In addition to offering a marketplace where authors and rights holders can connect with audiobook actors and producers, ACX also allows those who have completed, retail ready audiobooks to upload their audio for distribution through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Jared Tendler and Barry Carter used this DIY pathway to upload their completed audiobooks, The Mental Game of Poker and The Mental Game of Poker 2 to ACX. They’ve stopped by today to talk about their decision to get into the audiobook game, and the success they found through ACX.
Leveraging the Benefits of ACX to Sell More Books
We published The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2 to help poker players break through the mental barriers holding them back at the poker table. Interestingly, we had to break through our own mental barriers to be convinced that turning the first book into an audiobook was a good idea.
Although audiobooks have been around for years, we were skeptical. How profitable could it be? How big is the market? In the end we figured that selling 1,000 copies would make the decision worthwhile and there was a decent chance that could happen in a year.
We ended up selling 1,000 copies in two months, and another 3,000 in the months that followed. (This is just sales of our first book, the second volume has just been released.)
In the 15 months since releasing The Mental Game of Poker we’ve learned a lot about audiobook production and marketing, and the market as a whole. Below you’ll find some of the things we’ve learned that in hindsight would have made our initial decision easy. Hopefully this will make your decision to get in the audiobook game easier.
The Benefits of Audiobooks
One integral part of producing and marketing a successful audiobook is to sell your customers on the the benefits of the format in general. We always thought audiobooks were the future of publishing, we just weren’t sure how soon it would arrive. There is no doubt anymore, the future is now. The explosion of mobile technology has given readers the convenience of being able to consume books at any time, even while even doing other things. In the case of our audience, that usually means either playing poker or driving to the casino to play poker.
Another benefit that surprised us quite a bit, was that it opened up an entirely new market of people to our books: people who don’t read books! Audiobooks can reach an entirely new demographic that softcover and ebooks cannot? We received many emails, tweets, and messages on Facebook from customers thanking us for making the book available in audio because they simply don’t read books anymore. One even joked that he could now tell people he reads books.
One final hidden gem we found was that a lot of people liked our book so much, they chose to buy it in softcover or ebook format in addition to audio. Our titles are reference books that customers often read multiple times. We didn’t anticipate them wanting to read it multiple times and in multiple formats.
The Benefits of ACX
We’re huge fans of ACX because of what they’ve done for our first book. They made distributing audiobooks worldwide as easy as Amazon did for eBooks, but they even took it a step further by offering two programs to make marketing and selling easier as well.
First, if your customers sign up for a free 30 day trial to Audible, they can get your book for free and you can still receive a royalty. This has allowed us to market our book as being available for free, which created some buzz from our audience. The blog post where we outline how to get the book for free has been viewed by over 8000 people and been a huge driver of sales. Promoting the free audiobook on our podcast has also paid off, because the audience is highly targeted—the fact that they’re listening proves they like audio content. But, no matter where we talk about this program, whether on social media, interviews, or newletters, we have their attention just by saying it’s free.
This success has in turn allowed us to capitalize on a second program offered by ACX called bounty payments, where you get an additional $25 if a customer purchases your book as one of their first three as Audible members. Many of the people who got a free book from us stayed members of Audible. They liked this new way to read books, stuck around, and everyone benefited.
But, even though the number of bounties we’ve received has exceeded our expectations, we would have had even more if there were more poker books available. The poker audiobook market is small and so we’re trying to convince other poker authors to produce an audiobook. This ultimately benefits everyone—authors, customers, and ACX. In your market look for win-win opportunities among other authors to promote your books together. Give your customers enough books they’ll love and they’ll stick around.
We had no idea how important audiobooks would be in our overall success, but it turned out that we got in at the right time. And now is still the right time. Audiobooks are set to explode, and if you already have a title in other formats get in the game before everybody else does.
Jared Tendler, MS is a mental game coach who works with professional poker players, you can find out more about him at www.jaredtendlerpoker.com and www.mentalgamefish.com. Barry Carter is a writer and poker media consultant, you can find out more about him at www.pokermediapro.com.