Note: BookPub is in the business to make money from authors and thus, some of the information provided is related to their company and related outlets. With that said, what is written in this blog has some value for authors even if they do not use BookPub or related companies.
February 5, 2020 by DIANA URBAN
Have you been actively promoting your audiobooks? From growing awareness on social media to generating a high volume of sales on audiobook retailers like Chirp (learn how to submit for a Chirp deal here!), there’s a variety of tactics you can use for marketing audiobooks. And audio is an extremely fast-growing segment of the publishing market. According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook revenue in 2018 increased 24.5% from 2017 (and unit sales increased 27.3%), totaling $940 million!
Key takeaways from the APA’s 2019 report from BookBub’s partner Findaway.
This audiobook market is ripe for gaining new listeners for your own titles. But how can you best reach these listeners and find new fans? We compiled some examples of fantastic audiobook promotions we’ve seen authors implement, and hope this helps you when brainstorming how to promote your own audiobooks or advising your authors on how to promote theirs!
1. Announce an upcoming audiobook launch
Before an audiobook launch, build buzz by announcing the fact that there will be an audiobook, or even who the narrators will be. Getting an audiobook produced is exciting, so make a big splash with the news!
Author Adam Silvera announced on Twitter who the voice actors would be for What If It’s Us, co-written with Becky Albertalli. He included an eye-catching graphic and a link to a post where readers could learn more.
2. Announce when the audiobook is available
Making sure readers know an audiobook is available is an important step. Even with the rise of audiobook popularity, its availability is inconsistent. And sometimes an audiobook will launch simultaneous to the print and/or ebook editions, while other times, the audiobook comes later. So don’t assume that your readers will know about it!
Jenika Snow created a custom graphic to announce that audio versions of two of her books from The Underground Series were now available. She also included links in the Instagram caption for people to copy and paste.
3. Discount the audiobook and run a Chirp promotion
Just like discounting ebooks, discounting audiobooks is an effective way to quickly generate a high volume of sales and reach new listeners. Authors and publishers can now run audiobook price promotions on Chirp — similar to how BookBub Featured Deals work for ebooks! With Chirp, listeners can sign up for their favorite audiobook genres, and each day they’ll receive an email with a fresh selection of limited-time audiobook deals they can purchase à la carte directly from Chirp. Authors and publishers alike are already driving exciting sales for their audiobook deals!
To be eligible for a Chirp deal, your audiobook needs to be available for sale on Chirp via the Findaway catalog. To learn more about working with Findaway, click here. Once your audiobook is available through Findaway, you can submit it for a Chirp deal from your BookBub Partner Dashboard. If your audiobook is selected for promotion, Chirp sets up the discount for you, making the process super easy!
Dale Mayer ran a $0.99 deal to Chirp’s Mysteries & Thrillers members for the first audiobook in her mystery series, Arsenic in the Azaleas. This promotion generated over 3,300 audiobook sales! And since Dale’s entire series is also on Chirp, listeners could easily purchase the next audiobook to find out what happens next.
Want to submit your audiobook for a Chirp promotion? The submission form is now open to all BookBub partners! Click here to submit an audiobook now!
4. Tell newsletter subscribers about audiobook discounts
If you’re discounting an audiobook, whether it’s a Chirp deal or otherwise, let your newsletter subscribers know about the discount. You might turn some loyal readers into loyal audiobook listeners!
Liliana Hart included a section in one of her newsletters to promote the audiobook discount of Shadows and Silk to $1.99, and included a button linking to the audiobook on Chirp.
5. Add audiobook retailer links to your website
An author website can be a useful sales tool. Many sites include a page listing all of an author’s published books — or an individual page for each book — including links so readers can easily purchase at their preferred retailer. Consider also adding audiobook retailer links to these pages.
M. Louisa Locke has a dedicated page on her website for each of her books, and includes a button to each retailer in each available format (ebook, paperback, and audiobook).
6. Upload audiobook excerpts to SoundCloud
SoundCloud is the world’s biggest open audio platform, letting anyone upload their own music or audio. (On Twitter, it’s common to see “check out my SoundCloud” or “I don’t have a SoundCloud, but…” as a quick promotional follow-up after a tweet blows up). But this isn’t just a platform for musicians! You can also use SoundCloud to host excerpts of your audiobooks and link to the retailer page where listeners can buy the full book.
Author J.F. Penn has uploaded plenty of audiobook excerpts to her SoundCloud. She categorized them under the hashtag #Audiobooks so she can reach relevant readers on SoundCloud.
It’s easy to embed the clip on your website or share it on social media.
