Audiobooks are widely considered one of the fastest-growing segments of the publishing industry. Not producing an audiobook for your non-fiction book is missing out on a big percentage of ‘readers’ that will only listen to your book. But, if you’ve invested in creating an audiobook, then you’re probably wondering how you can get that audio product into the ears of your readers.
In this article, we’ve laid out the audiobook marketing strategies and ideas you’ll need to expand your reader base.
Here at Book Launchers, we help authors get their books into the world and market them to their target readers – or listeners in the case of audiobooks. You’re the publisher, so you keep all the rights and royalties, but we help you every step of the way, including if you’re producing an audiobook.
And if you haven’t done your audiobook yet, let me tell you that recording the book can be a lot of fun.
Here’s me recording the audio for “Self-Publish & Succeed” in a studio in Victoria, BC, Canada.
They were fantastic to work with at the studio, and I had a blast.
Deciding On Your Audiobook’s Distribution Channels
So you’ve gone and done the fun work of creating the audiobook, and now you’re ready to sell it. Some distribution decisions impact your marketing choices, and that’s a bit of a rabbit hole. So I’m not going to go deep into that.
I have a video on ACX versus Findaway Voices and another on Findaway Voices versus Author’s Republic. If you haven’t yet decided on a distribution channel, you might want to check these out before you do.
Ultimately, you’ll have to consider money, reach, and marketing opportunities. But for today, I want to focus on the options out there for selling and promoting audiobooks.
Suppose you want your audiobook to be available to library listeners, which has been a popular topic lately. In that case, you must make it available wide, not exclusive through Audible, so that readers can request it through platforms like OverDrive at the library.
Your Audiobook’s Presentation is Everything
Before I give you my marketing strategies, I must emphasize that an audiobook with a bad title or a lousy cover has the same problem as a print book or an ebook with those same qualities.
Title and cover are vital when it comes to your audiobook. It’s most common for the audiobook cover to use the same design elements from the ebook or the print cover, with a few differences.
The audiobook cover is square. The narrator’s name is usually included, even if it’s your name, and the lettering is generally in a different place than on the print book or the ebook cover.
You need to select the correct categories for the audiobook, and the audio categories will be different. For ACX, this is the list of categories your book may appear in. Assuming your audiobook, metadata, and design are good to go, here are five marketing strategies that’ll surely get your audiobook in front of as many listeners as possible.
Five Effective Strategies to Market Your Audiobook
The market for audiobook promotion continues to grow along with the segment of the market. Currently, there aren’t a lot of specific promotion and marketing channels only for audiobooks. It continues to be something that you sell along with the other formats of your book. These audiobook marketing strategies will help you bring some focus to that format though.
Launch An Audiobook Along With Your Print and eBook
My first audiobook marketing strategy for you is launching your audiobook alongside your print and ebook.
Some authors try to do an audiobook launch after their book comes out. This approach works great if you’ve got an existing audience asking and waiting for your book because you can communicate directly with them when it’s out.
But marketing-wise, it’s not easy to generate a lot of attention or interest in only an audiobook version. You’ve already missed out on the people who heard about you and your book during your big launch.
You see, some people hear about you, whether from a podcast, your promo, a friend mentioning your book, or from a media appearance you made. People check you out.
But if those people are only audiobook listeners, they move on when they don’t see your audiobook, and they never return. So you’ve lost those folks.
In addition, having audio on launch might help with Amazon’s algorithm decision to show your book to more people. It’s thought that Amazon gives preferential treatment to books with multiple formats.
Now, logically, this makes sense because, I’ve said this many times, Amazon is an algorithm machine that cares about one thing, conversions. You’re more likely to convert if you’ve got lots of formats.
All that said, hope is not lost if you’re launching your audiobook after your print book’s already out.
Let Your Audience Know You Have an Audiobook Version
Your audience is interested in your audiobook, so tell them, even if you’re notifying people who already have the print or ebook versions. Who knows, they may know other people who wanted the audio version. Or perhaps they haven’t finished reading your book, and they would prefer the option to listen to it instead.
Also, if you are with Audible, there’s this great feature called Whispersync for Voice. Whispersync lets readers switch back and forth between reading the ebook on their Kindle and listening to the audiobook on their Audible without ever losing pace.
So they get home from work after listening to your audiobook version in the car, then sit down to read the ebook version, and they can easily pick up where they left off. That’s enough for some readers to buy both versions. However, one is at a discount, so you have fewer royalties. But, it’s a bonus sale, selling to the same person twice.
The readers are happy because they can listen interchangeably – listening or reading, whichever is convenient.
So tell the world you have an audiobook through email and social media. Mention it when you’re on podcasts and when you do live appearances. Make sure everyone knows you have an audiobook version of your book out.
Bonus tip: You should have a QR code available to link people who might prefer the audiobook version when you do live appearances. You can even have them buy the audio on the spot and give them a print book for free or any giveaway. Do some sort of incentive, so they make that purchase on the spot.
