As part of our Audiobook Month series with FindAway Voices, we talk to M.K. Williams about the ins and outs of marketing for an audiobook author.
M.K. Williams is an author and independent publisher. She will be talking about her “Marketing Audiobooks” blog series where she outlines marketing essentials for audiobook authors. She has written and published numerous books under her own name and helped several authors realize their dreams of publishing their books as well.
You can learn more about M.K. on her website: https://www.authoryourambition.com
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E.S. Curry, M.K. Williams, Kevin Tumlinson
E.S. Curry 00:02
Welcome everyone to Findaway Voices and Draft2Digital’s series of live author events. Today we have with us my cohost, Kevin Tumlinson. I’m Scott Curry, marketing strategist for Findaway Voices, and our guest today is author and marketing maven M.K. Williams. Welcome, M.K.
M.K. Williams 00:24
Hi. Thanks for having me today.
E.S. Curry 00:26
Awesome. So glad to have you. This is great. So what we’re doing today is a little bit different than what we’ve done in the past series of author live events we’ve had so far this month, celebrating June audiobook month. M.K. has written a series of 12 blog posts, count them, one dozen blog posts, on how to market audiobooks. And she has gone in deep on all things marketing audiobooks. And today she’s going to take us through all of them. Are you ready for this?
M.K. Williams 01:03
And when we were actually brainstorming these, I think we had another like eight or 10. Like we had quite a few more. We’ve kind of narrowed it down here. So yeah, I’ll start with the first. I’m literally going to navigate over to the Findaway Voices blog.
E.S. Curry 01:20
So if you don’t know, the blog’s at findawayvoices.com.
M.K. Williams 01:24
Yeah. And so the very first thing is that, and I just kind of want to give a caveat is, I don’t have a magic potion. I don’t have a silver bullet. There’s no one ne magical thing that you should be doing. There’s no secret that nobody’s in on. In my experience, before I became a full-time author, I actually worked for a major sports marketing brand doing marketing. So I did marketing all day long, I was just trying to get people to sign up for our sporting events. And then when I got home at the end of the day, I didn’t want to market my books, I just wanted to write, I just wanted to play. So I learned a lot of these things for book marketing the hard way, the stubborn way. And a lot of it was taking what I was doing in my day job and like, oh, I have to still do it.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:10
I really want to ask then, how much of what you learned and used in your day job translated over to marketing books and audiobooks?
M.K. Williams 02:20
I would actually say 100% of it, because so much of what we ended up doing in my day job was getting to the basics of like, what is unique about this sporting event? Why should somebody sign up for this versus another one of our events in another location? Or a competitor’s event in the same location? What makes this event unique? And so when I think about my books, and more specifically, my audiobooks, well, what makes this unique? Why should somebody read my book versus a major, bestselling, traditionally published book or another indie author’s book? Or why should somebody listen to my audiobook, as opposed to reading the ebook or reading the print book? And so it’s asking yourself those basic questions of, well, why? And you can have one solid answer to it, you can maybe have three unique positioning statements there. But that was a big theme. And it was also bringing people on the journey. People want to feel like they have a reason to support your business, they have a reason to support your book. And so when I was working for this major sports company, people wanted to feel involved, you know, they were so proud of having participated in these events, they felt connected to a company almost like a family like way, and I was like it’s a company. And so for you as the author, it’s hard sometimes to think of ourselves as like a one person company, but we are. And so for the point of view of bringing people on your journey, you know, they want to have a reason to cheer for you. Maybe they don’t love your genre, but they love you. They love what you share, you know, they’re inspired by you. They look up to you. And so you want to bring them on your journey of creating the book, creating the audiobook, and putting it out there, because you’re developing a better connection. And really, marketing comes down to connections. It comes down to making people feel like they have a reason to keep listening to what you have to say, keep supporting what you’re doing, keep buying your books, keep listening to your audiobooks, and that’s really, that’s the hard part, right? It’s like, well, how do I do that? And there’s a million little ways to do that.
Kevin Tumlinson 04:22
What’s more important to market then? Is it the books, the work, or is it the author?
M.K. Williams 04:31
I’m going to say the author. Because if you think about it, so I’ll give an example. My mom will buy Stephen King’s book the day it comes out. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what, she’s gonna buy it. And also there’s a lot of authors out there where, okay, I like the author, maybe they’re trying something new. Maybe it’s a pretty much a rewrite of their last 10 books. You know, I’m gonna buy it no matter what. And I think as long as people have a reason to believe in the author, and conversely, there’s a very popular author from my childhood that has made some controversial statements of lately. You know what? I don’t wanna read her books anymore. And so regardless of whether I still like the quality of her writing, and I like the stories, I don’t wanna support her anymore. And so I think it comes down to that. And that’s not necessarily to say that authors shouldn’t be speaking their mind, and shouldn’t be putting their thoughts and beliefs into their books. It’s always in our books, but it’s just okay, that’s maybe something I don’t want to support. So I think it always comes down to the author over the book. Now, it’s really tough when you’re starting out as an indie author, nobody knows who you are. So that’s tough. But that’s the kind of, that quiet determination of you’re showing up every day, you’re doing the work, you’re doing the little things. And if you build it, they will come.
Kevin Tumlinson 05:46
Real quick, I want to tell everybody, I’m seeing some really great questions popping up. I know Scott was probably just about to do this, but put your questions in that little questions tab in the bottom right corner so that we can find them later. So great questions, there’s been some really good ones come through, and also hey to all my fellow Texans out there, man, there’s a big bunch of us in this webinar. So anyway, didn’t mean to interrupt. Let’s continue on. Scott, you talk now.
E.S. Curry 06:16
I was just gonna say the same thing. But I think you’re right. I have experience in big brand marketing as well, you know, dealing with global brands and things like that, you know, the author is at the center of it. And especially if you’re an author that writes in multiple genres. We had Jamie Davis on, and he does multiple genres. And he talked about some of those challenges as well. Yeah, it was a great interview. So, those of you that are watching today, go check out the Jamie Davis interview on our YouTube channel. M.K., do you have any advice for any authors that are doing multiple genre stuff? Because this was a topic that, in building your author brand, how do you approach that? Because you do nonfiction and fiction.
