Tag Archives: promotional ideas

Position Yourself For Audiobook Success This Holiday Season

The leaves are still green, and the kids just went back to school, but believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about completing your ACX titles so they are on sale in time for the holidays. Today, we’ll give you a brief breakdown of the timeline for audiobook production between now and the winter holidays, as well as some seasonal merchandising tips to help you generate some holiday buzz for your titles.

Holiday Production Timeline

To give your title the best chance of being on sale by the end of 2013, the audio production will need to be completed by the producer and approved by the rights holder no later than the first week of December.

Now, let’s work backwards from that point. Ideally, you’ll want your title to be available for sale on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes a few weeks before the holiday season starts. This will help you beat the rush of books coming in to Audible, as well as give you time to earn some 5 star reviews and build buzz around your book. It will take about 14-20 business days for ACX/Audible to process your book for our sales channels, and you’ll need about 45 – 60 days for the audiobook production and rights holder review (give or take, depending on the length and complexity of the title). ACX rights holders will also need about a week from posting the title to attract auditions and negotiate the schedule and rate with their producer.

Add it all up, and it soon becomes clear that now is the time to get your productions listed on ACX in order to take advantage of the winter holidays.

Holiday Marketing Tips

In addition to making sure your schedule is set up to get the most out of this holiday season, you can position yourself for success with these holiday marketing ideas:

  • Bonus content: Create a holiday-themed short story featuring supporting characters from your book. Publish it on your blog or as a Kindle Single through KDP.
  • Giving gifts: Host a Secret Santa gift trade between your fans on your website or blog, but with a twist: all the gifts must be items of significance from your book(s).
  • Interview your narrator: Sit down and chat with the voice of your book(s), and ask them about their favorite holiday memories, the best present they ever received, etc.
  • Basket case: Create gift basket guides based on themes from your book – and make sure your book is one of the suggestions.
  • Season’s greetings: Crowd-source greeting cards inspired by characters or scenes from your book, and host the top three on your site from your readers send to their friends and family.
  • Do some good: Let your fans pick a charity through a poll on your website or Facebook page, and donate 1$ per sale of your title(s).

As you feel the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler, make sure you’re thinking about your upcoming holiday audiobook sales and marketing plans. Start now, and you’ll be extra thankful when the holidays roll around.

What projects will you be working on in preparation for this holiday season?

Advice From Authors Near and Far

We’ve attended quite a few publishing & voiceover events this summer, from BEA to That’s Voiceover, and met many current and future ACX users along the way. Last month, we attended the annual conferences of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), and we learned great tips from successful authors along the way.

ACX’s own Jason Ojalvo took Atlanta by storm at the RWA’s annual conference, taking part in the fruitful Amazon indie publishing panel, and we’re not just saying that because he tried his first peach cobbler. Authors learned about the great benefits and services provided through Amazon, from Amazon Author Central to Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, as well as ACX. We also attended panels conducted by ACX authors such as Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy. Both offered tips for their fellow writers, including:

  • Write more than one book. There is strength in numbers
  • Spend more time writing than promoting. Promoting your work is definitely important. But as a writer, your main job is to write.
  • Network with authors and cross promote. You can multiply each others’ efforts, especially when you’re in similar or complimentary genres.
  • Get to know your retailers. Different retailers offer varying services and have different timelines for getting your book in their store. Learn who offers what to best navigate the landscape.
  • Get all of your fans to sign up for your newsletter. This is mainly to drive sales on the release date, in order to get on the best seller list. Be aggressive about getting email addresses – they’re even more important than fans on Facebook or Twitter.

Moving now to the Pacific Northwest, ACX Product Manager Mike Stover presented ACX to the gathered authors at PNWA, participated in the Independent Author booth for the full three days of the conference, and expertly avoided the siren song of Seattle’s casinos. Here’s some of what he learned from the fantastic authors he met:

  • Authors love hearing their work in audio. And, it inspires them to write future books with audio in mind.
  • Authors are advertising their audio edition alongside their print and eBooks. This is especially beneficial with ACX’s bounty program.
  • Authors are putting their 5 minute sample on their blog or website. Oftentimes, fans only need to hear their favorite work in audio to be convinced to buy it.

We look forward to spreading the word about ACX at upcoming industry events like Novelists, Inc. 2013 in October and Self Publishing Book Expo this November. We hope to see you there!

