Follow our guest blogger and author M.K. Williams as she writes the Marketing Your Audiobooks Series of blog posts  

M.K. Williams is an author and independent publisher. She has written and published numerous books under her own name and helped several authors realize their dreams of publishing their books as well. After having learned the ins-and-outs of self-publishing and independent publishing she is now on a mission to help aspiring authors get the answers they need, avoid money-traps, and navigate the process of self-publishing their first book through her brand Author Your Ambition.

Believe it or not, the marketing for your audiobook begins long before it appears on any retailer website. It starts right now. You may read this and think it is already too late. Not to worry, there are many ways to promote your audiobook. But one of the easiest ways to get your audience excited about it is to bring them on the journey with you.

This means talking about your audiobook as soon as you decide to create one for your title. Whether you narrate or you hire a pro, providing updates to your audience throughout the auditioning, production, and publishing process is an excellent way to drive demand for the audiobook. Your audience is on this journey with you, they share in your excitement, your flubs, your delays, your final product. Then when you tell them that the audiobook is for sale they share in your victory and want to support you. (This tip applies to your other book formats as well, but you have more to share with the audiobook.)

This strategy can also keep you accountable. Maybe you don’t have a large audience, but you know that if you put out to the world that you will have to book recorded by X date that you will meet that goal.

Two out of the thirteen tips shared by BookBub on marketing audiobooks align with this strategy.

While many of us authors focus on the launch as the big marketing event for our book, in reality, we will always have to market and promote our books. You can only say “buy my audiobook” so many different ways before you run out of synonyms and your audience gets tired of the direct sales pitch. Your readers follow you for many reasons: being sold to all the time isn’t one of them.

While Taylor Swift and Beyonce can surprise drop an album and still get millions of sales, you as an indie author may not win with that approach. You need to build excitement for your audiobook release. Since they take a while to record, review, and produce, you will have plenty of time to provide updates to your audience.

Here are a few ideas of ways to share your audiobook progress:

  • “Hey readers, I’m making an audiobook for TITLE. What do you love the most about your favorite audiobooks?”
  • Okay, I have two amazing narrators that I might pick for TITLE. Which one do you prefer? [audio clips and poll below]
  • Announcing AMAZING NARRATOR NAME to voice TITLE. Stay tuned for updates on the production.
  • That’s right, your’s truly will be narrating TITLE. Who wants to guess how well I can pull off the accent for CHARACTER?
  • Water - check. Microphone plugged in - check. Quiet clothes and snacks - check. Ready to record another chapter of TITLE.
  • Tongue twister of the day from the latest chapter I recorded for TITLE...
  • Just got a chapter back from NARRATOR. It sounds so good, here is a preview…
  • Is it just me or do these headphones make me look like a fancy narrator?
  • Curse you neighborhood dogs and lawnmowers!! Had to take a break mid-recording. Great opportunity to rehydrate.
  • Adding a bonus track to my audiobook, which would you all prefer? An alternate ending or an added chapter on CHARACTER?

These can be quick day-in-the-life posts on your social media platform of choice or monthly updates in your reader newsletter. You can find clever ways to include your audience in the process by asking for feedback or input on what they like or don’t like.

As I record my own audiobooks I post at least one time for each recording session. Then as the book nears completion I continue to share my journey with editing (usually several crying emojis) and then finally the confirmation email from Findaway Voices that the audiobook has been submitted and passed QC.

Just as you are telling a story with your audiobook, you can tell the story OF the audiobook and how it came to be. This is a natural and fun way to promote the upcoming title without saying “buy this, buy this, buy this!” I have read and followed Seth Godin for years. In my past life as a digital marketer, I found his ideas and strategies compelling. You may think, “but I’m a writer, I’m not a marketer.” Incorrect. You have to market your books. One of the best books you can read by Seth Godin on this topic is “All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories.” Instead of focusing on the product you are selling (in this case your audiobook), what is the story you are telling?

Try this today. Post that you have begun the process of researching how to market your audiobooks and get them out to more readers. Share your why for wanting to get your book out to a wider audience. Own up to a silly mistake. Take a photo of your new recording set-up. Show your readers to beautiful waveforms of your first recording session. Do it! You’ll be surprised by just how many people will cheer you on and inevitably ask when they will be able to purchase and listen.