People connect with people, and humans have used their voices to connect for millennia.
It's hard for authors who favor text, but you can stand out if you use audio for book sales and marketing.
In the intro, I talk about the launch of Destroyer of Worlds and the importance of remembering it's about long-term sales rather than short-term spikes. I also mention the How to Make a Living with your Writing Workbook, which is a new version that contains more questions and space to write your answers.
Plus, the Book to Course Summit, a fantastic, free, online summit featuring some amazing authors who have turned their books into six figure courses. If you want to turn your book into multiple streams of income, check it out here.
The corporate sponsorship for this show pays for hosting and transcription. This podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to: 99Designs.com/joanna
My official bio! Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers (as J.F.Penn) and non-fiction, a professional speaker and award-winning entrepreneur. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers.
I delivered this session at the London Book Fair Indie Author Fringe. You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below. You can also download the slide pack with clickable links.
- Why audio? Why now?
- Audio as another income stream for authors.
- How to self-publish audio books, both with and without ACX, including information on contracts and agreements, narrators, and narrating your own books.
- The costs involved with creating audio books.
- Marketing an audiobook and the differences between that and marketing a book.
- Podcasting and its advantages for authors.
- How to create a podcast and why it's a brilliant marketing tool for books.
If you like audiobooks, check out Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur on Audible, which I narrate myself. For fiction, you can find all the links to my thriller audiobooks here.
Transcript of the Class on Using Audio
Hi, everyone. I'm Joanna Penn, from TheCreativePenn.com, and welcome to the Indie Author Fringe. My event today is going to be “How to use Audio as an Author for Book Sales and for Marketing.” And we're going to go through a load of stuff on audiobooks and also on podcasting. But first, just a little introduction to who I am, in case I haven't met you before. I am two people.
I write nonfiction as Joanna Penn, and I have a blog and a podcast, and I'm a speaker, and I do all kinds of things for authors. I also write thrillers under J.F. Penn. And you can see some of my books there I sell around the world, and I sell in e-book, print, and audiobook format, all without a publisher. And I left my day job in September, 2011, and so I'm coming up to five years as a full-time author/entrepreneur. And a lot of the stuff I'll be sharing with you today are lessons that I've learned along the way.
But, of course, it wasn't always like that, and I just wanted to wind the clock back to 2008. Here's me with my very first book. So if you're just starting out, hopefully you'll enjoy this session anyway, and there will be things you can use if you're just starting out or if you are at the point of having lots of books and wanting to expand your income.
Just as an overview, we're going to go through, “Why audio, and why now?” “How to self-publish audiobooks with ACX,” “Working with a narrator,” “Narrating your own book,” if you fancy doing that, as I have done with one of mine, so far, “Audio programs, and how to sell direct.” “Podcasting as an author platform,” and also, “How to pitch podcasters with your book,” if you'd like to feature on programs, plus some tips on marketing, audiobooks. So a big session today, and I hope you'll enjoy it. And at the end, I will share where you can download the slides with all the links that I'll be talking about in this session.
First of all, why audio, and why now? Why is this suddenly such a big deal?
Well, the first thing is the smart phone. And I don't know about you, but this is not a phone to me. I listen to podcasts, I listen to audiobooks, I read, I have my email, I have social media, I do research, I keep my writing notes. This really isn't used as a phone so much as my computer in my pocket. And that is the main reason why audio is such a big deal. Because of the widespread use of smart phones, certainly in developed countries, that means streaming audio in your pocket.
And certainly my own behavior as a listener has changed over the last few years. I've always listened to podcasts. But up until about two years ago, I would download the audio, put it on my iPod, and then go to the gym, or whatever lesson. Now, the episode arrives on my phone as soon as it's available, and I start just listening, whether I'm washing up, going for walks, still going to the gym, or whatever. But generally I'm listening to audio while I'm doing other things.
And this is what many people want to do. They don't necessarily want to read a book, they want to listen to a book, maybe on a car commute to a job, or they want to listen to a podcast. So this is what you've got to start thinking, even if you personally don't listen to audiobooks or podcasts, think about all those millions of people who use audio as a way to keep up with what's going on, as a way to learn new things, as a way to listen to fiction, listen to stories. These things are very exciting. So that's the first thing.