M.K. Williams 07:07
Yes. So I have two lists, I have what I call my fiction list. And I have my nonfiction list. So my nonfiction is really around my Author Your Ambition brand, that’s all about how to self-publish, how to market your books, how to go wide, you know, all those things. And so my fiction readers, not all of them want to be authors, not all of them want to be self-published authors. And so I do try to separate that. So I’m going to tell my nonfiction brand, I’m going to tell them about what’s going on in that brand. I’m going to tell them what’s going on in fiction, because it’s like, yeah, I am an author. That’s how I know these things. Here’s how I figured it out. But for my fiction brand, for that list, I’m just telling them about book updates, what I’m working on, what I’m writing. Now, even within my fiction, I write in multiple genres. I know, I know, I should do better. But you know what, like, I want to write what I want to write. And so I just make it really clear. And I say, hey, like this book is sci fi and multiverse action. Like, if you’re into that great, if you are really just here for my like domestic thriller suspense, that book’s still available. I’m not really working on another one. But you know, here’s this, and I always say like, if this isn’t for you, maybe it’s for a friend, you know. So a great way to support me as an author is even if you feel like this isn’t your genre, or this isn’t your specific cup of tea, let somebody else know, because that continues to support me as an author until I write another book that’s up your alley. And so I just kind of put that out there up front with them, to let people know.
E.S. Curry 08:23
You bring up a great point. Audiobooks are an awesome gift, guys, like giving audiobooks to people are fantastic. We’ve got a great blog post on just how to do that, too. So your second post here, you know, audiobook marketing begins now, it’s all about bringing your fans along with the journey. Your second one was about giving them a bonus. So as an indie author, you’re going to make your audiobooks in the Findaway Voices marketplace. You know, you upload your manuscript. Remember, if you want to do bonus content, you got to have that dialed up and ready, right?
M.K. Williams 08:57
Exactly. And I think that’s almost a good activity, you’re gonna get to a day when you are working on your book. Maybe it’s in manuscript form, maybe you’re working on some of the formatting and publishing, and you’re gonna be like, I can’t, I can’t do it today. The words aren’t coming. And that’s a great day to think about, well, what could I do that’s a bonus content. Is this bonus content for preorder, is this bonus content after preorder, is this bonus content …? Where in the phase is that gonna be and what is it going to be? Is it this original opening that I scrapped? And maybe it’s kind of it’s not perfect, it’s not polished, but you know what, it’d be a fun extra. Is it a deleted scene? Is it character backstory? Is it maybe an intro to the next book, and things like that, so it is nice to give a bonus. And I am sure some authors are listening and going, I don’t have time to make more content. It’s totally fine. You don’t have to do it. It’s an option. And that’s why I said there’s a million little things that you can be doing, and it’s impossible to do them all. It’s possible to do a fraction of them. So pick the things that work for you. That feel right for you. And for me even, so for, I have a series of books that book two just came out earlier this year. So The Infinite Infinite and The Alpha-Nina. I decided the bonus for The Infinite Infinite was going to be when you finish listening to the audiobook, you can listen to the first chapter of The Alpha-Nina. Great, it’s a little bonus to kind of let you know what’s happening next. And hopefully then people want to listen to my next book. Well, I didn’t have that for like two years. So I only recently added it. So that’s one of the benefits of being an indie author is that you can go back in and you can add those things later. Obviously it wasn’t there when I was doing preorder for The Infinite Infinite or initial promotions. But I was able to add that in later. So you know, take some of the pressure off yourself. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect the day your book launches. You can add it later.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:50
We had a little discussion before we came on air about imperfect launches. And I think that’s worth digging into a little, okay, because you said it. Not every launch goes perfect, even for those of us who this is what we, you know, aside from the writing, this is what we do, is the marketing stuff. And sometimes we don’t get it right. What’s your advice on that?
M.K. Williams 11:15
My advice is, I don’t know a single author who has done their launch perfectly, with all the things that they envision for it, right? Maybe along the way, they’re like, I need to scale this down, I need to scale this all the way down. That’s totally fine. And what I always tell the authors that I work with is that you have your entire life to market this book. So if the day the book comes out, that’s the day that the car tire goes flat, your dog gets sick, your mom gets sick, your mother in law gets sick, do what you need to do for your family first and get your car tire fixed. And then you can go ahead and keep focusing on the book later. I actually shared this on my channel this past year, when my second book came out, it was set to release on October 26. My dad passed on October 23. And so I wasn’t in a mental state to put anything out, like hey, my book’s still launching. At that point, you can’t cancel your preorder. And so that just happened. And so what do you do? Okay, well, I took time, I figured things out. And so I actually re-released one of the stories as a standalone five years later, because it felt the right thing to do to my story, I wanted to honor my story. I did, you know, I do still want to honor my dad and I’ve dedicated books to him. But like, I obviously was not gonna have a perfect launch, I wasn’t gonna have any kind of launch. And so life happens. And I want authors to give themselves permission to have an imperfect launch. Make your dream list, make your wish list. And then, you know, see what works, see what happens. And you can always add those things back in later. You can always say, hey, I’m celebrating one year of my book, and almost make it like a relaunch and kind of do more of those things.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:51
Yeah, yeah. They say that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. So.
E.S. Curry 12:58
So true, Kevin, it really is. So M.K., next up in the series, you had your cover art. And Kevin and I talk about this all the time with authors. We talked about this in our last session, the importance, your number one marketing thing is your cover. Right? So take us into cover art a little bit. We’ll just touch on this briefly.
M.K. Williams 13:23
Absolutely. Absolutely. And so I would say, you know, beyond just the audiobook, the cover for the entire collected work, right, ebook, print books, audiobooks, it should be cohesive, it should look like they belong together. And they match. There should, you know, there are a lot of really great designers out there. There are a lot of really great design services out there. And I would say, as an author, I like to work with people who know books. I like to work with people who know self-published books, because then they know the formats, they know what different platforms require for uploads based on sizing, based on color. And then they can usually make a whole suite for you in one go. I would say if you are, obviously if you’re watching this, you have an audiobook or you’re planning an audiobook. But if you’re just thinking, this sounds like a lot, I’m just gonna do the ebook and print or I’m just gonna do ebook and maybe I’ll do an audiobook a while from now. Do I really need to get the audiobook cover now? Get the audiobook cover. Even if you think nope, probably not going to happen, can’t afford it, whatever. Have it just in case. It’s always good to have because the services will do that as part of their packages. But if you try to go back later, they might say oh, well, I gotta go find your files. I gotta charge extra. If it’s already in their package, get it no matter what. So you can have that. I actually started a to-do list to add to all of mine, I’ve started for a few, to add author-narrated versus AI-narrated, just to be super clear. So I have to go finish that. So if you go look at my books now it doesn’t have it. Maybe in like a week or two it will.
E.S. Curry 14:55
You can put your narrator on the cover too. Absolutely do that because narrators have their own followings.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:01
Yeah, that’s true. And you make a good point, M.K., because the whole artwork thing, if you can, you should try to, a lot of these designers at least cost you a little extra sometimes. But the designers will provide, like, the original source files for these things if you ask for them upfront, if you ask for them, like months later, they’re going to ask you to pay a lot more money. So it’s good to ask for make a list of everything you know you’re going to need, and then ask for it upfront. And if they say, that’s extra, then at least you know up front.
