Tag Archives: author

Audiobook Casting and Collaboration

As an author, you’re probably used to working with editors, proofreaders, and cover designers. But when you put on your audiobook publisher hat for ACX, you’ll meet a new type of creative person: the actor. To ensure you cast the right actor and can effectively direct them on your audiobook’s needs, you need to know how to communicate. Read on for our expert advice on the subject and helpful forms you can use to guide your actor to a great performance.

Casting the Actor

Casting the right actor is the important first step towards getting the best performance. ACX features a wide range of talented actors,  and you’ll want to narrow that list down to those with the specific vocal attributes you’re looking for in your audiobook. During the title profile creation process, you’ll come to an area with the following options:

Describe

 

This is where you’ll set the overall tone of the narration. If the book is set in England, or the main character has a heavy Spanish accent, now’s your chance to note such details. You should also begin thinking about the more specific aspects of who your characters are, and how that plays into their personalities. You can include some of this information in the “Additional Comments” field of your title profile.

Directing the Actor

Any actor worth their salt wants to produce the best audiobook they can, providing their best performance while honoring the material and the vision of its creator. As a rights holder, you can help him or her achieve this goal by providing detailed notes on the characters.

How can you help your narrator get the characters and tone right? Start by thinking back to when you were writing the book. Dig deep into your characters’ origins, histories, and motivations. Try to answer some of the following questions to get a sense of who your characters are:

  • Where do they come from?
  • How were they raised?
  • How do they act when happy/sad?
  • How do they react to adversity?
  • Are they book smart or street smart? Perhaps neither?
  • Are they generally upbeat or pessimistic?
  • What motivates them to take make the decisions they make throughout the book?

Thinking about these things and communicating them to your actor will not only help ensure you get a great read, but will help you better understand your own writing and characters! Also, make sure to think about any tricky pronunciations, either place names, names of people, or made up words or names from a conlang (we’re looking at you, Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors).

A Good Example

Check out these character descriptions from a recent Audible Studios production:

The romantic leads: 



  • Jessica: She has a slight southern accent – nothing over the top. If we don’t have a soft southern lilt, then a soft, clean, alto voice. She’s a teenager and should sound like one.
  • Kayne: Slight Scottish brogue. Sexy. He’s the lead male in this book.
  • Sonyaza, The Mephilum King (aka The Bad Guy): Strong, deep, dark, old voice; he’s been around for a while (20,000+ years).

Supporting characters: 



  • James: British. steady. He’s one of the crew’s moral compasses, so a moral-sounding voice.
  • Norris: His voice is a superpower, so it needs to be very resonant; the kind of voice that can command people. Preferably a deep voice.
  • Mary-Beth: Neutral young woman, maybe with slight ‘valley girl’ undertones. She’s a fun person.
  • Eden: Smug, sensual, earthy.

Use this handy Audio Information Form to provide your actor with the information they’ll need to succeed.

The 15 Minute Checkpoint

The 15 Minute Checkpoint sets the baseline for the recording and performance quality you need. We’ve covered reviewing your audio for technical issues previously, so now we’ll delve into tweaking an actor’s performance.

When it comes to guiding or correcting your actor’s performance, remember two key points about your collaborator: he or she is an adult, and he or she is a professional. And like any adult professional, he or she should be able to handle constructive criticism when given respectfully and directly. Keep the following tips in mind when communicating your needs to your actor:

  • Be clear and confident in your vision. You’re going for respectfully direct, not wishy-washy.
  • Use a well known actor to guide your examples. “This character should be charming and romantic, like James Marsden.”
  • If your character is based on a friend or colleague, describe that person.
  • If you can’t describe what you want, try describing what you don’t want.

The Final Audio

If you’ve followed the advice above, you should reach the final audio review stage with very few, if any, notes on character voices and scene tone. Make sure to plan time to review your final audio, and if you have notes, communicate them expeditiously to your producer. It will only become more difficult for them to re-immerse themselves in the world you’ve created as time marches on and they move on to other projects.