If they walk away, they might forget or lose motivation. So, ensure you’ve got your audience then and there.
Bring Your Book to Life For Every Promotion
To bring your book to life for any promotion, post samples of your audiobook on SoundCloud, then embed those on your website. Once you’ve uploaded a file to SoundCloud, they have a straightforward embed function that you can use. You can also share them in your newsletter and pretty much anywhere you’re talking about your audiobook.
I’m planning on a Book Launchers website redo, so we haven’t really promoted “Self-Publish & Succeed” on the website. And the redo keeps getting delayed for more pressing projects. But I will get a sample posted on the website for you. Here’s a link so you can see it in action.
Use that embed code in newsletters or as an email signature if your email provider allows you to. You can even upload a free chapter and give it away to people who listen to your podcast interviews. This approach is a great way to connect with potential readers, customers, clients, or partners.
Use Giveaway Codes When You Upload Your Audiobook
When you upload your book, you’ll be getting codes that allow you to give away free copies of your audiobook. If you have ACX codes, the listener will get an Audible version of the book.
If you use Findaway Voices, they’ll give you 30 codes you can give away. These one-time codes let you give free copies of your book to anyone. The recipients can go to a designated site to redeem your code, and then they can listen to your audiobook on any of Findaway’s free author-direct mobile apps.
Now, how should you use these codes? You’ll have to use them strategically, whether the code is from ACX or Findaway Voices. You’ll want to make sure every code counts because they are limited in number. If you know somebody who will be a committed reviewer, that’s a good use of a giveaway code.
If you pursue professional reviewers, you can give them one of your codes. If you encounter an audiobook blogger or a podcaster who might want to listen to this, you can also use your codes for those folks.
You can also do giveaways for your audience. If you’re on a podcast or doing a live event, you might want to give away an audiobook, and you can use these codes for that too. I also use them as thank you gifts to someone who’s been a great supporter or did something extra for me.
Don’t Miss Out on Paid Promotions
The audiobook promotion space is still emerging, which means it’s small, and places have limited reach. We’ve ultimately found limited value in paying for many audio-specific promotions. My Book Launchers team will put a lot more emphasis on audiobook-specific promotions again in 2022 to see if we can uncover some gems now that it’s grown more.
But ultimately, this is what I recommend: testing, at least if you have a bit of a budget for paid promotion. First, you can pay for some reviewers to review your audiobook. There are many review sites out there. The only one that I’ve seen work well consistently is Audiobook Boom! I suspect that will change, and it’s worth testing because different books get different results.
Jane Friedman has a blog that mentions other paid review sites. There were also things like Audiobook Blog, Audiobook Reviewer, audiobookstoday.blogspot, The Audiobookworm, Karen Commins, and Tower Review.
Bonus tip: You can also enter your book into some audiobook-specific awards. The biggest is probably the Audie Awards from “AudioFile Magazine.” There’s also the Independent Audiobook Award for us self-published authors.
There are many audiobook-specific awards out there, and my feelings on many of these awards remain the same. An award win is what you make of it. An award win itself doesn’t do much to sell any books. You have to be the one that leverages it into credibility, promotion, and sales.
Using Chirp to Promote Your Audiobook
The one paid promotional offering I’m excited to be starting to test now is Chirp. It’s a service from BookBub, the biggest promotional service out there.
If you’re wide, and you’ve chosen Findaway Voices as your aggregator for wide distribution, a Chirp deal is something you can apply for through Findaway Voices.
If selected, your book will be promoted to a vast volume of readers. I’m doing this for “Self-Publish & Succeed,” and we’re also testing this with some of our clients. If you want to know how we’re doing and get our tips, stick around. We’ll be going over Chirp in full detail in a little while.
Promotions have traditionally been a staple of ebook marketing since the beginnings of BookBub. But there are not as many promotional services for audiobooks, essentially because Audible controls the price.
You can’t set a promotional price for your book if you’re using Audible. So, I think a lot of promotional services just haven’t cropped up yet. But as more and more authors go wide with their audiobooks, you will see more and more opportunities to promote your book at a discounted rate.
What is Chirp Audiobooks?
Do you love a good deal? I love a good deal. And when it comes to audiobook listening habits, your listeners love a good deal too. So if you’re looking to expand your audiobook audience as an author, Chirp’s service might be what you need.
Chirp Audiobooks is an up-and-coming sales platform developed by BookBub, and it brings the best audiobook deals right to the reader’s inboxes.
It’s simple, you sign up, and they email you with audiobook deals of the day or the week along with featured deals curated by BookBub. If you’re on the hunt for something in particular, you can specify your favorite genres, authors, or books, and Chirp will match recommended deals to your interests.
The deals are time-sensitive, but you can also shop the rest of their audiobook library and buy directly from the site.
