Audiobook Listening Keeps Growing

The June issue of the Christian Indie Publishing Journal, a monthly newsletter for the Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association, featured an article on “Is Your Website Ready for Voice Search?” Voice search is growing and will continue to grow due to smart speakers.

Half of all Americans have listened to an audiobook.

The article cited that around 52 million adult Americans own some kind of a smart speaker such as Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo. The number of U.S. households owning voice-enabled digital assistants is expected to reach 55 percent by 2022.

Voice search is not the only thing that will be affected by the growing number of smart speaker users. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) believes that the increase in smart-speaker penetration will also increase the desire for audio products such as audiobooks as smart speaker penetration among audiobook consumers is nearly twice the U.S. average. Some 42% of audiobook listeners age 18 and older own a smart speaker.

Audiobook listening is on the rise, as supported by data from The Infinite Dial 2019, which shows 50% of Americans age 12 and older have listened to an audiobook. This growth partly due to increased listening in cars. According to the APA survey, 74% of audiobook consumers listen in their car. This makes car listening now the number one audiobook listening location.

With audiobook consumption growing, the market for audiobooks is also growing. More and more small publishers and indie authors are releasing audiobook versions of their books hoping to increase both the reach of their messages and book sales by tapping into this market.

June is Audiobook Month

Releasing an audiobook version of book is a great strategy for broader penetration to consumers. However, releasing an audiobook is not enough. You still have to market your audiobook. Visibility is the key to finding more readers and listeners. You can start with these two steps for increasing the visibility of your audiobook.

1. Link Your Audiobook to Your Print and eBook on Amazon

Having your audiobook linked so that it appears on your book’s page on Amazon—rather than on its own orphan page—helps your audiobook sales. Readers looking for your book can immediately see that it is also offered in audiobook format and some will choose to purchase your book in that format.

Many readers of books who also listen to audiobook use Amazon’s Whispersync technology. Whispersync allows a reader to alternate between an ebook and an audiobook version of a book without breaking stride. This function will only be available for readers who purchase both the ebook and audiobook version if your audiobook is linked to your ebook on Amazon.

If your audiobook is not linked to your print and ebook on Amazon, you can send an email to KDP-support@amazon.com to request an orphaned audiobook page be combined with the page that hosts your print and ebook versions.

2. List Your Audiobook on Goodreads

Add your audiobook edition to your author dashboard on Goodreads. You can do the same for your author profiles on the other book social networking sites like LibraryThing or BookLikes. While you are at it, host a book giveaway of the audiobook version of your book on these sites. Goodreads charges a fee, but authors can still give books away for free on LibraryThing and BookLikes.

Related Posts:
Audiobook Listening on the Rise
Should You Publish an Audiobook?
Five Christian Book Marketing Trends for 2019

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of sik-life.

Good News: Reading Is Still Popular

Reading is still popular. In fact, most people have good intentions about reading!

A study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Rakuten Kobo found that 71% of Americans say they’d like to read more than they currently do. Our busy and distracted lives present barriers to reading more. Survey respondents reported that these main barriers include:

  • Scrolling through social media (49%)
  • Playing games on a phone (30%)
  • Watching TV shows (29%)
  • Sitting in Traffic (28%)
  • Constantly checking their phone (26%)

The good news is that the majority of Americans are still reading. Check out these five findings on books and reading in the United States.

Related Posts:
The Book Industry Is Still Strong
Effective Marketing to a Declining Reading Populace
Is Reading in Trouble?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Using social media to promote your books is a smart marketing strategy. Social media is a great way to gain exposure for you and your books. One survey found that 90% of marketers report that investing in social media has a direct impact on their revenue.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat—with so many to choose from, how do you know where you should spend your time and energy?

Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Which social media platform(s) you choose to spend your time on should be driven by the audience you are trying to reach. However, not all social media sites are great for businesses. According to Social Sprout, people tend to follow brands and companies on some sites more than others. Here is the breakdown:

  • 66% follow brands on Facebook
  • 41% follow companies on Instagram
  • 35% of people follow brands on YouTube
  • 32% follow companies and brands on Twitter
  • 17% connect with brands on Pinterest
  • 14% follow companies on Snapchat
  • 6% follow companies on LinkedIn

Based on these statistics, authors and publishers should choose and focus their time among Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, as these sites have the greatest percentage of users following companies and brands.

To decide which of these channels you should invest the most time in, consider your target audience’s age.

Baby Boomers

If you are trying to reach Baby Boomers (those over 54 years of age), this group prefers Facebook. However, only 37% of people over age 65 use any social media. If this is the age-group you are trying to reach, then you should not spend the bulk of your marketing time and energy on social meda. Stick to more traditional marketing strategies.

Generation X

Surprisingly, Generation X (ages 38 to 54) spends more time on social media each week than Millienials according to Nielson data. This group spent nearly an hour more each week on social media. Facebook has the most Generation X users, followed by Instagram.

