If you’re one of the millions of readers who regularly consume audiobooks every year, congratulations are in order: you’ve set the publishing industry abuzz. That’s because you’ve helped make audiobooks the fastest-growing business opportunity for publishers and authors in the industry today. And with the market — valued at 2.67 billion dollars in 2019 — and consumer demand only continuing to grow, virtually every author should ask themselves: “should I turn my book into an audiobook?”
To help you answer that question and determine if an audiobook is right for you and your publishing goals, we’ve got you covered! Here are 5 key reasons audiobooks are such a powerful tool for today’s modern author:
- Audiobooks Unlock a New Audience
A caveat before we go any further: print is not dead. Despite the rising popularity of audiobooks, the majority of readers continue to prefer the tactile pleasures of reading print editions or the convenience and ease of eBooks.
That being said, audiobooks should absolutely not be slept on. Simply put: there’s a huge audience of readers that will not otherwise experience your book unless you have it available in the medium of audio.
Anyone with a smartphone can now, at the push of a button, download and begin listening to your book from anywhere in the world. And although eBooks can be read on a mobile phone or an eReader, your reader is required to be visually dedicated and captivated by the medium. Audiobooks allow your book to be “read” while your audience is walking their dog, running errands, commuting to work, or doing laundry. Listening is far easier to fit into their daily routine because they’re not captive to a screen or physical book. For the book-obsessed, this is a revelation.
Though many people may not feel that they have time to sit down and read in our accelerated digital age, the explosive growth of the audiobook market demonstrates that people do have time to listen.
- Audiobooks Establish Brand Credibility
Writing a book is often an excellent way to drive interest, establish credibility, and grow a personal or professional brand (to name just a few of the myriad benefits). But if you’re a consultant, coach, thought leader, or even a memoirist, there are some intriguing advantages to audiobook narration that are difficult to replicate on the page.
When your audience is hearing your words spoken in your own voice, it serves to establish your “voice brand.” All the values that your story, business, or product signify will rapidly become synonymous with the sound of your voice. When possible, we highly recommend an author of a nonfiction business book or memoir consider narrating their book as the voice brand can be a powerful differentiator.
Another tangential benefit: if you’re ever heard on other media like podcasts, television, or radio, you will have established a voice that is recognizable. When the book is being listened to, your voice is already familiar to the listener, which in turn creates a warmer, trusting, and more emotionally resonant experience.
- Audiobooks Deepen Your Emotional Connection with Your Readers
One of the first ways in which we experience narrative text is through the stories we were read as children. Regardless of the genre of the book, being read to is a very natural and human way to experience a narrative.
Audiobooks in all genres appeal to this subconscious process, but there are other ways for authors to tap into the emotional and intimate nature of the audiobook medium — particularly those sharing a personal story.
Memoirs greatly benefit from the story being relayed verbally by the person who experienced it firsthand. If you’ve written a story about your life journey — perhaps a recovery story, or overcoming difficult circumstances — the driving force that caused you to write the book is often quite emotional. The act of reading it yourself (as opposed to hiring a narrator) can propel that emotional connection forward and enrich the author-reader relationship.
- Audiobooks Boost Your Author Platform and Your Book’s Marketability
Audiobooks provide authors with an additional revenue stream and plenty of exciting new promotional opportunities.
For example, audiobooks can help you promote the physical and eBook editions of your book. Some readers will start with the audiobook and subsequently purchase the print or eBook edition because they want to be able to experience that content visually — or even simultaneously listen while they read.
Audiobooks are also “moving media” that you can use to promote your book digitally, in media pitch kits, and on social media. Moving media — for instance, a clip from your audiobook set to minimal video accompaniment — is more engaging and dynamic than “static media” like still images. If you’re courting TV, radio, or podcast producers, including a link to an exciting audiobook clip can give the booking agent a fuller sense of your voice (if you’re narrating it), your book’s subject matter, and why you’d be a good fit for their program.
Furthermore, there’s an undeniable “halo effect” or perception boost authors generate when your book is available in many different formats. It telegraphs to readers and potential clients that you have a well-developed author platform and that you should be taken seriously.
- Audiobooks Make Your Book More Accessible
It’s unlikely that everyone who might love your book learns and retains information the same way. Some people are more effective auditory learners, or will retain more content when it’s spoken. Augmenting your author platform with an audio product not only unlocks another audience that wouldn’t otherwise have consumed it, but there are people who simply prefer it because it’s easier for them to understand what they’re listening to rather than reading it on a page.
It’s also wise to consider the idea of accessibility. People with visual impairments can only listen to books, in many cases. Rather than rely on robotic-sounding text-to-speech programs to do the job, a professionally produced audiobook ensures your story and your message is transmitted in the highest possible quality to a group of people who need an audio format.
Book discoverability takes many forms, and any advantage that helps you grow your readership should be considered. It might just be time for you to hit ‘record’!
Brian Cliffen is a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at FriesenPress, North America’s premier publishing services provider. Since 2009, FriesenPress has helped thousands of authors self-publish their books with professional support. From editing and book design to distribution and promotion, we help writers self-publish and succeed. Contact us at 1-800-792-5092 or download our free Author’s Guide to learn more!