Be sure to make reasonable and specific notes. Requesting a complete change to a character voice you approved in the 15 Minute Checkpoint is probably not a reasonable expectation at the final audio stage, but it’s OK to ask for tweaks to a key scene or a few lines of dialogue over the course of a book. You can make things easier for yourself and your actors by making use of the Audible Studios audio review form, found here.

Remember, an audiobook production is a collaboration between two creative parties. Setting up your partner for success will help ensure that you have a productive creative relationship that results in a great sounding audiobook.

Producers: What kind of direction do you find the most helpful? Tell us in the comments!

 

ACX Storytellers: Scott Sigler

New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is an ACX bounty superstar, racking up over $10,000 in bounty payments this year alone. Releasing his self-recorded works as free podcasts, his “serialized audiobooks” built a dedicated audience that pushed his indie print novel Ancestor to #1 on Amazon’s Horror and Sci-Fi charts. His print success led to a recently signed three-book deal with Del Rey, and Scott successfully negotiated with the publisher to retain his audio rights. Read on to see why those rights are so important to him, and how he made ACX’s $50 Bounty Program such a large part of his revenue stream.

Sigler_Bio

ACX Author Scott Sigler

NO STRANGER TO AUDIO

I worked for fifteen years to land a publishing deal, to no avail. By 2005, I had a nice, neat file folder labeled “motivation” that contained 124 rejection letters. That year was also when I learned about this newfangled thing called “podcasting.”

As an author, a lifelong reader, and a big fan of audiobooks, I saw the writing on the wall: podcasting would let people serialize audiobooks and deliver them to listeners. I still had my first novel, Earthcore. Since I hadn’t signed a publishing contract, I owned all the rights, which meant that I could record it and release it for free. Anyone who wanted to try out my stories could do so without spending money on an unknown author, giving me a competitive advantage to help gain new fans.

I built a large audience of people listening to my serialized audiobooks. When it came time to sell a story in print — the indie trade paperback of Ancestor, published March, 2007 — that audience rewarded me beyond my wildest expectations. Ancestor was the #1 print novel on Amazon’s Horror chart, #1 in SciFi, #2 in Fiction and the #7 best-selling book overall.

That success got New York publishing interested. They wanted to partner up and see if we could make something big happen. My novel Infected went into auction, Crown Publishing won, and we set out to make great books together.

ACX – THE ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY

I absolutely loved working with Crown Publishing (a division of Random House). I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the footballs in Texas. But it was one small difference of opinion with Random House Audio, over my audiobook marketing strategy, that led to my fantastic relationship with ACX.Nocturnal Cover

By my fourth book with Crown, Nocturnal, Random House Audio simply chose to not put out the audiobook. Since they owned the audio rights, I couldn’t record it and release it on my own. Therefore, no podcast.

So we asked them: if you’re not going to release an audiobook, can we have the rights back? Happily, they said “no problem,” and promptly worked with us to release the rights back to me, the author.

That left me with the audiobook rights to a pair of in-demand novels. What to do, what to do…

HOW ACX BECAME A TRUSTED PARTNER

We had released one book with ACX, my horror short story collection Blood is Red. We next hired the golden-voiced Phil Gigante to record both Nocturnal and Pandemic, and released those audiobooks via ACX. We thought we might sell a couple of hundred copies, and that ACX’s high royalty rates would do us well.

We didn’t sell hundreds. We sold thousands.

And it’s not just the audiobook sales themselves: the $50 bounty we receive when a new Audible Listener selects one of our books as their first purchase is a significant line item in our revenue stream. We actively market the availability of our books on Audible, and ACX in turn rewards us when we bring them new customers. Everyone wins.

It’s Empty Sethard to measure our podcast audience, but our stats show we have around 20,000 listens per episode within the first month of that episode’s release. Therefore, we have an existing audience that already listens to audiobooks on a regular basis. Our podcasts are free, but also serialized and ad-supported. We regularly tell our listeners that if they want the whole book in one big chunk, free of ads, they can swing over to Audible and buy it — free or paid, the choice is all theirs.

