How to Promote Your Titles & Get on Audible’s Merchandising Radar – Part 1

Two of the questions we are asked most frequently here at ACX are “How can I best promote my audiobook?” and “How do I get Audible to promote my Audiobook?” Jessica Amato from the Audible merchandising team is here to answer those very questions! There will be a ton of great info featured here today and tomorrow, so make sure to bookmark these posts and check back often as you promote!

Now, heeeeeeeeere’s Jessica!

My name is Jessica, and I’m an Audible Editor.  My job is to get the right audiobooks into the earbuds of the right listeners, and as a result, I’m always looking for the next “you HAVE to listen to this” performance (as are my fellow editors).  Our tight-knit team listens to books 24/7 and reads dozens of customer reviews every day. When a particular book or series starts gaining a following we celebrate with baked goods and high fives.  Then, we look to keep the momentum going by showcasing that book or series to Audible listeners through promotions like store features, customer e-mails, social media call-outs, sales or discounts, or other editorial events.

So how does any of this relate to ACX? While we audiobook junkies are looking for our next sugar fix, we’re not blindly approaching the task at hand; considering thousands of audiobooks were added to our store in 2012 alone, we’re hard pressed to whittle down the best books for each week.  How do we know what to pay attention to?  In addition to natural curiosity – picking up books we find interesting – we rely on people who have listened and shared feedback on a specific book, author or series: the reviewers, both on and off Audible.  If someone is going to take the time to listen to a book and then write a thoughtful review, we feel it’s our responsibility to seriously consider what he or she has to say.  We also notice authors who have an engaged following or fan base and who promote their audio edition in addition to their print book and e-book.   The popularity of the author matters less to us than the level of engagement: as long as you have readers and listeners genuinely interested in your writing, your degree of interaction with them tells us a lot about how big your book or series has the potential to be, whether your fan base is 500 or 5,000.

It sounds pretty simple: good reviews and a dedicated fan base.  Don’t be fooled: it’s not quite that easy – but with a little effort here and there, you can get your audiobook noticed.  Here are some tips – in no particular order – that our editors pulled together to help answer the age-old question: “I have a (audio)book.  Now what?”

1.       No publicist?  No problem.  Great publicists provide a wonderful service, but something to keep in the back of your mind always: no one can pitch you or your audiobook better than you.  Don’t be intimidated. More to come on this in #4 and #5 tomorrow.

2.        A website is a must. Make sure listeners, reviewers, and the media can find one current, central hub of information about you online.  We recommend setting up a free blog to which you can add pages of additional information (like your bio, upcoming events, bibliography with links to buy your audiobooks, links to news/reviews, and information on which social networks you participate in).  Make it a commitment to keep this site up-to-date, and post to your blog at least once a week, if not daily.

A good author website should include:

  • An overview of your book(s)/audiobook(s), excerpts, and the story behind them. Make sure to include link(s) to purchase your audiobook(s)
  • Awards, reviews, and praise
  • Exclusive content: “behind the scenes” photos/video of producing your audiobook, short stories, etc.
  • Your bio and photo (high quality headshot)
  • Your social networking information (include buttons that link directly to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Soundcloud, and/or MySpace pages). If you are not on these social networking sites, we recommend familiarizing yourself with them and then choosing one to get started on.  Once you’re comfortable with one and have a dedicated following, branch out to others that appeal to you. For tips on social media, click here and here.
  • News (links to interviews and media appearances)
  • Your speaking schedule and events
  • Your contact information
  • Mailing list sign up.* – Learn more about e-mail marketing here
  • Your blog.* – Uncertain about blogging?  Click here for helpful tips.

*Remember to keep your content up to date. Nothing will turn off visitors faster than having a website that is out of date.  You don’t have to update your website every day, but be sure to update your events schedule and other information as frequently as possible, and try to update your blog posts on a weekly basis.

