In this guest post, professional editor, Ashley Halsey, walks us through some of the benefits of adding audiobooks to your marketing mix. If you’re ready to take your author business to the next level, adding audiobooks to your marketing strategy may be the next logical step.
Many of us love audiobooks. They are a great innovation, can save time, and are a desirable option for those who would not normally be inclined to pick up a print book.
They’re also immensely helpful for people with certain disabilities, getting kids engaged with literature from a young age, and increasing comprehension and focus.
So if you’re considering using audiobooks as a means of getting your work to a broader audience, you may be on the right track.
The audiobook industry is growing rapidly. Audiobook sales rocketed by 43% in 2018, while those of print books declined (by 5%) for the first time in five years.
If you choose to take the plunge, you’ll be tapping into the fastest-growing segment in the publishing industry.
But despite changes in technology and the rise of smart speakers and voice command devices, audiobooks aren’t necessarily the right investment for every author. They can be expensive to produce (in terms of both time and money), and work best in certain age groups or subsets of the market.
So have a look through some of the biggest audiobook advantages, and decide whether they have a place in your author marketing strategy.
An Extra Source Of Revenue
When it comes to selling your book, you may be looking to achieve many things – one of which may be to actually earn an income! If approached wisely, expanding into audiobooks can certainly help, because they can be an extra stream of revenue to go alongside your catalog of print and ebooks.
You might question whether audiobooks are profitable, given the higher production costs. The answer is that they certainly can be. It’s estimated that more than 67 million Americans now listen to audiobooks annually, which means the numbers are there in terms of market size. Converting a book into an audiobook can be a significant upfront cost, but can be a great investment in terms of diversifying your earnings and increasing your revenue long-term.
Target A Different (And More Niche) Market
By converting your book into an audiobook, you’re likely to attract a new (and possibly very different) readership than you’ve built via ebooks or print.
The podcast crowd, commuters on their way to and from work, those listening while on their morning walk, parents hoping to occupy their kids, students listening to learning – all present new segments to tap.
Think about how little free time most people have now, and how audiobooks allow for multitasking – something many of us want to do these days!
“People can listen to them while commuting, even if they have to drive, in which case they certainly couldn’t read a book. Some people also enjoy listening to audiobooks when they’re going to sleep, as an alternative to reading in bed,” says Ellis Will, a book blogger at Writinity.
A Better Chance Of Being Noticed And Taken Seriously
If you start to build a following in the audiobook community, you will find it can snowball quickly, because there are fewer products and it’s more of a “closed group.”
People everywhere can access and enjoy ebooks, but people who want to listen to audiobooks must do so through specific channels, and so are much more likely to connect, share their likes and dislikes, and notice when new material is taking off.
In today’s age of self-publishing, being an ‘author’ carries less weight than it used to, with books often published regardless of whether they’re poorly written, badly edited or impart any true insight.
If, however, you’ve invested money in a narrator for your book, you instantly convey to your potential purchaser that you are serious and that other people have been involved in your project.
Reduced Competition And Cross Sales
Despite the growth, the audiobook market is still far less saturated than ebooks and print books. Which means less competition and (as mentioned) a greater likelihood of discoverability.
Plus, when you are engaging with fewer people, you can focus on the quality of those engagements and on nurturing your relationships.
From the perspective of your potential reader, it’s not only easier to find what they’re looking for, but trust forms faster because of an enhanced relationship with the author. (Your emails can be more personalized, your social media responses more diligent, and you can get to know your readers on a more individual level.)
Imagine a reader is looking for a new book. Thousands have been published in their favorite genre in the last month alone. But there may have been only 200 – 400 audiobooks produced in that same genre. Again, because the market is smaller, it’s much easier to stand out and get yourself noticed.
This will help the sales of your physical book too, as some audiobook listeners may buy the physical book for friends/family who enjoy reading more than listening, or go on to read (or listen) to additional books in your backlist.
You’ll Have An Engaged Narrator
When creating your audiobook, you will also enjoy the advantage of working very closely with someone else who will – hopefully – become as big an advocate of your book as you are.
You can then use this to generate media conversations, record discussions about your book, increase your social media following, and so on.
You could do a live streaming event including your narrator, which your followers will love – because the narrator is the voice of the book. It’s almost like getting to meet the characters!
Encouraging your narrator to talk to fans and build up a bit of excitement will increase your sales and definitely improve your reader engagement.
If you’ve got a good narrator, utilize them and ensure your book does as well as it can.
Tips for Getting Started
If you’re convinced audiobooks are the way forward for you, here are a few ideas that may help you get started on this project.
Remember that it’s not a small commitment, so don’t launch into it without a bit of consideration first; you want to be prepared.
1) Do some additional research. You should always maximize your understanding of what you’re going to do before you do it, so familiarize yourself with the audiobook process and learn what to expect from it.
2) Make sure you have a copy of your text which is clear, easy to read, and ready for the narrator. Omit things which they needn’t read, like the author bio, any links, etc.
3) Choose a narrator, and make sure their voice is right for the story. If the book is an autobiography or similarly personal work, you might choose to narrate it yourself. Otherwise, spend some time thinking about the atmosphere you want to create and find the right voice for it.
4) Get access to professional equipment, a suitable space, and be realistic about time frames. Do some research into how long it should take to record a book of your length, and consider editing time as well.
Audiobooks involve an investment, both in terms of finances and time, but they can be a great way to stand out from the crowd and ensure you maximize your book’s potential (and possibly increase sales of your physical books too!).
They can help your book find a niche in this busy, distracted world and will give you access to a different market than the one your physical book is targeting.
If you’re ready to take your author business to the next level, adding audiobooks to your marketing mix may be the next logical step.
As a professional editor for Gum Essays, Ashley Halsey has been involved in a number of projects across the US. When she is not working or being a mother to her children, she likes to travel, read and attend business training courses.
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