Publishers have also been using this strategy for years, for a wide variety of genres!
7. Send newsletter subscribers an audiobook sample
Just like you’d include a one-chapter excerpt of a novel in a newsletter, you can also include an audiobook sample! It’s a great way to get potential listeners hooked.
Marissa Meyer included an audio sample of her book Supernova in her newsletter. We love how she made it look like the audio clip was embedded and playable in the newsletter — it’s actually just a screenshot image that links to the right page on SoundCloud!
BookFunnel recently launched a tool that lets authors share audio excerpts, too!
8. Run BookBub Ads to promote the audiobook
BookBub Ads lets advertisers market any book at any time to BookBub’s millions of power readers — including audiobooks! These ads appear in dedicated spaces in BookBub’s daily emails, on BookBub’s website, and now in Chirp emails. Many authors and publishers have successfully promoted their audiobooks via this platform.
Audiobook targeting for BookBub Ads campaigns isn’t available to all partners yet. Please contact us if you’d like access to this new feature!
Once you have access to target audiobook listeners with your ad campaign, start by selecting Audiobook listeners in the new “Select Reading Format” section of the BookBub Ads set-up form:
The retailer links you enter in the “Click-Through Links” section determine which segment of listeners your ad is targeting and where it is eligible to appear. If you enter a Chirp URL, your ad will target listeners who use Chirp to buy audiobooks, and can appear in Chirp emails, BookBub emails, or on BookBub.com. If you enter URLs for other audiobook retailers (we currently support links for Apple Audiobooks, Audible, Google Play Audiobooks, Kobo Audiobooks, and Nook Audiobooks), your ad will target BookBub members who use those audio retailers, and can appear in BookBub emails or on BookBub.com.
Here are several fantastic examples of the creative authors have designed to promote their audiobooks via BookBub Ads. Some of these ads include a visual indicator that the ad is specifically for an audiobook, using earbud or headphone imagery or even an audio icon next to the call-to-action.
All advertisers will be able to target audiobook listeners with their BookBub Ads campaigns soon, but in the meantime, please contact us to request access to this new feature.
9. Show off the audiobook unboxing
If you receive physical audiobooks from your publisher (or that you’ve self-published), show off an unboxing photo or video on social media! Sharing your excitement can help get fans excited, too.
When A. G. Howard received a box of audiobooks for Stain from her publisher, she shared her excitement in this Instagram post. She also included a link in her bio where followers could listen to a sample.
10. Share a behind-the-scenes look from production
Readers often appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at an author’s writing and publishing process, and that includes the audiobook production process! You can either post sneak peeks during production, or save some photos to use after the audiobook’s release.
Mannette Morgan shared a photo of her recording her own audiobook, with a genuine, heartfelt caption!
11. Create an inventory of audiobook photography
Just like you might stage photos of your hardcover, paperback, or ebook for #bookstagram, consider taking photos of the audiobook. There’s even a hashtag for #audiobookstagram! This can help spread awareness that an audio edition is available, and can appeal to social media followers who’d prefer to listen. You can also use props that clearly represent audio, like a headset, headphone cord, or mic.
Penny Reid posted this gorgeous photo of her audiobook Beard With Me, using the print editions of that title and the rest of her series in the backdrop.
12. Share exciting audiobook accolades
If your audiobook is nominated for or wins any awards, gets a glowing review from a major publication (or from a blogger who tags you), or is featured on a list, share the news with your readers and on social media! It’s a great chance to build hype for the audiobook.
When On the Come Up was featured on a “Best Audiobooks” list, Angie Thomas shared the news on Twitter and included a graphic so the post would stand out in followers’ feeds.
13. Ask readers to request your audiobook at their library
Requesting an audiobook (or a book in any format) at a local library is a great way for people to support their favorite authors, making the audiobook more readily available to a regional audience. So in your next newsletter or on social media, consider asking your fans to request your audiobook at their local library! You can even make it part of your preorder campaign.
Christina June set up an entire “Library Preorder Campaign” where instead of offering a gift in exchange for a preorder, she offered the gift in exchange for a library request. While this wasn’t an audiobook-specific promotion, she mentioned the audiobook format — otherwise readers might not think to request that format, too!
How have you promoted your audiobook to reach new listeners? Share your tips on marketing audiobooks in the comments below!
Diana Urban is the Industry Marketing Manager at BookBub, and was previously the Head of Conversion Marketing at HubSpot. She's an expert in inbound marketing and lead generation. Diana is also an author of dark, twisty thrillers, including All Your Twisted Secrets (HarperTeen, 3/17/2020). Follow her on Twitter at @DianaUrban.