3.        Keep your network updated throughout the audiobook production process. As your publication date approaches, email your friends, family and other contacts to let them know when and where your audiobook will be on sale, and any behind-the-scenes or noteworthy stories from the experience.  Once your audiobook goes on sale, let your network know it’s available.

This concludes our first lesson. Tomorrow, Part 2 will cover networking, getting your title reviewed, and measuring the impact of your efforts. And remember, there will be a test on this. It’s called your monthly royalty statement.

Jessica has been in the audiobook business for nearly seven years, with a focus on digital and social media marketing. Some of the authors she’s worked with include Sandra Brown, Cassandra Clare, Vince Flynn, Stephen King and Jennifer Weiner.  She is a new-ish resident of Jersey City, NJ

20 responses to “How to Promote Your Titles & Get on Audible’s Merchandising Radar – Part 1

  1. Other tips:
    1) Release books and stories that don’t sell as well for you as free podcasts. Sites like Podiobooks allow you to advertise your web site in every episode, and you are speaking directly with the target audience for your audiobook. There are also many podcasts that accept audio short stories. On my novels that don’t sell well, I’ve released them for free to build an audience of listeners who will pay for the audio on the novels that do sell well.
    2) Market the audiobook to existing readers. I frequently listen to the recordings of my favorite books I’ve already read. Market your audiobook to your fans on your author FB page and email newsletter, remembering that, for most people, it will take several mentions before the message starts to stick.

  2. Greetings! As an audiobook narrator, I really appreciated this helpful info from Jessica. I’ve noticed that some authors with audiobooks published through ACX tend to consistently promote their print versions on social media channels but rarely say anything about their audio editions.

    In fact, it almost seems like the authors have a stigma about promoting their audiobooks. I think some have been in the old, tired discussions about listening vs. reading, where listening is viewed with distaste as though you’ve “cheated” and did not “read” the book.

    Others, though, may view audiobooks as an afterthought, if at all. If the audiobook sells a few copies, great, but they don’t actively market it. So many of the titles on ACX are royalty share because the author is looking for an additional revenue stream that requires no effort on their part.

    They don’t realize the growing popularity of the medium as mainstream entertainment and perhaps still view audiobooks as something only purchased for the blind. With each author’s first audiobook release, perhaps you could send them a copy of Audiofile magazine so that they can better appreciate the diversity and depth of the industry.

    As you further educate authors about the value of audiobooks to their fan base and wallets, I hope that you can encourage them to promote the audiobooks with the same or higher level of energy and enthusiasm as they do their print versions.

    Thanks for a great article. I look forward to the next one!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins
    http://www.KarenCommins.com

    • Karen, you are an ACX commenting superstar! Wherever we post we know we can usually find an interesting comment from you. Keep it up!

    • I live in Ireland. Is there any way I can get my audio books onto Audible as seen as I’m not in the UK or US? They’re really good Irish-American children’s books and would bring in a lot of revenue for Audible/amazon/iTunes?

      Yours sincerely,
      David Murphy,
      Irish-American Audio books

  3. Pingback: How to Promote Your Titles & Get on Audible’s Merchandising Radar – Part 2 | Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

  4. Hi Jessica,
    I have a successful audiobook in the “Erotica and Sexuality” category. Some of what you suggest may not easily apply to audiobooks in that category. It’s not really possible for me to go on Facebook and promote my audiobook to my family and friends. People who know me and care for me would not be comfortable if they knew what sort of material I produce.

    Your customers who buy audiobooks in that category love what they buy there, but they do not want it known among their friends that they shop there.

    And we can see that Audible has the category buried down inside “More Categories”. That is as it should be. Customers will only find the category by going and looking for it. Audible does a good job of promoting from within the category, but often shoppers looking for that type of material will not find the category.

    So this poses a special marketing problem for authors who publish in that category. One thing that would help — would Audible be willing to produce a weekly newsletter just for that category? A newsletter directed only to customers who buy in that category.

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for commenting. We hear your concerns and are always looking for new ways to help authors and producers. The targeted newsletter is a great idea and we will pass it along to the merchandising team.

