Author Archives: Scott Jacobi

This Week in Links: July 3 – 7

For Rights Holders:

Do You Have a Platform? – via The Book Designer – “The problem is that most authors focus on where they will build their platform and how they will build their platform. They fail to identify what their platform is and whom they intend to reach.”

How to Go On Vacation & Write While You’re Not Writing – via Writer Unboxed – Learn some ways to involve your brain in tasks that will set you up to write when you finally sit back down at the keyboard.

How to Ace the First Act in Your Sequel – via Helping Writers Become Authors – Want to hook listeners with multi-part series? Find out how to kick off successive books with a bang.

Start Your Own Think Tank – via CreateSpace – Might starting a group of like-minded authors be beneficial to your writing and marketing efforts?

For Producers:

How To Attract and Keep New Clients – via Paul Strikwerda – Even though you and I are likely to have different clients with different needs, there are three factors that always play a role in every purchase decision: price, benefits, and perception.

Who Said Goofing Off Is a Waste of Time? – via Dr. Ann Utterback – “Think of the constant onslaught of information coming from the Internet, email, news stories, conversation, and our own busy thoughts. We’re asking our brains to digest all of this every second of every day. We need to shut this off for a time if we want to recharge.”

How Acting Ability Helps in Voiceover Work and Ways to Improve It – via Victoria DeAnda – “If you’re having a hard time turning yourself into a character required in a voice recording project, maybe it’s time you try acting classes on the side.”

Five Things To Do After a Voiceover Conference – via Rob Marley – The action doesn’t end when you return from a voiceover event. Take a look at how to continue the momentum once you return home.

 

This Week in Links: June 26 – 30

For Producers:

Do This Instead of Buying a New Mic – via Dave Courvoisier – Ready to add to cart? Consider whether coaching and technical training may be a better  investment for your career than new equipment.

What Is Your Computer Backup System? And Will It Work? – via Edge Studio – “Whether your computer succumbs to a malware attack, a hardware failure, or your own human error, having a backup will make the situation much less nerve-wracking, and probably far less expensive.”

Why I Don’t Listen to Fictional Audiobooks Narrated by Men – via Book Riot – One listener offers her perspective on a performance choice that drives her buying decisions.

5 Years As The VO Strategist Taught Me 3 Things – via Tom Dheere – What can you learn from Tom’s three big revelations from his time as VO coach? Find out in this milestone post.

For Rights Holders:

Use Cheat Sheets & Checklists to Entice, Engage Readers – via The Book Designer – “Readers love chunks of information they can digest easily in just a minute or two…tie the topic of your cheat sheet or checklist into your book, and you’ve got a promotional hook that reels in readers.”

How to Carry Your Book Cover Design Through to the Marketing Campaign for Your Self-published Books – ALLi – Find out how image, color, texture, and typography can be used as a theme for your (audio)book promotion.

How to Set Up Your Own Online Book Tour – via BookMarketingTools – “Whether you’re launching for the first time or hoping to drum up support for a published book, virtual tours can be incredible for building buzz, encouraging people to share your content, growing your platform, enhancing your reputation, selling books, and much more.”

An Illustrated Guide to Dynamic Characters – via Writer’s Digest – Compelling characters are a dream come true for any actor to perform. This fun infographic takes a look at what makes some of your favorite TV/movie characters so interesting.

This Week in Links: June 19 – 23

For Rights Holders:

Online Book Tours and Why You Should Do Them – via Book Marketing Tools – An online publicity tour is an especially great way to promote your digital audiobook.

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That: June 2017 – via The Book Designer – Amy Collins is back with her monthly look at the right and wrong way to spread word of your words.

Good Book Publicity Is A Marathon Not A Sprint – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – VOs use this same analogy when talking about audiobook narration, so prepare to take long view of audiobook promotion.

Average People Recreating Romance Novel Covers is Utterly Hilarious – via Viral Thread – Can you judge a book by these covers?

The Power of Podcasts – via ACX – Learn how one ACX author created a blueprint for promoting his books to natural listening audience: podcast fans.

For Producers:

The Seven Worst Mistakes Beginning Voice-Overs Make – via Paul Strikwerda – “I really wish I had known a thing or two before I started speaking for a living. Here’s my top 7 of things I did, before I knew better.”

4 Things That Will Make Your VO Clients Love You – via Dave Courvoisier – “You’re in a relationship with your clients (in fact, that’s likely how you got them…right?).  Sure, it’s a business relationship, but still…it’s human-to-human (H2H).”

What to Consider in Evaluating Your Voice-Over Potential – via Edge Studio – Taking a look at all the aspects of a good voiceover performance can help you understand what areas of your delivery you need to improve.