Offer the customer a choice, and you’ll be surprised how many will take the “paid” option. In 2014 alone, we’ve earned over $10,000 in bounty revenue. That’s on top of the royalties we’ve earned for the books themselves.

Since I am a happy and active Audible customer, I really get into pushing Audible to my podcast listeners. It’s a great service at a great price and I know the vast majority of my fans who try it will love it. We regularly pitch Audible as a “pre-roll ad” where the pitch comes before our episode’s intro music, and we often pimp it with messaging in our blog posts and posts on Facebook, G+, Tumblr and Twitter. We only pitch about once a month on each of those locations, however, so that we’re not beating our readers/listeners over the head.

AND THE FUTURE ROLLS OUT BEFORE US…

I recently finished my five-book deal with Crown, and my agent landed me a three-book deal with Del Rey (also a division of Random House) for my Generations trilogy.

Part of the negotiation with Del Rey was that we keep the audiobook rights. Del Rey agreed, and we’re excited to be in business with thUntitled-9at legendary Sci-Fi imprint. The success of Nocturnal and Pandemic on ACX taught us that we’re more successful when we control our own audiobooks. Del Rey manages the print and eBook products, we’ll sell our own audiobooks through ACX.

We can’t wait. We’re looking forward to a lifetime of royalties and bounties for our products, a long-term revenue stream that will contribute to our company’s bottom line. More importantly, that revenue will help us keep making new products for the readers who have given us everything we have.


New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the author of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. His hardcover horror-thrillers are available from Crown Publishing and Del Rey. He also co-founded Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his YA Galactic Football League series (The Rookie, The Starter, The All-Pro, The MVP and The Champion due out in September 2014).

ACX Storytellers: Zhanna Hamilton

Zhanna Hamilton is an ACX user doing double duty: she plays both roles in the ACX equation as an author and  audiobook producer, with a Master’s in Marketing to boot. Her combination of education and experience has enabled her to achieve success marketing over 90 ACX titles and generating hundreds of valuable $50 Bounty payments. She joins us today to share her story and her tips for audiobook marketing success.

Zhanna HamiltonThe Zhanna Hamilton Story

As an Audible Approved Producer on ACX, my virtual studio and I have had the pleasure of recording, editing and mastering over 100 audiobooks. Some of these audiobooks have been my own books, with others for authors and small/medium publishers. Thanks to ACX, I’ve been fortunate enough to have my audiobook “Rewire Your Brain: 300 Affirmations for Positive Thinking” hit number one on iTunes in the self-development category in February 2014

As a child, I’ve always had an inclination towards writing. One of my first poems was about the psychology of a cat (it wasn’t as sophisticated as it sounds), prompting my mother to gift me a journal so I could keep my poetry in one place. As an adult surrounded by the growth of technology and the availability of the ACX platform, creating audio books was a natural extension of my love for words. The best audiobook production comes from a team of dedicated people with one goal in mind – to produce quality audio books. After building up a rock star team of voiceover artists and sound designers to produce my own audiobooks, I opened up our services to other authors and publishers.

$50 Bounty Payments and Audiobook Marketing

Once the production process is completed, marketing becomes an integral part of the audiobook life cycle. Marketing your titles will expose them to a wider audience and is key to generating those $50 bounty payments (awarded by ACX whenever a new Audible listener buys your book as their first purchase). It can be difficult to think like a marketer if you only view yourself as a writer. In order to sell well, you must be both. Even big publishers don’t do nearly the same amount of advertising for authors as they used to – placing much of the marketing responsibility on your shoulders. If you are self-published, that responsibility triples. Here are some tactics to help you become a successful marketer:

RewireEducate yourself. I learn best through trial-and-error, listening to interviews with other entrepreneurs or authors and self-educating through books, internet searches and tutorials. I do have a Master’s in Marketing, but I’ve found the information from a curriculum can be found on Google for much cheaper. In other words, there is no excuse for anyone in the information age to say, “I don’t know to market my book.” Just Google it!

