How to Market Your Audiobooks

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A $15 to $20 audiobook was always going to be harder to sell than a $2.99 ebook. Aside from the difference in price, there are simply more ebook readers out there than there are audiobook listeners. Getting your audiobook into the eardrums of new customers can be a challenge, but as the format becomes more popular, there are an increasing number of tactics you can use to get more sales.

Much like ebooks, audiobooks on Audible and Amazon benefit from a lot of momentum during a concentrated timeframe. In the same way that five straight days of consistent sales can boost an ebook, a similar push will help your audiobook to stick higher in the rankings as well. As you take a look at the five strategies below, make sure to consider the best way possible to line them up over a single week to let your audiobook flag fly high in the rankings.

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1. Giving Out Review Copies

It’s a very simple process to give out review copies of ebooks. You simply contact a reviewer and send over a file. The process becomes a little more complex when you’ve gone through the ACX system.

First and foremost, ACX provides you with a collection of 25 review codes to provide to people who are interested in listening. Since the review codes are good for any book on Audible, it’s best to redeem the codes one at a time yourself and then gift your audiobook to potential reviewers.

The first set of reviewers you can target are your existing fans. Tell them that you’ll provide a free copy for an honest review. If you run out of your 25 codes, simply call ACX support on the phone and ask for another set. They’re not stingy and they’re happy to help you spread the word far and wide.

2. Reach Out to Audiobook Bloggers

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The second major use of your ACX review copy codes is to reach out to audiobook bloggers. While the world has been overwhelmed with book reviewers, there are still only a few dozen sites that tackle audiobooks specifically. Check out this Twitter list to see a collection of the most prominent audiobook bloggers on the web.

As the audiobook format becomes more popular, more blogs are bound to pop up here and there. Do a Google search of audiobook reviews with your specific genre. Contact the reviewers and kindly request that they listen to your book. Offer the review copy and give them a few days to respond.

You should set a goal for yourself to get into the double digits of reviews within the first month of your release.

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3. Promote to Audio Listeners

Just like you wouldn’t want to spend much time and money pitching ebooks to a paperback-only crowd, you shouldn’t focus on non-audio listeners for your audiobook promotion. You want to go where the listeners are, and the best place to find them is through podcast audiences.

People who listen to podcasts usually don’t limit their audio habit to one show or one medium. They typically like audio as a whole, which means that if they read, they’re probably consuming audiobooks. Find five to 10 podcasts that would be a good fit with your target audience. Listen to at least one episode of each to know more about the people you’ll be pitching. Collect their contact info and tell them what you’d be able to bring to the show as a one-time guest. Remember that you promoting your book isn’t really a benefit to them. You want to bring something event-worthy to the table. A special giveaway or an inside view of your process may be a better sell than your simple appearance alone.

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4. Post Samples on Your Website

While Audible may put up several hoops to jump through to give away review copies, they are willing to let you post a few small samples of the book wherever you’d like. Using a service like Soundcloud, you can put the samples on a page on your website dedicated to pushing the audiobook. On this page, you can include more info about the book as well as the book’s narrator. You’ll also need the all-important trackable link over to Audible or Amazon where listeners can buy the book.

ACX will let you use around 15 minutes to post on your site. Approach your narrator to get the proper file you want to use and double check with ACX to ensure that you meet the length requirement.

5. Promote the Book to Newbies

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One of the reasons that audio has gained so much in popularity is that Audible does a great job promoting itself. As an audiobook author, you have the option of creating a link that will get you a “bounty” for new subscribers you bring to the platform. Audible pays $50 per bounty (or $25 each split between narrator and author for a royalty split) for new listeners who join Audible and use your book as their complementary free download.

Few authors have released much info on how they’ve gained their own bounties, but with a $25-$50 payout, a pay per click system like Facebook ads may be worth exploring.

There’s More Marketing to Come

Because of the way Audible prices its book, there is no sure thing BookBub-type email list that will automatically boost your audiobook to the top of the charts. At this point, hard work and a strong fanbase are the best things you can do for your promotion. Get reviews, appear on podcasts, and find any way possible to get new listeners to download your book. There’s a lot less competition on Audible than on Amazon itself, so your efforts on audiobook marketing will likely be well worth it.

6 Ways to Increase Your Luck in Self-Publishing

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Indie bestseller Joe Konrath recently suggested that even if you do all the right things to become a career author, you’ll still need luck to succeed. Nobody likes to hear that they could spend hundreds to thousands of hours on multiple difficult projects and still fall well below the bar. We agree that luck is a key component to a successful book business, but we also think it’s very possible to manufacture your own luck.

You can’t guarantee luck, but you can focus your attention on the things that are within your control. When you spend your time on the following six tactics, you’ll be much more likely to see a “lucky break” come your way:

1. Choose Your Genre Wisely

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Of course, you should write what’s in your heart. If your dream has always been to write children’s books about dental hygiene, go to town. When you’re looking to have good fortune as an indie author, however, you need to remember that some genres just sell better than others.

Are we saying to drop everything and write the next steamy romance? No, but you should try to find a compromise between your dream story and something that more people will buy. Most people in this business want to become better writers, and writing in a new genre is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Additionally, you may find out things about the genre that excite you in new creative ways.

Once you’ve picked a genre, stick with it for a while. Authors who create multiple books in a series tend to have more luck than those who write a standalone and move on.

2. Write Faster

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The more you write, the more pieces of work you have out there in the world. When you have more books, you’re more likely to have one that succeeds. Traditionally published authors like Stephen King and Suzanne Collins, as well as indy authors like Hugh Howey found their greatest success with books that weren’t the first thing they’d ever written.

