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.
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