Category Archives: Audiobook Marketing

Make It Snappy: Marketing with URL Shorteners

snappy2We here at the blog spend a lot of time focusing on digital marketing, and for good reason—online self-promotion is a great way to access a large, diverse audience, and digital marketing efforts are easy to track. But let us not overlook good old-fashioned word-of-mouth for getting the word out about your audiobook. Say you’re appearing on a podcast or at an event—these are marketing opportunities, and to make the most of them, you’ll want to tell interested listeners exactly where they can go to buy your audiobook. But since you can’t hyperlink someone in a conversation (at least not yet), you’ll want to offer a snappy one-liner that’s easy to remember and visit.

So, get thee to a shortener, posthaste! URL shorteners are online services that create easy to manage URLs for you to use at all of your speaking opportunities. They can also help you develop SEO for your personal brand and provide you with tools to track your word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

We’ve gathered a few of our favorite services to share with you here. Keep in mind these are all third-party services, so their availability or features might change—after all, Google is pulling the plug on its URL shortener, goo.gl, at the end of March. Most of the services we’ve compiled offer both free and subscription plans, with varying levels of tracking for your links including geographic data, click-through rates, top referrers, and information on site visitors based on device, platform, and time, so you can track your marketing efforts and see where the traffic to your URL is coming from.

We recommend using your Bounty URLs whenever you promote your ACX audiobooks, so learn how to access yours and join us as we review the ins and outs of some popular URL shortening services.rebrandlyWhat it is: The most customizable of URL shorteners, this service allows you to use your shortened links to reinforce your brand, for example: yourname.author/audiobook

Why we like it:

  • Their free plan offers 500 branded links, five custom domain names, tracking on 5,000 clicks per month, and unlimited redirects.
  • A comprehensive site experience allows you to see exactly what you’ll get with each plan before you commit.
  • The tracking dashboard allows you to track traffic by geography, device, platform, referrer, and trends over time.

What we’d change: At $29 a month, the paid plan is more expensive than some of the other paid options we’ve listed, but the price jumps steeply between individual and team-oriented plans.

bitly

What it is: Bitly is a comprehensive, business-grade URL shortener with all the bells and whistles, including customizable, branded links and a tracking dashboard featuring extensive data on the traffic coming to your links.

Why we like it:

  • You can create custom, shortened URLs for more sophisticated branding.
  • Their free plan is sufficient for most individual and small business needs, and offers tracking on click-through rates and top referrers for 500 branded or 10,000 non-branded links.
  • Bitly offers an “Enterprise” option at customizable pricing tiers with more advanced tracking features like user experience and real-time analytics.

What we’d change: Their initial site experience can be a bit overwhelming and it can be difficult to tell what specific features will be available to you before signing up.

blink

What it is: A great URL shortener option for those interested in exploring link tracking features to see what meets their needs, but not yet ready to commit to a paid plan.

Why we like it:

  • Their 21-day free trial lets you test drive some of the more extensive features of paid tiers before committing to a plan.
  • The free tier allows you 1,000 shortened links, branded links, and tracks trending and basic stats on 1,000 clicks per link.
  • The first paid tier of service is an affordable option at $12 a month and offers additional features such as multiple users, account support, and unlimited custom domains.

What we’d change: The free plan is a little more limited in terms of analytics than some of the other free options out there.

t2m

What it is: A URL shortener with a free plan offering unlimited links, this service has the unique feature of generating a custom QR code with your shortened link.

Why we like it:

  • Their free plan offers unlimited shortened URLs, clicks to your links, and redirects, as well as click-tracking by year, month and day, country, device, browser, platform, and referrer.
  • The first-level paid tier is an affordable $10 a month and offers branded URLs and one custom domain.

What we’d change: There is a large leap in pricing and features between the first-tier ‘Standard’ plan and the next-tier ‘Enterprise’ plan (a difference of $10 and $90 a month), which offers unlimited custom domains and branded URLs.

tiny

What it is: A fast, free, anonymous URL shortener that allows you to create shortened URLs for any site instantly, without creating an account.

Why we like it:

  • Its browser plug-in allows you to create a shortened URL instantly from any page you’re on—just click the icon on your toolbar after installing, and you’ll be directed back to TinyURL’s site where a shortened URL of the page you just left will be waiting for you.

What we’d change: This service doesn’t offer any tracking or customization with its shortened links, so it’s a great ‘quick fix’ if you need a shortened URL fast, but it lacks the marketing tools we love in the other options we’ve suggested.