M.K. Williams 15:39
Yeah, absolutely. And I always like, you know, a lot of times somebody will go with a recommendation from somebody else, like, okay, I’m just gonna go with them. I say, price it out, look around a little bit, because different services will offer different things in their package, like including the source file, giving you maybe even social media creative, and things like that. So whatever can get you the best value for your limited indie author dollars.
Kevin Tumlinson 16:07
So real quick, you said, because you write across multiple genres, and by the way, never apologize for writing across multiple genres. That’s you, right? You’re marketing you anyway. Right? So how do you keep covers cohesive across the different genres? How do you make sure the readers know that’s an M.K. book.
M.K. Williams 16:27
So for my Author Your Ambition series, they’re all similar. I mean, if I can, these three back here are my nonfiction brand, and yes, they look very similar. Whereas my fiction is specific to the genre. So obviously, my science fiction time travel series looks a little spacey, looks a little nerdy, versus my domestic thriller, which like, more matches that genre. So it looks specific to its genre, not necessarily M.K. Williams. Obviously my name is on them. I have my publisher logo on the spine, and things like that. So that’s a distinguishing feature, but they don’t all look the same. Like, I think of an author like V.E. Schwab, like, you know it’s a V.E. Schwab book when you see that cover, you don’t even need to see her name on it. But she always writes nebulously within the same genres. So I kind of write a bit more different. So I just kind of went with what was best for the genre, not necessarily for my author branding, except for the publisher logo on the spine.
E.S. Curry 17:35
When people are browing withing the genre, you want to look like you belong with it. Right?
Kevin Tumlinson 17:38
Right. That’s a very important note, by the way, you should always look at other books that are similar to yours, and see how well your book fits there.
E.S. Curry 17:47
Yeah, and maybe reach out to those authors if you like a cover and say hey, you know?
Kevin Tumlinson 17:53
Authors are very guarded about their designers. I don’t know why. They don’t want to share that designer, because they’ll get booked up and they might not be able to, and then the rates go up. Which is bad news for the designers.
E.S. Curry 18:08
So behind the cover, the second most important marketing thing is the blurb. Right?
M.K. Williams 18:13
Absolutely. Absolutely. And obviously, you know, as authors, like, we wrote the whole book. I gotta write something else? So an author can write 100,000 words on you know, this world they made up and you ask them to write two paragraphs about their book. They’re like, I can’t contain that.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:33
I just spent 100,000 words writing.
M.K. Williams 18:37
Read the book, I don’t know. Yeah. So the blurb is always the most difficult. The nice thing about blurbs is you can optimize them. So you know, if you write it, and maybe it’s not working, you can optimize it. We did have a note on that blog post to distinguish it for the audiobook. So to be able to say like, hey, narrated by so and so. Or like, you’re gonna hear multiple voices. You know, you can add that in and that adds and makes it slightly different from the ebook or the print book experience. And especially if you have a bonus, put that in your blurb, because people may not always remember whatever your marketing was for it. So you want you want that reminder there. Again, obviously, there’s entire podcasts or shows, there’s books on how to optimize your blurb for keywords, and things like that, and you should be doing that too. But you want to make sure it’s to the point, that it can catch somebody’s attention, and that it’s honest. You know, I’ve read some blurbs after I read a book and I’m like, nothing in there is what that book was about. So, you know, I guess if it hooks people the right way. But that’s something to keep in mind. And I would say again, as an author, you have your entire life to market this book. If you don’t love your blurb, change it, optimize it, find something new and different. Test it. Now obviously if you’re a wide author, you have a few more platforms to update it on. A good checklist will never do you wrong in that case. I have a reminder that pops up for me every 90 days to optimize my blurbs. It doesn’t happen every 90 days.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:05
But it’s there to remind you. I do that too. When you say optimize, are you looking at it in terms of like, you know, search engine optimization and things like that?
M.K. Williams 20:18
More just taking a look at it and saying, like, is this really the best way to describe this book? Now that I have more space from when I wrote it, if I had to describe this book to somebody, as I write more books, people say, which one would I like? Like, oh, I’d actually describe this book this way. And I think this would better capture the excitement of where I want people to come in at it. So yeah, you can change it. And I like to say, if you are going to create a new one, don’t look at your old one. So it’s something new, because if you look at the old one you’re gonna think, well, that’s what works.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:48
Yeah, I know. That’s something I kind of started doing by accident, I used to keep a swipe file of all the different blurbs and everything. And then when I had a promotion, I’d go and grab it. One thing that’s been interesting is I’ll get these promotions that say, give me 50 words about the book, but don’t use the book description, and that’s a whole new opportunity to reinvent. And I do it on the spot each time, reinvent the story. And sometimes that stuff is really good. And I copy that and go put it in the book description.
E.S. Curry 21:19
Yeah, absolutely. Same thing. And reviewers have also really helped me rewrite my book blurb as well. I’ve had some reviewers describe the book better than I described it. I’ve gone back in and, you know, like you, Kevin, I keep a swipe file of just all the ways I’ve described my book, and it makes it really easy when you go on a podcast or something. Just grab one that works. Yeah, it’s really nice.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:45
But we’re writers. We should be writing and we should be taking every opportunity to write
E.S. Curry 21:49
Yeah. Well now let’s get into the part where we’re not writing, not being designers. The pricing of the audio book. The numbers part.
M.K. Williams 22:05
I’m a numbers nerd. So I always like this part. And I will say my big disclaimer, every time I talk about pricing, is that pricing is a strategy. A strategy is something that you think on, kind of noodle over it, give it some time do I like that or do I not, before you actually put it into place. And you should review that strategy periodically, as in maybe annually. Pricing is not something you want to change on a whim, it is not something, panic button, I haven’t had any sales all week, change all my prices. Because that’s not a strategy. That’s a panic. And I don’t want you to panic, because there will inevitably be days or weeks where the sales just aren’t coming. And then there’ll be days where you’re like, well, I don’t know what happened. And so your pricing … First and foremost, you don’t set your pricing, your market sets your price. And so the market is what the reader or the listener is willing to pay for your book, whether it is renting it through a subscription service, whether it’s purchasing it outright. Now, you may think, but I see other people setting prices differently. And that may be either the price that they’ve set, that may be the retailer may be discounting that product, because an algorithm is saying if you discount this 17 cents, we should get five more sales. So there’s a lot going on there. So pricing is, yes, take a look at your competitors, what they are pricing, and you need to decide, do you want to be on par? I want to be the same price as everybody else who I want to be compared to, I want to be middle of the pack. Because I don’t want to stand out. Or you say, you know what, I want to be a little competitive, I want to then be a couple of dollars below. Because then more people are going to buy. Or do you say, you know what, I spent a lot of money putting this together, it’s a darn good quality, I’m going to be a little bit higher, because I want people to think, oh, must be something really good about this if it’s a little bit pricier. Because there are people who think that more expensive equals better. And so those are your three options. And then you go and set your price. What I love about Findaway Voices is when I go and price it, they say, you know a lot of books in your genre are pricing this way instead. Are you sure? And I’m like, mmmm.
