Power Book Publicity Tips Newsletter February 2014

SOUND AFFECTS: What You Need to Know About Audiobooks and Audio Samples of Books

Ever wondered how audiobook samples could affect your book marketing campaign and submission review process? I’d like to share a recent experience and discuss how it pertains to publishing industry trends and the way literary works are being consumed.

A New York City author and I recently had a discussion about audiobook technology, self-publishing options, book publicity and marketing. Our conversation focused specifically on ways to open doors, break through the clutter, gain more exposure, generate interest and spark sales of her latest work.

We decided to create a promotional audio version of her new book to be utilized in the publicity pitch and presentation initiatives targeting agents and publishers. After thorough review of her entire book, we chose some select excerpts for recording which best represented the work and complemented her existing marketing plan. The process took three days and the end result was a professionally produced selection of audio samples that have been incorporated into her outreach campaign. Her publicist was ecstatic to receive such a marketing tool and extolled its virtues as part of the DPK (Digital Press Kit). The author is equally excited. “I’m using the audiobook samples in my social media marketing. It’s on my website, Facebook, YouTube and generating hundreds of likes and followers.”

Whether you’re a new author, a novice or accomplished writer, it is time to rethink your approach to the changing landscape and examine the affects of audio as a promotional tool. If you’re an agent or publishing industry professional searching for new material, consider the fact that you can now multitask or simply take a break from reading and continue to review submissions.

Five reasons to produce audio samples:

  1. Audio files can be easily emailed and placed on websites for download or streaming
  2. Key for social media engagement
  3. Cost effective way to provide multimedia samples
  4. Enables agents/publishers to multitask while reviewing submissions
  5. Demonstrates a high level of commitment

Current media substantiates the value of audiobooks and the decline of the ebook format.

From an industry trending standpoint, a December 2013 New York Times article stated, “Sales of e-books, once hailed as the industry’s savior, have also slowed recently. And readers of literary fiction have been shown to be more likely to skip pages or stop reading than readers of genre fiction.”

An Audio Publishers Association 2012 survey of a targeted consumer group revealed that digital ebook readers would welcome additional format layers including audio.

A recent Wall Street Journal article stated, “The digital revolution may have dealt a heavy blow to print, but it is boosting literacy in other unexpected ways by fueling the explosive growth of audio books. Digital innovation isn't just changing the way audio books are created, packaged and sold. It's starting to reshape the way readers consume literature, creating a new breed of literary omnivores who see narrated books and text as interchangeable."

Down the road you may choose to forego traditional print and ebook formats altogether and launch your book exclusively on digital audio. Content is increasingly being created specifically for the digital audiobook format. The Wall Street Journal reported, “British novelist David Hewson released his new mystery, The Flood straight to audio with no print edition.” Mr. Hewson says he hasn't shopped the novel to print publishers yet.  Hewson has discovered that writing for audio requires different techniques from prose writing. Word repetition becomes glaringly obvious. So do unintentional rhymes. Location changes have to be telegraphed at the beginning of the scene, so that listeners aren't confused. “Complex sentences, long subordinate clauses—they don't work, people get bored and confused by them,” he says. “You’re looking for the writing to disappear so that all people hear is the story.”

BEWARE. Dusting off your cassette player, purchasing Radio Shack’s finest microphone (no disrespect intended, I own a Radio Shack mic but only for talkback with narrators!) holing up in your linen closet and patching it through GarageBand is NOT the way to approach audiobook recording. It is a demanding, highly refined process requiring specialized (expensive!) hardware and software. Audiobooks must be recorded in a totally soundproof environment by skilled voice actors and be edited, proofed and mastered professionally or it will immediately be apparent that the effort was lackluster at best.