Now that you know a little more about your options, you can start using the URL shortener that’s right for you to create snappy, custom URLs that are easy to share in-person and on your websites, social media platforms, email newsletters, and business cards. Short URLs are a great way to enhance your Bounty URLs, and since most include additional tools to add to your marketing toolbox, they can also be a great way to test, track, and refine your marketing strategies.

Have you made URL shorteners a part of your audiobook marketing efforts?

Now Hear This: Creating a SoundCloud Link to Promote Your Audiobook

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You’re telling those tales, ACX’ers, but before yours can take up residence in someone’s soul, it has to take up residence in their ears. So how do you get your story housed in that valuable real estate? As with any real estate, the key is location, location, location—as in, don’t make your listeners go to a secondary location to hear your audio sample, bring the audio sample directly to them. And that’s where SoundCloud comes in!

SoundCloud is social audio platform that allows artists such as yourselves to connect directly with their fans—create a profile, upload audio files, and embed SoundCloud’s audio player on your website and social media platforms, or share it in your email newsletter. Uploading a sample of your audiobook to SoundCloud allows you to put that sample right in front of your fans so they can simply click and play—and while you’re at it, add your Bounty Link to your sample so listeners know just where to go hear the rest of your story!

Creating a Clip

  1. Go to SoundCloud.com and create a free account.
  2. Once you’ve created a SoundCloud account, click “Upload” in the upper right-hand corner, then select your chosen audio clip from your computer. We recommend starting with your book’s Retail Audio Sample, which you can download from your Project Dashboard on ACX.
  3. While your file uploads, click the “Choose new image” button on the left-hand side of the page. Then, click “Upload new image.” Next, find and select your cover art.
  4. In the “Title” field, enter the title of your audiobook, the author name, and narrator name.
  5. In the “Tags” field, enter any tags that you feel will best help promote your title. At minimum, you should use the following tags: Audiobooks, Audio Books, Audio, Books, [Author Name], [Narrator Name], Series Name, Genres. Be sure to enter in each tag individually.
  6. In the “Description” field, we recommend the following information:
    1. A short description of your audiobook
    2. The name of the narrator
    3. A brief “about the author” section
    4. Links to related titles or books in the series
    5. Links to your website or social media platforms
    6. Your Bounty referral links
  7. Once you’re satisfied with your entry, click the “Save” button.
  8. Once you have saved and posted your book to SoundCloud, click “Go to your track.” You can now share the URL at the top of the page on social media or on your website.
  9. Better yet, you can embed your SoundCloud link on your website by clicking the “Share” button in the center of the page.
  10. After clicking the “Share” button, you can choose to share the URL to your favorite social media platform or embed the SoundCloud player on your website. You can even select how you’d like the embedded SoundCloud link to look. Finally, copy the code and paste it to your website.

Learn how to access your Bounty Links in our Help Center.

Sharing Your Clips

Once you create your SoundCloud link, you can use it to:

  • Add audio widgets to your book descriptions on your website.
  • Create an audiobook page on your website featuring all of your audio samples.

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  • Share it on social media with Soundcloud’s handy Share button.
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  • Tag it, and share it on your newly created SoundCloud page.

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  • Embed it in your next newsletter to your fans.

Your fans are all engaging with the stories that move them in different ways—some of them are cozying up with a print copy of your book at home, some are enjoying your e-book on their travels, and some are taking in your audiobook on their morning commute—so why not meet them where they like to engage? Make sure your fans with a preference for listening know you have an audiobook option, and connect them with that listening experience directly by bringing your audio to them. Using SoundCloud to add embedded widgets and links to your marketing platforms is an elegant way to deliver a sample of your audiobook to potential listeners, and pairing your Bounty Link with the audio means just one easy click between connecting with your audio story and purchasing it!

Already using SoundCloud to promote your audiobook? Share your examples in the comments!

How to Get (and Keep!) New Audiobook Listeners

Remember that feeling you got the last time you found an amazing new author and couldn’t wait to go out and devour everything they’ve ever written? We want to help you spark that kind of excitement in your fans. How, you ask? Get out there and talk to your audience! Today, we’ve put together some tips to help you craft a targeted email and social media campaign that will keep your fans listening and help you earn Bounty payments.

Targeting and Re-Targeting

example survey

First things first—let’s find out who’s listening. Surveys can be a great tool for creating awareness for your audiobook and deciding what marketing and production decisions to make next. Set up a poll using a service like Survey Monkey or your preferred social media platform (Facebook and Twitter both offering polling) to gather data about your fans, and use this opportunity to ask your audience additional questions, such as:

  • Where and how they listen
  • Whether they prefer male or female voices
  • Who their favorite narrators are
  • What types of audiobooks they typically listen to

Follow your survey with an email or social media ad that promotes your audiobook and directs listeners to Audible with your Bounty Referral link.

