Tag Archives: audiobook publishing

ACX Storytellers: Bethany Claire

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Self-published author Bethany Claire has used ACX to publish her ten books and two boxed sets in audio, amassing over $60,000 in earnings in 20 months. A master of Scottish time travel romances who harbors a not-so-secret Disney obsession, she joins us today to share her audiobook story.

Q: How did you become an author and audiobook publisher?

A: The writing bug bit me in college. I started writing creatively just for fun, which allowed me to escape from my 18-hour course load for a half an hour each day, and I lived for it. But that half hour quickly grew into several hours, and I knew that my passion for writing went far beyond the enthusiasm I’d had for any other hobby. Over the course of the next four years, I changed my major seven times. But it wasn’t writing.

Then, on one fateful summer day, I heard about a writers’ academy hosted by my university. I enrolled right away. It was the first time I’d been around other people who were as passionate about writing as I was. It totally changed my world.

When I decided to drop out of college and pursue writing full-time, I wrote like a fiend, studied every single thing I could find about the business, and made a plan for publication. I continued to work part-time before releasing my novels, but five months after dropping out of school, I released the first three books in my Morna’s Legacy Series. Less than a year after that, I hit the USA Today best-seller’s list.

Two years after releasing my first three books, I made the jump into audio after listening to ACX representatives speak at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. It was something that my readers wanted, and I’d been curious about for a while. I knew it had the potential to be an extra source of income for my business, and I looked forward to the creative process of bringing the characters in my stories to life.

Q: What decisions have contributed to your audiobook success, and what made them the right decisions?

A: From the very start, I think one of the best things I did was offer a high per-finished-hour payment rather than the royalty share option. Despite my fear of investing so much money upfront for the audiobook production, I knew that my goal with my business has always been to look at long-term success. I knew that eventually I would earn out on that investment, and once I did, I would be so glad that I was able to keep my full royalties. It was an excellent decision. It only took a couple of months for me to earn out on the investment of paying my narrator a set amount.

Focusing a section of my marketing efforts towards the sale of my audiobooks has really helped with my success. Giving out the free download codes that ACX provides with each new audiobook release is a great way to build buzz among your readers about a new release and to encourage reviews. I also post and tweet about my audiobooks often, and use online design tools such as Canva to create beautiful and professional-looking images to go along with my posts and ads.

cover01Q: What are you doing to grow your skills and get better at your profession?

A: Writing consistently is one of the best things I do to continually grow my skills. When I do skip a few days of writing—whether it be to travel, sickness, or just plain laziness— my writing is always a little rusty on my first day back.

On the business end of things, I’m continually working to stay on top of changes in the industry. Conferences are a great way to do this. I try never to miss RWA’s national conference and will be attending the NINC conference for the first time this year.

Podcasts are a great way to stay educated. I love Joanna Penn’s podcast. She does a great job of discussing a wide range of self-publishing topics, including audiobooks. Another great podcast is the Sell More Books Show, which focuses on current news, and is a great way to stay on top of changes in the industry.

Blogs are another phenomenal resource. Jane Friedman covers everything from traditional publishing to self-publishing, marketing, and social media. I also think every author should read BookBub’s regular blog posts, which are filled with marketing tips.

Q: What do you wish you’d known when you first started out as an author?

A: I wish I’d understood the importance of creating work-life balance from the start. My first few years as an author, I worked nonstop. While I know it contributed to my success, every other area of my life took a hit as a result. I hit a wall in 2016. Totally burned out and exhausted, I had to stop everything for a number of months. Hard work is important, and I love my job, but if I had started writing and publishing from a place of balance—with self-care as a top priority—I wouldn’t have suffered the major burnout that I did last year. Now that I’ve re-evaluated my priorities, everything is in better shape—even work.

Bethany's writing room

Bethany’s writing room

Q: How about when getting your start in audiobooks?

I wish that someone had urged me to start sooner! I waited two years to get into audiobooks—two years that I could’ve spent growing my audiobook audience and income. I was nervous to take the initial dive into this format, but I had nothing to fear and so much to look forward to. I wish that I had considered audiobooks at the beginning of my publishing career.

Another piece of advice I would offer to fellow authors is that if you have a book that contains multiple points of view, post an audition piece that allows the narrators to read from each POV. For example, all of my books have scenes from both female and male POVs, and they are romance novels. So when I posted my audition script, I included a scene from each POV, as well as a love scene. Hearing the narrators read these portions helped me cast the perfect voice.