The second thing is that this is on your phone, so it's very mobile, but secondly, in 2016, streaming Internet has come to the car. So there's a picture there, Apple CarPlay, Google Auto have put streaming Internet audio into cars. So now people don't even need to take their phone and have a Bluetooth adapter to their stereo, they can actually download these things directly. New cars will now have that functionality in. That's only going to continue to explode.
There's also been a big push into subscription services. And that's meant that people are consuming more audio. So, for example, Audible.com, .co.uk, has a subscription service which means you get one audiobook a month, or two, or whatever. I have a monthly subscription, so I get a new one every month. And it encourages you to therefore listen more. And also the gamification of listening, which is very exciting, the push into advertising. If you're in the U.S. or the UK, you've seen how much Audible are pushing advertising to get people into audiobooks.
The other thing is Whispersync technology.
So, again, with Amazon, it's very exciting. If somebody buys your e-book and they have your audiobook as well, what will happen is they can start reading the book on their phone, on their Kindle, whatever. Say they're reading it over breakfast, and they get in their car, and Whispersync technology means that the book will start reading to them from where they left off on the page. Now that's amazing, when you think about it. So it syncs to where you are in the book.
This bundling of e-book and audiobook is something that also makes the price of audio much lower.
Now, for a customer, that's really, really good. As a producer of audio, so “One Day in Budapest,” for example, you can see here, the pricing of it, they might buy the e-book. And because I'm in the UK, my screen prints of America don't come up with the exact price, so the Kindle edition of “One Day in Budapest” is $2.99, or it is £1.99 in the UK. And this says you can then add the audio.
Instead of $22 for the audio, it's going to be $2, because you own the e-book. You can see that for a customer, this is excellent stuff. For a author and for narrators, this is driving the profit from audiobooks down, but the volume is increasing.
You've got to think about audio as pretty much like an e-book, going forward. It's going to be a similar type of product. It should be an easy purchase, an easy bundle for the consumer.
And then we've seen the growth of audio. AuthorEarnings.com reported in January, 2016, that 119,000 audiobooks a day are being sold, generating over $200,000 a day for authors. That's pretty exciting, and definitely a market you want to be part of.
Goodreads, which, of course, is owned by Amazon, have added free audio samples to a whole load of e-books. And you can see there, “Girl on a Train” has that listen button. Social media sites like Goodreads trying to facilitate audio, audio sharing, audio reviews, audio purchases.
And then in the top, as you're looking at it, right-hand section, you can see those badges. Now, those badges are actually from my husband's Audible account because he really loves to listen to fiction before going to sleep. So while I'm reading, he'll be listening. And he's got these badges. And I love this because it's gamification of reading. Reading, whether it's with your eyes or your ears, who cares? Or your fingers if you're blind, or whatever, that these things are incredible.
The gamification of audio listening is a fascinating thing.
I know from watching him use it how actually motivating it is to get these type of badges. So we really need to do that with all kinds of books. And also this statistic that 77% of audio purchases are fiction. People like listening to a story. And that's not surprising if you think about how, as a audio culture, people have been telling stories around the fireside, and listening to stories for millennia. You can see why this is growing.
As an author/entrepreneur, I'm excited about audio because it adds another income stream into my business model.
Because as authors, we have a chance to turn our one manuscript into multiple streams of income. Think about it; with an e-book, you might sell it on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, a whole load of other places, then you might have a print edition, and then you might have the audio edition.
Then if you multiply that by country markets, and then you multiply that by language, you're looking at multiple streams of income from one manuscript.
Once you understand this, you see the reasons why you want to start putting your book into these different formats. And, of course, you're going to reach more readers. And this is actually a really important thing. There are some people who only now listen to audiobooks.
And because you can listen to them on a faster speed, so I listen to most audio on 1.5 speed. Now, that might sound quite weird if you don't listen to audio yourself, but the human ear allows you to speed these things up and still understand the content, which is my point, and then you can do it in less time.
Basically, this a quote from Jane Friedman in a recent Publishers Weekly, that reader discovery increases when you produce audiobooks and other forms of multimedia, because you can reach people in a different place. Someone who might only read, physically, one book a year, and actually that's quite normal, they might actually consume audio at a massive rate. And that's why it's exciting.