As you write more words every day, you’ll get better at your craft and your chances of luck will improve dramatically. Push beyond your boundaries to get from a few hundred words a day to several thousand. Books like Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k and Monica Leonelle’s Write Better, Faster have some great tips to get your word count up even with a limited number of hours available.

3. Market Harder

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The luckiest authors spend significant time on marketing. One rule of thumb says your author business should consist of five parts of marketing for every one part of marketing. We’re not sure if you need to go that extreme, but you still need to make marketing a major priority.

If you’ve put hundreds of hours into a book, then you need to go out there and tell people about it. The instances in which a self-published author with no website or online presence has had major success are few and far between. Spend time on your marketing every day, because you’re more likely to be discovered if your book is in front of someone’s eyes than if it’s at the bottom of a pile.

4. Meet More People

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Networking matters. The more people you know, the better chances you have of making a connection with someone who can improve your career. You need to put yourself out there online and at conferences to grow your network. Connect with big-time authors to offer them your help and to learn the ins and outs of the trade. Meet merchandizers from self-publishing retailers to help get your book featured.

It’s not always what you do. Sometimes it’s who you know, and that’s why you’ve gotta get out there and meet people.

5. Build Your Mailing List

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We will beat the “build your mailing list” drum until everybody out there has finally listened to us. Email marketing is still the most effective way to connect with your readers. If you’re having a hard time choosing what to spend your daily marketing time on, look no further than growing your mailing list.

The next time you chat with a “lucky” author, ask her how many email addresses she has on her list. It’s likely she’ll have a five-figure number to share with you. You can be as lucky as she is if you work just as hard to build your list to that size.

6. Never Give Up

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Luck doesn’t owe you anything, and it may elude you through years of hard work. You need to keep going. You’re going to have rejections along the way and you’ll have books that absolutely flop. Don’t stop writing and don’t stop marketing. The only thing that can completely extinguish your chances of luck is quitting. Never quit and you’ll already have more luck than the other authors who gave up.

Some People Are Luckier Than Others

More often than not, the luckiest authors are the ones who worked the hardest. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Luck is always going to be a part of things. It can feel like a lottery at times, but you’re never going to win the grand prize unless you buy some tickets.

Why Put Your Book in Audio Format?

Why put your book in audio format?

When you first started self-publishing, it likely seemed like a ton of work you’d never be able to accomplish yourself. Whether you have one book on Amazon or two dozen on a variety of e-retailers, you’ve learned that self-publishing wasn’t quite as hard as you thought. While marketing those books may remain a challenge, you’re more likely to get a return if you have more products out there. Getting your books in audio format gives you one more product for each book you have on the market.

Audiobook production may seem even more daunting than digital self-publishing ever did. You’ll need to learn some new terminology and you’ll have to figure out a whole new process, so you might be wondering if the whole audio enterprise is worth it. To keep things simple, let’s just say that audio is the future of publishing and we’re nowhere close to reaching the tipping point.

If you want to get the most of out your fiction or non-fiction, then you need to make audio a key part of your author business plan. Here are four reasons you should turn your novel or non-fiction work into an audiobook:

1. Audio Is On The Rise

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It’s tough to believe statistics unless everybody is saying the same thing. While the Association of American Publishers says that ebooks are on the decline, indie sources like the Author Earnings report express the exact opposite. But if there’s one thing the studies agree on it’s the growth of the audiobook industry. According to AAP, sales of audiobooks rose 26.2 percent in 2013 and an additional 28 percent in 2014, and there’s no indication the trend will reverse itself.

One of the reasons for the growth of audio is significant improvement in technology. Audiobooks no longer require packs of 10 to 20 CDs or cassette tapes. You can easily download a single file through iTunes or Amazon to your iBooks or Audible apps. Audiophiles can also listen to their books on the go or in the car thanks to Apple CarPlay. As the technology continues getting better, audio sales will rise without an end in sight.

2. You’ll Create An Additional Revenue Stream

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We’re big fans of Joanna Penn here at Author Marketing Institute, and if you’re familiar with her podcast, then you know the importance she places on multiple streams of income. When you’ve finished a novel or a non-fiction book, you may think that book only grants you one possible way to make money. In reality, that one book provides you many potential paths to passive income.

When you put your book on multiple sales platforms, it’s like getting a new stream of revenue for each retailer. Sure, your revenue for Google Play or Nook Press probably won’t equal your earnings from Amazon, but things can really add up when you bring multiple books into the mix. Beyond other retailers, you can get your work translated into other languages which multiplies your potential revenue streams by each language you use for translation.

Audiobooks allow you to create revenue streams on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Multiply those streams by the number of books you have and the numbers really work in your favor.

3. Some Customers Only Read in Audio

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When you post your ebook on Amazon, you may feel as though you have access to nearly all the reading customers in the whole wide world. That’s not exactly true though because there’s a significant minority of readers who only read by consuming audiobooks. Even if the number is relatively small compared to paperback or ebook readers, audiobook buyers tend to spend more on books and they devour them using apps on their mobile devices. Missing out on these readers could cause you to neglect connecting with true fans who want to hear your words brought to life.

4. Make More From Existing Readers

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There really is nothing like a true superfan. These die hard supporters have bought all of your books and they’re willing to do all they can to help you in your author journey. Many readers like having the option of switching back and forth between audio and ebooks (some of them using Amazon’s Whispersync feature). By getting your book out in audio, you give yourself the chance of getting more money per fan while delivering even greater value to the people who care about your work the most.

Audio Is a Worthwhile Investment

Creating audiobooks will be a challenge at first, but if you figured out how to create ebooks than you definitely have the necessary skill set to learn audio production as well. We’re not even close to reaching the sales potential of audiobooks. Why wait until everybody else knows about this amazing opportunity? Get started now to receive higher earnings and find more revenue. The publishing industry wants to tell you something, and it’s about time you listened.