Q: What is your “must have” item in your writing space?

A: Every time I sit down to write, I diffuse peppermint and orange essential oils in the diffuser that sits close to my desk. The peppermint keeps me alert, and the orange is a mood lifter.

Bethany and friends at Disneyland

Bethany and friends at Disneyland

Q: Do you have a fun hobby or skill unrelated to your audiobook work?

A: I can plan a trip to any Disney theme park like a boss! Seriously, Disney should hire me. I also love to play the piano, although I’ll admit that eighty percent of the songs I know are Disney. In case you can’t tell, my love for Disney is a bit of a problem.

Bethany Claire is a USA Today Bestselling Author of the Morna’s Legacy Series, with more than ten books published since the release of her first novel in 2013. Bethany loves to immerse her readers in a world filled with lush landscapes, hunky Scots, lots of magic, and happy endings. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

This Week in Links: February 13 – 17

For Rights Holders:

Launching a Book? Why You Should Start Building an Email List Today – via Book Marketing Tools – “Besides generating more leads, email marketing identifies better-quality leads, shortens the sales cycle, improves conversion rates, reduces marketing costs, and more.”

Interview With Audie Awards Competition Chairperson Janet Benson – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Get a peek at what an insider thinks of the audiobook industry’s top honors.

Her Debut Novel Just Turned 1. Which Marketing Tactics Worked? – via The Write Life – Learn went went well, what went not-so-well, and what comes next for new author E.J. Wenstrom.

Emotion vs. Feeling: How to Evoke More From Readers – via Writer’s Digest – File this evocative story under “give your narrator something to chew on.”

For Producers:

Bookkeeping Tips to Help You Keep Your Voiceover Business Financials Organized – via Victoria DeAnda – “You don’t want to be that person scrambling right before your taxes are due—only to send off your “financials” in a bag stuffed with receipts.”

Five Questions. Five Answers – via Paul Strikwerda – The veteran VO answers the questions he is most often asked, including “What is the one thing you know now that you wish someone had told you when you started out in voice-over?”

Your Business Plan – via Dave Courvoisier – Discover a business planning resource for saving time day-to-day and mapping out your career path.

R.C. Bray: From Audiobook Beginner to Audie Winner – via ACX University – Find out how the award-winning narrator of The Martian got his start on ACX

This Week in Links: February 6 – 10

For Producers:

Becoming a Frugal Freelancer – via Paul Strikwerda – Every dollar matters when you’re your own boss. Paul offers a detailed look at 7 tips to help you turn a profit.

Your Voice Could Be the Next Great Thing in Computing – via J. Christopher Dunn – Technology like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa may present new opportunities for VO’s.

What Are You Saying? – via Dave Courvoisier – Dave offers a meditation on rates for new talent and when it might be time to raise yours.

Super Bowl Sized Marketing Fail – via Marc Scott – “Beware what you share because EVERYTHING is marketing!”

For Rights Holders:

Top 15 Tips for Webinar Wannabes – via The Book Designer – Want to host a webinar for your book launch, or to build your email list? Learn how to do it correctly.

Book Marketers & Authors Must Improve Their Vocabulary – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – Find out how an expanded vocabulary can help your book marketing.

You’re Not Just an Author, You’re a Brand – via CreateSpace – “The point is that you are more than an author. You are a human being who dabbles in real life as much as any respectable human being.”

10 Creative Exercises That Will Help You Improve Your Writing – via Writer’s Digest – “[W]hen adapted for writers… the techniques taught through improv can enhance creativity, improve storytelling and dialogue skills, help make problems easier to solve, and make writing fun.”

 

This Week in Links: January 23 – 27

For Producers:

4 Reasons to Voiceover Blog – via Dane Reid – From upping your recognizability to boosting your SEO, blogging has many benefits for the successful VO.

Testing, Testing – via Pro Sound Network – Get a geeky look at audio recording software, and learn how evaluating audio production has moved from “ear” to “eye.”

Tools ‘n’ Trends – via Dave Courvoisier – Dave recommends some solid online organizational utilities for VO’s for managing relationships with clients and peers.

My Queens Accent Got Me A Book Deal (Well, Kind Of) – via Audible range – Hear The Moth’s Tara Clancy pay tribute to the role her voice has played in her success as a teller of hilarious, moving stories.