Briefly, how to self-publish audiobooks with ACX.
First of all, ACX.com is an Amazon platform. It's kind of the equivalent to KDP for e-books. It's at ACX.com, and the exciting thing is that we have a chance to use it. The bad side, right now, as of March, 2016, it's only open to people in the U.S. and the UK. So hopefully, as audiobooks continue to march out across the world, ACX will all continue to expand. For now, it's just U.S., UK, and I'll give you some other options towards the end, if you're not in those countries. But the rest of this presentation, after I've shown you this, will still be relevant.
First of all, you log on to ACX, and you log on with your normal Amazon account. You claim your book either with the ASIN, A-S-I-N, or the name of the book, and then you decide on the contract option. So, for example, you can pay a narrator upfront and keep all the rights, or you can do a 50-50 split with a narrator. I quite like doing that because there's no money upfront, although obviously over time, if you sell a lot of books, the pay-upfront version is more efficient for you, and you'll get more income.
And then also the exclusivity option. If you go exclusive to ACX, which means your audiobooks will be on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes, then you get a higher percentage than if you want nonexclusive, which means you can also sell it from your website. Then you basically upload a chapter or a part of the book that will help you decide what the best narrator is. It might be chapter one. What I would make sure of if it's fiction is that it contains the voice of your main character.
If your main character is a woman, don't use a sample chapter that only has the secondary male character in. You want the book to be clear about who the main character is, though the rule I've heard on this is that if you have a female protagonist, you should have a female voice, if you have a male protagonist, you should have a male voice. But, hey, you'll get different auditions, whatever, and you will be the one to decide.
Once you upload, say, a chapter in a Microsoft Word document, you will get auditions. Then you listen to the auditions and you decide on the narrator, and you agree the contract based on the terms you want. The narrator will then record the first 15 minutes, after you've agreed the contract. That 15 minutes is super-important because that's the chance you both get to work together. It's really important to give people feedback in the audition if you're going to choose them, because once you get into actually signing the contract and then producing the audiobook, you want to make sure you have a good working relationship.
Once you have signed the contract, the narrator will record the first 15 minutes. And that's another chance to give them really detailed feedback. So, for example, say you have an Irish character or an Indian character, and they've produced that voice with a very strong accent, you can then say, “Look, I don't want that accent to be very strong. Please just read it in a normal American voice,” and I will use the words, say, “He said,” in an American accent, or, “He said,” in an Indian accent, or something like that.
There have been cases of people who've been very unhappy with their audio around things like that. So very important to communicate upfront. Once the 15 minutes is agreed, the narrator will produce the rest of the audiobook. And I like to listen as they go. For example, I will ask my narrator to upload the first 10 chapters, and then I will go through and listen. And I will email back notes on things that might have been pronounced wrong. And basically, when that's done, you QA the files and then you approve. And then the book is available on ACX, and Amazon, and Audible, and iTunes in the next week or so. Very exciting.
Of course, the length of the audiobook will depend on how long your book is. “Risen Gods,” which is here, is around 50,000 words, so it's a short novel. And you can see here it's 4 hours, 18 minutes. Now, this was a really interesting book to do because it's based on Maori mythology and New Zealand Aotearoa, and the main character is a Maori young man. So C.J. McAllister, who narrated it and I, and I'm not Maori, but I lived in New Zealand for seven years, and we also got loads of clips of people speaking in Maori words. It was a really interesting audiobook to do because he, as an American male, was learning to pronounce these words. It was a fascinating project to do together.
I mentioned there, a few tips for working with a narrator. But just to be more specific, it's very important to put into your ACX information, the type of voice you want, and be clear about the tone of your book upfront. For example, a YA romance, written in first person by a young woman, is going to be very different to a thriller with a male protagonist in his 40s, who is African-American.
You can see, or you can hear, the two different voices almost in your head. You have to specify that upfront, and that will help you get a narrator. Also be open and honest. And if you get an audition and you hate it, just say, “This isn't a good fit for me.” If you get one that you like but there are some issues, tell them the issues upfront. You have to be honest in this way. Also Q&A check as you go. So get those five chapters, listen to them, make comments.