From there, you can review the results of your social media ad or check with your email client to learn how you can see which recipients opened your email and followed the links. Then, use that information to launch a follow-up campaign. Try sending non-openers an email with a new subject line to grab their attention, or appeal to openers who didn’t click the links with a different incentive to listen. You can then track traffic to Audible and view resulting audiobook purchases on your Bounty Dashboard to understand which of your tactics are working best.

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Keep ‘Em Listening

Now that your fans have listened to your audiobook, what do they listen to next? Prompt them to listen to the other audiobooks in your series, another audiobook in your catalog, or even recommend a title by a peer in your genre. This keeps your fans engaged in the world of audiobooks and helps ensure they’ll stay Audible members.

Cross-Promoting

Want to reach an even wider audience? Talk with fellow ACX authors about sending an email campaign on each other’s behalf to promote your books to a new audience. Use this as an opportunity to bond with your fans over something you both care about—audiobooks! Create a “listening list” or “listening book club,” include recommendations for some of your own favorite audiobooks, or invite listeners to suggest some of their favorites. Then host a Facebook event or Instagram live video where everyone can discuss their listening experience.

Recommending new audiobooks and getting recommendations from your peers not only builds your connection and rapport with your fans, it keeps them in the habit of listening. New listeners may become Audible members, and fans who are already regular audiobook listeners are more likely to pick up your work.

Direct communication with your fans, whether it’s promoting your title or starting a discussion about what you’re listening to, can help you learn who your listeners are and grow your connection with them into a listening community that will sustain your success as an audiobook creator. Including your Bounty Link in all of your marketing efforts not only gives new listeners an easy way to access your titles, it can show you what strategies are driving traffic to your work.  Check out Marketing with the ACX-Perts for more ideas on how to get the word out about your audiobook, and keep an eye on the ACX blog for additional marketing resources to help you earn even more.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated throughout.

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!

Earning with 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!

 

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.

A New Way to Promote Your Audiobook: Audible’s “Clips”

Area Under Construction!

We noticed the information that was contained in this post was out of date. While we work on new marketing ideas for you, enjoy these ACX University episodes on audiobook marketing and brand building.

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Market Smarter, Not Harder: The Personal Touch

ACX author Ryan Winfield has written in the past about the value of retaining your audio rights and producing audiobooks using ACX. He joins us today to describe his experience promoting and marketing those audiobooks once they’re available for sale.

Ryan Winfield Headshot

ACX Author Ryan Winfield

I’ve heard it said that every author, once published, is a self-published author—and I believe it now more than ever after watching a big New York publisher roll out three of my titles. The simple fact is no one will ever market your books with as much zeal and creativity as you will yourself. I find that I have an advantage with my self-published books and audiobooks. Why? ACX and Kindle Direct Publishing royalties are more readily measurable via online dashboards, and are paid directly to rights holders monthly (not to mention ACX’s $50 Bounty Program), which allows me to reinvest a portion of my earnings into marketing. I do this consistently with a set percentage of my royalties, and what seems to work the best is focusing my marketing effort on making a personal connection.

Getting Personal

Most authors would love to see their title on the side of city busses and on billboards lining busy streets. They’d love to be the new “thing” getting the latest internet “buzz.” But it’s a mistake to think that those ads and that buzz are what make a hit book. I’ve discovered that it is much better to make a big impression on a small group of people than a small impression on a big group.

It sounds counterintuitive, but marketing to people who are already aware of you just works better. Promoting a Facebook post about my new audiobook to readers who already “like” my Facebook Fan Page yields much better results (better click rate, better conversion, and better engagement) than advertising to a wider audience that is not yet familiar with my work. I’ll sooner read a book recommended by a friend than one advertised to me on my phone or laptop. This is why reviews are so helpful, and why reviews by peers are so important. It’s my job to make my readers my friends—friends who will read my work and recommend it to their friends.

Here are some ways I do just that:

  • Sending personal emails to past readers offering free audiobook download codes in exchange for honest reviews nets me not only grateful fans but also plenty of referrals.
  • Reinvesting some of my earnings to offer a Kindle Fire or gift card giveaways to new readers who “Like” my Facebook page or subscribe to my email newsletter. (There are many services that can help with this, from Rafflecopter to Shortstack to Mailchimp, and many other helpful tools are available for those willing to do a little research.)
  • Making myself available for book club appearances, both in person locally and via video chat more widely, has won me many lifelong readers and friends.
  • Making my email address publicly available. Nothing will endear you to new readers more than a personal response to their questions or comments. When Jane’s Melody was first climbing the bestseller charts, I was answering as many as fifty emails a day. It became impossible to keep up, but as soon as things slowed down I returned to personally responding to messages.

