This Week in Links: February 1 – 5

For Rights Holders:

98 Book Marketing Ideas That Can Help Authors Increase Sales – via BookBub – That’s a LOT of book marketing ideas – and most apply to your audiobook marketing as well.

Improve Your Writing Platform (or Author Platform) in 30 Days – via Writer’s Digest – A well developed platform is the groundwork for strong audiobook marketing efforts.

Author Groups to Help You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Books – via The Book Designer – Being an indie author doesn’t mean doing it all alone. Check out this list of helpful resources for writers.

Marketing Tip: Keep Your Email Signature Clean – via CreateSpace – “When authors try to include too much about themselves and their books in their signatures, it looks messy, really messy.”

For Producers:

Voice-Over’s Seven Deadly Sins – via Nethervoice – Do you need to confess to committing one or more of these voiceover vices?

Want To Book More Auditions? Rethink How You React To Frequent Rejection – via Voice-Over Xtra – Everyone in the voiceover world gets rejected multiple times per week. It’s not always about you.

Picking the Right Royalty Share Projects – via The ACX Blog – Author/producer Craig Tollifson discusses how he reviews potential royalty share productions. Click through to read or listen to his advice.

Vocal Recording: Delivery and Enunciation – via The Journey – A look at the art of pronunciation through the lens of recording singers.

Picking the Right Royalty Share Projects

Like to listen? Click on the player below to hear this post in audio.

 

As an author, actor, and audiobook producer, Craig Tollifson brings a unique perspective to ACX. His publishing industry background has allowed him to make the most of the time he spends auditioning by putting his effort into the most promising titles. He joins us today to share his tips for picking the best Royalty Share projects.

Craig Tollifson_Headshot

ACX Author/Narrator Craig Tollifson (aka Andrew Tell)

The first audiobook I narrated went on sale in early 2015. It sold 11 copies. Since then, I’ve narrated 19 other titles, learned a lot about narrating, and learned even more about choosing good Royalty Share projects. This month I’ll pass 10,000 total sales, and recently averaged over 1,500 sales a month. And those numbers just keep going up. Not bad for a beginner!

I got my start on ACX as an author. I had my novella, The Junior Arsonists Club, produced as an audiobook by the talented Amy McFadden. I was interested in eventually narrating my own work, and had experience as a stage actor, so I decided to jump in and try it myself. Now I’m a full-time audiobook narrator and no one can say it’s weird that I sit in a giant box and talk to myself all day.

Having been on the other side of the fence as an independent author has helped shape my choices as a narrator. I knew from the start I wanted to pursue Royalty Share projects. For years I’ve followed the indie publishing scene and noted a parade of successes, like Hugh Howey, Michael Bunker, and many more. The potential to earn more than a regular Per-Finished-Hour rate over the long term and gain passive income was very appealing. I also knew that I had to be smart in choosing the right projects. I had to get good at picking the books with the most potential for success.

ACX gives you the basic research right on the project page. Now, let’s assume you’re skilled at narration, you’re interested in the project, and your voice is a good fit for the work. Here are some of the key points to consider:

  • Genre makes a difference. Fiction accounts for nearly 80% of audiobooks sold, with mystery/thrillers and sci-fi/fantasy being near the top. Stick with popular genres if you want to sell.
  • The Amazon sales rank can be very important for predicting success. This number represents sales per day compared to every other book in the Amazon store. Audiobook and eBook sales tend to rise and fall together. Remember, this is one product on two platforms. The lower the sales rank, the better! Without going into too much detail: a sales rank under one hundred is amazing. Run to the booth and start auditioning! A sales rank in the thousands is pretty great (remember there are over a million books in the Amazon store!). When you get over a hundred thousand, or two hundred thousand or more, well…that’s not so great. But remember: this rank is only a snapshot of one moment which represents that day’s trend. Message the Rights Holder on ACX to see how the book has been selling historically. Oftentimes, a great rank can be the result of a recent promotion, and when the promotion’s over it can completely sink again. Also, make sure the number you’re looking at is the paid rank. If the book is free, the rank loses a lot of its meaning and is not a good predictor of audiobook sales.
  • The more reviews thJunior Arsonists.jpge better, and the reviews should be mostly positive. Take some time and read some of those reviews. I recommend reading the most recent reviews, as early reviews are often solicited. Click through some of the reviewers themselves and check their profiles–if it’s the only book they’ve reviewed, it’s likely they are friends or family of the author and shouldn’t be considered. Reviews are also great for quickly getting a sense of the story, often more so than the author’s description, or first few pages of the book.
  • Length of time on sale is a great metric when combined with the number of reviews and sales rank. A book that’s selling great, and has been on the market for, say, two years may have better potential than a book that’s only been out for two weeks with the same sales rank.
  • Evaluate the rest of the author’s catalog–every last book–with the same criteria as the one up for production: sales rank, reviews, etc. If they have other audiobooks, even better. Ask the Rights Holder how many copies the other audiobooks have sold. Or, check to see how many ratings the other audiobooks have on Audible. More ratings mean more copies have been purchased.

