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Most books never become audiobooks.
This is a huge marketing mistake for the following reasons.
Reason #1: The Size of the Audiobook Industry is Nearly a Billion-Dollar Industry.
The Audio Publishers Association estimated in December 2004 that the size of the audiobook market was $800 million. Since then, audiobook sales growth has exploded due to the ability to download audiobooks from sites like Audible.com, iTunes and ChristianAudio.com. I predict that when the APA releases their next set of numbers, the industry will have broken 1 billion dollars in revenue.
Is your book getting a piece of that action?
Reason #2: Book Mavens Listen to Audiobooks.
A maven is somebody who is a connoisseur of information. When people have a question, they often go to the maven in their life. Chances are you know a car maven who is the first person you talk to when you need to buy a new car. Another word for “maven” is “nerd.”
A book maven is the kind of person who reads 50+ books a year and has hundreds of books on their GoodReads bookshelf.
Audiobook mavens are able to read so much because they listen to books while driving, working out, or cooking. If you have an audiobook, not only will you make money selling the audio versions, you’ll make additional money through the recommendations of book mavens who listened to the audio version.
Reason #3: Audiobooks Protect You From the Oprah Effect.
The Oprah Effect is when a famous person recommends your book out of the blue. Suddenly, 100,000 people all want to buy your book and the 5,000 copies in the stores are gone within hours. Then your publisher scrambles to print more books, only to have them returned because everyone’s forgotten about the book. The opportunity was lost because the books went out of stock. E-books are the best protection for this, but audiobooks protect you as well.
If someone famous recommends your book, there will never be a shortage of (downloadable) audio books. Whether it’s ten downloads or a million downloads, you’re covered.
Reason #4: Audio Books Boost Paper & eBook Sales.
If people love your audiobook, they’ll sometimes go back and buy a paper copy so they can underline it and show it off on their bookshelf. So not only do the audio mavens recommend the book to friends, but people will buy additional copies for themselves as well.
Amazon’s Whisper Sync is now causing this sales boost to apply to Kindle books as well.
Reason #5: Audiobooks Give You Access to Non-Readers.
There are millions of people in the world who hate reading, but love listening. These “non-readers” either can’t or won’t take the time to sit down and read a book. Perhaps they struggle with slow reading, dyslexia or are blind. Or they may be a busy CEO or reporter. When you have an audiobook, the pie of potential readers gets bigger, which is exactly what the publishing industry needs.
I am one of these non-readers. I only “read” audiobooks and I “read” a lot of audiobooks. I listened to 69 books last year and am on track to read 60+ this year. If you want people like me to read and recommend your book, there had better be an audio version.
Reason #6: Having an Audiobook Makes You Easier to Find.
There are over 100,000 books on Audible. There are millions of books on Amazon. I can’t think of an easier way to break your book out of the crowd than to turn it into an audiobook.
It’s a lot easier to stand out from the crowd if you’re in a small crowd. Click to Tweet!
Often I’ve looked for a book, only to find there was no audio version available. Then I see that a competing book is available on audio. Which book do you think I purchased? There are many topics that still have no audiobook. The first author to put an audiobook up on that topic wins the entire pie of interested readers.
The audiobook pie is filled with mavens who can make you famous. Click to Tweet!
Reason #7: Audiobooks Are Cheap & Easy to Make.
In the olden days (aka the 2000s), producing an audiobook was expensive and time consuming. Publishers could only afford produce their most popular titles in audio. Now, services like ACX and Voices.com make producing an audiobook cheap and easy. ACX even lets you produce the audiobook for free, provided you split the revenue with the narrator 50/50.
Many publishers still do audiobooks the old expensive way, which isn’t a problem as long as they make the audiobook. Unfortunately they often retain the audio rights and yet don’t pay to make the audiobook, which is the worst scenario. The best scenario is for your publisher to pay to get the audiobook created. The second best is where you record it yourself or go through a service like ACX.
What do you think? Is your book an audiobook?
am a first time author. My book is titled La Dolce Vita. The final edited design is due this week
(week of 15th). I intend to market it strategically and aggressively.
I would like a proposal on what service you can offer to sell books.
Thank you for a prompt response. ..
I’m waiting for my first contract to be finalized, and I’ll certainly take a look at the audio rights!
I’m one of those “nerds” you mentioned who goes through dozens of books via audio each year. The ones I love I ultimately get in their paper AND eBook versions so I can consume and reference them in all my favorite ways! (Still haven’t figured out how to highlight an audiobook…!)
Wonderful web site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you for your sweat!
In the last year, my audiobook royalties are running neck and neck with my Kindle earnings – and I’ve attracted three $1000+ clients who first “met” me by listening to one of my audiobooks. And when I seriously checked out the competition on audiobook for my main topics I am even more eager to do more audiobooks. Look for me on Audible.com!
The industry is absolutely booming. Great article on the importance of the medium. I think these next few years audiobooks will keep becoming more and more mainstream! Pretty soon we will have millions more fans to see why we love them so much. 😀
Great Article. I am an author of a mystery series and am now publishing my third book. I am interested in looking at audiobooks. Where do I start. Is this something that Author Media is involved with.
Author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series
I was wondering if you need resources to fulfill the voice for audiobooks. I am retired, 54 years old and still do local theatre and enjoy voice over recording which I have done over the years.