Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Smashwords Enters Audiobook Market with Findaway Voices

Smashword Partners with Findaway Voices for Audiobook Production and Distribution
Smashwords today entered the audiobook market via a partnership with Findaway Voices.

Over 100,000 Smashwords authors and publishers now have convenient access to audiobook production and distribution services.  The agreement gives authors and publishers greater control over audiobook pricing, rights, and distribution, and all without exclusivity or lockups.

Effective immediately, you'll notice audiobook creation options integrated into multiple stages of the Smashwords publishing workflow.  The new feature is visible in the Smashwords Dashboard, and also accessible at https://smashwords.com/audiobook.

Start Your Audiobook Production Today

With a single click, you can instantly deliver your ebook and metadata into the Findaway Voices platform, at which point you’ll choose a password for your Findaway Voices account and begin the audio production process.

Your first step is selecting a professional narrator.  You'll answer a short questionnaire at Findaway Voices about your audiobook’s desired emotional tone; the accent, dialect or gender preference for your narrator; the voice style; the heat level of the book; and information about the book’s main characters.

The Findaway Voices casting team will then use this information to recommend a curated list of six to ten professional voice actors for your consideration.  Recommendations will include audio samples and hourly rates for each narrator.  From this list, you can request audition samples where narrators submit sample readings of your book.

There is no cost or obligation during the audition process.

Production begins after you select your narrator and sign off on the production contract.  You will pay production fees directly to Findaway Voices.

To assist your budgeting, here are some rough guidelines:  Fees are based on the number of hours and minutes of the finished production.  Each hour of recorded content comprises roughly 9,000 words, which means a 26,000-word novella might run about three hours and a 100,000-word book would run about 11 hours.  Narrators typically charge between $150 and $400 per finished hour.

Global Audiobook Distribution

When production completes, you'll control all rights to the audiobook.  You'll also have the option to distribute your audiobook to Findaway Voices’ global network of over 20 sales outlets including Apple iTunes, Audible, Scribd, OverDrive and Google Play.

Findaway Voices will pay you directly.

If you already have a professionally produced audiobook, you can visit https://smashwords.com/audiobook to transmit your title's metadata to Findaway Voices, and then you'll see the option to upload your audiobook files to Findaway Voices for distribution.

No Exclusivity or Lockups

There’s no exclusivity or lockup period.  You'll enjoy full control over your choice of distribution outlets.

You can remove your book from Findaway Voices’ distribution network at any time, and can also sell your audiobook anywhere else you please.

You set the price for single copy sales.  The various outlets operate under different sales models (single-copy sales, subscription listens, pay-per-use, etc.), which means the calculation for royalty rates will differ from one channel and sales model to the next. 

When Authors and Publishers Gain Control, Readers Win

When authors and publishers gain greater control over pricing and distribution, new opportunities arise to serve readers.

Audible, the dominant audiobook subscription service, provides subscribers one download credit per month with its $14.95 monthly subscription.  This credit system incentivizes value-conscious subscribers to download longer and more expensive books.

This credit system has the unintended effect of creating a void in the audiobook market for shorter or lower-cost audiobooks.

Thanks to our partnership with Findaway Voices, it’s now more economically feasible for authors and publishers to invest in audiobook production for shorter books, or books that might carry lower prices.

I think this could be a boon for authors, publishers and consumers alike who want to enjoy lower-cost audiobooks, whether we’re talking novellas, shorter non-fiction, free series starters, or erotica.

Why Audiobooks are Exciting

Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment of the publishing market today.

I’ve long been a fan of audiobooks because they free up more hours in the day to enjoy books.  Unlike printed words on paper or screens which require the reader’s undivided attention to read, audiobooks can be enjoyed while the listener performs other tasks, such as when they’re driving their car, cooking a meal or taking a walk.

For the last few years, audiobooks have been the fastest growing segment of the book industry.   Sales for 2017 were up about 20% over the prior year.

Get Started Today

Smashwords authors and publishers can launch audiobook production today by visiting their Smashwords Dashboard or going direct to https://smashwords.com/audiobook.