  5. Hello Jessica,
    I value all the things you said.

    I believe each author, whether audio books or print has to find their own niche in marketing just as in the niche in their target market. My reasoning is, it’s better to do one thing great than a bunch of efforts poor.

    That’s not to say tackle different marketing approaches but to have at least one outstanding strength.

    Keep up you much needed service and your wonderful tips.

  6. Jessica, thanks these are helpful tips. If anyone can critique my site http://www.piineye.com, it would be helpful.Should a second edition be done even if the producer did not make enough on the first?

  7. Excellent advice, Jessica. Your article is most welcomed. As an ACX narrator-producer and publisher, we are always looking for more ways to promote our audiobook productions.

    It may be obvious, but as a royalty share arrangement… we are becoming partners with the authors/rights-holders. This means, we’re in it for the long haul. There are so many books we can produce per month or per year so we need to choose wisely… working with those rights-holders that truly “get it”. Karen’s comment earlier in this blog is right on…. as a narrator and royalty share partner, we need rights-holders and authors who are serious about marketing and promotion.

    For my ACX author-partners I always propose the following; we’ll conduct an interview with the author and turn it into a video-podcast.. but so far, I haven’t found Audible allowing for a video to be posted. This is BUILT-IN marketing that Audible and Amazon should take advantage of., especially if it’s already produced.

    We also produce video book trailers ( http://www.audiobooktrailers.com ) These are perfect for the audiobook marketplace and can be posted on all kinds of video sharing sites, the author’s site, Amazon author page, Goodreads and more. But the author and rights-holder to help with the video trailer distribution AND put it on the publisher’s site.. usually there’s no mention of it. We also have a source for getting Amazon reviews posted. ( more at http://www.audiobookproducers.com )

    Even though we are small, independent audiobook producer-studio, we focus on customer service… which means finding the right author relationships that are committed to joint promotion. If an author or rights-holder is not willing to offer promotional participation and leverage their contacts and assets, a royalty share arrangement will not succeed except by luck.

    I want to encourage Amazon, Audible and other sites to allow recorded author interviews, video book trailers and other Rich Media tools that leverage the best of the Internet’s benefits with the power of digital marketing and multimedia. Imagine if Audible had a “tab” or section for author interviews or video book trailers… WOW, what a boost to the marketing efforts for ACX projects.

    • Thanks for the info Rich! As for a place to post your video interviews and audiobook trailers, feel free to put them on our Facebook page, or tweet at us at @acx_com.

  8. Pingback: Self-Publishing Tips & Resources | The Voices In My Head

  9. Thanks for the info! I have a question – I would like to embed a sample of my audiobooks on my website. Does acx have an app for that? Or does anyone know how to do this? Thanks!

  10. This is the information I have searched the internet for. Although it is a year after publication that I read this blog. It seems that the advice is as fresh as if written today. I will do the things suggested here to promote the four audiobooks I have produced in 2013 and continue the practice through 2014. Perhaps they will begin to attract attention. Thank you.

  11. This is GREAT information. I recently completed 2 audio books for Audible.com. These ideas are right on time! I will use them to jazz up my promotional efforts for the books. Thanks!

  12. Pingback: I made an ACX audiobook—now what do I do? - Laura E. Kelly

  13. This may be the wrong place to ask this… however it does seem related to marketing to me. Here goes:
    Can the rights holder rotate different retail audio samples arbitrarily? Seems like it would be useful to see interest generated / sales results from the different samples.

  14. This is really great info. I have listened to over 100 books ( as ACX informed me the other day). I have recently started producing and narrating audiobooks and am currently working on my 6th book. I am quickly realizing that this is a full time job.
    It is very true that authors don’t realize that they need to help promote the audio book version of their book. So much time goes into the narration and production of the actual book.
    And I think there still is a stigma with listening to audiobooks. I have many friends who still refer to audiobooks as books on tape. Can you imagine? I am certain that some people believe that audio books are still only for people that are blind.It is very difficult to get people past that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s