Millennials

Millennials (ages 22 to 37) rule Instagram. There are over 30 million Millennials on this social channel. Instagram boosts a higher engagement rate per follower than Facebook does, however, the channel does not allow clickable links in captions.

Over half of all Instagram users are aged 18 to 29.Twitter is another good channel for reaching Millennials. Twitter’s largest segment of users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Generation Z

Generation Z (ages 6 to 21) prefer YouTube over all other social media channels. According to a survey by Visual Objects, YouTube is the most visited website by people age 18 to 24 years.

This generation also likes both Snapchat to Instagram. While there are nearly four million more teens on Snapchat than on Instagram, teenagers appear to use both channels regularly.

You have limited time and energy to spend on marketing and on social media. Choose the channel(s) you use carefully so that you have the greatest exposure to the people you are trying to reach with your message.

Related Posts:
Are You Using Social Media Correctly?
Not Everyone Uses Social Media Correctly
How to Improve Your Social Media Success

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of geralt.

You Must Sow to Reap

One day the phone rang. I picked it up and Ross Perot was on the line. He said, ‘I love your book.‘”

I was talking with a writer who was telling me about a book she published in the 1990s. It was a politically conservative title. She wanted to get the word out about her book, so she mailed copies to a large number of conservative politicians including Ross Perot.

Ross Perot paid attention to this unsolicited book that he received. He read it, liked it, and contacted the author. He then helped this author get additional media coverage for her message.

This author talked about the new book she was hoping to get published and then commented, “Now you have to do your marketing online.

I quickly laid that myth to rest. While there is much talk about author platforms and using social media to promote books, the Internet is not the only marketing strategy an author has at her fingertips.

Much like cold calling, cold mailing is an acceptable marketing practice. Mailing copies of your books to appropriate influencers can pay off.

When my anger management book for teenagers was published, I mailed copies of the book to middle school and junior high school counselors to help spur sales. I also sent copies to counseling center directors. These influencers all worked with the target audience for my book.

I looked at mailing these copies of my books as sowing seeds. The goal was to raise awareness for my book. Farmers know that without sowing seeds, there is no harvest. Seeds grow into plants, and plants produce fruit.

2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of righteousness.” I figured that my job was to sow the seeds, and God’s job was to make those seeds grow.

I believe that when we publish books that bring Glory to God, that He does cause the seeds we sow to grow into a harvest. Sow seeds with your books. Mail copies to influencers and reviewers who can help spread the word about your book.

The Biblical principle that “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6) applies to all areas of life. So, sow your marketing seeds generously.

To seed your marketing efforts, I encourage you to make a list of influencers in your target audience you can give copies of your book to. Then mail some books and trust God to bring a harvest.

Related Posts:
Your Next Big Break
Are You Riding a One-Trick Pony?
Are You Looking for a Formula?

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of skeeze.

Christian Retail Is Not Dead

The movie title proclaimed: God is Not Dead. He isn’t. Nor are Christian bookstores.

This is a good thing. Our country needs Christian stores to shine the light of Christ into our culture. For years, Christian stores have encouraged the discouraged, helped believers grow in their faith, and provided people hope and peace through the Gospel message.

Christian Retail Is Not Dead

The Parable Group, a data-driven Christian marketing agency that connects retailers, products and services to faith-based consumers, conducted a Christian retailer study at the end of 2018. The surveyed 125 Christian retailers for the study.

Amid dismaying news of the demise of Christian bookstores, the study found that some Christian retailers are thriving, even in a climate that has seen the closing of over 400 Christian bookstores in the past three years.

According to the study, point-of-service sales at these brick-and-mortar stores were down three percent in 2018 from 2017. Yet, almost half the stores (48%) experienced either an increase in sales from 2017 or their sales were flat. The study found that those Christian retail stores that regularly sent print promotions to their customers out-performed the stores that did not.

Christian retail is not dead—and the print book is not dead. A few key takeaways from the study that included independent and church bookstores include:

  1. 38% of Christian bookstore sales came from books.

  2. The top five categories of book sales were:

    • Christian Living
    • Devotionals
    • Fiction
    • Women
    • Bible Studies

One point in the study that caught my eye was that Christian retailers report that one of their top three priorities is to discover and order new Christian products. These stores are actively looking for new books that their customers want to read.

Part of the mission of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is to represent independent authors and small publishers in the Christian industry. This is why we have represented our Members books at the major Christian retail show since our inception in 2004. We will continue to provide this service as long as Christian stores need product.

This summer, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) will be representing our Members’ books at the CPE International show (Christian Product Expo). In doing this, we provide our Members an affordable way to present their new books to Christian retailers.

You can read the complete study results at https://www.parablegroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/ChristianRetail_2018_YearInReview.pdf.

Related Posts:
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline
Where Will Christian Books Be Sold?
The Book Distribution Conundrum

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of rev_neil.