For Rights Holders:

7 Top Book Marketing Tips from DBW 2017 – via BookBub – “From building an author’s platform to improving a marketing campaign’s ROI, many [of DBW ’17’s] sessions were buzzing about audience research, fostering reader relationships, and running iterative marketing campaigns.”

3 Key Strategies for Thriving in the Ever-Changing World of Being an Author – via Joanna Penn – Change can be scary, but embracing it can help you stay forefront of writing and publishing.

How to Sell Books Long Term: What Worked for Me – via BookWorks – Learn one indie author’s blueprint for sustained sales success.

Have You Created Your Sell Sheet? – via The Book Designer – Find out how a slick one-sheet featuring your sales successes can help you and your book.

This Week in Links: January 16 – 20

For Rights Holders:

The Pro Bono Marketing Staff Every Self-Published Author Has at Their Fingertips – via The Book Designer – Learn how an expertly published book can stand in for a team of professionals.

7 Blogging Tips from a PR Expert Turned Blogger – via The Write Life – Get advice on growing your audience, increasing your revenue, and giving your blog a facelift.

How To Time Launches and Marketing for Self-published Books in 2017 – via ALLi – Get tips on rolling out your latest title – and make sure to follow up with an audio edition shortly thereafter!

Kick-Start Your Year with These Two Marketing Ideas – via CreateSpace – Did you go to college? Were you in a fraternity or sorority? Do you have 25 free audiobook codes to share? CreateSpace has an idea for you.

For Producers:

11 Signs You May Be a VO Pro – via Dave Courvoisier – If you can check off the majority of Dave’s boxes, you’re well on your way.

EZ YouTube Setup Guide for Voice Actors – via J. Christopher Dunn – Are you using the popular video platform to advertise your VO talents?

5 Reasons Your Voice Over Business Will Fail – via Marc Scott – Turn a negative into a positive; avoid these 5 pitfalls and put yourself on the path to VO success.

ACX University Presents: Taking Your Career to the Next Level – via ACX – Get inside info from professional directors and casting agents on expanding your narration career to major publishers and studios.

This Week in Links: January 9 – 13

For Producers:

9 Mantra to Sell Yourself Better as Voice Over Actor – via Voice Over Herald – Better your career by being mindful of the things that really matter.

Let Yoga Give You a Better Voice – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Find out how the ancient practice can improve your breathing and posture for better voiceover delivery.

My 2016 Voice Over Year in Review – via Lance Blair – How do Lance’s investments in his business stack up to your own?

Life Without A VO Agent – via vo2gogo – Get some advice on making your way through the voice acting landscape without professional representation.

For Rights Holders:

Book Marketing Resources for Authors: The Best of 2016 – via Jane Friedman – This is a must-bookmark collection of tools for writers!

Reboot Your Online Presence in the New Year – via Digital Book World – Is now the right time for you to start “revamping an outdated website, updating a stale blog, or expanding onto a new social media platform?”

Book Launches: Budgeting for a Bestseller – via BookMarketingTools – You needn’t break the bank to find success when your audiobook launches.

Writing Using Science – via CreateSpace – Is there a right time to write? Take a look at the science behind the surprising answer.

This Week in Links: December 12-16

FOR RIGHTS HOLDERS:

How to Conduct a Year-End Review for Your Writing: 25+ Questions to Consider – via TheWriteLife.com –Sometimes it’s important to take inventory of what you’ve done so that you can get a better idea of where you’re going. How was your 2016?

Marketing tip: link your blog posts to Goodreads and Amazon – via CreateSpace.com – A blog is a great way to let your audience know what you’re up to. Making sure it’s linked to the right websites and resources is key to making it successful.

1 Simple Marketing Tip to Boost the Reach of Author Facebook Pages – SelfPublishingAdvice.com – Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. It can also be a wonderful resource for promoting and marketing your title.

How the Age of Digital Books is Fostering the Writing and Self-Publishing of Mid-length Books – via SelfPublishingAdvice.com – Is more better? An interesting article about how digital books and publishing are changing the way authors approach shorter, more concise content.

FOR PRODUCERS:

Apps for Voice Over Actors – via VoiceOverHerald.com – Need to record an audition on the run? These apps can help your smart phone into a mobile studio.

Are Your Prejudices Hurting Your Voice Overs? – VO Master Class – You know what they say about people who assume… Gary Terzza explains the psychology of assumption when it comes to traditional roles in narration and how they can hinder your performance.

The 5 Elements of a Winning Voice Over Audition – via Michaellangservo.com – Every audition is different and each needs to be approached as such. Check out these helpful suggestions for how to turn auditions into offers.