E.S. Curry 24:06
Yeah, we have all that proprietary data and we do a calculation based on your length of book.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:12
Yeah, but don’t give me options when I’ve already made my decision. I hate second guessing myself.
E.S. Curry 24:22
You want to talk about retail versus library a little bit too, M.K.?
M.K. Williams 24:26
Yes. Yeah. So and retailers versus platforms. I could probably just talk about that for a whole hour. Okay, so your retailers, that is the actual front-facing storefront where people will purchase your audiobook. So if you think of audible.com is a retailer. Findaway Voices the platform can get you there. Okay. Barnes & Noble audio is the retailer, Findaway Voices the platform can get you there. So I always like to distinguish those two. So the retailer is going to charge a flat price, right? They’re going to say hey, this book is $9.99. This book is $19.99. Some of them will have subscription models that say it’s free with your subscription. Which I always say it’s not free, you’re paying for it, you’re paying your subscription. And so with the subscription model, you get compensated on a per listen per download basis. So sometimes it seems like it’s really small, like 99 cents. And so sometimes a library will do that, where it’s per listening, if they’re kind of on that subscription model, with a per listen. Or they might say, you know what, enough people from our community wanted this audiobook, we’re going to purchase it. So it’s a much larger purchase from them, but then they’re free to loan out as often as they want. So there’s several models that they use. So when you see payments come in from Findaway Voices, you might be like, oh, that’s a big payment. Oh, that was a tiny payment, oh, it’s a big payment. You’re like, these libraries all over the place. And that’s why they have those multiple options, depending on their budget. How many people are demanding your book, things like that?
E.S. Curry 25:58
We basically do all the super complicated stuff. And then you get one royalty check. Yeah, super nice. That’s what we do. Talk about series pricing a little bit, because this is where it gets really cool. Like I’m writing a fiction series right now. And I’m not releasing it until I’m done with three books. Basically because I want to be able to do pricing strategies. So take us into that a little bit, M.K.
M.K. Williams 26:25
So there’s multiple ways to write a series, and one way is doing it as you’re doing, I’m going to write the whole series, and then we’re going to release them so people know they’re coming. Or some people say, well, I wrote the book, and I’m gonna write the next book soon, so check it out. And so I would say, if you’re doing the method that you’re doing, Scott, where you’re going to be releasing them in a row, then yes, you want to have a competitive price. And usually, by competitive I mean, a lower price for that first book. Get people hooked, get them in, and then you can maybe have a higher price for the others. Some people do free for the first book, some people do 99 cents for the first book. And then you know, if that’s your ebook, then you’re going to scale up your pricing, obviously, for print and audio. Now, for print books, you might say, they’re the same, because I still have to pay for printing. So I can’t make that more competitive. For audiobooks, you can obviously, it’s a digital product, you can scale that price down. The idea being that that’s your loss leader, right? So you may be in the red, as far as the development and time to make book one. But then books two and three, as people continue through the series, they’re going to be paying full price. And that is going to make the entire series profitable. You could do what I’ve done, where I write the first book, and I say, don’t worry, I’m working on the next book. Stay tuned. And so I’ve then decided, okay, as more books in my series come out, then I can go back and adjust the pricing for book one, for book two, etc. But just knowing that I have to go back and do that later. And then obviously, the audience is kind of like, what? What happens? So yeah, it’s up to you as the author, what works for your creative process, what works for timing for you. But it’s always again, those little tasks to keep in mind of like, okay, the next book in the series came out, go back to this book and discount the price and market it here and all that magic, but there’s definitely a strategy to that. There’s also you saying like, nope, you can pay full price for the whole series. Right? That’s an option too. So it’s nice to have more products to play with, for your IP to be able to maximize the price and test that out.
E.S. Curry 28:26
Yep, yep. Do you simultaneously release your audio, e, and print at the same time? In a perfect world.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:36
You would recommend it. But it’s not necessarily something you end up doing.
M.K. Williams 28:42
Yeah, I do recommend it. I usually recommend for my final step before I send the book, my ebook for formatting, for print formatting, is I read the book aloud. It’s my final chance. Because reading it aloud … Now, I also read aloud with my husband sitting next to me saying, you just said a word that’s not on the page, did you mean this word or that word? Because your brain will complete incomplete sentences and complete thoughts because, you know, so having somebody to kind of check me so I will read it out loud to make sure I’m catching anything, you know, and I use that word five times, which means that those little things that you just don’t catch reading it with your eyes, reading aloud, you catch it. And so my most recent step has actually been like, I’m just gonna record the audiobook. I’m reading out loud. I don’t have to read out loud again later. So I try to record it at that point. So then I have the entire time that I’m waiting for print formatting and ebook formatting to edit my audiobook. And again, in a perfect world, it’s all ready to go day one. I now have an almost 20-month-old baby girl, doesn’t happen. So I say it’s great if you can get them all on day one, because then all of your readers have all the options they could want. However you like to read a book, wherever you want to get a book from, it’s there. And then you can also do the advanced listener copies as well. But if you can’t, guess what, then you have something to say about your book a month later, two months later, three months later when you’re releasing that next format, so that’s like, yes, perfect world, cool, do this. If you can’t, you can find a way to spin it to your advantage.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:13
I like your attitude on that. That is, to me that’s the right way to market, is that there’s no missed marketing opportunity. There’s just a deferred marketing opportunity. I love it. You’re such a genius, M.K. I’m gonna learn at your feet.
E.S. Curry 30:34
So we had a couple of questions here about marketing audiobooks specifically, and that takes us nicely into your next post, which we’re about halfway through, which was audiobooks and your website. So something that we see, Kevin, M.K. and I all the time, is that authors don’t make audiobooks prominent on their site.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:53
Yeah, so true. I don’t. That’s a good point. I’ll be right back.
E.S. Curry 31:02
Right now, Kevin, right. Yeah.
