuin
“Please tell me a story!” For most parents, those words conjure up memories of vacations, campfires, and bedtimes. But children aren’t the only ones who clamor for stories. Seniors listen to their radio dramas. Commuters enjoy books-on-tape. Teens have iPods. We all find life just a little bit sweeter when we can escape into another world for a few minutes or a few hours, defeating foes and writing wrongs, rescuing innocents and vanquishing armies, all while dancing along the yellow brick road in our minds.
Having enjoyed fanciful stories throughout her life, Candyce Kanuchok was dismayed to find that many of her peers had missed a vast number of these delicious tales during their younger years. In an attempt to stop the further loss of these enchanting legends, an idea (a very tiny one at first) sprouted in her mind. Finding fertile ground there to grow and develop, that idea blossomed into an audio book publishing company dedicated to preserving yesterday’s stories for today’s listeners. Thus, Kalliope Audiobooks began.
Starting her first company at fifty-eight with no previous retail business experience may not be a normal thing to do, but Candyce has never been one to excel at normal. Instead, she spent thirty years raising her employees before giving birth to Kalliope Audiobooks LLC. Together with her three daughters, Hannah (accountant/CFO), Esther (graphic design), and Leah (administrative assistant), and two of her sons, Adam (computer specialist/CIO) and Jesse (production manager), they form the backbone of this unusual publishing company. Their mission is simple. Their focus is sharp. Their enthusiasm is contagious. As innovators defying traditional book publishing trends, they seek out neglected stories from the past to recycle into today’s jewels of distinction.
Restoring these classic treasures languishing on dusty library shelves claims the heart of this for-profit publishing house. With an online presence and a growing list of audio book offerings, each product proclaims “excellence!” Featuring time-tested gems from our literary past, narrated by carefully selected international voice talents, and enhanced with mellifluous sound design and music, these books are definitely gift quality. As if that weren’t enough, the book-like CD case and slip cover display custom artwork commissioned exclusively for each audio book. Definitely eye-catching! While many of their selections will delight young listeners, they also offer fiction for adults such as Lad: a Dog by Albert Payson Terhune (an inspiration to nobility for us all) and Hospital Sketches, by Louisa May Alcott, which gives us a peek into her world as a Civil War army nurse.
While Kalliope Audiobooks is a brand new company (not yet two years old), the founder’s experience is impressive. Beginning as an architect in the 1970’s and infusing that functional/artistic basis with the skills developed through two decades as an elementary and high school educator, Candyce has learned the importance of choosing stories that are beautiful and intriguing, but also powerful and relevant. Updating these classic stories for current listening ease, these books in public domain (books written prior to 1923) are edited for potentially offensive language and repackaged in beautiful new finery.
In addition to gallantly saving old stories and bravely building new companies, Candyce’s other passion is “mothering” young mothers. Drawing on her thirty years of experience as a mom, she has graciously mentored more than 500 ladies in her ten years as a M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Mentor. As a firm believer in honing management skills in every environment available, she shares creative ways she’s found to motivate and encourage each individual, whether child or employee. Using her own seven (now grown) children as a laboratory and testing ground, she’s mastered the art of diffusing squabbles, encouraging camaraderie, and producing positive group dynamics. With humorous examples and heart wrenching anecdotes, she shares her stories with women’s groups throughout the Midwest and she receives many a smile, hug, and heart-felt “Thank you’” in reply.
This desire to encourage and appreciate each person is foundational to Kalliope’s Customer Service philosophy. Working not only for customer satisfaction, but also for customer delight animates the staff. When a customer raves about the story’s quality and eye-catching packaging, or the incredible voice talent and the lovely music, then Candyce’s staff feels rewarded for their efforts. As Candyce says, “We only work with our friends. We just make sure that everyone we come in contact with becomes a friend!”
If appreciating each customer defines their Customer Service policy, then making new friends drives Kalliope’s Marketing strategy. Friendliness translates into generosity. Generosity gives freely. Free gifts inspire friendships. Using the current platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as starting points, Candyce offers listeners an opportunity to hear The Seven Little Australians read by Drew de Carvalho’s marvelous Australian voice, knowing that they too, will fall in love with all seven of the mischievous but captivating Wolcott children. Hearing this charming tale in free-download form shows potential buyers just how incredible these treasured stories are! After all, a gift offered freely by a new friend just might be the beginning of a long and happy relationship.
One other aspect, particular to Kalliope alone, makes this audio books publisher unique in the industry. They seek to enable a very special segment of the population to enjoy their audio books with the addition of an innovative touch. All Kalliope Audiobook CDs will include Braille book titles and disk numbers on their labels, allowing the visually impaired user to instantly know which book, which disk, and which side they are holding in their hands. Since these special folks are dependent on hearing stories for enjoyment, instruction, and inspiration, this innovative breakthrough will make their lives just a little bit easier.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank
For more information visit Kalliope Books online at http://www.kalliope-audiobooks.com