But very important, if you want to work with a narrator long-term, don't be an idiot. You have to be a good client. Remember that you're working with another professional. And this is essentially an adaptation. What you're doing is creating a new product based on your words, yes. The narrator is an audio specialist. They're a voice artist, and you have to respect that. What I tend to do with my narrators is I will leave a lot of things. I won't make a fuss about quite a lot, and I will only suggest changes if there is an obvious error.
For example, there's an English place called Blenheim, but actually my American narrator pronounced it Blen-heim, because that's how it's spelled. That's one of those place names that can be very difficult. Or the Maori words, like I was saying, there were some words that were wrong according to the version of the word I'm used to hearing from New Zealand. Correcting things like that is good. You can also find pronunciations on YouTube, and if you just Google a word, you can often find the pronunciation.
I would send that to my narrator. But I would not say some personal attacks or something that undermines the narrator as an expert. I think that's very important. The other thing is top narrators often bring a fan base. So if you want a top narrator for your book, you will be paying a premium rate for that, but they may well bring the sales in return. Oh, and I should just add that if you start with a narrator on a series, it's best to carry on using that narrator throughout the series, because listeners get used to the voice of the book, and the voice of the narrator.
What about narrating your own audiobook?
First of all, I would suggest that if you want to try this, you do it with nonfiction, because fiction is a completely different beast. I haven't done my own fiction, but I have done “Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur,” which is a nonfiction book. So this is me in the studio there. You can see me in the little booth, and Andy, my sound guy. You can find a professional studio near you. Usually in a decent-size city, you will be able to find a studio. They're often very small, they have a box, and there's a sound guy or girl.
You have to be able to get the production of the audio files to ACX technical standards, which is very important. You go to the studio, you book it in advance. I did blocks of two hours each because I found it very, very tiring. But some hard-core sort of people who can control their breathing, which I find difficult, may do six, eight hours straight of narration.
It's very important to keep your energy up. You need a lot of liquid. Even as I'm talking here, I have water next to me, and I'm drinking it because speaking actually does dry your mouth out.
So that's important. Also a little tip, if you take your Kindle to read from because…or your iPad, you can't read from a book because of the page noises, you have to read from something electronic, turn off the Wi-Fi on all your devices. Obviously turn off your cellphone. But I was reading from my Kindle, and we got this noise in the background, we couldn't work out what it was for ages, and then discovered it was the Wi-Fi on the Kindle. So just put it on airplane mode.
I also found, as I was reading my book, that there were some things that didn't work well in audio. I essentially edited the e-book on the fly, as I was going through it. When it's your book, you can do that because, of course, you can go back and change the e-book, if you like. If you're narrating someone else's audiobook, or if you're getting a professional to do it, you can't just change the book on the fly, but I thought that was brilliant. And then what I would do is, Andy, the sound guy, would give me the file, and then I did my edits.
What you have to remember is you never just do something where you perform, or read, or whatever, all in one take. You make mistakes, you need a break, you will repeat the same word, you'll get something wrong. And essentially I would just stop. I would clap sometimes. And when you clap, that creates a spike on the audio so you can see your mistake. And then I would edit that myself because I'm used to doing audio, and we'll come back to that in a bit. But you could use a free software like Audacity or Amadeus Pro on the Mac, which is what I use.
What are the costs of doing an audio book?
If you do it yourself, as I did for “Business for Authors,” the studio hire should be around $30 to $50 per hour. And I was in there for about 8 hours for a finished 6-hour audiobook. $300 to $600 for editing, potentially more than that depending on how difficult it is. For me, it worked out around $800 for my 6-hour audiobook when I narrated it myself.
Hiring a narrator to do it for you will be between $200 to $400 per finished audio hour. It's generally going to be between $1200 to $2500 for a 6-hour audiobook. And that 6 hours, that's for a 60, 70,000-word audiobook. If your book is a fantasy, 120,000-word book, it's going to be double the price, essentially. Fantasy is quite difficult. But equally, people are more likely to purchase a longer audiobook, or use their Audible credits, their monthly credits for a longer audiobook. So it's a mixed blessing. Of course, the royalty split deal on ACX, which is what I use for my fiction, you pay nothing upfront. You just pay half of the royalties to the narrator for seven years.