Would you like to see ACX at your next publishing or recording industry event?

How To Guerrilla Market Your Audiobook

If you’re a regular reader of the ACX blog, you know that we’ve been working with authors Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch to produce their book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. The book is a great resource for self-published authors, and we’re joined today by Guy, who has more great advice for ACX authors (and producers too!) on marketing your audiobook.

The key to successfully guerrilla marketing your audiobook is to approach the process as a launch of a new product, not simply an extension of an existing one. Think of it as a whole new product for a whole new kind of customers—one who might not “read” you book, but would “listen” to it.

As such, you should use every method and avenue that you tapped when you launched the book:

  • Write a blog post about the availability of an audio version.
  • Add a link or badge to your website and blog so that people can buy it with one click.
  • Update your social-media profiles to include a specific “plug” for the audio version.
  • Participate in webinars by using Google+ Hangouts and Twitter chats to reach the online audience—just pretend like it’s a new book.
  • Interview the voice actor.  It’s kind of cool to have a Google+ Hangout with the person who recorded your book—this is great publicity for both of you.

Guess what: you didn’t reach every buyer of your book when you launched your ebook and/or printed book. The release of the audio version is a great excuse to go back to the guerrilla marketing well again. Plus, between the time of your initial launch and the audio book launch, you probably added new social-media followers, so Launch 2.0 will be even better.

You can find more in depth info on marketing your audiobook here. Have you tried any of Guy Kawasaki’s guerrilla marketing tactics? Tell us in the comments!

How to Promote Your Titles & Get on Audible’s Merchandising Radar – Part 2

Yesterday we brought you part 1 of our guest blog post from Audible editor Jessica. Part 2 is below and contains a lot more great info. Authors, be sure to share these posts with your producers and vice versa. Double your efforts and really drive your sales!

4.       Network, network, network. Building a base of contacts is essential to helping you get the word out about your audiobook.  However, what many people overlook is that networking is about exchange—of information, contacts, and advice.  In his book, Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer, Jeff VanderMeer shares the following tips for successful networking:

    1. Keep in mind that everyone you know is a potential contact and everyone you know is more than one thing—keep your eyes open to this to understand each contact’s potential.
    2. Realize that every (audio)book or project you create is about more than one thing—a quick Internet search of the topics your book covers can reveal a wealth of relevant groups, communities, and forums you can join to find others who would be interested in what you have to say.
    3. Take a genuine interest in what others are saying/writing/telling you.  Networking is about a give and take and you have to nurture your contacts.  Coming across as sympathetic to and interested in what others have to say, as well as being able to add a personal touch in your communications will go a long way towards building long-term relationships.
    4. Be concise and precise in your communication with people you don’t know, particularly if using a medium like email which strips out nuance.
    5. Do introduce your contacts to one another—if you connect people, they’ll remember you for it and be more likely to help connect you to their contacts.  However, respect others’ privacy and don’t give out contact information without first getting approval to do so.
    6. If nervous about a face-to-face introduction, project confidence by saying less, listening more, and starting off with questions, rather than launching into talking about yourself. It may also help to have a partner, spouse, or friend along to help take the pressure off.

**Also, take advantage of the biggest network for books: Amazon. Amazon is a powerful tool for growing your fan base and increasing your sales; click here to learn how you can better leverage Amazon to increase visibility of your audiobook.

5.       Cultivate review coverage. Research and reach out to appropriate online publications, blogs and podcasts. Promoting your audiobook(s) can be time-consuming and we know many authors/producers have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments, but active engagement in promoting your audiobook is a key factor in its success.  Look into online publications, websites, blogs or podcasts that might be interested in your book’s topic or genre, or audiobooks in general, and reach out to them and offer something of value: a review copy, an excerpt from the audio to post on their site, or, depending on the reach of the outlet, a copy of the audio to give away to readers.  You can also offer editorial content (a Q&A, a guest blog post on a topic, offer to lead a webinar/online chat, etc.) . Be prepared to explain why the topic you’re proposing would be relevant to an outlet’s readers, and be open to any suggestions you may receive.