The Importance of Proper Input – via Marc Scott – In the end, the career you take is equal to the career you make.

The Power of Podcasts

Glen Tate published the 10 book 299 Days series in audio back in 2014. Since that time he’s amassed a 4.4 rating over 5,910 reviews. One of Glen’s most effective promotion tactics has been by regularly appearing on podcasts related to his specific “prepper” genre. He’s here today to share his process for booking guest spots to discuss his books on popular podcasts.

I am not a full-time author. I’m an attorney in Olympia, Washington who happened to sit down and write a ten-book post-apocalyptic fiction series called 299 Days. I was surprised to learn about several aspects of publishing and marketing these books—one of which was the power of podcasts to sell books to niche markets.

The author, Glen Tate…?

Like many ACX authors, I don’t have a large marketing budget or a team of people getting me guest spots on media outlets. I have to do it on my own and preferably for free.

In order to understand how podcasts can help audiobook sales, you need to understand that my books appeal to a particular audience: people who wonder what life would be like if normal American society was disrupted. Podcasts are perfectly suited to speak to niche audiences with specific interests. There are tens of thousands of podcasts on everything from bird watching to javelin throwing to 1980s heavy metal bands. As an added bonus, podcast fans are listeners, making them the perfect audience for audiobooks.

Once I realized that podcasts could be a great venue for promoting my audiobooks, I set about figuring out how to connect with various hosts and get booked as a guest. Here’s how I did it.

From Author to Guest Star

I thought about the podcasts I listen to in my area of interest, and several dozen came to mind. To determine which podcasts I wanted to be on, I looked at my own phone and saw which ones I’d listened to in the last month. I then searched for them in iTunes, which suggested several similar programs. I wrote down a list on a sheet of paper. New podcasts pop up all the time, so I periodically asked readers on my books’ Facebook page to tell me which podcasts they listened to, and added them to my master list.

At first I thought it would be hard to get onto a podcast. I was wrong. As I learned, podcasters are dying for content. Almost all podcasts have an email address or a “contact us” web form. I simply told them who I was and included a link to my books on Audible. This is important, because no one wants to listen to someone who talks about “someday” publishing a book.

I started small. No podcast was too small for me. I appeared on podcasts with 200 downloads. But after a while, I was regularly on podcasts with 100,000 or more downloads. Keep in mind that these are downloads from people who are already interested in the narrow topic of your book. It is perhaps the most precisely tailored marketing you can do.

Once I got on a few podcasts, I reached out to additional hosts and sent them links to my previous appearances. This was a great way to assure them that I could string a sentence together and was an interesting guest. This brings up an important point: do you need to be a dazzling speaker and have a great “radio voice” to be on a podcast? Nope. If you can hold a conversation, you can be a guest on a podcast. That’s all a podcast interview is: you and the host having a conversation about your book.

It’s also important to note that you don’t need special equipment or a computer programming degree to appear on a podcast. A cell phone (or better yet, a free Skype account) and a good headset with a microphone is all it takes.

The total time required to do a podcast ranged from one to two hours. The interview took between 20 minutes and an hour, and once it was produced, I’d get an email with the link to the episode.

I also wanted to help the podcasters who had just helped me. I let them know that I would publicize my appearance on their show to my readers and listeners. This was as easy as posting a link to the podcast on my Facebook page and emailing it to my email list. Podcasters absolutely loved me promoting their show, and often told me that they gained listeners every time I appeared as a guest. I would then ask them to email their friends with similar podcasts and encourage them to have me on.

It worked. I have appeared on 34 podcasts and recorded 114 episodes.

I found that it was important to keep track of every podcast I appeared on and put a link to each one on my books’ website. Putting each podcast on my website showed that I was an experienced podcast guest, and assured hosts that I’d publicize their shows. Readers of my books can hear me whenever they want, while also discovering new podcasts they might be interested in. And it helped me quickly find an episode link and post it on Facebook or email it to my list. You can find two of my favorite appearances here and here.

I have strong anecdotal evidence that appearing on podcasts increases sales. Direct evidence is hard to come by because I appeared on numerous podcasts each month. However, dozens of readers have mentioned that they heard about the books on a podcast. I’ve asked in Facebook posts how people learned of my books and almost every one says via one of my podcast appearances. In fact, a total stranger recognized my voice when I was talking to someone else in a store.

I’m no marketing wizard; if I can do this, then so can you. I can boil this down to three takeaways. First, gather a great list of podcasts appealing to your niche audience. Second, contact the podcasters and be persistent. Finally, promote your appearances on your website, social media, and email lists.