You have to decide where you expect to make your money with audio. Then, of course, the other option is to skip Audible, ACX altogether, and record your own audio, and sell it direct from your website. Now, this is actually something I'm going back to. I used to do it up until December 2014 when the EU digital VAT laws came in. But I'm about to start doing this again. So essentially you could record as I'm doing, I'm recording this video in my home. You can record your own audio. As long as it's decent quality, people are fine with that. But it needs to be decent.
You can't have sirens going, and all that kind of stuff. But you don't necessarily need to hire a studio if you're selling direct. You produce it as an MP3 file, and then you use one of these options to sell direct, SendOwl, Gumroad, Payhip, Selz, E-junkie, all of these sites, Shopify, enable you to actually sell your products directly to consumers, or you can use a site like Teachable, or do an online course, that type of thing.
There are options for selling audio without actually going through a site like Audible, which of course, takes quite a big chunk out of your money. Personally, I will continue to do fiction through ACX up until I become a gazillionaire and can just produce it all myself. And then for nonfiction, I'm going to be reading it myself at home and selling it direct.
That's the production side.
Let's talk about how to market audiobooks because it's kind of a different thing than marketing other books.
First of all, probably the biggest thing is your promo codes. When you self-publish an audiobook through ACX, they will send you promo codes to give away to listeners. And the reason you do this is so you can give free copies and people can leave a review. Like e-books, and print books, and anything else, reviews are super-important. You'll get those promo codes, and then important thing is you can get as many promo codes as you like.
At the moment, at the time of recording, there is no limit to the number of promo codes you can get. So, essentially, that can be really useful for giving away to your audience. You could do an email letter giveaway, you could do a Facebook giveaway, and actually give those promo codes to your list so that they start listening. Now, a way to do that when you have a series, of course, is to give away promo on the first audiobook, in the hope that people will get hooked and want more in the series.
The other thing many of us have noticed is if you do a promo for your e-book, like a BookBub, you will also get sales spike in your audiobooks because, as I mentioned earlier, if people own the e-book, they can get the audiobook for a cheaper price. So even though it might not be a huge income from that audio because of the special deal, potentially, if it's first in series, you'll get a sell-through. So it's a bit like giving away a free first-in-series. In general, you want people to get hooked. The other thing with the promo codes for Audible is, clearly, they want people to become Audible listeners. And by giving away those codes, they're encouraging listening, trying to change the culture. It's a very forward-thinking view, just give away a lot of audio until people love it so much they can't go back.
I also like the site, AudiobookBlast.com, which enables you to give away audio codes to other people on their list of audiobook listeners. Again, it's a way of getting reviews, early reviews, and a sales spike, with the potential that ACX might notice you and put you on the homepage, which can occasionally happen.
Other things to do is use SoundCloud to put clips up. You can see there I've put “Stone of Fire” onto SoundCloud. You can use up to five minutes of your audio as a clip, and you can put that on your website. You can embed it on social media, on Facebook, etc. So SoundCloud.com is great for doing that.
Then this is actually brand new. As I record this, it's only just come out. Audible has just announced clips. So now you can share directly from Audible on your cellphone, for example. You can share up to 45 seconds of a clip, and it will go on social media, or go on email, or go on Facebook. You can see there, WhatsApp, email, SMS, Twitter, Messenger, Facebook. And the recipient does not have to be an Audible user, but there will be a link to find out more.
Obviously they're encouraging you to share your audio lessons, but also the recipients to listen, and then they can potentially carry on listening to the audiobook. So this is fantastic, and I highly recommend that if you are an audiobook user, that you start learning about this. If you're a listener, if you're an author with audiobooks, start telling your fans about this because you want to encourage people to share clips and start to spread your audio everywhere.
Before we move onto podcasting, here are some useful books if you want to learn more about audiobooks, “Audiobooks for Indies,” by Simon Whistler. Simon is a voice talent and talks a lot about that, also how to use ACX. “Making Tracks: A Writer's Guide to Audiobooks,” by J. Daniel Sawyer, is excellent if you're not in a country where you can use ACX, or if you're going to take this very seriously in other production ways. So that's really good if you want to take things a step further than the basic DIY. And then if you want to do narration, this book on narration is really handy as well.
And then I have tons of links on TheCreativePenn.com/audiobooks, if you're looking for more information.
