Speed Up Your Audiobook Production with Direct Offer

Good news, everyone! Today, we’re introducing a faster, easier way to publish your audiobooks on ACX. With the new Direct Offer feature, authors and publishers can now choose to work directly with their favorite Producers and narrators without opening their titles to accept auditions. We’ve heard from many Rights Holders that they’ve found “the one” —that perfect voice—either through past projects or by browsing samples on the ACX site, and would like to move their audiobook projects directly into production, and today’s changes are meant to help make that even easier.

To make a Direct Offer to a Producer, navigate to your title from your Project Dashboard, or add a new project to your account. As you set up your title, you’ll have the option to accept auditions for your project or make a Direct Offer to the Producer of your choice. Selecting the option to make a Direct Offer will allow you to select your Producer by searching for his or her name, or selecting from a list of Producers that you’ve collaborated with in the past. You’ll then be able to make an offer directly to your Producer of choice and start collaborating as soon as your offer is accepted.

Want tips for selecting that perfect voice? The ACX Blog has you covered. What other features would you like to see added to ACX? Comment with your suggestions below.

ACX University Has Your Chance to Voice “Among Us”

KristinaRienzi_AmongUs_CoverIf you joined us for ACX University Presents: Casting and Communicating with Your Narrator, you met author Kristina Rienzi and learned about her recently published thriller, Among Us. Now that Kristina knows how to collaborate on a great-sounding audiobook production, she wants to hear your take on her story of an English professor who stumbles on a vast government-alien conspiracy!

Auditions are now open, and you’ve got until 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, November 6 to submit your best take via ACX.  Log on to ACX (or create an account), visit the profile for Among Us to download the audition script, then produce and upload your audition. Kristina, with a little guidance from Audible Studios, will pick the best male or female voice to cast for a $300 per-finished-hour narration and production contract. We’ll announce the winner right here on the ACX  blog on Monday, November 19.

If you weren’t able to tune in on Monday, learn more about Among Us and what kind of performance Kristina is looking for by watching the episode below

Break a lip!

 

This Week in Links: Oct 8 – 12

Though the leaves are only starting to change, we’re already looking ahead to the December audiobook sales season. To give your upcoming audiobook the best chance to be on sale in time for the 2018 holidays, we recommend that your titles are approved and submitted to ACX by Friday, December 7, 2018.

Below, we’ve gathered our best advice to help authors and actors ensure a smooth audiobook production from beginning to end.

 

This Week in Links: October 1 – 5

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ACX is excited to announce that we’re once again partnering with The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences at That’s Voiceover 2018! This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 17th at the Sheraton Universal Hotel at Universal Studios Hollywood, and we’re offering a number of ways audiobook actors and producers can interact with ACX and Audible Studios:

  • Learn from our all-star panel presentation, Becoming an Audiobook Actor-preneur. Scott Brick, Luke Daniels, and Khristine Hvam will help you develop the tools you need to grow a long career in audiobook performance/production.
  • Meet the ACX team at our exhibit hall booth. Bring your audiobook production, performance, and marketing questions. We want to hear from you!
  • Read for Audible Studios. Schedule a one-on-one session with Audible Studios producer Chris Sacco and get feedback on your performance in the moment. The top male and female talent will each land a contract to perform a title for Audible Studios. Sign up here.

Get your tickets here, and make sure to use code ACXTVO18 to get 20% off. We hope to see you there.

For Producers:

Would You Survive The Shark Tank? – via Paul Strikwerda – “If I were an investor on Shark Tank or Dragons’ Den, and you came to me with a pitch to back your business, what would I be looking for?”

6 Ways Social Media Can Hurt Your Voice Over Business – via Debbie Grattan – “To make sure your social media efforts end up benefiting instead of hurting your business, it’s crucial to steer clear of six different social media habits that can damage your VO career.

Speak From Your Diaphragm! – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Learn the why this piece of advice is so often repeated, and how to implement it in front of the mic.

For Rights Holders:

Meet the Super Fan … the Secret Sauce Authors Want – via The Book Designer – “[W]hen you set out to develop and build Super Fans, you create a cult of sorts. You are “the one” that they are dedicated/devoted to. Whatever your words are, they think you are the cat’s meow.”

Know The Media’s Purpose In Order to Have Your Book Covered by The – via BookMarkertingBuzzBlog – “[T]he media and authors need to find one another and click. They must see value in each other, a value greater than most others provide for them. Can you give the media what it wants.”

October Observances to Inspire Your Author Marketing – via author marketing experts – Turn to the calendar when in need of a touchstone for your book marketing efforts.