Oh, and all of this has been a whole lot of fun. I’ve become friends with many podcasters. Now I know these people all over the country, and when I travel on business I often have a friend to visit.

Much like the main character in the series, the Glen Tate is a forty-something resident of the capitol of Washington State, Olympia, and is a very active prepper. He grew up in the remote logging town of Forks, Washington. “Glen” keeps his identity a secret so he won’t lose his job because, in his line of work, being a prepper and questioning the motives of government is not appreciated.

This Week in Links: June 5 – 9

Audible’s Matt Thornton stops by today to fill us in on an exciting new initiative Audible has recently launched.

The mixture of words and voices that give books their power is an even more fundamental element of the audio experience, which can bring together the best of writing and narrative performance. Last week, Audible announced a $5,000,000 fund to commission and produce new works by playwrights for Audible listeners. This project elevates three areas of focus that have informed Audible’s mission from the beginning: serving listeners, serving the professional creative class, and applying the best of emergent digital technologies on behalf of listeners, actors and authors.

Audible has enlisted an advisory board of distinguished theater talent to collaborate in the selection of recipients for the grants, and will solicit submissions for fund grants immediately. Read more about this program here, and inquire about submission at AudibleTheater@audible.com.

For Producers:

Dial Down the Intensity of Your Delivery – via Dr. Ann Utterback – “The problem is that if your excitement bleeds into your delivery too much, you’re doing a disservice to your listener.”

Refresh, Reboot, Refurbish, Renew – via Dave Courvoisier – Don’t collect digital dust. Consider these aspects of your voiceover business that might be ready for an upgrade.

6 Questions About Audio Publishing – via Karen Commins – Thinking of buying audio rights and becoming an audiobook publisher? Karen answers some questions about the process you may not have considered.

For Rights Holders:

Beginners guide to Indie Author Jargon: Book Marketing Glossary – via ALLi – You’ll find multiple entries for each letter from A – Z, with recommended blog posts for every term. Bookmark this one now.

5 Skills Every Writer Should Develop – via The Book Designer – Learn the attributes a writer should attain to become a true “autherpreneur.”

Can You Sell 10 Copies Of Your Book Every Day? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “Any goal that you set needs to have a number attached to it, something that’s measurable, realistic, but inspiring.”

Is Email Marketing Still Relevant? – via CreateSpace – It turns out the key to effective email marketing is… all your other forms of marketing. Who knew?

This Week in Links: May 29 – June 2

ACX audiobooks win three audie awards!

Last night, at the 22nd annual Audie Awards, 3 titles produced or distributed via ACX took home the coveted prize in their category. The winners were:

The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali & Richard Durham. Narrated By Dion Graham (Autobiography/Memoir).

The Brink: Stories by Austin Bunn. Narrated By Austin Bunn, Luke Daniels, Tanya Eby, Ralph Lister, Amy McFadden, Mikael Narramore & Nick Podehl (Short Stories/Collections)

Marriage Games: The Games Duet by CD Reiss. Narrated By Elena Wolfe &  Sebastian York (Erotica).

Congratulations to all the authors and actors involved!

For Rights Holders:

Why Networking at a Writing Conference is SO Important – via The Write Conversation – Did you hit Romantic Times or BEA this past month? Planning to attend a conference later this year? Check out Bruce Brady’s example of real world networking in action.

It’s a (Mad, Mad) Marketing World – via Writer Unboxed – Find out how the plot of your story plays an important role in the marketing of your book.

Marketing Tip: Stay Organized! – via CreateSpace – “When it comes to book marketing… It doesn’t matter what system you use, as long as you use a system.”

5 Creative Book Marketing & Promotion Ideas for Indie Authors and Self-published Books – via ALLi – Find out how innocuous things like an email from Amazon or a trip to the dentist can be opportunities to market your work.

For Producers:

Recaps From 5 APAC 2017 Sessions – via Karen Commins – If you were unable to attend APAC this year, check out Karen’s roundup of the best tips shared in a handful of sessions.

Important Voiceover Work Legal Considerations – via Victoria DeAnda – “Without prior knowledge of voiceover work legal considerations, you could end up compromising years of hard work and client-list building.”

Protecting Your Voice – via Paul Strikwerda – Look after your instrument by reading Paul’s in-depth interview with Vocal Health Educator Elissa Weinzimmer.

Do You Know Craig? – via Dave Courvoisier – Have you landed any VO work via the online classified ad service Craigslist? Dave wants to know! Discuss your experience in the comments of his post, if so.