Video Lessons and Resources – via ACX.com – Sometimes you don’t need to scour the internet for great advice and resources for getting started with #vo work. The ACX website has a wealth of helpful information from video tutorials to Amazon wish list of equipment to help you get started.

This Week in Links: November 14 – 18

For Rights Holders:

7 Signs Your Book is “Professionally Published” – via The Book Designer – Want your book to stand out to ACX Producers? Follow these important tips.

15 Tips to Boost Facebook Engagement for Indie Authors – via Bookworks – Start by using demographics to plan your marketing. Then, take things to the next level with these points.
Book Marketing: How to Lighten the Load with a Checklist – via ALLi – “When the task of marketing your self-published book feels unmanageable, it can help to ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’ (Editor’s note: please don’t actually eat an elephant).”

88 Books in 20 Months: The Inside Story of a Bestselling Author’s Marketing Strategy – via Digital Book World – Get a look at how one successful indie author markets her titles while keeping her output high.

For Producers:

Flying The Unfriendly Skies – via Dr. Ann Utterback – Dry air and exposure to germs can derail your narration plans this holiday season. Luckily, the good doctor is here to help.

What’s In a Coach – via Paul Allen Rubin – “If you’re considering coaching and don’t regard yourself as an actor, my best advice is take acting lessons, and begin to think and react like an actor.”

Voice Over Agony Uncle – via Gary Terzza – The British VO and coach answers a variety of questions in his latest mailbag.

What We’re Listening To: The ACX Team– via Audible range – We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite listens for Audible’s online magazine.

This Week in Links: October 31 – November 4

For Producers:

Secrets From Successful Voice-Overs – via Paul Strikwerda – It’s easy to view your path as a Boulevard of Broken Dreams; your peers offer their best advice to make sure you don’t get stuck there.

How Punctuation Marks Help You Read Voice Over Scripts Better – via Voice Over Herald – “Punctuation is important for voice overs as it works as an aid in reading, phrasing, and in the overall interpretation of the script.”

How To Pick A Voice Over Conference To Attend – via Marc Scott – Learning and networking at an industry event is a great way to advance your career. Might we humbly suggest you join us at That’s Voiceover next week?

5 Things You Should Do for Your VO Business Before the End of the Year – via Dave Courvoisier – Don’t wait until January to take stock and set yourself up for another successful year.

For Rights Holders:

Which Demographic Do You Promote Your Book To? – via BookMarketingBuzzBlog – “When promoting – and writing – a book, one must always think about the readership demographics.  Which types of media will you pursue?  What kind of fan do you hope to create?”

Book Marketing Success & Failure [PODCAST] – via Book Marketing Tools – Bestselling author A.J. Cosmo shares what he’s learned from his promotional efforts that worked… or didn’t.

Favorite Ways to Promote a Virtual Book Tour – via Build Book Buzz – Learn how to make the most out of your online book tour efforts without ever leaving your office.

Simplify Your Social Media Marketing: Set Up Outpost Channels – via Smart Marketing for Authors – Build a presence on your lesser-used social platforms in order to boost your efforts on those you can dedicate more time to.

This Week in Links: October 24 – 28

For Rights Holders:

7 Tips for Avoiding Book Marketing Trends That No Longer Work – via Digital Book World – Maximize your marketing efforts by avoiding the pitfalls of these outdated attempts.

Paid Advertising Strategies: What Works? – via The Verbs – Spoiler alert: the answer in this post turns out to be Facebook, and the author covers every aspect of how to be successful on the platform.

Book Publicity Do’s & Don’ts for Indie Authors – via BookWorks – “Getting press and having a constant promotional presence IS vital, but how does an author with no PR experience go about getting that presence?”

The 4 Most Effective Book Marketing Strategies That Work – via BadRedhead Media – “You don’t need a marketing or business degree, but you do need to spend time learning.”

For Producers:

Awesome Guide to 2016 Microphones – via Dave Courvoisier – If you’re in the market for some new gear, check out this comprehensiveness guide.

How to Know You Should Become a Voiceover Coach – via Victoria DeAnda – Looking to supplement your income, expand your network, or give back to the VO community? Here’s how to know if coaching is right for you.

Are Your Prejudices Hurting Your Voice Overs? – via Gary Terzza – “Far too many beginners pigeonhole their voices too early on and in so doing cut out swathes of work opportunities.”