Head Back to School with Fresh Marketing Ideas

As summer comes to a close and temperatures cool, it’s time to hit the books­—the audiobooks! The start of a new season brings the opportunity to reset your marketing efforts, so today we’re giving a quick study on some additional ways to promote your audiobook using your new Bounty Referral links. With that, class is in session…

Lesson 1: Data is your most powerful marketing tool

Estimating, then measuring the success of your marketing efforts, is the number one guide for helping you decide what’s working and what’s not working when it comes to audiobook promotion. That’s why we enhanced your Sales Dashboard with data about the performance of your Bounty Referral links. In addition to the ability to see clicks and Bounty conversions on your dashboard, you can leverage the date range function to examine clicks, sales, and Bounty performance on a day-to-day basis. Match this data with your promotions calendar and calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your efforts, in terms of cost per click and cost per conversion. For example, if you see an increase in clicks on a day that you promoted your audiobook on your blog, consider how you can replicate that success in future posts.

Two Boys Cooperating in PlayLesson 2: Collaborate to succeed

The marketing Rule of Seven says potential customers need to “see” your message seven times before they take an action and buy your product. But you can’t just scream “Buy! Buy! Buy!” all the time without burning your fans out. Good thing your author/actor network can help you spread the word. Working with a promotion partner, consider trading Bounty Referral links and promoting your peer’s work to your fans and vice versa. Choose a fellow author or actor in your genre–or even a related genre–and form an alliance to cross promote each other’s audiobooks. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, consider hosting each other for a Blog tour or featuring each other in your respective newsletters.

Lesson 3: Paid media can be a smart investment

When you’re trying to expand your following, investing a small budget in ads on search engines or social media can be a good way to recruit new fans. When placing paid ads, you have the ability to target potential clients based on geography, interests, and past shopping habits, and when combined with your Bounty Referral link, you can recruit new audiobook fans. In addition to strategically targeting your ads to your audience, be sure to use specific, meaningful keywords in your advertisements to quickly and clearly convey the benefits of your audiobook. This tip dovetails especially well with our first lesson, as you’ll be able to tweak your audience and keywords, then refer back to your Sales Dashboard to determine which worked best.

Audio cablesLesson 4: Create a connection with your fans

These days, authentic connections are happening online with increasing frequency. This means you can get the word out about your audiobook directly to your fans using innovative livestreaming tools, such as Facebook Live and YouTube live streaming. Consider hosting a weekly discussion with your fans to answer questions, give updates, and provide exclusive content related to your (audio)books. As you set up these discussions, include your Bounty Referral link in the metadata and description, then be sure to mention it during your stream to direct users to your audiobook edition–and earn those Bounty Referral payments.

Lesson 5: Include links for your eBook readers

For authors, your front and back matter (the pages that precede and proceed your story) are a great opportunity to advertise other works. Readers who finish your eBook edition are likely to be looking for even more great work from you, and you can use your backmatter to alert them to the availability of your audiobook edition. Be sure to use your Bounty Referral links to point readers directly to your title on Audible.

MountaintopLesson 6: Combine and conquer

Think of the tips above as ongoing efforts that you can combine for maximum efficiency. For example, you can invite your promotional partner to appear on your Facebook Live stream and boost that post with a dollar amount that fits your budget. A few days later, visit your Sales Dashboard on ACX to see how that effort performed. From there, schedule another broadcast, tweaking a single aspect like hosting it at a different time or fine tuning the audience. Once you’ve completed the test, refer to your Sales Dashboard again to learn whether your tweaks moved the needle in a positive direction. Rinse and repeat until you’ve landed on a promotion that resonates with your audience.

Pencils down. We hope you’ve learned some valuable lessons on audiobook promotion. We’d also like to learn from you: How have you found success promoting your audiobooks? Tell us your favorite ideas in the comments. Now, class dismissed!

This Week in Links: September 3 – 7

For Producers:

Narrators Have To Look Up Pronunciations Of Those Unfamiliar, Odd-Sounding Words. (Here’s How) – via Voice-Over Xtra – “Good narrators recognize that geography, demographics, and even economic status can play a large role in how certain words are pronounced.”

What Virtual Assistants Can Do For Your Voice Over Business – via Voice Over Herald – “You want to spend more time searching for new clients, being inside your booth recording, or perfecting your craft but you can’t find the time because you have been playing catch-up. How are you going to grow your business if you are overloaded with tasks and responsibilities that take you away from the money-making activities?”

Three Ways to Spice Up Your Vocal Delivery – via Dr. Ann Utterback – “If you say phrases exactly the same way each time, they become stale and uninteresting. Worse, if you voice these exactly the same each time, they can become a bore for you and the listener.”