Let's now talk about podcasting, and why podcasting is so amazing.
I've been podcasting since 2009, before it was a trendy thing, and here is why I think podcasting is so brilliant. First of all, it helps you build a relationship with your audience. So the people who have been listening to The Creative Penn Podcast for many years are super fans, basically. They've been listening to my voice for over 260 episodes. And considering my episodes are usually between 45 minutes to an hour, that's a lot of time they've been listening to me.
Some people never even get that amount of time with their spouse every week. So that's a big deal. You can really create a community with your voice. It's very, very intimate.
You can also use a podcast and interview format as a relationship-building exercise between you and other people in your niche. And this is actually the reason I started the podcast in the first place. I wanted to connect with other authors, and I wanted a reason why they would talk to me. I didn't want to have to pay everyone for consulting, so I thought, “Okay, if I podcast, and I market them, then they will want to do that,” right? You have to have some kind of technical ability to do this.
What I found is, by offering interviews to other people, they were happy to talk to me because they got promoted. Then often they will link to your podcast, so either on social media, to their email list, if it's particularly good, maybe on their blog, or their website, so you get incoming traffic. And that will mean that your site is more highly ranked. And then finally, that kind of word-of-mouth idea. I'm often talking to people, “Oh, I listen to this podcast. Go and check them out.” It's a much more in-depth introduction to a person than just a tweet. It's, “Listen to that podcast, and you'll get to know that person much more.”
And finally, I actually really enjoy my podcasts, so it is fun and I get to connect with my community a lot, and also it helps you stand out. Now, there are a lot more podcasts coming up now because it's become quite a trendy thing, and the technology is available, and it's much easier, and there's a lot more resources than there were when I started out. But equally, it's still not as prevalent as, if you take the number of people who've written a book, the number of those people who've got a podcast is much, much smaller. And, of course, if you want to check out my podcast, you can go to TheCreativePenn.com/podcast, or you can check me out on iTunes or Stitcher. Just search for The Creative Penn. I have over 260 episodes now, so lots to choose from.
How do you actually create a podcast?
I've put an exhaustive tutorial under TheCreativePenn.com/how-to-podcast. You can go and look that up, but here's just a brief flow.
First of all, you need to plan. I research and connect with my guests. I will email them, and I will give them a topic. Then I will email the week prior with a list of questions and reminder of the time that we're meeting. Very important, I think, to be professional around your communication with people, especially if they are higher profile.
I, as someone who gets interviewed a lot, one of my pet hates is people not following up and reminding me of things, and also demonstrating that they've done their research. It really annoys me when people ask for an interview, and then by their questions, they clearly show that they haven't done their research. Definitely respect the time of the person you want to talk to, or if you're doing more of a chat show, prepare in advance the topics you're going to talk about.
I do my interviews on Skype. I will record those. I use Ecamm, which is for the Mac and Skype, or you can use Pamela to record on a PC. I use ScreenFlow to do my video editing, or you can use Camtasia, you can use iMovie, Movie Maker, there are lots of options. You can even use your phone these days, or an iPad, or something like that.
Once you've recorded your audio or your episode, you'll need to edit it. And you can use free software like Audacity, I use Amadeus Pro. If you're doing video, you can edit, again, in ScreenFlow, Camtasia, and that will give you your finished audio. There are some tools you can use to level the noise, and I explain that in my tutorial.
Also then you'll need to think about distribution. And there are various options for distributing to iTunes, which is the most important platform, but also things like Stitcher. I use a plug-in for WordPress called Blubrry, B-L-U-B-R-R-Y, and that's a great one. It also has hosting. I personally use Amazon S3 for hosting.
Now, if all of these words have just blown your head off, don't worry. If you're not going to create a podcast, you can just skip over this. If you are going to create a podcast, go check out that in-detail tutorial at TheCreativePenn.com/how-to-podcast. And again, you'll get a link with the slides and all the hyperlinks at the end.
Why is podcasting so brilliant for book marketing at the moment?
For one, there are more and more podcasts in all kinds of niches. So you can generally find, especially for nonfiction, you'll be able to find some great podcasts with a great audience.