 

Welcoming New Voices and Stories to ACX

ACX is excited to welcome new voices and stories onto our revolutionary audiobook creation platform. Starting today, Canadian and Irish Rights Holders and Producers can list their audio samples and audiobook projects for auditions in the ACX marketplace. To date, authors, publishers, studios, and narrators in the US and UK have produced over 80,000 audiobooks using ACX, and we can’t wait to hear what audiobooks you make next. We’d especially like to thank you for the opportunity to help create audiobooks around the world and support the creative community.

Are you looking for a Canadian or Irish voice? Listen to samples. Ready to show off your accents? Update your samples.

Visit ACX.com to get started!

This Week in Links: May 22 – 26

For Producers:

Feeding Your Soul – via Paul Strikwerda – Find out why the “Nethervoice’s” best ideas come when he’s trying NOT to focus on business.

5 Customer Retention Tips for your Voiceover Business – via Victoria DeAnda – If you voice it (well), they will come. But how do you keep them coming back?

Get Into Voice-Over Work: Beginner’s Guide – via Gary Terzza – Learn the VO coach’s essential tenets of a successful narration career.

Storytellers: Amanda Rose Smith – via ACX – “For me, getting paid to do something you’d probably do anyway is the highest form of success.”

For Rights Holders:

Public Speaking Tips for Writers: 7 Keys for a Great Speech – via The Write Practice – We’d say the 8th key is “ask your narrator for advice.”

6 Tips for Creating Believable Characters That Win Over Readers – via Writer’s Digest – This one’s for the “give your narrator something awesome to say” file.

10 Ways To Approach Book Publicity – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “Believe in your abilities, trust in your creativity, and take the initiative to get the media exposure you feel you deserve.”

Clear Step-By-Step Guide to Editing for Self-Publishers – via where writers win – Every good book deserves an editor (and no, your narrator doesn’t count!)

This Week in Links: May 15- 19

For Rights Holders:

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – May 2017 – via The Book Designer – This month, the site’s lead writer shares her biggest marketing mistake: not taking her own advice.

The Key to Creating a Successful Blog: Evergreen Content – via The Write Life – Creating blog posts that are constantly wanted and searched for is a great way to attract readers through social media.

How to Form an Indie Author Collective (and Why You Should Consider Doing So) – via ALLi – [“K]nowing others are supporting you and holding you accountable puts wind in your sails.”

Branding vs. Marketing – via CreateSpace – “I’ve heard people use the terms interchangeably, and frankly, that’s just wrong. They serve the same purpose, but they are two different tools serving that purpose.”

For Producers:

On Excellence in Voiceover. Do You Dare to Push Yourself? – via Edge Studio – Where is the line between adequacy and excellence? Are you excellent enough to make the cut? And can you take pursuit of excellence too far?

2 Customer Service Examples: The Wrong Way and the Right Way – via audio’connell – Freelance VO’s need to give clients great customer service. Two anecdotes from other industries provide examples to follow.

10 Money Tips For Voiceover Freelancers – via Tom Dheere – “Make, save, and spend money like a business, not like a clueless rogue artiste.”

Tales From The Voice Booth – via People Magazine – Put some fun in your weekend with H. John Benjamin’s hilarious voiceover horror stories.

That Week in Links: May 8 – 12

Kick off your Monday with a look at our favorite links from last week!

For Producers:

Make Every On-Air Day Your Best – via Dr. Ann Utterback – What would you say if not just on-air days, but every day could be your best? Don’t miss the additional resources at the bottom of the post.

How to Track Voiceover Projects That’s Quick and Easy – via J. Christopher Dunn – Learn a straight-forward system to keep your various emails, invoices, files, and folders straight.

I Am a Female Voice Over, Hear me Roar! – via Voice Over Herald – Take a look at the history of the gender divide in VO, capped off with a handy infographic showing why women rule.

How to Succeed in the Voiceover Industry – via Victoria DeAnda – Victoria shares the career building blocks that allow you “let your passion bleed into your work.”

For Rights Holders:

Can You Market Your Book For 5 Minutes A Day?– via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – If you’re too busy, or big marketing projects seem daunting, check these tips for working a little bit of promotion into every day.

How to Launch Your Blog With Your Book in Mind – via Writer’s Digest – “Blogging helped me hone my voice and connected me to a community of readers. But, oh, if I could start over knowing that many of my far-fetched writing dreams would come true, I sure would do a few things differently.”

Branding: The Rule of Coaching – via CreateSpace – See how being genuinely altruistic within your creative community can have the side benefit of building your brand.

The Elusive Value of PR as a Book Marketing Tactic – via The Write Life – “I am constantly reminding myself to invest my time and efforts wisely as an author. And that means putting my efforts toward growing a long-term following—not just pestering readings into that one or two next sales.”