    1. Potential offline opportunities (for the A+ student): It’s also worth reaching out to local bookstores and libraries for speaking engagements as a way to generate attention and word-of-mouth.  Take note, though: people attend speaking engagements because they want to gain knowledge about something of importance to them, so keep that in mind while crafting your speech. Also, research and reach out to book clubs that might be interested in reading/listening to your book, and offer up author participation.

6.       Keep in contact with the ACX team to let them know what successes you’ve achieved. You can share your feedback at support@acx.com.

7.      And lastly, stay focused:

    1. Continue networking as appropriate.
    2. Maintain your blog/website.
    3. Continue to offer to participate in book club discussions of your book(s) and speaking engagements.
    4. Measure the impact of your efforts to see what’s “moving the needle.” Click here to learn how.
    5. Keep up the hard work.  Continue to nurture and build your fan base—it will pay off when promoting your next audiobook!

So, there you have it! Between these two posts and the links to the ACX “Promote Yourself” section within, you should be off to a solid start. Of course, there are many great ways to promote, and the internet and social media are constantly presenting new opportunities. We recommend you frequently review your promotional plans and look for ways to branch out to new fans. And of course, if you hit on something good, be sure to share it with your fellow ACXers here at the blog, and on our Twitter and Facebook too!

Jessica has been in the audiobook business for nearly seven years, with a focus on digital and social media marketing. Some of the authors she’s worked with include Sandra Brown, Cassandra Clare, Vince Flynn, Stephen King and Jennifer Weiner.  She is a new-ish resident of Jersey City, NJ.

This post has been updated since publication.

How to Promote Your Titles & Get on Audible’s Merchandising Radar – Part 1

Two of the questions we are asked most frequently here at ACX are “How can I best promote my audiobook?” and “How do I get Audible to promote my Audiobook?” Jessica Amato from the Audible merchandising team is here to answer those very questions! There will be a ton of great info featured here today and tomorrow, so make sure to bookmark these posts and check back often as you promote!

Now, heeeeeeeeere’s Jessica!

My name is Jessica, and I’m an Audible Editor.  My job is to get the right audiobooks into the earbuds of the right listeners, and as a result, I’m always looking for the next “you HAVE to listen to this” performance (as are my fellow editors).  Our tight-knit team listens to books 24/7 and reads dozens of customer reviews every day. When a particular book or series starts gaining a following we celebrate with baked goods and high fives.  Then, we look to keep the momentum going by showcasing that book or series to Audible listeners through promotions like store features, customer e-mails, social media call-outs, sales or discounts, or other editorial events.

So how does any of this relate to ACX? While we audiobook junkies are looking for our next sugar fix, we’re not blindly approaching the task at hand; considering thousands of audiobooks were added to our store in 2012 alone, we’re hard pressed to whittle down the best books for each week.  How do we know what to pay attention to?  In addition to natural curiosity – picking up books we find interesting – we rely on people who have listened and shared feedback on a specific book, author or series: the reviewers, both on and off Audible.  If someone is going to take the time to listen to a book and then write a thoughtful review, we feel it’s our responsibility to seriously consider what he or she has to say.  We also notice authors who have an engaged following or fan base and who promote their audio edition in addition to their print book and e-book.   The popularity of the author matters less to us than the level of engagement: as long as you have readers and listeners genuinely interested in your writing, your degree of interaction with them tells us a lot about how big your book or series has the potential to be, whether your fan base is 500 or 5,000.

It sounds pretty simple: good reviews and a dedicated fan base.  Don’t be fooled: it’s not quite that easy – but with a little effort here and there, you can get your audiobook noticed.  Here are some tips – in no particular order – that our editors pulled together to help answer the age-old question: “I have a (audio)book.  Now what?”

1.       No publicist?  No problem.  Great publicists provide a wonderful service, but something to keep in the back of your mind always: no one can pitch you or your audiobook better than you.  Don’t be intimidated. More to come on this in #4 and #5 tomorrow.

2.        A website is a must. Make sure listeners, reviewers, and the media can find one current, central hub of information about you online.  We recommend setting up a free blog to which you can add pages of additional information (like your bio, upcoming events, bibliography with links to buy your audiobooks, links to news/reviews, and information on which social networks you participate in).  Make it a commitment to keep this site up-to-date, and post to your blog at least once a week, if not daily.