M.K. Williams 31:04
Yeah, yeah. So that’s something I specifically started doing on my website, maybe like two or three years into my author journey, is I have a specific, if you go into books, you know, fiction books, nonfiction books, audiobooks. So people could, they can listen to a snippet from it, it has all the different links where they can find it. And so it’s a way just to give people a place to find it. So again, if people are following you, the author, maybe they read one of your books, they picked it up at a little free library in their community. Somebody recommended it to them, somebody handed it to them. And they say, well, it’s pretty good stuff. And they go to your website. And they look at that, because again, they’re following you, the author, right? And your brand. You know, you want them to see all those options. And they may not necessarily think when you’re listening, oh, it could be an audiobook. But then when they see it, they’re like, oh, sweet. I have an hour-long commute every day. Or oh, this is great. I’m really just doing audiobooks now while I’m gardening or doing house chores, this is perfect. I’m always looking for good ones. Oh, cool. That’s on my local library. Oh, cool. You know, it’s on Scribd, and I have a subscription, and it’s on LibroFM or anything like that. So it’s nice to list that out specifically, because there are people who are audiobook listeners who maybe don’t identify as book readers. They’re like, no, I don’t have time to read. But while I’m doing my other stuff, I can listen to an audiobook, and things like that. So they’re the two different parts of the same …
E.S. Curry 32:25
Yeah, very different audiences. So having that, audiobooks right in your main navigation go a really long way to selling them.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:31
That’s a very good point. They are two different markets. And that means that you are, if you’re only advertising your ebooks or print books on your home, on your website, you’re actually neglecting a market. Yes, that’s a very good point.
E.S. Curry 32:46
And in one of our earlier interviews, one of the authors spoke about how she segments her email list with audio and readers. So she actually has an audio segment to her email list. For fans that identify as, you know, I want to hear the audio version. So that works out really well. Yeah. And you’re gonna want to provide snippets too, or samples.
M.K. Williams 33:12
Yes. And so I like, so whenever you’re uploading, you actually have to provide a retail audio sample, when you’re uploading to Findaway Voices, it has to be between one minute and five minutes. I usually like them on the shorter end, because then I take that same clip, and I go into SoundCloud, and I make myself a little snippet to put on my website. So it’s just enough to tease somebody. Now some people say, I use whatever is the first X many minutes of the book. That’s what I want people to hear. Some people say no, I think there’s like a really suspenseful scene or something that really highlights the narrator’s talents. It’s truly up to you what you feel is that best snippet, but I do like having that on my website as well. Somebody can, they don’t have to wait till they get to the retailer to listen to it. They can listen to it from my website.
E.S. Curry 33:54
Yeah, I like to make the recommendation, same with Will Dages, Head of Voices, is that you should approach your retail sample as a marketing opportunity. Don’t just take part of the book and put it into it. Talk about it, write it, you know, unique for that and show off those characters and really bring someone into what they’re going to get into, listening to the book.
M.K. Williams 34:20
I’m copying a link to my audiobooks page just so people can peruse it and rip it apart.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:26
Nobody’s gonna rip anything apart.
M.K. Williams 34:29
But you can kind of see how it does it. And absolutely, being able to listen helps obviously for an audiobook.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:36
That’s very cool. Yeah, I’m looking at it now. That’s cool. Yep, looks alright. What are you using on a technical standpoint for placing those clips? Is that something built into your site using WordPress or something?
M.K. Williams 34:51
I use WordPress, yeah. And I think it’s a very easy to use wizzywig, what you see is what you get editor There sometimes I want to do harm to it, if it’s not getting to work just right. In my corporate day job, before I became a full-time author, I did have to know HTML for emails and for basic websites. So when it isn’t doing what I want, I’m like, HTML.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:15
See, that’s a skill. Everybody should cultivate that skill.
M.K. Williams 35:20
Yeah, so I know how to finagle it a little bit. And the nice thing is that I can also just copy from one book and I just copy it down, and I kind of switch the elements. So it makes it easier as I add more on.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:32
What I want everyone watching and listening, though, to take away from this, is that you’re using a skill to do certain things. But you don’t have to be highly technical or skilled to do this. There are little plugins and things that you can get, no matter what platform your website is on. I use Squarespace. It’s got some built-in audio stuff. So what you need to do is just sort of Google like, audio clips on this platform, and you know, looking at some YouTube videos, or ask somebody for some help, but it doesn’t have to be a barrier, you can get stuff on there.
M.K. Williams 36:05
I think a lot of authors think they have to pay somebody to design a website for them. And maybe if they truly feel like, I don’t want to touch it, absolutely. I’m sure I could pay somebody to make mine look a million times nicer. But it’s functional, it’s easy to understand. And that’s ultimately you want you want the person who lands on that page to understand what they are, what they can do, and then make the purchase.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:26
And the person landing on that page does not care whether you are a coder, and you did everything all on your own. They don’t care. They just want to be able to find your books, learn about you.
E.S. Curry 36:38
Sure. I popped a nice little example in there. Author Kate Nolan. I love her audiobooks page that was in your blog post. She has a really nice layout there, go through her catalogue. So you know the voice behind the book, the narrator, we had a question here in the audience about promoting the narrator and, you know, what’s your take on leveraging your narrator as part of your marketing efforts?
M.K. Williams 37:06
I think that’s super important with the audiobook, because to Kevin’s point, to specifically talk about the audiobook, not just about print or ebook, but to say, hey, we’re creating the audiobook. And that’s what I mentioned earlier about bringing somebody along with your journey. Maybe you are trying to launch the audiobook simultaneously. Maybe it’s been two years and you finally have earned back what you invested in creating the book and you think now’s the time, I’m making the audiobook. So hey, I’m auditioning narrators. Do you know anybody who’s good? Wow, I just heard the first clip from my first audition. Blew my mind. Okay, I picked my narrator, stay tuned. Next week, we’re doing a narrator reveal, similar to like a cover reveal. Wow, you know, here’s the clip from this person, they’re gonna be a narrator, so excited to work with them. These are the other books they’ve worked on, check out their other work. So cool. Wow, here’s another sample that I got. They’re crushing it with this accent, you know, whatever it is, and kind of bring people along the way with you. Because, again, that gives you something to talk about, like selfishly, it gives you something to talk about to get people excited for your audiobook. Selfishly you are you know, giving them some kudos on social media, wherever you’re posting this, hopefully, they’re gonna give some love back to you and say, hey, I have another book that’s coming out, it’s with this author. And then you’re getting out to their audience of people who like to listen to the audiobooks they narrate regardless of whether that’s your genre or not. Now I’m sure some narrators are very specific by genre and some are like, I like different things. So it’s really nice to be able to get additional amplification for your books.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:42
Good word. Yeah. amplification. It applies because it’s audio. See how brilliant M.K. is? She just wrapped it all up in a nice little bundle.
E.S. Curry 38:55
I’ve got a question here, M.K., from James Wood. How do I learn marketing if I’m really introverted?
