Strategy #3: Create an audio version of your book on www.ACX.com.
It is my opinion that you should make your content available in every media format, specifically, print, e-book, and audiobook. If I have missed one, make it available it in that format also! I believe there is a synergistic effect on sales when you have your content available in all media formats.
I believe sales of one can positively impact sales of the other. I know that as part of my Twitter and Facebook marketing strategy that I announce the release of each one separately. Even though I’m pushing a particular format in each post, it keeps the buzz stirred for the content. The same holds true for word of mouth advertising. Someone who heard my content and liked it may tell someone who prefers to experience content in print or e-book form. In that sense, the success of my audiobook has influenced the sales of print and e-book copies. I can tell you from experience that it is nice getting checks each month from three different sources for the same content.
You may think making an audiobook is hard. I thought so as I have spent a considerable amount of time in recording studios as a professional vocalist and doing voice over work as an actor. ACX, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, however, allows you to hire voice actors under a 50/50 profit sharing agreement if you don’t have the skills and equipment needed to produce your audiobook. If you choose this route, it costs you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to produce your audiobook and publish it to Amazon for sale.
As a person who has done voice over work, I was torn over splitting my profits 50/50. But I didn’t have a recording studio at home, nor did I have any friends who had the equipment to record my books at the level required to meet Amazon’s standards. I also didn’t have the resources to pay for the extensive studio hours needed to record and edit my book. In addition, spending a large amount of money to record my audiobook automatically put me in the position of having to sell a lot of audiobooks to break even. In the end, I figured 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. I could hold onto 100% ownership of an audiobook that wasn’t being made due to lack of funds or I could rapidly publish an audio book in partnership with someone else.
The greatest part of the partnership is the concept of leverage, using other people’s money and resources as a part of my money-making strategy. In the 50/50 partnership, my voice actor bore all the cost and most of the risk of making the book. My risk position was negligible because the book was already for sale as in print and e-book form. My only risk was in hiring a voice actor who would poorly represent the book. However, there are several approval points in the auditioning and contracting of a voice actor in ACX’s process, so even there my risk was small.
How do you get a quality voice actor to assume all this risk and expense? Build faith in the hope of profit. Voice actors are in the business of making money as all of us authors should be! I have been able to attract quality voice actors for several reasons. First and foremost, I had great content that the actor thought would sell. Second, I had evidence that the book had been selling in other formats. With my first audiobook, I had a voice actor who was in demand. He had a breakeven number based on projected number of audiobooks that he would need to sell to make his involvement attractive. As a potential partner, he wanted to know what I was going to do in terms of marketing, etc. to drive sales of the audiobook. I was able to show him how through the use of tools like Bublish, I had been effectively marketing the e-book version of the book. The e-book sales, tangible efforts of my marketing efforts, and the fact that he was attracted to my content made it possible to partner with him. There was an unexpected side-benefit to our partnership. As a seasoned voice actor on ACX, he began to mentor me, to share tips on what makes on audiobooks on ACX successful. Why did he do this? As a partner and the person most of the financial risk, he invested in my success because it was inextricably tied to his.
I have since partnered with two other voice actors. The last voice actor produced my first Spanish audiobook. This was a challenge because I don’t speak Spanish! Under the banner of “push-to-publish,” I researched the actor’s previous work as best as I could, and I listened to his audition and 15-minute test segment required by ACX. As I listened, I followed along, reading the text in Spanish to the best of my limited ability. I can say that it was a risk, but in hindsight, as I look at current sales, it was a good decision.
I must say that after touting all the benefits of partnership that I have decided to do the audiobook of my first book myself. In the audition process for a partner, I couldn’t find anyone that could convey the appropriate level of passion that I was looking for. I also couldn’t find anyone familiar enough with some of the military jargon. I also factored in the anticipated response of my listeners. In my opinion, this particular book’s authenticity and credibility on a very controversial subject, hinged on my personal involvement. In terms of the break-even model that I operate under I figured that making an audio version would be successful based on the previous sale of hundreds of print copies and multiple dozens of e-books. As stated previously, it is my belief that creation of the audiobook will stimulate sales in other areas.
