Guest Post: Karen Commins on Marketing Audiobooks – Part Two

Today we bring you part two of ACX producer Karen Commins‘ guide to audiobook marketing for narrators. Part one can be found here.

A Narrator’s Look at Audiobook Marketing – Part Two

The goal of marketing is to make your audiobooks more discoverable and to develop an audience. In part 1 of my discussion about marketing, we looked at reasons why audiobooks aren’t more widely accepted and three ways to create lasting connections to your audiobooks in the consumers’ minds. Today, we’ll look at four more ways to promote your audiobooks.

1. Be Detail Oriented.

Once your audiobook is released on Audible, check the listing for it on Amazon. It should appear on the same product page as the other editions of the title (paperback, eBook, and hardback).

Sometimes the audiobook is orphaned onto its own page. If that’s the case, send an email to Amazon from the Help/Contact Us page, succinctly list both edition pages, and ask them to combine the editions.

If the book is part of a series, you’ll want to ensure that the series link is used on Audible. I’ve had success in sending an email to Audible from this page to request that the series link is added.

The easiest people to sell to are the ones who already are fans!

Series

I also create a Google Alert for the topic of the book and/or do specialized searches so I can track mentions of it online, then I comment about the audio version on any blogs, forums, or other place where people are discussing the topic.

2. Be Real.

Many people tend to think of marketing as an online activity. However, some of your best results may occur when marketing directly to people in real life.

Tell everyone who asks you that you’re an audiobook narrator, whether you’re at a networking event or an informal gathering with family and friends. You can also volunteer to speak at writers’ meetings.

Here’s another real world marketing idea: except in the case of futuristic, sci-fi universes, most books are set somewhere. Can you market to people in that area?

As an example, my Dixie Diva cozy mystery series is set in Holly Springs, MS. In every book, the annual Pilgrimage, which is a tour of antebellum homes, is discussed at length, and some of the local businesses are key to the story lines.

Mississippi

Holly Springs, home of the Dixie Divas

My husband and I went to the Holly Springs Pilgrimage this year. I talked about the audiobooks to the people I met, got lots of great pictures and videos that I can use on my blog and in book trailers, and made a note on my event calendar to create a local newspaper ad and/or postcards in time for next year’s Pilgrimage.

You can also be real without leaving your home. In this terrific video, award-winning narrator and teacher Sean Pratt advises how you could, and why you should, use snail mail in your marketing efforts.

I also recommend that you view Sean’s companion video, The Actor’s Newsletter.

Speaking of mail, my email signature includes a link to my books on Audible. You may find some other ideas about being real in this post from my blog.

3. Be Social.

I use social media extensively to promote my audiobooks, and I’ve learned that different sites are good for different things.

Hashtag marketing (putting a ‘#’ in front of your key word, like #audiobook) can be your friend across many different sites. If you can find a relevant way to link your book to a current hashtag search term, like a newsmaker, TV show, or event, you have made it that much easier for new fans to find you and even share your content with their followers. Narrator and publisher Mike Vendetti often utilizes hashtags that tie in to a TV show.

Tweet01

Sometimes a news event will be a perfect tie-in to your audiobook’s story line.

tweet02

Although I’ve only shown examples from Twitter, hashtags are searchable on:

Now, let’s look at five social media sites ranked in order of my opinion of their current usefulness in audiobook marketing. I’ll offer a tip or two for each site along the way.

Goodreads

People may contribute the most on the site they learned first. If I were starting now, I would probably start with Goodreads, since it is all about books! Here’s what I do to market my audiobooks on Goodreads:

First, I created a Goodreads author page, and I add the audiobook edition on Goodreads for each of my titles as they are released. You’ll see a link on the title page to add a new edition.

GoodReads

After filling out the form to create your edition, you can ask a librarian to combine the audiobook edition with the print and ebook editions in this librarian’s group. You’ll have to look for the current thread of Combine Request in the folder.

I also make sure to visit the Goodreads Audiobooks group, which filled with audiobook addicts! Within the Goodreads Audiobooks group, you can announce new releases under the “General” tab and give away promotional codes under the “Promotions” tab. There’s even a Goodreads Romance Audiobooks group specifically for fans of that genre!

Twitter

A member of Goodreads recently wrote: I’ve discovered Twitter as a means to let narrators know when I really enjoy what they do.

If you don’t want to be a broken loudspeaker on Twitter, you can find other audiobook enthusiasts easily by signing into Twitter and subscribing to my three comprehensive lists of audiobook tweeps. You’ll be able to stay focused on audiobooks and correspond with audiobook folks without following all of them individually. You’ll do well to visit these links.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a great way to share audio files on social media and around the web. First, create an account, then upload your retail audio samples. Include the audiobook cover as the image, add tags, and link to your book on Audible in the “Buy link. You can then share those recordings on your web site, in blog posts, and other social sites. Note that you might need to pay for more storage depending on the number and length of samples you upload.