10 Tips for a Successful Home Audition – via Edge Studio – Herein lies solid advice for VO’s of all stripes, including audiobook narrators.

For Rights Holders:

6 Ways Video Blogging Can Save Your Author Promotion – via Author Marketing Experts – Forging a deeper connection with your fans to growing a new creative skill are just two reasons to explore a new way to marketing yourself online.

How to Sell Books to Someone Other Than Your Mom – via The Write Practice – “There’s nothing wrong with selling a book to Mom, by the way. But ideally you write and sell a book that thousands of people can’t wait to get their hands on. Here’s how to do it.”

The Best Free Media Contacts Tool You Probably Aren’t Using – via The Book Designer – Learn all about this free service and get some tips for making the most of your (audio)book PR efforts.

Writer Branding: A Cheat Sheet for Your Brand Elements – via The Write Conversation – Learn two simple ways to break down and analyze aspects of your visual brand to ensure you demonstrate consistency across all of your author materials.

 

 

An Enhanced Audition Experience

Introducing a new way to find the best projects on ACX: Sort by Amazon Sales Rank. We heard from Producers that you’d like an easier way to see which titles are selling well on Amazon, and with the introduction of this new feature, we hope you find your next audition opportunity even faster.

Search for Projects Seeking Auditions, and in the upper right section of the page—below the search box—select Sort by Amazon Sales Rank—Bestselling. The Amazon Sales Rank for each title will update daily with its latest sales position, so check back frequently to see which projects are trending.

A book’s sales ranking on Amazon is one of several good indicators of an audiobook’s future performance, along with written reviews and overall ratings averages. We’ve previously written about making smart decisions when it comes to choosing titles to audition for, and here are some of the best tips to pair with the new Amazon Sales Rank sorting feature:

  • Select the genre filters that that you perform best.
  • Take time to read the reviews left by readers on Amazon, as they may alert you to issues of graphic material or writing quality.
  • Consider other titles in the author’s catalog. Has the author published additional titles that may lead to a long-term production relationship? If so, how do those titles compare to the title currently open for audition on ACX?

We hope this makes auditioning for your next great ACX project even easier.

Have feedback? Share in the comments what other features would improve your audition experience.

This Week in Links: August 13 – 17

For Rights Holders:

How to Market Your Book–When You Hate Marketing – via Helping Writers Become Authors – You can admit it: you’d rather be writing your books than marketing them. Reframing how you think about marketing, however, may help you find success and enjoyment in this important aspect of (audio)book publishing.

What Makes Readers Buy Books? – via ALLi – Dig deep into the data behind reader surveys to find out why your fans make the decisions they do.

30 Fantastic Writer’s Conferences for Authors, Bloggers and Freelancers – via The Write Life – The wisdom of the crowd, the support of your peers, the happy hour drinks at the bar: there are a number of good reason to attend writer’s conferences, and you just might find the right one for you on this list.

Great Book? Or Great Marketing – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Read on for an eye opening look at the value of writing vs. marketing when it comes to (audio)book sales.

For Producers:

Your Weekly VO Marketing Calendar – via Dave Courvoisier – Even the best in the business can fall into the inconsistency trap. Dave’s got a handy suggestion for staying on track: mnemonics!

The Secret to Sustained Success – via Paul Strikwerda – “If you wish to have sustainable success as a freelancer, you have to start thinking long-term, and big picture.”

Deliver On Your Promises – The Most Important Voiceover Advice – via Gravy for the Brain – For freelance professionals, your reputation is invaluable. Are you making a name a good impression on your clients?

As Your Voice Ages, Training Overcomes Barriers. But More Calls Coming For ‘Seniors’ – via Voice-Over Xtra – “In many ways the microphone is much more merciful than the camera. And in other ways it’s more revealing.”

 

This Week in Links: July 30 – August 3

Producers:

How To Edit Voice-Over Recordings A Lot Faster – With A Gaming Mouse! – via Voice-Over Xtra – Learn how to streamline your audiobook editing with some gear you may not even have considered for your studio.

Filling In The Blanks – via Paul Strikwerda – “You can’t give a client what s/he wants to hear, if you have no clue what it is.”

The Only Thing That’s Constant… – via Dave Courvoisier – Find inspiration in the ways your VO career “enhance[s] the definition of being human.”

Hey, I Know You!: Creating and Maintaining Your Personal Brand – via ACX University – Building a strong narrator brand and marketing your ACX productions can increase your earnings and provide a “value add” for the Rights Holders you work with.

Rights Holders:

How to Recycle, Repurpose and Promote Your Publicity – via The Book Designer – As you continue to build you Author brand, get tips on how to get the best return on the exposure you’re already getting.

