Some authors and publishers seem to believe that by the simple act of making an audiobook available for purchase, there will be numerous purchases. Yet, as with all types of books, yours is merely one of many thousands published each year. You must make listeners aware that your product exists. Here are 5 different ways to do that without advertising.
1. Promote both book and audiobook.
Include a link or a QR code for the audio edition on every piece of communication—newsletters, website, social media, postcards, bookmarks. The audiobook is only one edition of the book. No matter how someone searches for your book, they should see that an audiobook is available. Share different audio clips from the audiobook on your social media channels. Add a blurb about or even a link to your audiobook in the front matter of your ebook, if you have one, and include the URL in your print books if you are the print publisher.
2. Host and publicize a video event.
Conduct an audiobook event on Facebook to celebrate release day or some other occasion in your promotions calendar. Host and record a video chat with your narrator and invite your fans and the narrator’s fans to participate in the live stream. Fans love to have a look behind the scenes. Once the event is over, post the video on YouTube. You and the narrator can then share the link to that video on your blogs and social media sites.
3. Upload samples to SoundCloud.
SoundCloud has become a viable resource for allowing listeners to preview audiobooks. SoundCloud does not sell the recordings, but it does permit the publisher to add a Buy link, which will take the customer to a site that does sell it. Take a little time to see the various listings publishers have uploaded there.
4. Get reviews.
Send a review copy to AudioFile Magazine and other publications that review audiobooks. Cultivate bloggers by checking APA membership and doing an internet search for audiobook bloggers. Don’t reach out to them without first familiarizing yourself with their blogs. If any of them align with what you’re doing, then do reach out to them. A good list of reviewers is cultivated over years, and as you meet authors and publishers, some will share contacts with you. Some of the major bloggers and podcasts in the audiobook community include:
5. Try for awards to get into libraries.
Just as with film, TV, print books, and radio, there are competitions and awards for audiobooks. Some of these opportunities are free and some come with entry fees. Do these awards and reviews have an impact on sales of the winners and nominees? It’s hard to say, but it does seem likely there are at least incremental sales, however unmeasurable, for awarded titles, primarily because librarians are aware of most if not all of these awards, and libraries are an important sales venue for audiobooks. If a good review or an award can help get your audiobook into libraries, or into additional libraries, that is a good thing for your bottom line.
- Audie Awards are given annually by the Audio Publishers Association. Submissions are made by publishers and there is a per-submission fee.
- The Earphones Award is a designation rather than something you can put on your shelf, although you can get a certificate to frame and hang on your wall. It is awarded by reviewers for AudioFile Magazine. According to AudioFile publisher, Michele Cobb, “The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.”
- The Odyssey Award is given by the American Library Association (ALA) to the publisher of what the association judges the “best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.” There may be additional titles featured alongside the Odyssey winner. Those titles are called honor titles. There is no charge for submitting audiobooks for consideration for The Odyssey Award.
- A relatively new entry into the audiobook awards arena is the Voice Arts Awards, given out by the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS). This society was founded by voice-over artists to educate and award voice-over talent. There is a fee per entry per category.
For more tips
- Check out the Audiobook Marketing Cheat Sheet at Karen Commins’ website.
- Get a copy of The Guide to Publishing Audiobooks by Jessica Kaye
Your turn: What strategies and tactics have you found successful in marketing your audiobooks? Let us know in the comments.
Jessica Kaye is an entertainment and publishing attorney at Kaye & Mills and a multi-Grammy Award-winning audiobook director. She serves on the boards of the Audio Publishers Association, the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), and Screamfest Film Festival. Jessica owns Big Happy Family, LLC, an audiobook distributor. She created and co-edited the anthology Meeting Across the River (BloomsburyUSA, 2005) and contributed a story to Occupied Earth (Polis Books, 2015) and Culprits (Polis Books, 2018.)