M.K. Williams 39:02
Okay. So I hear this question a lot, actually, from somebody, like I’m introverted. I don’t feel comfortable marketing. I feel the same way. Every time I am about to say, hey, you know, check this out. I did this. I question myself. I doubt myself because it was so easy to market, you know, for the brand I worked for, that was their thing. It’s so easy for me to share my friends’ books and be like, oh my gosh, I’m so excited. They’ve worked so hard. Go check this out. And for mine, I’m like, hey, maybe if you have some time, if doesn’t bother you too much. I feel the same way. And what I would say is own that feeling of being introverted. Put that in there. Say hey, I’m usually super introverted. I don’t share a lot, but this means a lot to me, that I worked hard on this book and this audiobook and it would mean so much to me if you would check this out or share this. Because that kind of genuine authentic like, hey, I’m super nervous and you know, can you just like this just so I feel a little bit less nervous? Maybe, you don’t even have to buy it, but like this to make me feel better? That so many people identify with and connect with, it seems like the there’s more extroverts, but they’re just louder. I would say more people maybe feel that that introversion and that shyness and that aversion to anything considered salesy or marketing and own it, and you will find so many others who are like, I feel the same way. I’ll go buy it because I feel the same way. And you know, I want to support you and make you feel welcome. So, I think, own it, step into it. Because you’re gonna find so many other people feel the same way. And then you can make that genuine connection with other introverted authors and maybe like help support each other. An introverted author support group.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:35
Yeah. The least talkative group you’re ever gonna find
E.S. Curry 40:41
So the advice there is to be authentic. Be real. Be who you are, be your own brand.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:46
I think that is good advice, no matter what area of life you’re approaching. Be yourself Be authentic.
E.S. Curry 40:53
And that kind of brings us nicely into to email. This is something Kevin and I have talked a lot about with all the other authors in this series, email marketing, you own the list, there’s no algorithm in front of it. You know, talk a little bit about the way you approach email marketing, your formula, being that brand authentically to your fans, you know, what’s your take on email marketing?
M.K. Williams 41:19
So I do get some eye twitching just from my days in corporate having to do email marketing, still, like it’s one of the things that it was my job, and I was really good at it. And I still keep doing it. Like it’s still work, being an author’s fun. And so for me, I try to send out once a month. And I know some authors are like, only once? I only have things to say once a month. Like, I’m working on the book. I changed some diapers. Guess what I’m gonna do next week? I’m working on my book and changing some diapers. There’s only so many ways to say it. And so for me, I send out once a month, and if there’s ever a time where I know, maybe a launch is coming up, I’m gonna have something special, I tell people, like, hey, you’re gonna get a few extra emails from me this month, or you’re gonna get an extra email from me this month. And that’s it. And if that doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. I own it. I’m upfront about it. I know there are a lot of people who engage in like the email swaps. And I don’t think that’s what’s gonna get you a genuine connection with people who are now joining your list. I tested out a service that allowed people to do that. And I had a lot of people who subscribed. And I suddenly had an unsubscribe rate. For so long, I had a small, very engaged list, and I never got unsubscribes because they were engaged. Suddenly, I’m doing these email swipes, and they unsubscribe, because they did something free. And that’s what they got. So instead of saying, hey, this person over here is genuinely my friend in the author community, and they have a book coming out, and I’m excited for them. I’m going to tell people about it. And when I have a book come out, they’re going to genuinely tell people about it, and how long we’ve talked about it and worked on it and workshopped it together. And so that is more authentic than just oh, hey, you do stuff? I do too. Can you promote my book? Okay, I’ll promote yours. And I’m going to do five extra emails this month just to fit those in, because people get annoyed by extra emails. And I just don’t think it’s a long-term strategy for building a genuine list that’s engaged with you and wants to hear from you. I think it’s a way to have a short term up and down.
E.S. Curry 43:20
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what’s your email content look like, M.K.? Describe how you engage your email audience? I know I’ve subscribed to your list, so I know what it is. But for everyone else.
M.K. Williams 43:33
Yeah. So for my nonfiction list, I try to break it up. I do a quick little author’s note at the top, just like what are my thoughts this month, what’s going on this month? Anything that like kind of pertains to my writerly life. And then I’ve been highlighting either a client who I’m helping them with their books, or people who are members of my YouTube channel, I’ll highlight them. And then I’ll kind of mix it up with news that I’ve seen that’s particularly interesting. So usually there will be like news. And then if there’s anything that’s like promotional, promoting my books, promoting anything that somebody has to buy, whether it’s like, hey, I use this product and it’s super awesome, and you should check it out, I always put those in gray. So those are going to be distinguished as like, hey, like, if you’re interested, here it is. But the rest, I kind of find like maybe two or three good news stories or just updates on things going on. And that’s what I send out. For my fiction, same thing. I kind of do top line, here’s where I am with my books. And I’ve actually, because I have multiple projects, I’m like this project, this project, this project status updates, and then sending that out. So I keep it short and sweet. It is white background and black text. Because it’s easy to load on everybody’s email platform. I know sometimes people want to have this graphic and that graphic. Easier is better in my opinion. I’m sure I could do more testing and opposition with it. But again, the minute I start, my eyes start to twitch.
E.S. Curry 44:47
Well, that’s cool. Well, I can say I love your emails. I love getting all the author emails, I sign up for a million author emails. I try to open them all.
M.K. Williams 45:00
That’s good. They’re so appreciative that they’re getting opens from you.
E.S. Curry 45:04
I mean, it’s really interesting how every author approaches it. They’re widely different, you know, I mean, that’s why we ask this question, to figure out how to approach it. So we’ve got about 15 minutes left, and we saved the last 15 minutes for kind of the most important part, what the blog series led up to, which is building your launch team. You actually did two posts, part one and part two, to take us through building a launch team. Part one.
M.K. Williams 45:31
Yeah, so part one is actually getting the list of people who want to be your advanced reader copy arc readers, or your advanced listener copy arc listeners. And so I’ve seen authors make the mistake of, I have 1000 people on my email list, my book is done, I uploaded it everywhere. Hit send on everybody on my email list, so they can be an arc reader.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:52
Oh, boy, that’s …
M.K. Williams 45:57
No no no, just because somebody is subscribed to you does not mean that they would want to be an advanced reader or advanced listener, or that they will be an advanced reader or listener. So I always say that to your group, you should say, hey, this is now available. If you would like to be an early reader or an early listener, please fill out this form here. By doing this, you’re committing to reading or listening by this date, leaving an honest review, honest review. And, you know, being my hype team, being my hype squad, helping me share social media posts and things like that. And so I would say it’s better to have a dozen, maybe even fewer, dedicated arc readers and listeners than to have 100 people who just take your free copy and ghost you. Because they ghosted you, and now they won’t buy the book because they have it for free. And so people on your list are probably interested in your book, but they might be like, I don’t have time to read that right now. Stuff’s going on in my life. Yeah, I’ll get to it, I have a huge TBR. Like, you don’t just want to assume that they want to read it by this deadline that you’re going to give them. So I always do a separate form for people to sign up with. And then they can pick, yep, I want ePub, I want mobi, I want PDF. I want access to the audiobook, whatever it is, and then you can get that to them. Now, if you’re collecting names long ahead of when it’s available, I always send a secondary email to say, hey, you said you wanted to be an early reader. Is that still the case? Yes or No? If so, again, here’s the parameters of when I need you to review this by, you’re agreeing to read or listen, leave the review, and just kind of be on my hype squad. So it lets people know. And then you send it to them. I always ask them to respond to say, yes, I got whatever the attachment was. Because sometimes attachments don’t come through. And then just follow up. I follow up with them a week before publication, follow up with them on publication day. And then if I still have heard nothing, then two days after, that’s it. And then if they need to go on the naughty list and not get an arc copy again, they go on the naughty list. But usually, you know, they’re writing back, oh, so excited. Oh, yeah, I totally forgot. I’ll post that review today. So again, it gives you a chance to engage with them. But don’t just hit send to everybody on your email list. Don’t do it.