Authors Should Promote Books Like Street Entertainers Sell Their Talents – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Turns out you can find marketing inspiration in the funniest of places. Find out how two different types of creatives have more in common than you may think.

11 Ways to Simplify Your (book promotion) Life – via author marketing experts – “Simplifying for authors is different…because most of us have day jobs and for us, simplifying isn’t just about keeping things simple, it’s also about preventing that bottleneck when too many things hit at once.”

How to Use Awareness Days to Promote Your Self-published Books – via ALLi – “Awareness Days of some kind or other happen just about every day of the year. There can be few authors who can’t find at least one day that somehow chimes with their books, if only they take the time and trouble to look. But what to do when you find one that suits you?”

Announcing The ACX Bounty Referral Program

Today, ACX announced the new Bounty Referral Program, upping the payout to up to $75 for each new Audible member and providing advanced tracking on your ACX Sales Dashboard. You’ll receive new, trackable referral links, unique to you and each of your audiobooks, starting August 1.

Bounties for Royalty Share titles will be divided, with $50 going to the creator whose referral link enticed that new member, and $25 to their creative partner, whose performance or writing helped seal the deal. Bounties are subject to the ACX Bounty Program Terms and Conditions, which can be found here.

That means you’ll want to leverage this URL each time you promote your ACX audiobooks, which we at the blog hope is all the time! To get you started on the path to marketing with your new referral links, we’ve got some tips that will help you get listeners excited about your audiobooks.

  1. Get organized. Set up a marketing calendar that allows you a holistic view of your marketing efforts across channels and over time. This will not only help you stay organized, it will allow you to understand which of your marketing tactics had the greatest impact. Speaking of which…
  2. Leverage data. We’ve enhanced your ACX Sales Dashboard to show pageviews generated by your use of your new Bounty referral links, as well as the Bounty payments you’ve racked up by driving new listeners to Audible. With this information, you can track your marketing methods and channels, learning which have earned the best results and repeating the most successful efforts (marketing shorthand for this is “test, measure, repeat”).
  3. Be authentic. Today’s consumers have long since learned to filter out “Buy! Buy! Buy!” messages. Your fans are your fans because they feel an emotional connection to you and your work. Find the aspects of the audiobook publishing and production process that light you up and highlight them to your fans. Insert “calls to action” (CTAs) strategically, and make sure to include your unique referral link when you do.
  4. Go social. Whatever your preferred social media platform—and this includes your blog—two things are likely true: it’s the most direct connection you have to your fans, and it is hungry for content. Use this to your advantage by mentioning your audiobooks early and often. Audiobook fans love getting a peek behind the curtain, and the audiobook creation process affords numerous opportunities to share. Get your social media followers and blog readers talking about your audiobook and keep them informed as you work though the publishing process, building excitement from casting to release day. Once the audiobook is released, celebrate the day by asking your fans to give your book a listen—via your Bounty tracking link. The goal here is to create a relationship between your fans and your work that compels them to purchase your audiobook and leave glowing reviews on Audible.
  5. Start spreading the news via your email newsletter. Find a reason for your fans to listen— a day at the beach, a long ride to see family for a holiday, even a free hour at home once the kids have been put to bed—and tell them why your audiobook is the perfect companion for those times. Ask your fans to listen to your titles on Audible and help them get there via your Bounty referral link.
  6. Boost your backlist. Take a look through your past audiobook marketing efforts and insert your new Bounty tracking link wherever you’ve linked off to Audible. This is also a great occasion to take a look at the books you’ve already produced and (re)introduce them to your fans. Share a memory about the production, or something that ties the audiobook to a current or upcoming event, and include your Bounty referral link so fans can hear it for themselves.
  7. Highlight the magic of audio. The performance behind the audiobook is what sets it apart from your paperback and eBook editions, so show it off! Audio clips, including your retail sample, are a great way to entice new listeners to the format. Consider a simple book trailer that leverages your audiobook’s narration or an Audible clip, and pair it with your referral links as you promote to make it easy to purchase after they’re blown away by your sample.
  8. Get inspired by your peers. Keep following the marketing section of this blog to get more ideas on how to leverage your referral links, and learn how fellow audiobook creators like Scott Sigler, Zhanna Hamilton, and Ryan Winfield have boosted their earnings via the ACX Bounty Program.

Your blueprint for earning for Bounty Referral payments is clear: focus on the aspects of your audiobooks that make them unique and exciting, communicate them authentically to your fans, and leverage your Bounty tracking link and enhanced sales dashboard to make the most of your efforts. Now, go forth and market!