Statistics show that audiobook mp3 downloads are growing at a dizzying pace and audiobook sales have ballooned into a $1.2 billion dollar industry. It is time to acknowledge industry shifts and seriously examine audiobook self-publishing as a viable alternative to ebook self-publishing. Production costs have plunged, there are no manufacturing or packaging costs incurred and from the end user standpoint anyone with a smartphone, iPod, iPad, tablet or computer (pretty much all of us!) can download and listen to anything with the touch of a finger. It is vital to recognize the impact audiobook samples can have on your early stage marketing and overall success. The demand is rising; you simply need to provide the supply.

by Philip DuBois

Philip DuBois is the owner of a ProTools/FinalCutPro creative media agency specializing in audiobook production. He has hundreds of audiobook credits including four AudioFile Earphone award winners. Philip can be contacted at

Referenced Links:


Tips to Use Editorial Calendars to Get Media Coverage for You and Your Book

Magazine editorial calendars are a valuable resource for authors as they tell you exactly what topics they will be covering. This enables you to research future feature stories that may tie in to your book and/or expertise you can share.

Plan ahead. Magazine editors typically work on their articles four to six months ahead of the publication date, and therefore are selecting their experts, quotes, story ideas, etc. months in advance with firm deadlines.

Check out links to editorial calendars. Below are a few examples of well-known magazine editorial calendars and/or media kits. Click on the magazine title for more information. Please note some of the calendars have not yet been updated for all of 2014.

Pitching the editor. Once you’ve found topic of interest, contact the appropriate editor at the magazine. There are two ways to do this:

  • make a direct pitch to the editor (almost always through e-mail) with a press release and/or bullet points about your expertise and book, and offer a review copy of your book, or
  • proactively send a copy of your book with a pitch and press release, and then follow up by e-mail.

Make your pitch short and snappy–less is typically more and for e-mails, compelling, concise subject lines are crucial! When pitching via e-mail, include your press release below your signature line. If you proactively send your book, use the same pitch in a letter and attach your press release. Staple a business card in your book or contact information in case your book is separated from your press material.

Sample pitch

Dear Mr. Jones,

Jason Smith had what he calls a “series of successful business failures.” He learned from every one (all five of them), and eventually turned a simple idea for a one dollar consumer product into a $5 million a year business.

Jason’s story would be a great fit for the “How I Did It” feature you’ll be covering in the June edition of Inc.

I’d be happy to send you a copy of Jason’s new book, Failure for Fortune, and/or to set up a time for you to speak with him.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,


Press release

Links to Examples of Magazine Editorial Calendars

General/Book Interest:

AARP The Magazine


Publisher’s Weekly

Rolling Stone

Business and finance:


Fast Company



Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Family Lifestyle:


The Family Handyman

Family Circle


 Popular Culture:


Us Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

 Women’s Interest:


Vanity Fair

O, The Oprah Magazine


Real Simple






Better Homes and Gardens

Good Housekeeping

Women’s Day

Ladies’ Home Journal

 Men’s Interest:

ESPN The Magazine


 Self-help/ healthy lifestyle:

Food Network Magazine



 Science and technology:

National Geographic

Popular Science


Display Your Book at the 43rd Annual London Book Fair

Showcase your book at The London Book Fair April 8-10, 2014.

In 2013, more than 25,000 people from 114 countries from all areas of publishing (authors, book buyers, agents, publishers, editors, librarians, distributors and many more) attended the London Book Fair.  The book fair was so popular in 2013 it was a trending topic on Twitter for four days.

The New Title Showcase remains a very accessible and valuable way to have your book prominently displayed through Combined Book Exhibit. The $275 price includes display of one book and a listing in Combined Book Exhibit’s exclusive catalog. It’s a cost-effective way to get your book in front of the publishing industry!

For more information about having your book displayed through Smith Publicity’s partnership with Combined Book Exhibit at a reduced rate, visit our frequently asked questions page.

To register, send an email to or call (856) 489-8654 x306.

Registration deadline: February 27, 2014.


Amazon Listing Tip—Marking Reviews as “Helpful”

If there is a reviewer or blogger who posts a review to your Amazon page, mark the review as “helpful.” This will increase the visibility of the review for consumers, and it will also increase the visibility of the blogger/reviewer by encouraging consumers to visit their profiles for other reviews.

For more information about making the most of your Amazon listing, visit our Amazon Optimization service page.


Book Publicity Tips on YouTube

Be sure to check out  Smith Publicity’s YouTube channel.  Helpful videos for authors about:

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