No matter how incredible your audiobook is, it’s tough to sell if people aren’t aware of it. Spreading the word and expanding your potential audience is key. With the right tools and a little bit of effort, you can ensure your work reaches as many people as possible—increasing your fan base and your sales.
If your audiobook is also available in eBook or print, your marketing strategies should generally try to encompass all formats. Sales of one format will drive sales of another, so a well-designed marketing plan will efficiently and effectively help grow sales across all channels.
Social media encompasses the websites and applications people use to create and share content and to communicate with one another in virtual networks. These online communities are typically public, meaning anyone can join, and provide you with the opportunity to put together a profile for others to view and connect with no matter where they are in the world.
Some prominent examples you may want to take advantage of when promoting your audiobook include YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Goodreads. Using these tools will drastically increase your exposure and potential audience—as well as open up many new opportunities as you build recognition for yourself and your work. Once you’ve joined some of these core services, don’t forget to maintain an online presence. Checking in with your fans regularly is an easy way to bolster sales (and can also be a lot of fun)!
YouTube is an extremely popular global video-sharing website. You don’t need any professional equipment to create YouTube videos; with a webcam or smartphone and some free video-editing software, anyone can quickly film, edit, and export content. Windows users have access to a simple program called Windows Movie Maker that can stitch video clips together, erase unwanted sections, and add title screens, transitions, and sound effects if desired. The Mac equivalent, iMovie, also comes free on all Macs.
Here are some tips for using YouTube to promote yourself and your work:
- Make sure to tag your videos with relevant keywords to ensure they can easily be found.
- Create trailers for your audiobooks! These can take the form of excerpts, or you can unleash your creative side with a more traditional film-style teaser.
- Post links on your channel and in your video descriptions to places people can purchase your audiobook online.
- Your YouTube channel is a great place to show off your audiobook’s cover art! It’s also a good idea to change your profile photo to your author photo for easy recognition.
- Embed your YouTube videos on your personal website.
- You can add annotations in the form of layered text, links, and hotspots over your videos. This can help enrich the video experience by adding information and interactivity.
- Share on other channels to increase your exposure, and encourage conversation in the comments section under your videos to keep people engaged!
SoundCloud is the world’s leading online social sound platform, allowing anyone to upload audio files to share with a worldwide audience. SoundCloud makes it easy to then share these files publicly to blogs, sites, and many other social networks.
- Make an excerpt of your book to share on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more. Email it to your friends, or create a mailing list to share with your readers.
- Add links to your SoundCloud samples to let people know exactly where they can buy the whole book.
- Easily share right from SoundCloud to other social media channels.
- You can even embed your SoundCloud clips right on your personal website!
Facebook is a free social networking website with over one billion daily active users. Beyond enabling people to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues, Facebook can be harnessed to spread the word about your audiobook and connect with a huge potential audience.
Here are some tips for using Facebook to promote yourself and your work:
- Have a voice that aligns with your brand.
- Share content from other authors, brands, and personalities that align with you.
- Talk to your readers and engage with them.
- Share excerpts of your title via YouTube or SoundCloud clips, encouraging discussion.
- Always provide links to places people can purchase your book.
- Use hashtags and get involved in trending conversations.
- Photos and video are more engaging than plain text—use this type of media wherever possible!
- Experiment with sponsored posts and ads. Facebook ads can be run on very large and very small budgets, and everything in between. Experiment and find out what works for you.
Twitter is an online social networking site that enables users to send and read 280-character messages called "tweets". 280 characters may not seem like much, but that’s the beauty of the service—this form of “micro-blogging” delivers information in easily-digestible snippets for anyone to browse through. You’re not limited to text, either; you can also share photos, videos, links, polls, and more to connect with your fans and potential buyers.
Here are some tips for using Twitter to promote yourself and your work:
- Have a voice that aligns with your brand.
- Retweet content from other authors, brands, and personalities that align with you.
- Tweet your followers, other authors, publishers, bloggers, narrators, and even celebrities!
- Try to keep your tweets conversational. People don’t like being advertised to, so keep it casual, light, and fun, while including links to your books.