If you’re not yet publishing with Smashwords, visit our How to Publish and Distribute Ebooks with Smashwords page to learn out our free book publishing and distribution services.  The moment you upload your ebook to Smashwords, you’ll see the option to launch audiobook production.

Happy listening everyone!

Monday, February 5, 2018

New 2018 Edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide Offers 65 Book Marketing Ideas

The new 2018 edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide is now available.

Click to your favorite retailer to download it now for free:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords


You'll learn 65 book marketing ideas ideas to make your book more discoverable and desirable to readers.  Even if you've already implemented some of these ideas, I provide fresh context to make your implementation of these ideas even more effective.

You'll learn how to:
  1. Spend more time writing and less time on marketing
  2. Build your author brand
  3. Drive greater reader word of mouth
  4. Make your book market itself though autopilot marketing
  5. Use preorders to improve marketing efficiency and reader lock-in so your new book is already marketing your next book
  6. Leverage blogs to market your books
  7. Market your ebooks to libraries
  8. Run creative, reader-pleasing promotions with Smashwords Coupons
  9. Earn mainstream media coverage
  10. Partner with fellow authors on over 10 collaborative marketing opportunities
And there's so much more.

The Guide features a new introduction, dozens of new and updated marketing tips, and a new “Deep Dives” section that covers social media strategy for authors, how to work with beta readers, and how to earn free press coverage.

This is my first update since 2013.  The previous edition was 16,000 words.  This new expanded edition is 40,000 words.  I think the continued popularity of the older edition speaks to my unique approach to book marketing.  I emphasize evergreen book marketing strategies that will work for many years to come.  

As readers of this blog may know, before I published this new edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide I first serialized it in audio form on my SMART AUTHOR podcast.  I completed that serialization on January 26 and released the ebook on January 31.

Here's Episode 10 to give you a taste of what this new 2018 edition offers.




Enjoy!

Friday, January 26, 2018

How to Earn Free Press Coverage

Have you ever read a news story or watched a TV interview and thought, "They should have interviewed me for this story!" ?

If so, you're in for a treat with episode 15 of the Smart Author podcast.  This is part six in my six-part audio serialization of the new forthcoming 2018 edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide. 

In this final installment of this marketing series, I teach authors how to earn free press coverage.  Press coverage can dramatically elevate the stature of your author brand and drive more readers to your books.  I also teach you how and when to write a press release, and how best to promote that press release to the media.

This episode draws heavily on my former life in public relations.  I first fell into public relations back in the late '80s while I was still in college (here's the full story).  Later, in 1992, I joined one of the largest Silicon Valley PR firms, and then in late 1993 I left it to found my own PR agency which I ran up until the launch of Smashwords in 2008.

I've always had enormous respect for the power of PR.   PR practitioners use their skills to influence media coverage.  The prospect of self-interested parties influencing the media to influence what people know, think and believe is at once exciting and terrifying. 

It's exciting when good PR helps elevate the stature of good people, good products and important stories.  It's terrifying when PR is used to misrepresent facts, as we see all too often nowadays in the business and political spheres.  The dark side of PR touches our lives every day.  Back when tobacco companies spent millions of dollars to convince consumers that smoking was safe, that was dark PR.  Or in more modern times when large petrochemical companies like Koch Industries fund puppets to sow doubt about climate change, that's an example of dark PR.  Or when Russian-backed trolls create fake news to sow division in Democratic countries and mislead voters, that's another example of dark PR.

In this episode, I teach you how to use PR as a force for good, and that good is to help elevate the stature of your author brand.  You'll learn tips for ethical PR based on facts and honesty.  You'll learn how to leverage your smarts and expertise to help journalists help their readers with your knowledge and news.

It was quite a challenge for me to condense three decades of PR experience into 49 minutes, but I trust this information-packed episode will give you actionable ideas you can incorporate into your book marketing.

Over in the show notes for this episode, you'll find a full written transcript and a mockup of how a good press release should be structured.