Kevin Tumlinson 48:07
Yeah, that’s just a bad idea all around. I would not advise that. I can’t think of anybody who would advise that.
M.K. Williams 48:14
And I think some authors just get so excited, they’re like it’s done! I need early readers and reviewers. Let me send it to everybody.
Kevin Tumlinson 48:21
I have my street team, I have my team of people. Yea, I take it to the streets. I call them a street team rather than like beta readers or arc readers, because it sounds hip. There’s so little about me that’s hip, and so I just want to embrace it.
E.S. Curry 48:41
Oh Kevin, you’re always good for a laugh. You crack me up, man. I love doing these videos with you. So launch day is finally here. What’s launch day look like?
M.K. Williams 48:56
Obviously, you’re going viral. You’re getting calls from GMA.
Kevin Tumlinson 49:00
Millions of books sold.
M.K. Williams 49:03
No, I would say, you know, launch day. It’s very exciting. Have your very specific hitlist. I would say if you’re the person who’s like, I usually don’t have time to do my book work until the evening. This is the day to, oh, I’m not feeling well, a kind of come into work a little late day. Whatever it is, this is the day you want to get on, you want to make sure you’re doing this early, post those early thank yous. This is a day to really focus on that gratitude for everybody who got you here. It is not the day to sit there and refresh your rankings hourly. I know you want to. I know you’re probably gonna do it anyways. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. You know, give those thank yous out. You know, especially to your street team and your arc readers, like give them those thank yous. That’s a number one priority that day, and make sure you’re celebrating. Every author I work with, I am constantly telling them, be sure to celebrate. And you want to celebrate along the way but especially on launch day. Because like we said, there’s always more marketing work to do. There’s always new things to do, and you’re gonna, I’ve just been thinking about why I didn’t do this, I didn’t do this. And I didn’t hit this list that I thought I would. And I, you know, I didn’t see the sales that I thought. Like no matter what, there’s always that excitement and like a little bit of disappointment, that sweet like, it didn’t go viral. So you want to make sure you have some kind of a celebration plan. This can be an all-out like, I’m throwing a party with champagne. This can just be like, I’m gonna have my favorite dessert tonight. You know, whatever it is that makes that day special to you. Make it special. Give that gratitude to your arc readers and your street team. And then the next day, yeah, you get back to work. You get back to work writing the next book or continuing to market it, but launch day is special. Make sure you celebrate. You celebrate.
E.S. Curry 50:45
Yeah, yeah, throw a party.
Kevin Tumlinson 50:47
That’s good advice. Nobody ever does that. Nobody. Everyone’s, it’s all about the hustle. You know? Forget celebrating. You gotta write the next book, like right now. Do more marketing.
M.K. Williams 51:00
Or it kind of feels anticlimactic. You’re like, well, I did all this work months ago when I uploaded it. I didn’t do any work today.
Kevin Tumlinson 51:05
Right. If you don’t reward yourself for small successes and large successes, then your brain tells you there’s no benefit to doing this. That’s what makes it harder to come back to that page every single day. You know, you have to celebrate even the small victories. Absolutely on board with you, M.K.
E.S. Curry 51:25
Yeah, me too. So we’ve got a couple giveaways here for those that have stuck around.
Kevin Tumlinson 51:33
All right, thank you. I’ve been looking forward to something.
E.S. Curry 51:40
No, for our listeners here. We at Findaway Voices have partnered with bookmachine.org, a wonderful organization based in the United Kingdom. And I want to just randomly pick out a couple people that have been in the chat today. Cheyenne Richards, you’ve been extra chatty in the chat today. So you’re one of our winners here. And Janet Oakley. Love the enthusiasm and the chat. And thank you for coming on today, Janet and Cheyenne. I’ll reach out to you with how to get that Book Machine membership. Great group of folks, you’re gonna really enjoy the platform. And wonderful people that that run it over in the UK.
Kevin Tumlinson 52:25
We should work out a way to give something away in every one of these. We’re too late, though, we’re almost at the end. We’ve got one more, we’re gonna have to do more. That’s all. That’s all there is to it.
E.S. Curry 52:36
Yeah, we’re gonna do more. It’s been way too much fun. So looking here in the questions, see if we got any others that we can address real quickly before we end the program today. Let’s see here. Donna Alward, “When you say add it in later, do you mean rehire your narrator to add in bonus content?”
M.K. Williams 53:00
So potentially, so I guess if you aren’t self-narrating, it would be going back and asking them to do that. If you have an idea of what this bonus content might be, you could always ask them to do that initially, whether it’s, you know, a deleted scene, a bonus chapter, and there may be some benefit to saying like, hey, like, this was a rough chapter that didn’t make it in, here’s me the author saying it. And it’s bonus, you know, it’s kind of a bit more raw, or maybe at that point you’re doing a Q&A, like an interview style. If you feel like, you know, that narrator has moved on to another project, maybe it’s more an interview with you, the author, about characters or things like that, if you have the ability, and you want to do that. I narrate my audiobooks. So it’s kind of easier for me to go in and do that. I would say, if you’re doing a series, you’re probably going to be hiring the same narrator and arc readers for the next book. So that might be an add-on, be like, hey, while you’re doing this, we’re going to, can you make sure the first chapter is done earlier, because we’re going to add that to the previous book, or something like that. So that’s something again, maintaining a good relationship with the people you work with helps when you have the next book come out and the next book and you want to add bonus content, or you want to go back later and say, hey, I know you’re really busy. What would you charge for just adding on like a little bonus content to this? And hopefully, again, if you maintain that good relationship with the narrator, you supported them, they supported you, you can go back and do that easily.
E.S. Curry 54:18
Yeah, yeah. Let’s see here, Gary McFadden. “Are there ways to make libraries aware of your titles? Or do you leave this to the distributor?”
