Audiobooks have continued to gain popularity and more indie authors are investing in bringing their books into this medium. With paperback sales steadily increasing, eBook sales plateauing, audiobooks is where the industry is gaining strong momentum.
Whether it’s podcasts or audio books, people are consuming more spoken word audio than ever, and the stats back it up.
A survey released last year through Edison Research revealed that half of all readers over the age of 12 have listened to an audio book in the past 12 months. Additionally, audio book listeners trended younger. 55% of listeners were below the age of 50.
Indie authors have long experimented with audio, and we see more indies getting into audio in 2020. We have actually being solidly booked for the first 6 weeks of 2020 and that came off the back of an intense schedule in 2019. Plus on a distribution level, there are now way more options than just Audible, including iTunes, Hoopla, Audiobooks.com, Bookmate, Scribd and more.
With better access to audio book creation and distribution, we expect to see more audio books produced from our authors this year. However, like the physical book, marketing audio is just as important as the space gets more crowded. Authors need to be creative and proactive.
The biggest problem with audio is that it can cost a lot of money to produce, up to $10,000 in some cases. You may need to find someone to narrate the book and have a voice to suit, which can be hard to find. Voice over artists charge a lot to read a book, so we encourage authors to learn the skills of self-narrating to keep costs down. After all, it is the author that knows the book the best, understand s the tone, emphasis and meaning.
Costs of producing an Audiobook
So what can it cost? Let’s say you have a 60,000 word manuscript – to self-narrate in a professional studio, have the files professionally mastered for distribution and then made live for sale on global selling channels you would be looking at $2200.00AUD. If you needed a narrator then expect to add approximately $1500.00 to that cost.
Then we need a return on that investment so based on the $2200.00 invested, selling your audiobook for $14.99 would mean you would likely need around 200 sales (allowing for distributor percentage) to break even. Not a lot if your marketing is well structured and strategized.
Marketing Your Audiobook
Much like our printed book and eBook, while it is wonderful to have an audiobook version of your book, it won’t sell itself to begin with. We need to ensure we are putting the right amount of energy time and focus into our audiobook to lift its awareness and popularity. Here are five marketing activities we would recommend you implement to take to raise the profile of your audiobook.
We recommend spending a couple of hours a day if possible, working on specific tasks relative to the promotion of your audiobook. The more time you put in, the better the results.
1. Audiobook Bloggers
While the world has been overwhelmed with book reviewers, there are only a few websites that focus on audiobooks specifically. Check out the following links to reviewers who specifically address audiobooks and starting touching base to see if they would be interested in reviewing. As the audiobook format becomes more popular, more blogs and review sites are going to appear. Offer a 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.
2. 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. 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.
3. Post Samples On Your Website
Using a service like Soundcloud, you can put the samples on a page on your website dedicated to promoting the audiobook. On this page, you can include more info about the book as well as the experience of recording your audiobook. You’ll also need the all-important link over to where listeners can buy the book. Also ensure you have listed it on Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing.
4. Social Media
Social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, offer low cost, highly targeted advertising opportunities. Ad campaigns are easy to create—they require a little bit of text and an optional image—and they’re budget sensitive, so you can dictate how much you’re willing to pay per click, set a daily budget, and stop your campaign at any time, giving you full control over how much you spend.
With regards to targeting, Facebook allows you to filter your audience by location, gender, age, and interests (which include categories like “audiobooks”). These filters ensure that your ad is only being seen and clicked on by people who might actually be interested in buying your audiobook. Since LinkedIn is a social site for professionals, it’s a great place to target business travellers and commuters who might be likely to listen to audiobooks while they’re on the road. Goodreads is another logical place to promote your audiobook because it’s a community of readers. Plus, its ad platform allows you to reach your audience based on the genres and authors they like.
Get active on Twitter and join chats where you can connect with authors, readers and listeners. Here are a few examples #TalkingACX, #K8Chat, #StoryDam, #Indiechat and even consider being a guest on Twitter chats.
5. Connect With Audiobook Groups
Much like your need to connect with other authors, writers groups and online groups, the same theory applies to audiobooks. Connect with a few groups and share your thoughts, ideas, and promotional activity. Share each other’s work and build your network and team to ensure you have opened all opportunities within the community.
Worth considering? I think so.
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See you next time.
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