Reddit is a user submitted aggregator of everything on the internet. Literally everything! Millions of people use reddit every single day and it is a fantastic place to connect with authors and readers alike. It’s free to join, completely anonymous, and best of all, fun! Here are some tips for using Reddit to promote yourself and your work:
- Join sub-reddits dedicating to writing, books, genres, audiobooks, and even book sales.
- Join in the conversation with other authors to learn about market trends, bestsellers, books you should read, and new places to sell your audiobook.
- Experiment with paid ads on Reddit! Reddit even hosts ads where you can pick where your promotional post will show up to get the most bang for your buck.
Goodreads is the world's largest site for book lovers. Anyone can freely search the site’s extensive database of books, annotations, and reviews, and users who create can account can add books to reading lists, follow their favorite authors, and create polls, blogs, and discussions.
Here are some tips for using Goodreads to promote yourself and your work:
- Develop your author profile – become a “Good Reads Author” with an official badge from Goodreads.
- Leave reviews and comments on other books, as well as adding books to your to read, read, downloaded, and purchased shelves.
- Host a Goodreads Giveaway contests to introduce readers to your books.
- Join groups dedicated to your chosen genre(s) to engage with a wide audience of readers and listeners.
General Social Media Tips
- Encourage reviews and conversation on all of your channels.
- Connect with Influencers who can help spread the word about your book.
- Social Media Personalities
- Cross-Promote with other authors and narrators as a way to build your audience.
- Show your personality, and let people connect with you on other levels besides just being an anonymous author.
- Build anticipation for upcoming releases with excerpts, samples, and cover reveals.
- Make sure to link your books wherever you can, but avoid spamming potential readers.
- Hootsuite is an excellent tool for managing multiple social media accounts so you can spend less time posting and more time writing.
Creating a mailing list is easy! Through different services, you can build a mailing list to reach hundreds, even thousands of readers and listeners to get your voice out there. There are several services available, including Constant Contact, Mail Jet, and our favorite, MailChimp. They have different options, including both free and premium versions. Most email marketing services also include free templates with easy-to-use interfaces, so you can worry less about all that coding stuff, and more about creating awesome content for your recipients to enjoy.
- Create a sign-up-form on your personal website for your readers to opt-in to your mailing list. No matter which email marketing service you go with, there are usually easy-to-follow instructions on how to get this. See how MailChimp does it here.
- Give readers a reason to sign up for your mailing list. Contests and giveaways that are mailing list exclusives are a great idea.
- Stay in touch with your readers, but be careful not to spam your readers with too many campaigns.
- Announce new book releases to get readers excited, and be sure to point them to where to buy it.
- Share highlights from your blog and exclusive content.
- Run giveaways and encourage reviews.
- Make sure to always include links to your social media accounts and books.
- Make your email subject line a cliff-hanger. Get people excited to open your email.
- Grow your list by working with other authors to promote each other’s works in your emails.
- What works for you with emails you read? Email marketing best practices are always changing, so keep an ever-watching eye on your inbox to see what’s working for you as a reader and use these key-learnings to create engaging and valuable email marketing campaigns.
An author website is a must. When readers are looking into your books, you want them to find a polished, up to date website that features your books, and of course, you!
- You could build your website with our platform of choice: Booklaunch.io. Book Launch makes marketing and selling your book effortless by helping you create a beautiful launch page in minutes.
- Buy yourself a domain that’s easy to remember and will stand the test of time. Make it your penname .com if possible.
- Write a biography for yourself. Keep it light and enjoyable to help readers connect with you.
- Make sure to include a contact page so readers can get in touch with you. Include a dedicated author email, you never know who might be trying to contact you! Ask any reader who contacts you if they could leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads!
- Write and maintain a blog to show readers you’re actively writing.
- Add links to lead visitors to your social media channels, and collect email addresses for your email marketing efforts.
- Track visitors so you know how many people are coming to your site with a tool such as Google Analytics, or the platform you built your website on might have this built in.
- Work with Google AdWords to increase traffic to your site.
- Let readers leave reviews and testimonials on your website.
Hiring a PR company is a great way to invest in your brand. Here is a list of some companies that we happily stand behind for you to look into, but please do your research, understand what you’re paying for, and shop around to see what will be the right fit for you!
- A press release is a concise and compelling news report that is distributed to a targeted list of media outlets who might be interested in covering the story. It's an effective way to summarize what's interesting or newsworthy about your audiobook, which is the best way to catch the eye of people who can provide publicity and coverage.