Enjoy! 

Here's where to listen and subscribe:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 

Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser) 



Friday, January 19, 2018

Social Media Strategies for Authors

Today in part five of my six-part marketing series, I take a look at social media strategies for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social media is a mixed bag for many authors.  We at once appreciate its power and potential while at the same time curse it for taking time away from writing. 

We appreciate its potential to help authors forge closer relationships with readers yet at the same time we curse it for fostering tribalism, echo-chamber thinking, fake news and trolling.

In short, social media brings out the best in people but also the worst.


If you've been active on social media for the last decade, then much of what I share you'll already know.  But if you're feeling alienated or unfulfilled by social media, or are starting to question how best to use it without sucking your soul dry, then I think the social media strategies I share will inspire you to forge a healthier relationship with the three most popular social media platforms. 

Some of the topics I discuss include:
  • Seven tips for social media success
  • The four types of Twitter users, and how most of us are (and should be) a blend of multiple types
  • My personal Twitter strategy, and why no one strategy is right for every author
  • Not sure how to conduct yourself on Twitter?  Hear my eight Twitter etiquette tips
  • Facebook: how the most powerful social media platform holds your followers hostage
  • How authentic should you be on Facebook?
  • The struggle to balance authenticity with the potential for alienation
  • How LinkedIn can work for non-fiction authors
  • How every author can use LinkedIn to further their professional development
  • Four tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn

If you'd like to connect with me on any of these platforms, here are my direct links:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/markcoker
Facebook:  https://facebook.com/markcoker
LinkedIn:  https://linkedin/in/markcoker

Coming up next on Smart Author, I wrap up my six-part audio serialization of the 2018 edition of the Smashword Book Marketing Guide with episode 15.  You'll learn how to earn free press coverage to build your author brand and generate more demand for your books.

If you're just now discovering my six-part marketing series, I suggest you start with part one which was episode 10.

Here's where to listen and subscribe:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 

Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser) 









Friday, January 12, 2018

25 Book Promotion Tips - Part Four in the Smart Author Podcasts Six-Part Series on Book Marketing

Today in Episode 13 of the Smart Author podcast, I present part four in my six-part series on book marketing.

In this episode, I share 25 book promotion tips.

The tips are presented in logical order to roughly correspond to the different stages of a book’s marketing - from pre-launch to launch to post-launch, but most can be implemented in any order at any stage of an author's publishing journey. 

Some of the topics covered include:

  • How you can use preorders to keep loyal readers on your train
  • How to find and engage in specialized communities where your prospective readers are hanging out
  • How to leverage blogs to build your author brand and collaborate with fellow indie authors, plus how to organize a blog tour
  • How to use Smashwords Coupons to build readership, engage with readers and incentivize list-building
  • ... and much more.

If you haven't yet listened to my series on book marketing, I recommend you start with Episode 10 of the Smart Author podcast, which was part one in this series.

Next week's episode will explore social media strategies for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Here's where to listen and subscribe:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 

Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser) 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Autopilot Book Marketing

The majority of your readership will come from readers who stumbled across your book.

Maybe the reader was looking for a book like it.  Or maybe they weren’t even looking for a book but found your book on their path to somewhere else.

Now imagine your book as a stationary beacon, buried deep in a forest of millions of other books.  How can you equip your book to continually transmit its location and attributes so that those who might enjoy it are drawn to it, even if they’re not looking for it?

And then how do you ensure that once you draw a reader to your book, they leave your book a converted evangelist, ready to proselytize their passion for it to their fellow readers on the book discovery trail.

This is the idea behind autopilot marketing.  In today's new episode 12 of the Smart Author podcast, I present 17 tips that will help you put some the most important aspects of your book marketing on autopilot.

You'll learn learn how to leverage your book to sell more books, grow your platform faster, and spend less time on marketing and more time on writing. 

It's part three in my six-part audio serialization of the new 2018 edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.
Give it a listen at any of the find podcast sources below.

Happy New Year!


Listen and Subscribe to Smart Author

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 

Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser)