How to sell audiobooks (+ helpful marketing tips)

How to sell audiobooks (+ helpful marketing tips)

Thanks to the rise of podcasts, we’re now experiencing an audiobook boom. So, if you’ve already published or self-published a book, the chances are high that you are missing out on an entirely new audience that only listens to audiobooks.

The market for digital and print books is becoming a bit over-saturated, while the audiobook market is still full of possibilities. Plus, recording audiobooks isn’t the same as writing books—it can be a great evening or weekend gig to earn some extra money or build a modest passive income.

Are you ready to give it a go? Then, read on and learn everything you need to know about how to make money selling audiobooks.

How much can you make selling audiobooks?

The 2020 VRR research shows that the audiobook industry is expected to surpass $15 billion by 2028. It means that now is the best time to secure your spot in the market. In general, your income will mostly depend on two factors: product pricing and marketing strategies. I’ll cover both of them in more detail.

Who listens to audiobooks
Data source

According to Time magazine and Goodreads, here are the main reasons why listeners enjoy audiobooks:

  • People tend to perceive information better while listening.
  • More than half of audiobook listeners claim that, when compared to reading, they’ve managed to finish more books.
  • You can multitask while listening to audiobooks.
  • The majority of podcast listeners (another growing industry) eventually turn to audiobooks.
  • More publishers choose to go straight to audio as audiobook sales are increasing.

Genres that are good for audiobooks

It’s a no-brainer that releasing an audiobook in the popular category will help you achieve maximum exposure. 

But, what are the types of audiobooks that people tend to appreciate? 

Generally, most fiction genres are good for audiobooks, but here are the most popular:

  • Mystery/Crime
  • Thrillers/Suspense
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Young adult
  • Comedy
Sellfy audiobook example
Audiobook genre example: Sellfy store McCantellay sells a post-apocalyptic thriller novel

Also, non-fiction genres like:

  • Autobiographies/Memoirs
  • Self-help
  • Health and Fitness
  • Business
  • Psychology

There are types of books that I wouldn’t recommend turning into audiobooks:

  • Cookbooks
  • Image-heavy books
  • DIY/”How-to” instructional books
  • Short Fiction

How to sell audiobooks online

Selling audiobooks is not as complicated as it may seem. It requires just a few steps: choose the right book, record the audiobook (you can do it yourself or hire professional narrators) and edit the recording, pick the right platform to sell your audiobook, and finally promote your audiobook.

1. Produce an audiobook

You’ve already published an eBook? Great!

But, if you don’t have a book yet, the good news is that you don’t need to become a writer to sell audiobooks online.

Hear me out.

You can use resources like PLR to get ready-to-sell eBooks, turn them into audiobooks and start selling them to your audience. This way, you don’t have to spend time writing the book yourself and can skip directly to the good part. You can also record audiobooks of existing work in the public domain.

PLR

How to record your audiobook

As I mentioned earlier, there are two ways to record an audiobook:

  • Hire a professional narrator
  • Record and edit the audiobook yourself

A professional narrator that works with a publisher or an agency, on average, will cost you around $150/hour. But, you can save some money, if you look for a freelancer on Voices, Upwork, or Fiverr. Most freelancers will ask for less than $500 for the whole process, depending on the length. 

Self-recording an audiobook has always been associated with big upfront costs due to the high prices of recording equipment. Now, most of us have more advanced technology at hand than many recording professionals had access to just 10 or 15 years ago. So, all you need to record your own audiobook is a computer (or even a smartphone) and a corded microphone.

Once you’ve decided on your recording equipment, you’ll need a quiet place for the recording process. But, free recording and editing software like Audacity can be helpful by removing almost any background noise in post-production.

Sellfy Tip
It’s better to prepare your book before you start recording—remove images, links, unnecessary notes, or anything else that won’t make sense in the audio version. You don’t want to get distracted while reading through the text.

2. Start selling your audiobook with Sellfy

Once you’ve recorded and edited your audiobook, it’s time to find the best way to sell it. 

When it comes to audiobook distribution, you could try services like Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to publish your work on leading online audiobook marketplaces like Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. But, you need to be ready for ACX and other audiobook publishers to take around 60% of your sales income in royalties and other fees. 

To recoup those fees, it’s highly recommended to also list your audiobook for sale on your own website or blog. An eCommerce platform like Sellfy is a great option for you to have complete control over your audiobook sales without hidden fees or regulations. With Sellfy, you’ll not only be able to sell from your online audiobook store but also integrate it into an existing website or a blog.

Sellfy audiobook store example
Sellfy audiobook store example: Rattling Books of Newfoundland & Labrador

So, if you want to set up a fully customizable and mobile-friendly online store for your audiobooks and receive instant payments, then you’ll love Sellfy.