Now that you’ve done your research, you need to define success. Though you’re not working for a Per-Finished-Hour (PFH) rate when producing Royalty Share projects, you should still be thinking about how much you hope to earn. What is your time worth? Recording usually takes around 2 hours in the studio for every finished hour of audio. Then there’s editing, proofing, and mastering, which can add 3-4 hours (or more!) per finished hour of audio. You could easily be putting in 6 hours for every finished hour.  With all that in mind, come up with your ideal PFH rate for the project. Multiply it by the length of the book in hours. Now, divide that total with a ballpark royalty and you’ll see how many copies you’ll need to sell to be satisfied that you’ve made a good decision. Do you really think the audiobook can sell that many copies? Does the Rights Holder? If you’re on the fence about a project, I find that thinking about earnings goals can help cement a decision.

Once the book is produced and on the market, you and the Rights Holder both have a stake in its success. Before you jump into your next production, spend some time marketing. I spend time every week promoting titles via giveaways and soliciting reviews. Social media can be a great resource if you find the right communities. There are a ton of places online that fans gather to discuss their favorite genre, like Goodreads, reddit, and many Facebook groups. Get yourself into those communities. You’ll meet fans and authors, both of which will help your audiobook career.

The last thing you’ll need is a little bit of luck. All the points of research can add up to the best looking potential project on the planet, and you can do great promotion, but still…the audiobook may not sell well! Royalty Share comes with an element of risk. Your job is to find the ones with the best odds.

I hope that the research tips I’ve given you today can help you choose the best bets for success.

Craig Tollifson is the author of the Kindle Single the Junior Arsonists Club, the forthcoming novel Happy, and has written for Mystery Science Theater 3000. When he’s not writing or performing on stage, he narrates audiobooks under the name Andrew Tell. He lives with his wife and kids in sunny Los Angeles, California.

This Week in Links: January 25 – 29

For Producers:

Freelance VO Survival: Continuing Education – via J. Christopher Dunn – “Staying up to date with current trends in the market, approaches to your craft, and new methods or technologies will help keep you marketable and traveling knowledgeably down the road to freelance happiness.”

Do These 5 Things to Manage Info Overflow – via  Dave Courvoisier – Never stop learning, but make sure you know how to avoid getting overwhelmed by information.

Writing Subject Lines That Get Emails Opened – via Marc Scott – Using email to market your VO services or Royalty Share titles? Marc’s got some good advice.

From “Blast That X-wing!” to “Traitor!”: The Voices of StarWars: The Force Awakens – via StarWars.com – The voice actors in the hit movie get a special shout out.

For Rights Holders:

What Authors Must Do On Branding, Platform Building & Marketing A Book – via – BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Bookmark this in-depth look at what an author needs to know when it comes to branding, marketing, and promotions. You’ll be coming back to it frequently!

16 Publishers Showcasing Their Books & Authors on Pinterest – via BookBub – A deep well of ideas, this post showcases over a dozen different methods for promoting your titles on social media.

Relevance: The Key to Advertising/Marketing– via Chris McMullen – While anyone with a few dollars might be able to buy your audiobook, you can give your marketing efforts the best chance of success by considering who really makes up your potential audience.

How to Use Public Speaking to Promote Your Self-published Book – via ALLi – Author Denise Barnes explains the importance of public speaking in book promotion and marketing, and draws on her personal experience to help you develop confidence and skill in that area.

This Week in Links: January 18 – 22

For Rights Holders:

7 Book Marketing Trends Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore – via The Book Designer – A look at some of the most popular marketing strategies, with an actionable tip for putting each into practice.

Twitterific Writing Links – via Elizabeth Spann Craig – A trove of information for writers; this one’s worth bookmarking for repeated visits.

Five Marketing Models for Self-Publishing Success – via Publishers Weekly – A handful of tactics to help authors “focus on the bigger picture of building marketing momentum effectively.”

[PODCAST] Listen and Learn: Engaging With Your Email List – via Book Marketing Tools – Author Michael Bunker discusses tips for engaging  your email list without burning them out.

For Producers:

Make These Eight Mistakes To Lose Voice Over Clients And Auditions – via Voice-Over Xtra – You may not even realize actions that drive clients away. Identify and correct with this helpful post.

Facebook Voiceover Groups Galore – via Rhonda’s Voice – Joining an online voiceover community may provide support and education for your career.

Trusting in Your Abilities as a Voiceover Actor – via Victoria DeAnda – Self-confidence is key in a field as subjective as voice acting.

