There’s a lot of talk about audiobooks lately as they’re one of the few sectors of the publishing world that’s seen steady growth. And all signs say they’re going to keep getting bigger. But the big question for indie authors is: does the benefit of creating an audiobook justify the cost? It absolutely can, but you have to look at the bigger picture and see how audiobooks are more than just a royalty generator – they can be an excellent resource to expand the reach of your book marketing efforts and create pathways to new audiences.
We know how it is for indie authors: book marketing and selling your books can be just as difficult as writing them! And (sigh) audiobooks are still dependent on many of the same marketing channels as ebooks. But it’s important to remember that there are FAR fewer audiobooks published each year than ebooks, so the chances of standing out are that much greater. With a little work and imagination, you can find many innovative and exciting ways to use audio to get your book noticed. Let’s look at just a few:
One of the biggest benefits of creating an audiobook is that it gives you the opportunity to create new content specifically for audio. This can take the form of a personalized introduction that you record, or an interview with you and the narrator at the end of the audiobook. You can also record a chapter from a forthcoming book that can only be heard at the end of the audiobook. These are just a few ways to get your fans excited about the audio version while also giving you something to promote in your marketing efforts.
Few readers will know your book as intimately as your narrator. Tap into that. Many narrators actively promote their personal brand on social media. Create original content that can benefit both of you. Ask if they’d be willing to record a conversation about the book. It’s easy to record a two way conversation on Skype where you question the narrator about the recording process and they ask you about the writing process. You can host this audio on Soundcloud and add an audio player on your website and across social media. Facebook is launching streaming audio - you can even hold a live conversation.
The Audible app has an audio sharing feature called Clips. It allows you to take up to 45 seconds of your audiobook and post it as an audio clip to Twitter, Facebook, etc or to email it directly to people. This has been a successful way to promote podcasts, so why not audiobooks?
Speaking of podcasts, they’re really hot right now and there’s a lot of crossover appeal between podcast listeners and audiobook fans. (Audible even has its own original podcast division now.) There are numerous interview podcasts devoted to authors and writing. You can find them all in iTunes, though it takes some digging around. Research and reach out to the hosts. If you’re being interviewed on a podcast, consider playing clips from the audiobook or inviting the narrator to be interviewed for part of it.
Ok, nothing new here. We all know positive reviews are beneficial when people are browsing unfamiliar books or authors. But the fact is Audible has become the main site where readers go when browsing audiobooks, so that’s where you want people leaving reviews. And Audible encourages this by giving authors 25 free downloads when you publish on the platform. Many authors will give these promo codes away through their existing social media channels or newsletter. There’s also a dedicated discount audiobook email newsletter called Audiobook Boom! It’s current audience is around 5,000 subscribers and growing steadily. Subscribers understand that in return for a free listen they should leave a review. And If someone requests your book, their email is sent to you, so you always retain full control over the customer interaction. Just like with handing out advance copies of your print book, be sure the people you give a free download are people who could most help your career and are most likely to enjoy your content.
These are just a few of the ways that an audiobook can be more than just another format to offer, and used together, they can significantly boost your book marketing efforts.