Sellfy has everything you need to create an online store:

  • File security
  • Unlimited storage 
  • Unlimited bandwidth 
  • File size up to 10 GB
  • Clean checkout
  • Built-in marketing tools
  • Optimized downloads

Sounds great, right? Here’s how to sell audiobooks with Sellfy:

Set up a Sellfy store

  1. Start with a 14-day free trial before you choose a subscription plan. All you need is a valid email address.
  2. Next, go to your dashboard’s Products section, choose Digital product, click Add new product and upload your audiobook.
  3. Add the synopsis and cover art, set a price, hit Save product, and your audiobook will be live in your online store!
  4. You can customize the look of your online store by choosing one of Sellfy’s premade themes, or create a unique design from scratch with Sellfy’s Store Customizer

Embed the audiobook on your website

Once you finish the setup, you can use Sellfy’s embed feature to sell audiobooks on your website or blog!

Sellfy offers three embed options:

  • Buy now—a simple button that can be paired with your site design, product images, and description. 
  • Single product—this will feature your audiobook on your site along with the description, a Buy Now button, and cover images. 
  • All products—you can integrate the entire product module in case you’re featuring more than one product.
sellfy embed options
Sell audiobooks with Sellfy’s embed feature.

Choose the right pricing for your audiobook

Usually, audiobooks are more expensive than digital or printed versions of the same book.

There’s a simple explanation for that.

Audiobook production has slightly different cost-generating factors than digital or printed book publishing. For instance, the average length of a novel is between 70,000 and 120,000 words, which translates to anywhere between 10-20 hours of narration. This, plus the time and money spent on post-production and equipment, heavily influences the selling price.

Of course, if you decide to narrate and edit the audiobook yourself you don’t need to invest as many resources, except for your time. In that case, it’s recommended to choose a pricing strategy where the price for an audiobook is determined by its length:

Audiobook price range

Personally, I’d recommend you to use this strategy, as choosing the market average price can help you cut through the competition, especially when your competitors are popular, and have a solid reputation. 

Market your audiobooks to drive more sales

The key to selling more copies of your audiobooks and eventually generating passive income is a clever marketing strategy. Lucky for you, Sellfy offers a great set of built-in marketing tools to help you come up with a marketing plan.

Sellfy dashboard — Marketing features
Promote audiobooks with Sellfy’s marketing features.

Apart from that, there are other steps you can take to better promote your audiobook:

1. Share free copies of your audiobook

Right after publishing your audiobook, you can share the coupon codes for free copies with book reviewers, podcast hosts, YouTube creators, and other influencers. Getting positive reviews will help you kickstart your book’s promotion.

With Sellfy’s Coupons & Discounts feature, you can easily issue as many promotional codes as you need. The feature allows you to offer free copies, create special discounts, run sales, and so much more!

Sellfy Discount & Coupon code feature
Overview of Sellfy’s Coupons & discounts features.

2. Request an audiobook review

Requesting a review for your audiobook is an excellent way to get more exposure to your target audience. This one is a no-brainer—the audience who reads the reviews are usually the same people who buy and listen to audiobooks.

Here’s a list of the best audiobook reviewers:

3. Make sure to promote your audiobook on all platforms

The fact that you’re selling audio files allows you to use bits of your audiobooks in many different ways.

For example, you could try sharing small sound clips from your book on social media. Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Soundcloud are especially good for audio.

You also need to make sure to add information about your audiobook on resources like Goodreads and other audiobook websites.

4. Upsell your audiobook by discounting the eBook

It’s always a great idea to sell an eBook version together with your audiobook. This way you can offer your customers the audiobook version for less if they get the eBook first. This can be easily done with the help of Sellfy’s Upselling feature.

Upselling is a sales tactic where the customer is offered an additional item once they’ve added one to their cart, often at a discount. For example, you can slash the price for the eBook down to $1.99 or even make it free. With the help of Sellfy’s upselling feature, the customers who chose to buy the discounted eBook will get an additional offer to get an audio version for just $10. This way your customers are getting a really good deal and you don’t have to discount your audiobook—it’s a win-win!

 

5. Use your email list or start building one

As with any book marketing, your email list will be one of your biggest assets.

Sellfy offers a powerful email marketing tool that will not only help you send out custom newsletters to your customers but also target specific audiences. You can choose between four customizable email campaign templates: product launch, product discount, product update, and custom message. You’ll also see statistics about each campaign that you run, like open rate, click rate, and so much more. 

Sellfy Email marketing feature
Overview of Sellfy’s Email marketing features.

Here are some strategies to keep in mind for your next audiobook launch:

  • Get your audience hyped for the launch day by letting them know that your book is coming out soon. You could also share the production status and share a few free samples on social media.
  • Send the announcement on the launch day to let your audience know that your book is now available for purchase.
  • Send premium email content to increase audience engagement. For example, behind the scenes, interviews, blog posts, online quizzes, infographics, product videos, etc.
  • Separate eBook readers from audiobook listeners as they are two completely different customer groups. You can use Sellfy’s Email marketing tool to segment your audience.

Over to you

As you can see, you don’t really need that much to sell audiobooks online. Just keep our guide at hand and follow these simple steps to figure out what works best for you and your business. With Sellfy’s built-in marketing tools and tips, we believe you can make anything happen.

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Aleksey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Sellfy. He loves using language and the power of words to make even the driest eCommerce topics fascinating. Using his degree in literary studies and passion for the latest trends, he creates well-researched and structured content to inspire other people and help them grow their eCommerce business.