Make Your New Year’s Voice Resolutions! – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Learn three ways to keep your vocal folds healthy in 2016.

Microphones and Mic Technique with Alex the Audio Scientist

Welcome, students! For my first lesson of the new year, I’ll be focusing on a key piece of equipment in your studio – your microphone. The video below is chock full of helpful info, but before we get to that I want to give a quick shout-out to J.L. Rebeor, who was first to comment with all of the correct answers to my quiz last fall. You can check out her ACX profile here. Congrats, J.L.!

Now, on to the lesson. And be sure to stick around for today’s quiz, as I’ll once again honor the first commenter to earn a 100% in my next post.

Pencils down! It’s time for our quiz. Leave your answers in the comments below for a chance at a mention in a future blog post.

  1. A microphone’s polar pattern indicates _______.
  2. What are the three basic polar patterns a microphone can have?
    1. _______
    2. _______
    3. _______
  3. What polar pattern is preferred for audiobook recording?
  4. If your microphone is positioned too close to your mouth, you may end up with excessive _______ and _______ in your recording.

Want audiobook production tips in your inbox? Subscribe to the ACX Blog for the latest from Alex the Audio Scientist.

This Week in Links: January 4 – 8

For Producers:

10 Things To Ask Yourself Before Pursuing A Career In Voice Overs – via Voice-Over Xtra – A helpful list of important non-acting, non-technical questions for newbies.

10 Tips To Target Your Demo (and Voice Over Business) For Success – via Marc Scott & Anne Ganguzza – “[P]otential customers may have varying degrees of experience in hiring voiceover talent, and the more you can help to educate them in the process, the closer you will be to booking the job!”

The Mega Audio Recorder/Editor Reference List – via Dave Courvoisier – A good resource to bookmark for info on audio recording and editing software.

New Year for a New Business: How to Start a Business in Voiceover – via Victoria DeAnda -Before embarking on a voiceover career, get advice from an actor who’s been there and done that.

For Rights Holders:

What Are the Ingredients of a Successful Marketing Plan? – via Digital Book World – With more people going out of their way to avoid ads, content marketing is the future of book marketing. Learn six key aspects of content marketing success.

10 Author Projections for 2016. Okay, turn it up to 11! – via Bob Mayer – “The key [for 2016] is how the changes in publishing affect the author and how the author needs to factor reality into their business plan.”

On Author “Brands” – via The Bookseller – “[H]ow do you maintain your brand while also delivering a story that feels fresh and enticing? Should this even be a concern for authors?”

Writing Tip: A Little Detail Can Make a Big Impression – via CreateSpace – You’ve probably heard the old adage “show, don’t tell.” Learn how to put it into action.

Best of the Blog: 2015

We’re back to close out 2015 by highlighting some of our best pieces of the year. Some will educate, some will inspire, all should remind you of the awesome opportunity audiobooks present as we look towards 2016.

For Producers:

Mastering Audiobooks with Alex the Audio Scientist – Our resident audio expert brought his “A” game to the blog this year, educating producers on a range of recording and production topics. This post tackles one of the more intimidating aspects of post-production with an illustrated, step by step guide.

ACX University Presents: Finding Your Voice: Part 1 – This May, we hosted our third annual ACX University, which offered 70 producers in-person courses on audiobook production and performance. All of the sessions are available to watch on our YouTube channel, including this performance intensive featuring Audible Studios producers and Audie Award-winning narrator Ellen Archer of Orange Is the New Black.

ACX Storytellers: Anna Parker-Naples – One of our first UK producers shares her inspiring journey from the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to self-made audiobook success.

Five Things Every Audiobook Beginner Should Know – Voiceover actor and coach Gary Terzza offers a crash course for those new to audiobook acting and producing.

Archive: This Week in Links – Our weekly look at the best audiobook-related links from around the internet provided a range of perspectives, advice, and entertainment. We featured over 150 links for producers, so take a scroll through some of the best the voiceover industry had to offer in 2015.

For Rights Holders:

Market Smarter, Not Harder: The Personal Touch – Author Ryan Winfield dove deep on the ways he invested his time and reinvested his audiobook earnings to forge a personal connection with his listeners that paid off in the form of a loyal fan base.

You Kept Your Audiobook Rights – Now What? – Three top authors discuss the varying benefits of self-publishing your audiobooks or selling the rights to an audio publisher like Audible Studios.

ACX Storytellers: Joanna Penn – The “author entrepreneur” offered an inside look at what a writer who want to narrate their own work need to know to succeed.

Creating Your Custom Audible 30-Day Free Trial LinkAuthors (and producers!) can learn how to create a powerful marketing tool for their audiobooks – a custom landing page on Audible.com featuring any of your ACX projects.