I was astonished to see that PostHypnotic Press has attracted over 900,000 followers on SoundCloud, and that number continues to grow! Publisher Carlyn Craig graciously offered this advice:

As for why we have so many followers, it seems to me that, as with other social media, the more you participate the more attention you get. It is first and foremost a place for creators to share their work, and as such, it does an admirable job. It offers great tools, like the “Embed” and “Share” tools. I love the Twitter media player, for instance, and we use SoundCloud to host all the audio on our site. I do try to be active every day, even if it is only to tweet a few SoundCloud samples.

I suspect that one reason for their tremendous success on SoundCloud is that they have created a number of playlists of genres or titles by author, like this one.

Facebook

When your audiobook is live on Audible, you can post the link on:

You can give away your promotional codes in this group that narrator Jeffrey Kafer created just for that purpose! You may want to subscribe to my Facebook list of Audiobook Publishers and Reviewers to keep up with audiobook news.

YouTube

YouTube is another visual site. I don’t know that you’ll have much success if your video only shows a cover of the audiobook. I think people would quickly grow bored and find a true video.

I loved creating a couple of book trailer videos! I plan to create more since the videos are evergreen products that I can always use, especially with hashtags! Here is an example of a book trailer I’ve created:

Remember that social media sites are a constantly moving target. I also add my videos to my blog and my web site. Of all the places on the Internet, my blog and site are the only pieces of real estate that I own!

4. Be Productive

If the variety and means of marketing audiobooks seems overwhelming, just remember that the best way to have more natural reasons for promotion and rack up more sales is to produce more audiobooks. You gain momentum every time you have a new release!

What are your favorite site-specific social media marketing tactics? Share them with your colleagues below!

24 responses to “Guest Post: Karen Commins on Marketing Audiobooks – Part Two

  1. Wow Karen, you are very thorough and savvy with your marketing efforts. I have already found that I needed to take your Amazon advice and combine the printed book with my audiobook. Next, I will be onto Goodreads!
    Thank you for this great advice.
    – Lynne Darlington
    http://www.lynnedarlington.com

  2. Karen Commins

    Greetings, Lynne! Thanks for the nice comment. I’m so pleased that you’ve found the article to be useful.

    I’ve had a few audiobooks orphaned on Amazon. Once the editions were combined, the sales seemed to be more frequent, perhaps because buyers were taking advantage of the Whispersync technology.

    Best wishes for your continued success!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins


  3. This was inspired by Karen’s post last week. Look out…I’m gonna be taking all her advice! Thank you Karen!

  4. Outstanding work Karen. Bravo!

  5. Karen!

    Excellent post! I perked up when I saw Memphis and almost exploded when I saw you were in my hometown, HOLLY SPRINGS! Hate I missed you, but maybe you’ll come down and join me for lunch at Annies!

    First audiobook coming out soon . . . a second soon to follow. Hope that my work earns me MORE work . . .

    Thanks!

    Lee

  6. Karen Commins

    Greetings, all! Thanks for the nice comments. I’m so glad people have found these articles to be useful.

    @Sara — I love your audiobook trailer! It’s visually interesting and intriguing. Now that you’ve created it, you can use it in your promotion efforts for years to come!

    @Jonah — Thanks for the praise! I hope you saw that I used your library visits as an example of a great way to be of service to others in an answer to comments on part 1.

    @Lee — HOLLY SPRINGS! It’s definitely a small world. We had lunch at J B’s Family Restaurant and then supper at the Ajax Diner in Oxford. I’d love to meet you for lunch at Annie’s next time! 🙂 Since the author is working on book 6 in the series, I may decide to go back to Holly Springs for years to come!

    Speaking of more work, you might be able to drum up another book right there in town. A guy I talked with who works at the famous Booker’s Hardware is writing a book about a unique aspect of the Civil War. Maybe he’ll need a narrator someday!

    To anyone looking for your next audiobook, you may consider attending some local writers’ meetings to meet authors and talk with them about using ACX. I’m speaking about audiobooks at a state-wide writers’ convention this fall to help the authors get started on this path. Lee, since you’re close to Memphis, you may want to attend a meeting of Malice in Memphis, a group of mystery/suspense writers.

    Best wishes to all for your success!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  7. rosemarybensonvo

    Karen, I LOVE your video. It’s so creative, and the timing is just great. Brava!

  8. Karen Commins

    Greetings, Rosemary! Thanks for the kind words about my video.

    I especially appreciate your comment about the timing.

    I started with the narration, using a scene I had recorded in the book. I added the Ole Miss fight song as the music. The last thing I did was add the pictures and videos created by others to develop the video portion.

    I think all videos should be made by creating the SOUND first and the images to follow, don’t you? 😉

    For what it’s worth, I created this video with Adobe Premiere. It allows much greater precision in synching the soundtrack and the video track than Apple’s iMovie does. However, iMovie costs less and is much easier to use. PC users can create videos with Movie Maker, which is a free program.