Although Chirp focuses on helping readers score hot deals, you can find most traditionally published and a ton of self-published audiobooks available for the regular retail price.
So what does that mean for you, dear author friend? Well, if you’re looking for an alternative to Audible to sell your audiobook, Chirp might be the way to go. I’m going to lay out the pros and cons of Chirp, and you can decide for yourself.
The Advantages of Chirp for Authors
So here are the plus sides.
- Chirp’s unique distribution model relies on deals, not a credit or subscription model with a bunch of fees. A reader doesn’t have to sign up for a service they may or may not use or commit to a pricey monthly plan just to get their hands on one book they want. This model is, of course, unlike some audiobook services out there, right, like Audible?
- If your book catches a reader’s eye, they just purchase the book in the app and start listening. The whole process is so easy that I’m pretty sure Jackson could hop on the Chirp app and download a new dinosaur book for himself in just a couple of clicks. I think he just did that.
- By joining the Chirp library, you can potentially reach a whole new audience ready to take advantage of a great deal without all the hassle. You’re giving your book’s discoverability a big boost.
- Even better, you’re not giving up control of your price. With Audible, you don’t get to choose the cost of your audiobook. But on Chirp, you do. Since you’re setting the price, you don’t have to rely solely on their featured deal option to offer readers a discount. You can lower your price in the library whenever you want. You can also run your own promotion outside of Chirp.
Now, this leads me to the not so plus sides, you know, the cons of working with Chirp.
The Disadvantages of Chirp for Authors
- One disadvantage is availability. Chirp, right now, is only available for US and Canada. It’s a relatively new service, so I suspect that’s going to change in the future. But for now, your book can’t be a globetrotter on Chirp.
- You must be partnered with Findaway Voices to sell your audiobook on Chirp and take advantage of Chirp deals as an author. Fortunately, Findaway Voices does allow you to control your pricing, as I mentioned. Again, that’s just something Audible doesn’t let you do because they set the price for you. Can you tell that bugs me a little? Yeah, it does.
- Unfortunately, they do get a small cut of the sale, but that’s for the service that they’re offering. That might be a deal-breaker for some people since there’s no way to sell directly on Chirp to keep all your royalties. You have to go through Findaway Voices.
How To Get Your Audiobook On Chirp
If none of these drawbacks is a deal-breaker for you, and you don’t mind the limited availability, the process to submit your audiobook to Chirp is very simple. Offering and listing your book as a featured deal is free. Yeah, free. We don’t get very many of those, so you’ve got to take advantage of it.
Now here’s what you need to do.
Step one, if you have not already uploaded your book to Findaway Voices, you’ll need to do that. You’ll also need to include Chirp in the list of retailers where you’d like to sell your book.
Step two, sign up for a BookBub Partners account. Then, visit the BookBub Partners dashboard. Under my promotions, click Chirp audiobook deals, and then submit an audiobook deal.
Step three, verify that your audiobook is available through Findaway, then you’ll be asked to fill out some essential information about your book. You know, title, the deal’s timing, genre, price, and any additional comments for the editorial team.
Step four, once you fill out everything Chirp needs to know, just click submit. Your request gets sent to the Chirp editorial team. Once they review it, they’ll notify you as to whether they accept your audiobook as a featured deal. That’s it, easy enough, right?
Ultimately, as long as you’re not exclusive with ACX, you don’t have anything to lose by submitting to Chirp and broadening your audiobook audience horizons.
If you’re exclusive with ACX right now, but you didn’t do a revenue share deal with a narrator, and as long as you’ve been exclusive for 90 days or more, they will release you from that exclusivity. All you need to do is send them an email from the email address associated with your ACX account and ask to be removed from exclusivity.
Once you’re released from your exclusivity, your royalty with ACX drops from 40% to 25%, but now you gain access to the world, including Chirp and other listeners on platforms worldwide with Findaway Voices.
I’ve just gone ahead and submitted my book, so make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel so you can find out how Chirp is working for my audio version of Self-Publish and Succeed in 2022.
I’m pretty excited about the potential for helping authors reach audiobook listeners. With its unique model powered by the incredible team behind BookBub, Chirp is setting itself up to take on Audible as a top choice for audiobook listeners. Authors can really benefit as one of Chirp’s featured deals.
Share Your Ideas
So I’m crazy excited to see what audiobook promotion ideas you have. Have you seen audiobook-specific book clubs, for example? Have you tried anything I didn’t mention? Are there sites you’ve used with success? Let’s chat about it in the comments below.
Now, this video right here is about what you can do when you win a book award. It goes into how you can leverage any award win into book sales and fame. Okay, maybe not fame, but book sales. Both are pretty great. And frankly, I just want to hang out with you a little longer. So click on over, and I’ll put some coffee on for you.
Still behind the audiobook game and wondering where to get started? Well, this video right here can get you started on recording your audiobook.