ACX Storytellers: Sandra Edwards and Regina Duke – Two ACX authors share their takes on the value of a mentor/mentee relationship, as well as their top tips for audiobook publishing and marketing success.

 

This Year in Links: 2015

Here at ACX, we’re proud of the work you’ve done creating thousands of audiobooks in 2015. We hope the education we’ve shared this year has helped make you a better audiobook producer, publisher, and marketer. Before we look forward to 2016, we’re counting down the top links – based on your clicks – published in our This Week in Links series this year.

For Rights Holders:

5. Where to Find Free Images Online to Use in Blogging & Social Media – via The Write Conversation – Visual marketing content has been shown to be at least two to five times more effective than text alone. Boost your efforts with these free resources.

4. The Twitter Secret – via BadRedheadMedia – Learn how online fan acknowledgement could be secret ingredient in your successful author platform.

3. Six Magic Phrases You Can Use to Sell More Books – via where writers win – Learn key words to use in your “Amazon sales page, your website, your book announcement press release, your e-mail announcement, and other promotional materials that will help you sell more books.”

2. How To Promote Your Self-Published Book On The Cheap – via Book Marketing Tools – New authors may not have the robust marketing budgets of the established players. Use these tactics to jump start your promotions.

1. 25+ Ways To Market Your Audiobook: A Quick Guide – via Kate Tilton – A distillation of our #TalkingACX Twitter chat features a trove of audiobook-specific marketing ideas.

For Producers:

5. Potato Chips Required – Who Would Have Thought? – via Mike Lenz – Can you believe that the fix for common in-booth issues could be so delicious?

4. 3 Things That Define A Successful Audiobook Narrator – via Dane Reid – Veteran Nashville-based audiobook producer Joe Loesch shares the three pillars of his successful career.

3. What is the Best Microphone for Voiceover Work? – via Voice Over Herald – Five solid options for getting professional-quality recordings without breaking the bank.

2. What’s Your Production Process? – via Wayne Farrell – The Audible Approved Producer shares a step by step guide to his production method. A must-read for new narrators.

1. The 7 Most Overlooked Daily Habits of Successful Voice Actors – via Dave Courvoisier – The top spot goes to the veteran “CourVO” and his reminder of the little things that can lead to big successes in the voiceover field.

Get all the best audiobook-related links in your inbox – subscribe to the ACX blog.

This Week in Links: November 30 – December 4

Before we get to this week’s top audiobook links, we’d like to remind you that the deadline to submit audiobooks to ACX for the best chance to be on sale for the holiday season is today, December 4th. Make sure your productions meet our Audio Submission Requirements and submit, review, or approve holiday projects by the end of the day. Then, check out the links below to help make your next audiobook even better!

For Producers:

Audiobook Narrators: How To Tweet Your Way To More Jobs And Audiobook Sales – via Voice-Over Xtra – Thoughts and advice for actors using social media to promote their work and further their careers.

5 Ways Voiceover Work and Family Influence Each Other – via Victoria DeAnda – “Family has a lot to do with how you perform as a voiceover artist. Learning how they affect it can help you control the feelings, emotions, and other factors that come into play as you work.”

The Obstacles Holding Back Your Voice Over Career – Via Gary Terzza – Are you putting up roadblocks to your own career goals?

Don’t Buy New Recording Equipment. Do This Instead. – Via CourVO – Gary’s got a better way to spend your money than on fancy new gear you may not know how to use.

For Rights Holders:

What IS a Target Audience? What You Need to Know – via BadRedheadMedia – “How do we get our target audience (those we are marketing to), to become our actual audience, the ones who buy what we are marketing to them?”

10 Tips for Twitter Success in Publishing – via The Bookseller – An easy to digest list of social media advice.

Why Social Media Should Become Publishers’ New Testing Ground – via BookBusiness – Can the “#instapoet” concept be applied to novels?

Do Writers Need Coaches? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “Imagine if a writer has someone telling them to try harder, do it this way and not that, and high-fives them for a well-written passage?”

Get by with a Little Help from Your Friends at ACX

At ACX, we know that audiobook production can be a complex process, so we’re always here to help. Today, we’re excited to share a new way to get answers to your questions: our new Help Center!

Help Cntr

The improved Help Center features new Search and Browse tools to help you find the information you’re looking for. Here are just a few things you’ll find in this improved area:

  • Checklists for Rights Holders and Producers: Set yourself up for success with step-by-step instructions for starting and finishing your audiobook projects.
  • Answer Ratings: Was this answer helpful? If not, tell us why. We’re listening to improve your experience.
  • Plus, dozens of new answers to your most frequently asked questions!

Visit the new Help Center today, and share your feedback with us.

Get the latest on enhancements to ACX.com by subscribing to the blog!