- If you're already working with a PR company, they should already have access to a network or hub that hosts press releases for media pick-up and can distribute it on your behalf (sometimes for free, but it's not uncommon to be charged a fee for this). If you're not working with a PR company, you'll have to pay a one-time fee to a service like NewsWire, which will also give you the metrics of how many people cover your story and how many readers might see it.
- Is it worth the cost? There's no guarantee you'll get the results you're looking for, but experiment and work out a strategy to make your news story as compelling as possible. You'll increase your chances of getting your story picked up if you can create a connection between the content of your audiobook and things that are topical or trending.
- If you're on a budget, writing a press release is still a great piece of promotional material to have. You don't HAVE to use a wire service--you might have similar or better results by doing your own targeted research and emailing writers directly (which is as cheap as free). First, start with finding the outlets, magazines or websites that might be interested in your book. Using their "Contact" or "Submit a Story" pages, figure out the best way to submit your press release to them. If there's no general submission email, figure out which writers on the site make the most sense and try to contact them directly. Using a PR service eliminates the need to do this in-depth research, but this is a great option if you've got more time than you do budget.
There are other ways to promote yourself online, both free and paid. Try to be creative and always remember to engage potential new readers not as a salesman, but as a person they want to get to know.
- Host a raffle, giveaway, or contest to bring awareness to your books. A gift card is a great incentive to get people to enter, but remember to include a copy of your book as well.
- Reach out to other authors and start conversations. Get them talking about you so their readers will know you as well.
- Reach out to bloggers and other social media personalities, but not just for reviews. Blogs will host interviews, guest blogs, and your giveaways.
- Make sure to share your promotions on social media to get more people engaged.
- Include pictures wherever possible. The most visual you are, the more eye grabbing your content is.
- Offer free copies to bloggers and reviewers in exchange for honest reviews.
- Use promotions as another way to collect email addresses and grow your marketing list.
- WooBox is a great tool for creating inventive contests that are easy for entrants to share with their social media followers, and it easily integrates with Facebook.
- Rafflecopter makes it easy to launch and manage giveaways by having entrants share and visit your social media links.
- StoryOrigin is a marketing tool and community of authors that work together to build their mailing lists, increase sales, find reviewers, and stay on top of deadlines. You’re able to easily distribute and track audiobook promo codes (redeemable through audiobooks.com). Check out our blog on the topic.
All your promotion doesn’t need to be focused online! There are ways to connect with readers face to face, rather than from behind a computer screen as well.
- Do a live reading: join forces with your narrator at coffee shops, book stores, cafes, and more.
- Attend a conference and meet other authors, publishers, and readers.
- Set up at local book stores and events to introduce yourself to a new audience.
- Talk to your local Libraries to request that they start carrying your books. Don’t worry, you don’t need to tell them you’re the author!
- Do a giveaway contest during events.
- Make sure you bring goodies with you to your events. Give away business cards, bookmarks, and other easy to print items that have your name on them. You can easily get them printed online at places like VistaPrint, or Moo.
- Write reviews on other books and products that could align with your book.
- Fill out your author page on Author Central.
- Write a bio, add a photo, upload video, share updates, events, connect with readers, join discussions, and link your Author Page to your website.
- Click on “Was this review helpful?” on reviews you want to promote to the top on your own book page.
- We found some more great tips here!
Of course, you need to make sure all your hard promotional work is paying off! Here are some ways the pros track their online marketing to make sure they are getting the most value for their advertisement dollars.
- Connect your website to Google Analytics to get the best tracking of how many people are visiting your site, where they are coming from, and what they are doing while on your site.
- Ask for tracking or metrics from 3rd parties you work with, if it’s not readily available.
- Convert your links to Bit links in seconds to track clicks and engagement easily.
Keep Learning & Stay Connected
When it comes to book marketing and industry trends, everything changes very quickly and it’s up to you to stay on top of those changes. Connecting with other authors and other industry professionals is one of the best way to stay on top of new ways to advertise and promote your book. Here are some other great resources to help stay connected.
Find author associations in your country where you can connect with other authors, professionals, and have access to conferences and resources to help you succeed.