Posts Tagged Readers

Consider the Audio-book Alternative

Friday, June 8th, 2018 | Permalink

How often do you read books? How often do you listen to ’em? Do you prefer one communication method over the other?

These are some of the questions Marshall Davis of Davis Sound, LLC, addressed in his presentation to the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime monthly meeting at St Peder’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Tuesday evening (June 5, 2018). Previously an engineering manager for Seagate Technology, Davis launched his audio recording, video production, and editing services company in April, 2012. Since then he and the rest of the country have experienced exponential growth in the production of audio books, roughly 20-30 percent per year over the last five years, to become “the fastest growing part of the publishing industry.”

Despite his personal involvement in the business, his presentation provided a reasoned, cost-benefit approach to authors considering whether or not to market their books in audio format. Besides weighing the pros and cons of the flat-rate (potentially larger return) versus the royalty approach (no upfront costs) investment approach, he discussed the benefits of hiring a professional reader and, most significantly, provided an estimated cost analysis for a professional company like his to produce a completed audio book based on the number of words needed to be read.

While many in the audience, myself included, calculated in their heads or on scratch sheets whether such a production outlet might prove feasible for their latest opus, Davis added that the ultimate success or failure of such a venture depended upon a variety factors. Among these he included genre (memoirs provide the smallest percentage of overall sales; thrillers the highest), distributor arrangements (Amazon-owned Audible is the largest distributor by far, but there are others), high and low volume/revenue percentages based on hard cover/paperback sales, and series/bundling potential. Based on an Amazon exclusive agreement, Davis stated “In general, you would need to sell about 300-400 audiobooks to pay for the production cost(s).”

Despite appearing a lucrative revenue source for authors, Davis cautioned that audio book sales represent only three per cent of all titles sold in this country. However, people more than ever (millennials in particular) are “interested in [the] telling of a story.” With decreasing time and patience for involving leisure activities, audio books offer a viable format for authors, producers, and readers alike.

What do you think?

Building Effective Online Author Plaforms

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Permalink

George_Burns_2_Allan_Warren ADoesn’t every author have an online platform? Seems a silly question with all the books being published and their related promotions on Twitter and Facebook. Yet, many of the web sites associated with these writers are unfocused and ineffective according to Michael Kelberer who conducted the local SinC presentation on the topic, March 29, 2014. These web sites promote their books but not their brand, i.e., the potential reader has little or no idea who this author is or what his or her books are about.

Though authors as a group are used to researching the backgrounds for their novels and stories, they aren’t as comfortable researching strategies and techniques for marketing their writing. Urging us to “look at other people doing what I want to do,” Kelberer supplied tips to maximize traffic to an author’s web site, identified online resources to find and retain readers, and surveyed the web sites of a half dozen successful authors.

Though this information was extremely helpful and in many cases, eye-opening in its scope, the most important points he made during his two plus hours boiled down to two, one practical and one philosophic. The practical one was to use your research, visits, travel, and other information related to your books as subject matter for your blog. To keep readers informed and interested in your work, sharing the research and discoveries made along the way helps make authors real people to their readers.

The philosophical point dovetails with the practical: Be consistently true to yourself in your web site and social media presentations. If an author’s goal is to share his or her writing with readers, the web site should reflect the writer’s interest and personality. More than that, doing so forms a bond, a sort of online handshake that this writer is authentic, i.e. that the site reflects his or her writing and world view and are worth a perusal.

Comedian George Burns once said, “Sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” While authors are in the business of spinning yarns and telling lies, if they wish their writing to be read and expect people to pay for the privilege, their presentations of themselves must be sincere and genuine. Their author platforms are the most important part of establishing their online contract with their readers.