Don’t just SELL, SELL, SELL. As every self-published author has learned (or will learn), establishing a relationship with your audience is a must. This means engaging with your social media audience, always answering emails from readers, and treating people like respected friends – not wallets. Would you rather buy a product from a friend, or a stranger? The more familiar your fans are with you, the more you will feel like a friend to them. This enriches their lives, and in return, they will be more willing to choose your products over a stranger’s products. Familiarity helps establish trust, both in you as a transparent person, and in your line of products.

Value first, promotions second. In order to gain a real following, you must give immediate value outside of your line of products. “Value” is a vague word, as it means something different to each audience. Your audience might value humor, and that’s why they follow you on social media. If you are a romance novelist, they may value your insight on interpersonal relationships. Giving them more of what they value – with your promotions coming second – lets your readers and listeners know you are there to enrich their lives.

Quality over quantity. When I’m browsing the internet and come across a great article, video, or blog, I think, “My Facebook fans would love this.” The more useful your posts are to your audience, the more they will think of you as an authority in your industry. When I first started maintaining social media pages, I thought posting every hour like those big-budget pages did was the way to go. I quickly learned quality is more important than quantity and am pickier about what I post on social media. Before posting anything, I always ask myself, “would I want to see this in my newsfeed?” Sharing in this way helps me feel more connected to my audience when they ‘like’ what I post.

Learn

Set a schedule. Being an author, producer, and marketer creates the need for a schedule. I like to plan my productivity on a monthly basis, setting milestones and deadlines within each week with the overall goals of the month in mind.

Use those promo codes. ACX will give you 25 free promotional codes upon the publication of your audiobook. Personally, I enjoy offering freebies through my newsletter and social media channels, as these are the places my audience expects me to give such items. For example, I run a book reviewer program on my English as a second language website for reviewers wanting free books. Additionally, I give away books on a weekly basis through my Reddit profile and my newsletter. Sometimes, the books or audio books I give away are in exchange for honest reviews. Other times, they are for gaining a larger readership and come with no conditions. I have done Facebook giveaways, interviews and have shared my knowledge with others with the goal of connecting with my readers, listeners and other like-minded people.

Mix it up. I’ve found the best way to promote a product is to mix up your marketing method, experiment often and let the results lead your marketing plan. You might find that book trailers are a great way to promote audio books, or that Pinterest is where your audience hangs out the most.

My focus for all my audiobook marketing is always the end user and how to best connect with them. This outlook has made all the difference in both attracting new Audible Listeners and keeping them interested in our line of audio books.

To receive updates from Zhanna Hamilton, follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to her newsletter on ZhannaHamilton.com for free books and audio books.

This Week in Links: June 2 – 6

Did you attend one of the many audiobook industry events last week? Whether you made your presence known at BEA, APAC, The Audie’s or our own Narrator Knowledge Exchange, we hope you learned about your craft and gained some new skills to apply to your next writing or producing venture.

Don’t fret if you didn’t make it to the New York City area for one of these events. There’s plenty of audiobook education for you below in our weekly links roundup!

For Producers:

AudioElequence – via AudioElequence – One of the most comprehensive online pronunciation resources available.

The Inaudible, Low-Voice Syndrome – via Online Voice Coaching – Dr. Ann Utterback has tips for projecting even when speaking softly.

The Stuff Between Your Ears – via Nethervoice – Paul’s motivational post discusses the mental aspects of life as a freelance artist.

Do Allergies Affect your Voice Over Work? – via Voice Over Herald – Nicola Redman shares the impact her hey fever has had on her voice work – and what she finally did about it.

For Rights Holders:

4 Reasons You Should Prioritize Your Author Website Over Social Media – via The BookBaby Blog – Chris Robley explains why your website may be more important to your author platform than your Facebook account.

How to Finally Finish That Novel – via Live Write Thrive – Author and writing instructor Cathy Yardley tackles the 4 biggest excuses writers use to put off writing.

Writing: Write What You Know – via ALLi – Author Carol Cooper’s advice: write what you know, check what you don’t.

Maxed Out: Changing the Conversation about Women and Work [VIDEO] – via YouTube – ACX author Katrina Alcorn discusses why you may be feeling overwhelmed with work – and what to do about it.

 

This Week in Links: May 19 – 23

Before embarking on that Memorial weekend trip, take a look at our roundup of this week’s best audiobook related links. Planning a staycation this year? Working through the weekend? Even more reason to educate yourself on your craft before the day is done.

Enjoy the links below, and share anything we missed in the comments below!

For Rights Holders:

The Iron Triangle of Interesting Characters – via Writers and Authors – “What makes a character interesting? This infographic gives one take on how to make characters interesting and might give you some ideas for when you’re developing your characters.”

Editorial Matchmaking – via Writer Unboxed – When you’ve taken your novel as far as you can, it may be time to call in a professional editor. Dave King has advice on finding the right one for you.

What the Marine Corps Taught Me About Writing – via Writer’s Digest – Author and US Marine William Ballard discusses the 4 things every Marine recruit learns, and how they apply to writing.

5 Tips to Gain Confidence and Overcome Writer’s Doubt  – via Live Write Thrive – Guest blogger Bryan Hutchinson has advice for writers suffering from a lack of faith.

For Producers:

The ACX Twitter Chat – via @acx_com – This month’s guest tweeter, George Whittam of Edge Studio, answered your questions on audiobook recording and production.

A Caddyshack Alum on Surviving the Tumultuous Audiobook Industry – via Wired – The actor on the receiving end of Bill Murray’s famous “Gunga Galunga” speech recounts his time in the audiobook industry.

How To Handle Rejection – via Actor Inspiration – Wendy Braun offers some perspective on those times when you don’t land the part.

 

Wendy Braun
Wendy Braun

This Week in Links: May 12 – 16

Tasting frogs. Learning to be cool. Death sentences. You may not expect to find such disparate topics on an audiobook blog, but each relates back to audiobook writing or producing in an unexpected way.

Discover new ways of looking at your audiobook career with our roundup of weekly links, and add your favorites form the week in the comments!

For Producers:

The Delicious Taste of Frog – via J. Christopher Dunn’s Voice-Over Blog – JCD shows how a popular self help technique can be beneficial to a VO’s business.

Pros and Cons of the Working Voiceover Vacation – via Debbie Grattan’s Voice Over Blog – You can do VO work away from the studio… but should you?

Do You Have Nagging Doubts About The Sound of Your Voice? – via The Great Voice Company – Susan Berkley says: don’t stress over your signature sound – embrace it!

Common Twitter Oops! by Voice Actors – via RealTime Casting – The social service can seem difficult to understand, but RTC helps with 5 behaviors you should avoid.

For Rights Holders:

Two Dialogue Death Sentences & How to Get a Stay-of-Execution – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – These tips on avoiding “redundant” and “orphaned” dialog will help ensure you’re writing books listeners will want to finish.

Play for Pay: Leisure Yields Ideas for Marketable Stories – via Live Write Thrive – Stuck with writer’s (or marketer’s) block? Karen O’Connor advise you to get out in the world and have some inspiring experiences.

How to Be Cool – via CreateSpace – Those trying to be cool and those trying to write well can benefit from the same advice: Don’t force it.

Teaming Up For Success – via The Blood Red Pencil – Author Terry Odell shares her experience as part of a team of authors “working together on the ‘non-writing’ aspects of being a writer.”

 

The ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist

Authors, do you think of yourselves as audiobook publishers? You should! When creating an audiobook through ACX, you cast the title, set the schedule, control the quality and promote the finished product. So, we think you can safely add “Audiobook Publisher” to your job title.

Being a publisher might sound daunting. Many tasks are vying for your attention, and at the end of the day you are responsible for the quality of the finished product. That’s why ACX Rights Evangelist Nicole joins us today to share her ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist. Follow her the steps to ensure you stay on the path to successfully publishing your books in audio.

The ACX Author’s Audiobook Checklist

nicoleop

An author’s best friend: ACX’s Nicole

Working with authors, publishers, and agents all day, every day, I’ve discovered that in audiobook publishing, there are optional items as well as critical items that must be checked off before proceeding from one step to the step. Here’s my handy check list for every step of the audiobook publishing process on ACX.

Stage 1: Before You Begin Production.

Verify Rights

checkbox-unchecked Confirm you have audio rights for your book by checking your print or eBook book contract. If you’re self-published (say, through Kindle Direct Publishing or CreateSpace), you’ve retained your audio rights. If you do not have audio rights, and the current rights holder has not produced an audiobook of your work, consider pursuing rights reversion like author Marta Acosta.

checkbox-unchecked Ensure your book is appropriate for audio. Click here for a list of books that usually do not turn into great audiobooks.

Claim Your Title on ACX

checkbox-unchecked Create an ACX account. You can use your existing Amazon email and password to log into ACX. It is important to fill out your name and address, bank information and tax information up front because I don’t want incomplete info to delay your payments once your audiobook is complete!

checkbox-unchecked Claim the best performing ASIN/version on ACX. Many rights holders have more than one version of their book (eBook, paperback, hardcover), and ACX will pull in certain metadata from your Amazon listing, such as the summary and current rankings and ratings. Potential audiobook producers will use this information when deciding if they would like to audition to narrate your book, so put your best foot forward.

checkbox-unchecked Start drafting your audiobook marketing plan. Keep your fans up to date throughout the production process to build anticipation for your audiobook. Your audiobook marketing plans can help you set due dates for your production and the time line in which you want your audiobook to go on sale.

Post your book for auditions on ACX.

checkbox-unchecked Create the title profile for your book. Creating a robust, specific, and accurate title profile is important. A book description that’s detailed and compelling helps producers get excited about working on your project. I always tell my authors to include some performance notes (characters, accents, overall tone, etc.) and to mention if the title is part of a series.

checkbox-unchecked Choose the right audition script for your book. This portion should be about 2-3 pages, and should include some dialog, some descriptive text, and any important accents or character voices. Don’t worry if you can’t find all of these things in one scene – you can build an audition script that includes a few shorter passages that cover the items above.

checkbox-unchecked Decide the payment method for your production. Do you want to pay your producer for their efforts upon completion of the audiobook (a fee per finished hour, as part of a Pay For Production deal) or do you prefer to split your royalties with them 50-50 (as part of a Royalty Share deal)? Learn more about payment options on ACX here.

checkbox-unchecked Make an offer! Clicking this button will start the process of making an agreement or deal. I recommend opening a dialogue with your narrator before or during the offer stage to ensure you are on the same page.

checkbox-unchecked Set a proper production schedule based on your needs and the narrator’s availability. Make sure to leave yourself time to review your final audio and communicate  any corrections to your producer.

Stage 2: Time to Produce

checkbox-unchecked Send the manuscript, and decide on a 15 minute checkpoint once your producer has accepted your offer. You can piece together the 15 minute checkpoint script from multiple parts of the book if need be. Make sure to include main characters, dialogue as well as descriptive text, any particularly tough scenes or tricky pronunciations. If any portion of the book seems likely to trip up your narrator or deserves extra attention, include it in the 15 minute checkpoint.

checkbox-unchecked Request clear and specific corrections to the 15 minute checkpoint as necessary. Once you approve, you narrator will have the green light to produce the rest of the book in its entirety.

checkbox-unchecked Secure and upload your audiobook cover. Cover art should meet our cover art requirements and should make your book attractive to potential listeners.

checkbox-unchecked Line up promotions. I’m constantly telling authors to think about marketing from the very beginning. Are you blogging about your upcoming audiobook? Are you alerting your fans or newsletter list that they will soon be able to hear your book? Keep whetting their appetite for audio and ensure they’ll be eagerly anticipating the day your audiobook becomes available for sale.