A good author website should include:

  • An overview of your book(s)/audiobook(s), excerpts, and the story behind them. Make sure to include link(s) to purchase your audiobook(s)
  • Awards, reviews, and praise
  • Exclusive content: “behind the scenes” photos/video of producing your audiobook, short stories, etc.
  • Your bio and photo (high quality headshot)
  • Your social networking information (include buttons that link directly to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Soundcloud, and/or MySpace pages). If you are not on these social networking sites, we recommend familiarizing yourself with them and then choosing one to get started on.  Once you’re comfortable with one and have a dedicated following, branch out to others that appeal to you. For tips on social media, click here and here.
  • News (links to interviews and media appearances)
  • Your speaking schedule and events
  • Your contact information
  • Mailing list sign up.* – Learn more about e-mail marketing here
  • Your blog.* – Uncertain about blogging?  Click here for helpful tips.

*Remember to keep your content up to date. Nothing will turn off visitors faster than having a website that is out of date.  You don’t have to update your website every day, but be sure to update your events schedule and other information as frequently as possible, and try to update your blog posts on a weekly basis.

3.        Keep your network updated throughout the audiobook production process. As your publication date approaches, email your friends, family and other contacts to let them know when and where your audiobook will be on sale, and any behind-the-scenes or noteworthy stories from the experience.  Once your audiobook goes on sale, let your network know it’s available.

This concludes our first lesson. Tomorrow, Part 2 will cover networking, getting your title reviewed, and measuring the impact of your efforts. And remember, there will be a test on this. It’s called your monthly royalty statement.

Jessica has been in the audiobook business for nearly seven years, with a focus on digital and social media marketing. Some of the authors she’s worked with include Sandra Brown, Cassandra Clare, Vince Flynn, Stephen King and Jennifer Weiner.  She is a new-ish resident of Jersey City, NJ

Pulp & Paper & Promotion

File this one under “easy promotional ideas.” Author Josh Rolnick recently created the audiobook of “Pulp & Paper” via ACX. Once it went live, he sent friends and family a quick email telling them a little about the book and the production, as well as where/how they could buy it. That’s it! Sometimes “marketing” directly to those closest to you is the easiest way to get the ball rolling. Check out Josh’s email below, and make sure to tell us about the interesting ways you’re promoting your work from ACX!

Dear family and friends,

It’s hard to believe my short story collection, “Pulp and Paper,” has been out for more than a year — and even harder to believe the audiobook has just been released! Those of you who like to listen to books when you drive, or jog, or workout, or build fences … please consider downloading the audio recording. The audiobook is available through www.Audible.com, an Amazon company; you sign in using your Amazon.com log-in. If you happen to be looking for any last minute gift ideas, you can quickly and easily email the audiobook to someone by following this link and clicking “give as gift” at right!

“Pulp and Paper” was narrated by Robert Fass, an actor with a true gift for storytelling who worked closely with me on this project. Robert has narrated dozens of audiobooks, from Francisco Goldman’s “Say Her Name” to Ray Bradbury’s “Farewell, Summer” to Joyce Carol Oates’s “The Museum of Dr. Moses.” I can truly say that while it’s the same book that was released last year, it’s a totally different experience. There were moments, listening to Robert’s narration, when stories I’d read and revised dozens upon dozens of times suddenly seemed new again.

I want to again thank all of you who bought the book or came out to readings in the last year or reviewed the collection on online bookseller sites. “Pulp and Paper” has done very well, thanks in no small part to you, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this ride.

Josh Rolnick’s debut short story collection, “Pulp and Paper,” won the 2011 John Simmons Short Fiction Award, selected by Yiyun Li. Rolnick currently serves as publisher of Sh’ma, a journal of Jewish ideas, and as fiction editor of Unstuck, a literary annual. He lives in Brooklyn, NY

Audiobooks “spotted” streaming

File this one under “innovative promotional ideas.”

After uploading his title to ACX through our DIY workflow, author Craig Seymour submitted the completed audiobook to Spotify, the popular online music listening and sharing app (Seymour chose non-exclusive distribution on ACX). This creative strategy got the attention of Mediabistro, thereby gaining Seymour’s audiobook even more exposure. In this interview with GalleyCat, Seymour explains why he decided to promote his audiobook on Spotify and details the process of adding content to the music service.

Have any other rights holders out there tried this? Anyone have other great promotional ideas? Tell us in the comments!