An insight into the production and marketing surrounding audiobooks from guest bloggers Marcia and Jory Rosen.
The audiobook market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the publishing industry. According to the Audio Publishers Association, it grew an estimated 24.5% from 2017 to 2018.This included self-published authors and small publishers who access numerous marketing actions and opportunities to create and an awareness and enhance sales. And, think of the millions of people who drive to and from work each day many listen to audio- books. They are just one audience since people can listen anywhere, anytime. Following are the three major elements involved in producing and marketing an audiobook.
The recording of your book is the first step in the process. Either the author or a talent will need to be well spoken, easy to understand and appealing to listen to.
Once the talent has been selected the recording sessions can begin and recording time will depend on length of book. Usually estimated by word count, for example a 60,000 to 70,000 word count book should take about ten hours.
Once the recording is complete, the file should be carefully reviewed to make sure all flubs, misreads, etc. are cleaned up. Music, pauses and other needed elements should be inserted in the proper places for an entertaining final product.
Once the product is completed, files are created in the proper formats for the authors website, Audible, Hoopla and other audio book sellers. The files are delivered and uploaded as needed for each site. Tests should be made to make sure the files are being downloaded correctly and meet both yours and the seller’s requirements.
Audiobooks can be distributed and sold on Amazon, Audible, Apple, Google, Chirp, Hoopla etc. Your publisher should be able to help you list it on Amazon. There are companies like Findawayvoices.com that can help with development and distribution and librofm.com an independent Audio book retailer. Be sure to compare pricing. If you’re published through kindle they should be able to help you list your audiobook on Amazon.
With the recording done and the files uploaded it’s time to market the book to drive sales. This includes creating strong, appealing messaging concepts with opportunities for on-going visibility for your audio book.
First and foremost, audio-specific marketing materials, graphics, and posts for audiobooks need to be created. A simple and quick example would be to have a book rendering with headphones bracketing the cover. This is an easy way to catch the attention of audiobook listeners, letting them know that this book is available in audio format and is being marketed directly to them.
Following are some additional strategies for promoting an audiobook for preorder and sales:
Launch – Develop and distribute a press release announcement. Send to your contacts, post on your social media and also on your personal website.
Your website – The file will be uploaded to your website where people can download samples and also purchase your book. Adding an ecommerce element to your site is simple and can be set up to handle any credit card transactions with the funds from the sales being delivered directly to a bank account of your choice. You have the price set and run various promotions, including contests to generate sales. In addition, this will be a good way to sell printed copies of all your titles. Or, of course you can work with a distribution company such as Findawayvoices.com.
Social Media – An audiobook should be promoted across all social media channels. Samples should be available for download with direct links to your or other sites for purchase. Considering running contests for free copies of the audio book.
Newsletter – Announce the preorder via your newsletter or blog if you have one and on your social media pages. Many of these groups are genre-specific (like Aural Fixation and Audio Loves on Facebook for the romance genre). Authors can do a search for groups or pages that focus on audiobooks in your genre.
Bloggers – Approach audio-centric bloggers (e.g. AudioGals), genre-specific bloggers, and review podcasts. Offer an Advance Listener Copy (ALC) or ask about partnering on a giveaway for an ALC to one of their subscribers/listeners.
Podcasts – Review podcasts also tend to have promotional spots/opportunities for advertisers, where authors pay a fee to share a sneak peek of their audiobook on the podcast. Data suggests podcast listeners are also audiobook listeners. There are a number of podcasters listed on google who feature interviews with authors.
Facebook Live – Leading up to the release or even after the audiobook is out, ask your narrators if they’d be willing to do a Facebook Live video with you. Prepare questions ahead of time for your narrator and share short snippets of the book live. Make sure you post the link to your audiobook in all social media and special event posts. You can also do Facebook posts and boosts to vast and specific audiences.
Boost retailer pages – Post screenshots of your audiobook available on retailers and tag that retailer in your post/social media announcement. Some retailers might even share your post to their audience, especially if you consistently share their purchase links (even library distributors, like Hoopla and OverDrive!).
Affiliate links – Always remember to use affiliate links on your website, directing all traffic (social media, podcasts, bloggers, newsletter, etc.) through your affiliate links.
Discount the audiobook and promote it on Chirp(Owned by Bookbub) – This is another marketing option to consider. The ability to control the price of an audiobook on retailers is an extremely valuable marketing tool. If you distribute wide through Findaway Voices (to Chirp, Apple Books, Google Play, Authors Direct, Audiobooks.com, Hoopla for libraries, etc.) then you can have full control over the price of your audiobooks on those retailers.