Invest In Your Own Success

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00029]With every royalty payment I get, I earmark a percentage for marketing. With every marketing dollar I spend, I ask myself if I’m helping to reinforce my brand with those already connected with me. And with every connection I make, I ask myself if I’m making an impression that will lead these new friends to recommend my work to their other friends. Perhaps the best part of reinvesting royalties in this way is that it’s scalable. The more books or audiobooks I sell, the larger my marketing budget is and the more readers I connect with. The larger my marketing budget is and the more readers I connect with, the more books I sell. And so on and so forth.

Give it a try. Commit a percentage of your royalties to marketing and promotion, but then spend it wisely. Run some contests, promote some posts, and let people know about your unique voice. And who knows, maybe someday, with just the right amount of luck, that self-perpetuating cycle might just scale itself up until your book is topping bestseller lists and is plastered on every city bus and billboard.

Ryan Winfield is the New York Times bestselling author of “Jane’s Melody“, “South of Bixby Bridge“, “The Park Service Trilogy,” and several other books. He lives in Seattle, and you can connect with him at facebook.com/ryanwinfield.

Tweet This!

With hundreds of millions of users, Twitter should be part of any audiobook marketing plan. So today, we’ve got a quick and easy way for you to drive more social shares of Twitter_logo_blueyour ACX productions. You’ll be creating a custom hyperlink that automatically generates a pre-populated tweet when clicked, which you can place wherever you interact with your fans online. This empowers an army of listeners to help you spread the word. Don’t worry, it’s easy—you can do it in just four steps:

1. Begin with this starter link: “http://twitter.com/home/?status=

2. After the equal sign, add the message you’d like your fans to tweet. Make sure to substitute spaces between words with a plus sign ( + ), as spaces are not permitted in hyperlinks.

3. The message can contain all kinds of helpful things besides plain text. You could include a link to a free 30-day Audible trial featuring your title; your and/or your narrator’s Twitter handles; or even a custom hashtag. (When including a hashtag, replace the pound sign “#” with “%23”.)

So a custom “Tweet this!” link would end up looking something like this:

http://twitter.com/home/?status=Check+out+this+awesome+%23audiobook,+written+by+@SA_McKayr+and+narrated+by+Nick%20Ellsworth:+http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Wolfs-Head-Audiobook/B00JG86YTI/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1416506491&sr=1-2

And would pre-populate a tweet that looks like this:Populated Tweet_SMALL

4. Place your custom link from step three in any of your communications that use basic HTML. Like this (replace tweet this with whatever message you want):

<a href=”PASTE YOUR CUSTOM LINK BETWEEN THESE STRAIGHT QUOTES“>Tweet this.</a>

(For more advanced information on placing this link on your website, click here.)

Now go forth and promote. Be sure to show us your efforts by tagging @ACX_com on Twitter!

Creating Your Custom Audible 30-Day Free Trial Link

Few words are more enticing than “free.” Today, you’ll learn how you can create custom landing pages on Audible for your ACX audiobooks. These links can be used on social media, on your website, and in your email newsletters to entice listeners to purchase your book as part of a free Audible trial that could earn you a $50 Bounty for every new Audible member who signs up. It’s just five easy steps:

1) Visit your title’s product page on Audible.com, making sure that you are not signed into the site.

2) Find the URL at the top of the page and copy the Audible ASIN, which is the series of numbers and letters (but not the “?”) displayed after your book’s title, but before the “ref” tag.

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3) Next, open a new browser tab. In the URL bar at the top, enter the following text (making sure to keep the word “asin” in lowercase letters): https://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=

4) Add the ASIN you found in step 2 to the end of the URL and hit “Enter.” Your link should end up looking something like this: https://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B0741Q23GJ

5) A custom free trial page with your title and cover art is generated!

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6) With your custom URL, your audiobook will be preloaded into the new Audible member’s cart when he or she signs up:

7) Copy this complete URL, and add it to your website, social media, or news blasts to your fans.

Not only is the Audible 30-Day Free Trial link a great way to invite fans to the joys of listening to your work, it introduces them to medium of audiobooks — great news for your future audio sales. And remember, you earn $50 for every new Audible member who buys your book first ($25 if you chose a 50/50 Royalty Share). Read the full details and terms surrounding the $50 Bounty Program here.

Have you found a great way to promote your titles and generate $50 Bounty payments? Tell us in the comments.