Stage 3: Review, Approve, and Pay

checkbox-unchecked Request clear and specific corrections to the final audio as necessary. Don’t be unreasonable, but don’t be shy. This is your audiobook, and sometimes corrections are necessary.

checkbox-unchecked Approve and pay for your audiobook (unless it is a Royalty Share, of course). Your title will be submitted to ACX and receive a quick quality assurance check and, if all is well, should be available for sale within 7 business days of your approval.

 checkbox-unchecked Finalize your marketing plans for when…

Stage 4: Your Audiobook is on Sale!

checkbox-unchecked Use your codes to drive reviews and sales of your audiobook. Once your audiobook is on sale, you will receive 25 free promotional codes via email to distribute to fans and reviewers.

checkbox-unchecked Update your web site, blogs, and social media accounts to reflect your new audiobook. I think author Barbara Freethy’s audiobook section of her website is a great example of how to feature your audiobooks.

checkbox-unchecked Check your backlist, and do it all over again! The only thing better than having a book made in audio via ACX is having ALL your books made in audio via ACX!

Download a printable version of this checklist.

You Can Help Make June Audiobook Month!

Did you know that June is Audiobook Month? During the month of June, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) raises awareness and enthusiasm for audiobooks. This concentrated effort provides a great opportunity for ACX rights holders and producers to focus on audiobook promotion for the month of June and create buzz around the audiobook format and their titles.

Why Now?

With a set period of time on which to focus your promotional efforts, ACX users have the opportunity to band together and create a groundswell of audiobook-specific promotion that will benefit their titles and generate exposure for the industry as a whole. And with a “high tide raises all boats” mentality, everyone can benefit by putting a little extra effort into marketing their audiobooks. By thinking about your June promotion now, you’ll have a chance to put a plan in place and pull off some cool promotions that will make you a summer audiobook superstar!

Promotional Ideas

Aside from the basic, “do these all year round” ways to promote your audio versions, here are a few additional ways you can contribute to the big, coordinated impact June is Audiobook Month can have on listeners:

Team up with a fellow author/producer – Are you listening to a great audiobook now, or have you in the recent past? Reach out to the author or producer and work out some ways to cross promote. Have them interview you about your listening experience for their website/blog, and interview them for yours. Link to their audiobooks in the post and compel your listeners to download them (and again, have your partner in promotion do the same).

Recall a favorite listening experience – Can’t work out collaboration with a fellow audiobook creative? Take to your own blog and talk about a memorable experience listening to an audiobook. Rights holders can write about the emotions they felt hearing their work in audio, or how listening to someone else’s audiobook inspired or informed the choices they made while producing theirs. Producers can discuss their favorite project they’ve voiced, or talk about how they got into narration in the first place. Find a way to speak compellingly about the emotional connection you made with an audiobook and you’re halfway to convincing your audience to have a similar experience.

Encourage your fans to talk about listening to audiobooks – They can leave comments on your Facebook page or on your blog, and you can promise to publish the best in an update on your website. Why do they listen rather than read? Where do they listen? When do they listen? Their excitement can prove contagious to other potential listeners.

Narrated your own book? Describe the experience – Your fans will love getting a peek behind the scenes, and you’ll be able to provide insight and anecdotes that will help your listeners make an emotional connection with the work.

Take to Twitter – This year, the APA is encouraging use of the #audiomonth hashtag on Twitter. Add this tag to the end of your audiobook related tweets to ensure interested fans will catch on. You can also search Twitter for others using this hashtag and join their conversation, offering your own take on the topic or retweeting your fellow audiobook creative types.

Think about where you create or listen to audiobooks – Give your fans the inside scoop by sharing pictures or video of yourself in your audiobook space. Producers may want to offer a guided tour of their studio, while rights holders can show fans where they listen to auditions, 15 minute checkpoints, and final audio.

Run a contest – ACX provides 25 free download codes when your title becomes available for sale. Use some of these codes on their own or as part of a prize package for your fans. Here are three contest ideas to get you started:

  • Have your fans submit pictures of themselves dressed as one of your characters. Best costume wins a prize pack.
  • Challenge fans to write a “deleted scene” from one of your books, and have your narrator voice the winning entry.
  • Encourage your fans to tweet their favorite quote from your work with a specific hashtag that you choose. Randomly select a number of qualifying tweets and award a free download or prize pack. This tactic has the added bonus of enlisting your fans as members of your promotional team!