    Also, the possibilities for pictures and videos are endless. I found all of the images and videos used in this video through Google searches and requested permission from the original parties to re-use them. You can also find things in the public domain or buy stock footage rather cheaply.

    I encourage everyone to try their hand at making an audiobook trailer. I’d love to see the results!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  9. Karen, thank you for such practical suggestions, which I’ve started implementing. I was not familiar with Goodreads but attempted your advice to create an author page for the titles I’ve narrated. However, since I’m not an author, I wasn’t able to create a page. What step am I missing?

  10. Karen Commins

    Greetings, Debbie! Thanks for the question. It’s been a while since I created my Goodreads author page, so I had to look again at the Goodreads Author Program page linked in the article.

    Here are the basic steps:

    1. Sign up for a Goodreads account.

    2. Search for your book in the Goodreads database.

    I think this must be the point where you had the difficulty. If none of your audiobooks are in the Goodreads database, add the edition for one as shown in the article. Be sure to add your name in the second Author field as the Narrator.

    Once you have an audiobook in the Goodreads database with your name listed as Narrator, you should be able to continue on with step 3 from the Author sign-up page, added below for easy reference.

    3. Click on your name, which takes you to a basic Goodreads Author profile page.

    4. Scroll to the bottom of that Author profile page, and click “Is this you?”.

    5. Wait to receive e-mail confirmation from Goodreads that your account has been upgraded to an author account. Several days may pass before you receive the email.

    I hope this clarification helps. If you run into any problems or have other questions, send an email to Goodreads using the link on the Author Program page.

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  11. Karen, an fyi:
    I followed your suggestion for books in a series but got a response from ACX that only the rights holder can request the series link.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Apologies for any confusion caused by this post. We’ve updated the post with new information on how to request a series link for your ACX titles.

      Thanks – SJ

  12. Karen – Quick question. There are so many ways that Amazon lists its content. Is there a preferred style or way of asking Amazon to list the audiobook in a combined page with the other formats? I see some w a horizontal line of separate boxes that can be clicked on individually and some with a box that lists the formats vertically. When I search my own name I find all my work and it is listed with the other formats. I just wondered fi there was a best case scenario and how to request it.
    Thanks for all these great tips!
    Kelley
    Storyteller Productions

  13. Hi, Kelley! You’ve asked a great question, but I don’t have an answer for you. I imagine that different people at Amazon update the page links in their own ways. If you find a best case scenario for the audiobook listing, I hope you’ll come back here and share it with all of us! 🙂

    Best wishes for your continued success!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  14. Hi Karen and all who are following this great blog!
    Karen,
    I’ve been following your advice and linking my editions and organizing my Narrator’s Page on Goodreads. First of al -l lots of fun. Really promotes understanding how Goodreads can help but also has exposed me to a great community of like minded reader/listeners.
    I wanted to share what I’ve learned: The Goodreads Librarians who actually handle the combining of editions, requested that each person start their own unique ‘Combine Editions’ thread or topic in the Goodreads Librarians Group. This is rather than finding the end of the previous thread and tagging onto the end. They explained it causes confusion. I have started a new thread for every series I combine and/or for only 5 or 6 audiobooks at a time as I am catching up with my audiobooks that are already released. When I do it like this, they are very fast to post the changes. When I started out and tagged at the end of a thread, the combine request was lost entirely.
    You start a new thread by clicking ‘new’ under Topics in the right corner opposite the words ‘Discussions Board’ right at the start of the Home page of the Goodreads Librarians Group.
    Hope this helps others!
    Thanks,
    Kelley Hazen
    Storytellerproductions

  15. Karen Commins

    Hi, Kelley! I’m delighted that you found the articles to be useful and are sharing your discoveries so that we all can benefit!

    I believe that what we put out in the world comes back to us, usually in a way and time we didn’t expect. Your enthusiastic efforts to promote your titles are planting seeds now that will reap a bountiful harvest for you later!

    Thanks again for the update about combining editions on Goodreads!

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  16. Very helpful Karen! Much appreciated!

  17. Karen Commins

    Greetings, Luke! Thanks for the nice note. It means a lot to me to know I’ve helped others on their path.

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  18. Greetings, all! Yesterday, I received the following notification from Goodreads about a time-saving improvement to the site:

    When you click the “add a new edition” button from a book page, it will actually create a new edition of the book – not a new work. The new edition will be automatically combined and you won’t have to do that manually.

    For more details, see https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1957987-announcement

    I hope this info helps you.

    Cordially,
    Karen Commins

  19. Pingback: Guest Post: Karen Commins on Marketing Audiobooks – Part One | Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

  20. Great article, Karen. I found many of your suggestions to be helpful and put them into practice. Thank you!

  21. Pingback: Tips for Success on ACX - Elizabeth Spann Craig

  22. Pingback: How to Act Like an Audiobook Narrator | Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

  23. Pingback: Karen Commins’s Audiobook Marketing Cheat Sheet - site37.webdnx.net

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