Many authors ask whether it is worth the expense to create an audiobook. For nonfiction authors the answer is almost always a resounding YES!
First of all, an audiobook edition will reach the part of your audience that is predominantly listening to content rather than reading text. That segment keeps growing. Unless your book is in audio, that part of your audience simply won’t find you – even if your content is exactly what they are looking for. Audiobook listeners cite the ability to “read” more books as one of the top reasons for choosing audiobooks – that and the ability to consume content while commuting, traveling, exercising, etc.
Second, most authors of nonfiction have a larger goal beyond just book sales of any single book. You may be a coach or presenter, consultant or provider of products or services. If you plan your audiobook well, you can leverage your audiobook to achieve your career goals. Your audiobook can also help you sell other formats of your book. Most importantly, they can help you build ongoing engagement with your listeners.
People sometimes assume that audiobooks have to exactly match the print or ebook editions. They don’t. In fact, you can craft your audiobook production to help drive traffic to your website without it coming off as a pitch. The truth is that the majority of nonfiction books have something in them that could be offered as a free download from your website. You should do your pre-production planning with care so that you are truly offering added value at key locations within the audiobook. If you take that too far and overdo it, your audio can start to feel like a sales pitch. So again, plan with care and focus on adding value.
I always approach audiobook production with the listener’s experience top of mind. If you have visuals (images, graphs, charts, etc.) in your print or ebook, consider how you can provide that same information in the recording AND offer them on your website for those who may like to see them. Do you have exercises or lists of questions you’d like your listener to think about? You can offer those as a download so they can easily come back to them. Got statistics? Keep them up to date on your website and let the listener know so they can get the most current info – thus keeping your audiobook from becoming obsolete as soon as those statistics change.
Of course, if you offer one or more free downloads on your site within the audio, make sure you follow through and get those onto your site in an easy to find location. If you want to keep them exclusive for your audiobook customers, then I recommend using an easy-to-remember bit.ly link to a resource page. The repetition of the link name at those key places in the audio will help your listeners remember it. Make sure you have a site menu on that resources page that will invite followers to further explore your info and offerings, even if you do not have the audiobook resources page show up on your website’s regular menus.
If you offer one of those downloads free in exchange for an email address, that’s fine. However, I do recommend that most of the downloads be available without that requirement. Ideally whatever you offer in exchange for subscribing will be your most enticing and valuable piece of info. Drawing listeners to your website should feel to them like you are providing them with greater value – because that should be your intention. If they have chosen your audiobook, then obviously they are interested in what you have to say. If they take you up on your offer and go to your site, then they are interested in engaging with you further.
Your job in pre-production is to consider this part of your client or customer journey. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you figure this out:
- What can you offer of value to your listeners in the course of the audiobook?
- What is the Call to Action (CTA) when they come to receive the free downloads on your website?
- Have you remembered to include an About the Author that includes your website address and lets them know about what else you do or offer?
- Can you include a sneak preview of another of your books – whether it is available in audio or not?
- How can you best encourage your listener to continue the journey with you when they finish the audiobook? The book ends – now what?
If you’ve been wondering how to make an audiobook pay off, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking. Overall, to leverage your audiobook from the inside out you need to:
- Clarify your goals.
- Consider the opportunities within the book to offer added value from your website.
- Create your CTAs.
- Craft your audiobook to achieve your goals while best serving your listeners.
I hope you’ll join us in the awesome world of audiobooks! If you’d like to learn more or have questions about how to implement these ideas, join us for the teleseminar on June 19: Audiobook Marketing Strategies That Work.
An audiobook producer and narrator with 37+ years of experience in the industry and a passion to help great stories come alive, Becky Parker Geist is the owner of Pro Audio Voices. Typically working with passionate authors whoare challenged in reaching their widest audience, the Pro Audio Voices team provides audiobook production, including complex and unusual projects, and the Audiobook Marketing Program™. Committed to leadership, Becky serves as President of BAIPA and is a member of IBPA, APA (Audio Publishers Assn), NFAA, and SCBWI. Becky is the author of 5 titles, including Audiobook Toolkit for Authors.
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