These are just some of the many ways you can use the month of June to drive excitement and sales of your audiobooks. Look for ways to join the groundswell, and catch the wave at the start of the month and work to build momentum for the next 30 days. You’ll likely be pleased with the results this summer and beyond!

What other creative ways can you promote June as Audiobook Month? Tell us below!

 

This Week in Links: April 28 – May 2

However you’re looking to improve your craft, we’ve got you covered. Are you fighting allergies, or wrestling with your writing tics? Maybe you’re looking for a better way to audition or to monetize your backlist.  Perhaps you’re looking to master punctuation, or land a gig with Audible Studios.

Whatever you want to achieve in your writing or recording time, read on for our hand-picked tips and advice from around the audiobook web.

For Producers:

Are You The Next Voice of Audible Studios? – via The ACX Blog – Get all the details of our latest open casting before you audition for Audible Studios and AudioFile magazine.

The 7 C’s of Auditioning – via Backstage – Great advice for all types of actors that can be put into practice the next time you step in front of the mic.

The Secret Weapon For Beating Allergies – via Jordan’s Chopped Thoughts – Seasonal allergies can derail your recording sessions in no time flat. Jordan has some remedies that may put your ears, noses, and throats at ease.

10 Ways to Keep Your Clients From Falling Through the Cracks – via J. Christopher Dunn’s Voice-Over Blog – In the voiceover industry, your relationships with your clients are as important as your narration skills.

For Rights Holders:

Divas on Writing: How to Spot Your Tic – via Write Divas – Run on sentences? Redundant words and phrases? Let Lauren help you find, and fix, your writing tics before it’s too late.

Three Tips for Monetizing Your Back-List – via Digital Book World – Bone up on some of the best ways to make money off your already published titles (aside from turning them into audiobooks via ACX, that is!)

Want to Write Better? Start Reading, A Lot (Infographic) – via Bid 4 Papers –  Take a fun look at the books that have inspired some of your favorite pop culture personalities

Busted—Authors Caught Exciting Emotion with Creative Punctuation – via The Blood-Red Pencil – Proper punctuation informs how your readers – and your listeners – experiences your words.

This Week in Links: April 21 – 25

Every we week scour the web for the best audiobook related links to inform your writing and producing. This week, actors can learn to get comfortable marketing themselves, and what to do about those tricky in-studios noises. Authors can find new sources for ideas and inspiration while learning how to handle their creative pursuits like a business.

Whichever camp you belong to, read our picks for the top articles from the past week, and add your favorites in the comments!

For Producers:

Noises in the Studio – via Jerry’s Voice – Where do all those little noises in your studio come from, and what can do you do about them? Jerry’s got you covered.

Voice Talent Wisdom: Not Your Typical Advice Column – via Christian Rosselli – Christian offers his take on a number of VO-related topics in this wide ranging post.

Free Pro Tools Classes – via Sam Ash – Sam Ash music stores is offering a FREE 4 week intro to digital recording class. Don’t pass up the chance to get free instruction on one of the industry’s most popular pieces of software.

Why the Horn-Toot is so Vital for Voice-over Marketing – via voxmarketising – Self-marketing can feel awkward and arrogant, but it’s necessary for your VO success.

For Rights Holders:

How to Treat Your Book Like a Business – via Wise Ink – “In a business, you install a process, a series of steps that lead you from the beginning of a project to a completed product. A process will insure you’re doing all you can to write the book with the quality you deserve.”

How to Find Inspiration at Any Point in Your Book Project – via How To Blog A Book – “To reignite your sense of inspiration so you can power on to the end of your project, remind yourself how your writing project combines your passion and purpose.”

The Single Best Way to Sell Books (Or Lose a Sale) – via Kristen Lamb’s Blog – Join Kristen as she covers the importance of strong sample pages.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? – via Kill Zone – Nancy J. Cohen discuss the various places a writer’s ideas and inspiration can come from.