Now people who listen, know, like, and trust the person they listen to, especially if they've been listening a long time. Personally I get a lot of nonfiction book recommendations from listening to podcasts. Two of my favorites are The Tim Ferriss Show, and Unemployable with Brian Clark. On those two podcasts, I get a ton of recommendations for books, because they interview people who will then go check out, then I find their book, and that's a great way.
Also, a longer interview, in the audio sense, is much better value than the amount of time you'll spend writing an article. Think about it this way, you have a new book coming out. Let's say it is on “Business for Authors,” which is one of mine. In the olden days, you would do a blog tour, and I would write all these different blog posts, and it's super-hard work actually. If you think how much time it takes to write a number of different articles, and then versus getting on a whole load of interviews on podcasts where you might have a 30-minute interview, it's a lot quicker, it's a lot more personal, it's a lot more in-depth.
And also, when it's a conversation, people are far more likely to be interested than a dry article on a blog. As far as I'm concerned, when people now ask me for interviews, I don't even do written interviews any more. I will only do podcasts because I think there's such better value and a bigger return for the investment of my time, plus they're easier to do.
If you are going to get on podcasts, the most important thing is this, give, give, give. Very important, provide so much value within the time you have, and takeaways for the audience. Always be framing it in terms of, “What is the audience getting out of this interview? How can I make this applicable for people?” And those benefits are what's going to make the person check you out. It doesn't matter if you're talking about the very best bits of your book. It will be more likely to make them check you out. So give, give, give. And do not keep saying, “Well, you'll find that out in my book.” If you say that even once, you will turn people off, and they will not be interested. The aim is to give so much people think you're amazing, and then they will check out your book.
If you want to pitch a podcaster, and get onto a podcast, the very first thing is you must, must, must listen to the show. Do your research about the host, and be very honest, are you a good fit? Do they even take pitches for the podcast? Do you have credentials? Do you have enough to give to the audience? So again, one of my pet hates, there are two types of pitches I get, for example. The first one is, “Hi, blogger. Hi, podcaster. Hello, podcaster. I've written a book on financial planning, I'd like to come on your show.” I just ignore emails like that.
I don't do financial planning. They should be pitching a person, it should be, “Dear, Joanna,” for example, and they should be only pitching shows that talk about financial planning. Or, for example, I don't do health and fitness, unless it's to do with dictation, a standing desk, writing, that type of thing. I'm not going to do…there are lots of things I am not going to cover on the podcast. I'm not going to do, “How to use spreadsheets,” or stuff like that. You must have a good fit for the show, and you must do your research about the host and the procedure for getting guests on the show.
The other thing I get a lot is, “Hello, my first book is coming out. Can I come on your podcast and talk about it?” Again, where are the credentials from that person? Where is the value for my audience from a first-time author? Unless it's somebody who has built an amazing business in another way, and their first book is telling people about that. So there may be situations. But someone who has just written their first novel is not necessary going to be a good fit for The Creative Penn Podcast, which I'm aiming for it to be a Masters' degree in being an author, essentially.
And the other thing is, a personal connection is best. Those of you who listen to my show will know that I've often made friends with people on my podcast, and then invited them back over time. I would much rather talk about a recent development with somebody who I know and we have a good rapport, rather than having somebody brand new, who I might struggle to develop a rapport with. It's an interesting balance when you're an interviewer and a host because you have to make it a conversation. And some people, particularly authors, can be difficult.
If you make a personal connection with a podcaster, that's always going to be the best way to get on a show. For example, take one of their courses. Listen regularly and tweet their latest show, share their show on social media, make sure you're noticed. Meet them at a live event, and eventually becoming part of their community will mean you are more likely to be invited at some point. Be useful to them, and they are more likely to invite you on the show.
I hope that you found this useful, and that you've learned something you can use about audiobooks and/or podcasting.
And you can get the slides, you can download the slides with all the links. And I've got some more links that are included in the slide pack at TheCreativePenn.com/fringe2016, with the password, “Indie,” and that will take you to the download page.
You can also get your free “Author 2.0 Blueprint,” which talks about writing, your publishing options, book marketing, and making a living with your writing. And that is at TheCreativePenn.com/blueprint.
You can also tweet me @thecreativepenn, or email me if you have any questions.
Thanks for listening, and I wish you all the best with your audio projects.