Audible’s Director of Spanish-Language Content, Manny Miravete, is passionate about bringing Latino and Hispanic stories to audiences. “I want to make sure we’re hearing more voices from the larger spectrum of our country and the universe of audio content.”
Miravete first started working with Audible as a consultant in 2018. He had been working in media sales for Google and Microsoft, strategizing about the best ways to reach Latino users, when an opportunity arose for him to put together a marketing plan for Audible Latino.
Soon after, he was asked to head up Audible’s Spanish-language content pipeline, including the development of original material. Miravete brought his contract negotiation skills, access to creators, and a passion for storytelling to the table. “It was a complete career shift,” he marvels, “but I love what I do.”
Miravete’s team sources content for potential Audible Originals from studios, podcast producers, writers, and other creators, and then helps develop those for listeners. “My job is to acquire content where Latino customers can hear themselves reflected in the story,” Miravete explains, “regardless of what languages the characters are speaking.”
Cultural representation in storytelling is deeply important to Miravete, who especially loves “a great coming-of-age story that happens to have Latino characters in it and cultural references Latino people can relate to.” As an example, he cites the Audible Original En Delos no puedes morir, which was first released in Spain and grew so popular that it was adapted into an English-language version, In Delos You Cannot Die. “We’re looking for stories that people haven’t heard—or haven’t told—about their backgrounds and experiences in life, and then trying to make those relevant to the rest of our audience.”
Miravete’s input doesn’t stop at acquisition and contract negotiation, extending into the production process, from reviewing preliminary scripts to giving notes on the audio—in both English and Spanish. He says he’s guided by his love of great storytelling and his ability to listen as a customer would. “I ask myself ‘what will keep the customer listening past this chapter, to the end,’” he says. “I’m very customer-obsessed.”
Miravete’s efforts, and those of the Spanish content teams, have grown Audible’s Spanish-language catalog to more than 19,000 titles, and he has launched more than 50 original Spanish- and English-language productions ranging from audiobooks to podcasts and multicast productions. Recently he was invited to speak about Latino narratives in American media at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he described his involvement with Audible’s Hear My Story initiative as “ensuring that every piece of content we are creating has underrepresented talent behind them,” whether that means the performers, the characters in the story, or the writers.
Storytelling is essential to educating audiences about other cultures, and to building empathy, and Miravete says this is especially powerful when stories have universal appeal. “I want to hear a story of love or tragedy or passion that happens to be written by someone from the Latino community, or stars someone who is Latino,” he says. For example, his acquisition of Audible Original Le mujer que sabe volar, about the first female skydiving instructor in Mexico and her triumph over a debilitating injury, was so well-reviewed by customers that it was adapted and localized for English-listening audiences to enjoy as The Woman Who Knows How to Fly. “If we didn’t find these stories and tell them,” says Miravete, “how would anybody find out that you, as an individual, can have such a big impact on the community and the world?”
Because he must listen critically for work, Miravete chooses stories that are completely different for his leisure time. Since he’s deep in the production of an Audible Original sci-fi space opera, for instance, he’s changed it up with historical nonfiction, the acclaimed Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. “The way the Native Americans were treated, given that oil was found on their land, but the U.S. government assigned them guardians to manage their money because they could not be trusted to manage it themselves, and then were systemically robbed of it by those guardians, drives me crazy,” he says. “There’s also a true crime component that attempts to solve murders that are decades-old, which makes it not only more frustrating but very compelling.”
As for his work-listens, he says, “One of the forthcoming Originals I am most excited about is called Punk In Translation; Latinx Origins. This will be our first Original to be published simultaneously in English and Spanish!”