Strategy #6: Invest $99 in a Bublish.com annual membership.
As a Bublish user and a relatively new author, I highly recommend it. This tool has brought thousands of potential buyers to my books and put my book “bubbles” in front of them. These “bubbles” are excerpts that I select vs. the content that the publisher makes available like the “look inside” arrow on Amazon. Not only do I get to select the excerpts, but Bublish gives me a little box to provide any amplifying comments that I want (see examples below).
I can create as many bubbles as I would like and share them on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and via e-mail. I usually make several bubbles for a book and release them over time to keep providing new strategically tailored samples of my book to keep up the buzz about my book and shame my friends who are late in buying it!
As an added benefit, Bublish regularly places some of my bubbles in their Twitter feed. I then retweet most of their tweets of my material. That not only gives me great exposure but free labor! I have an extension of my Twitterforce at Bublish Headquarters!
Also, Bublish conducts monthly webinars which contain the latest market insights from the CEO, Kathy Meis, and her staff. If you miss a webinar, they send you a broadcast link. I have not been able to keep up with all the information contained in the webinars which is a good thing.
What do I mean by that? As a new author/independent publisher, there is so much to learn that it can be overwhelming. I listen to the webinars, digest as much as I can handle and get back to writing and publishing. Then when I am ready for more, I listen some more. Often the timing is such that I learn more just as I needed it; as I am stretching into new areas regarding approaches to publication.
The fact that I never run out of things to learn from the webinars and other content is a testament to the value of the Bublish subscription. I would pay the $99 just to get the webinars. Often, you can catch a sale and get the membership for $79. Since I use KDP to publish most things, what I value the most about the subscription are the benefits that I have described.
In my discussion of getting as many books into “the funnel”, I shared how Bublish’s author site metrics show how many people viewed my book bubbles, how many people went further to look at my profile and how many went onto Amazon, Kobo, etc. to consider purchasing it. The metrics also tell me a little about where my viewers came from: within Bublish, from Twitter, Facebook, etc. TAKE THE FREE TRIAL!!
If you make books available for preorder the Bublish site facilitates the process with links back to Amazon, etc. I will use KDP to make preorders of this book available for about a week. However, KDP won’t publish any of the content, not even previews, until the release date. But I have chosen to make Bublish a part of my preorder marketing strategy. This will allow me to create limited bubbles (putting large amounts of content will violate my KDP agreement) and give potential buyers a “taste” of my new book before the book’s release date. I can use the bubbles on social media to drive up preorders. Please see more of the benefits of Bublish at:
BUBLISH'S 20-MINUTE BOOK MARKETING AUDIT (Bublish.com, 2016)
Strategy #7: Consider using Bublish as an alternative to blogging.
The Bublish tools have replaced blogging for me. Not that I was ever much of a blogger. I never really grasped why I would make up things to talk about vs. writing content that can be sold. Maybe I’m missing something. I focus on pushing-to-publish new content. When the content is released, I have “blogging” material, but instead of blogging, I select content for my bubbles and publish the bubbles via social media.
There is no two-way communication on Bublish. I can see how many people are reviewing Bubbles on my author page, but they can’t comment, we can’t interact. But because Bublish allows me to place my bubbles into social media I can interact with interested parties in those established media forums. I eliminate the work of creating a new forum in a blog.
I know for avid bloggers this may be absolute HERESY! But why spend time writing blogs when you can spend time writing books?! The book bubbles take you directly to a link where you have a product for sale. Further people can follow you on Bublish. Again if you have good bubbles, Bublish places your bubbles in their twitter feed on a weekly basis, which brings new potential readers to you vs. searching for new people to follow your blog.
The people that come to my Bublish author site see samples of all five of my books at once. Though I can’t communicate with them, I believe that they will make a purchase and keep coming back because based on the content of the books that I have placed there for sale. Bublish tells you how many people viewed you book bubbles, how many people went on to view your profile and then how many went on to consider a purchase on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, etc. (if you published your book with Bublish). To me, this is the best feedback I can get--what percentage of people who viewed my Bubbles went on to buy my books.
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