M.K. Williams 54:29
So the distributor is going to make the title available. So it is up to you to market to the library or to market to their library patrons. So I always put out, I have a regular calendar of saying like, hey, if you’re on a tight budget, did you know you can get any of my books at your local library? Now, I don’t say what format, you can get all my formats at a local library. So that’s up to that person to be like, oh yeah, I use a library all the time. It’s actually really easy with most libraries to then recommend a book as a patron. I know for me, when I lived in Hillborough County Florida here. They have an amazing, amazing author program, I was able to fill out a form. They did purchase the book for the print book, they put it in like a special local authors section. I had a friend who was like, I tried to find it. And it wasn’t in like the Sci Fi section. And the library was like, oh, no, that’s in our local authors section and was like, oh, that’s very fancy. And so you want to let the libraries know, I would say, if you live in that community, if you have lived in that community, like maybe you grew up there, and you moved away, if it’s your hometown, it’s easier for you to ask and be like, hey, this is my hometown library, it would mean a lot to me to see the book there. If it’s just some random library you have no association with, I would at that point, maybe just put it up to the patrons to request the book. Libraries have limited budgets, so they’re not just going to buy every book that’s put out. They need a reason to do it. And so if a patron is asking for a book, they are much more likely to purchase than just like, hey, I’m an author, buy my book. They’re like, get in line.
E.S. Curry 55:54
Kevin Tumlinson 55:55
While we were doing the whole van life thing, I would stop in at libraries and offer to just chat, you know, just come in, I’ll come in on Saturday or whatever. And that’s a good opportunity. You know, you don’t even have to order my books right now. You can just wait.
E.S. Curry 56:12
That’s a great example of relationship building. Yeah. I mean, a lot of it is just that hand to hand combat, right?
M.K. Williams 56:19
Yeah. And it’s kind of the luck of the draw. Some library systems are really open to that, they have really great author programming. Some are just inundated with author requests. And they say, I’ve heard of one person, she was asked to make a $20 donation to library to do that. And I’m like, oh, that’s interesting. They must get a lot of author requests. Some are just like, we barely have any budget to keep a librarian on staff. So it’s kind of the luck of the draw. So you always want to be respectful for what they their challenges are and kind of answer for that.
E.S. Curry 56:48
Really great advice, M.K. Yeah, absolutely. We got a question from Donna Alward. “What about paid promo? Promo audio, CPC ads, and so on.”
M.K. Williams 56:59
So I will say that if you don’t have all of the stuff we talked about today in place, if you’re not organically mentioning, the book brings me on a journey, if you aren’t sending out and trying to build an email list, which most of those services are free to use up to a certain number of subscribers, if you don’t have your website set up. If you if you haven’t been organically talking about this, no amount of paid ads are going to help you. If you have no reviews, and you’re sending paid ad money to a book with no reviews, you know, that’s tough, because like you got to start somewhere. But it’s really difficult. And I would say there’s a lot of advertisers that are happy to separate you from your money. And as an indie author, we only have so much budget to go around. And so I don’t want to say I’m skeptical or dubious, like I use, you know, again, working professionally with ad agencies and advertisers, it gets really expensive, really fast. And so I feel like if you don’t have some of those organic elements together, if you don’t have everything put together first, it’s going to be a very expensive lesson in needing to go back and do that. So I’ve dabbled in paid ads. And by dabble I mean, like, one year I spent 28 bucks. The other year, I spent 40-something bucks. This year, I spent close to $700 on ads, and it was not helpful. And that was me giving it an honest go and making a trial of it. And I think there needs to be more authors talking about that. I hear on too many podcasts, oh, yeah, I just threw up some ads. And then you know, I hit the bestseller list. And I’m like, how much did you spend? Like did you pay somebody? So I think there’s this myth that ads will fix things. Ads will amplify. So if you are hitting everything with your organic marketing, they will amplify your message. If you are missing things, it will make it feel worse.
E.S. Curry 58:54
Yeah. Well, speaking of speaking of podcasts here, we have one last question from Gary. “Podcasts for audiobook authors and narrators. What do you recommend, M.K.?”
M.K. Williams 59:10
I like to listen to some of the bigger industry or indie author industry podcasts. So I listen to Joanna Penn. I listened to the Indie Author, I listen to the ALLi, Alliance of Independent Authors podcast. Those are the main three I usually have time for. Like I said before we started, I’m kind of in a content creation season so I’m way behind on all my podcasts. But I usually try to pick one or two that help me as the whole author, not just for my audiobook business or narrating, just kind of looking at everything cohesively, because I get too into the minutiae. I need some big picture. If you feel like you’re too much into the big picture and you need some minutiae, there may be other better podcasts out there for you, but I like looking at the bigger picture. So those podcasts help me come back up for air.
Kevin Tumlinson 59:57
And you accidentally left off Self-Publishing Insiders at Draft2Digital off your list. So I had to remind you of how much you love that podcast.
M.K. Williams 1:00:07
I do. I didn’t even mention it because it was so obvious.
Kevin Tumlinson 1:00:11
Yes, exactly. That’s the problem, is we’re too obvious.
E.S. Curry 1:00:15
It’s a good one. Yeah. And I love the ALLi one too. I love that you bring that up, M.K. We’re proud partners of Alliance of Independent Authors. Love all their content. I know you’re a very proud member of it as well. They do a lot of great work for us as indie authors.
M.K. Williams 1:00:31
E.S. Curry 1:00:33
Where are we? So we’re at the end of our hour. Thank you so much, M.K. Appreciate you coming on today and talking about this. Appreciate you writing this 12-part blog series for us.
M.K. Williams 1:00:45
Yeah, absolutely. This was super fun. I feel bad, I missed so much of what was going on in the chat. But I’ll have to go back.
Kevin Tumlinson 1:00:50
There was a lot of it. I mean, there were so many, I’ve watched relationships form in this chat today, whole new organizations have arisen of introverted authors and people swapping book blurbs and things like that, so you’ve inspired a quite a few people to do better marketing.
E.S. Curry 1:01:11
Gary said this hour wasn’t long enough. Thank you. Gary McFadden, good stuff. Sarah Morrissey, thank you. James Wood, this was wonderful. This is really great. Thank you.
M.K. Williams 1:01:25
Have a great rest of your week.
E.S. Curry 1:01:28
Appreciate it, Kevin. And we’ve got one more of these with Kyla Stone. Jump onto findawayvoices.com and register for that. It’s going to be fantastic. And then we’re going to put out some more kind of snippets from all these next month on our social channels. So be sure to follow us at Findaway Voices and follow Kevin and his company at Draft2Digital. And M.K. Williams, where can everyone find you?
M.K. Williams 1:01:52
So I’m everywhere online at number one like the number one 1mkwilliams.com. I say it’s because I’m the one M.K. Williams. There’s actually a second one but he’s a dude. So you know it’s me when you see this face.
Kevin Tumlinson 1:02:04
You’re looking for number one.
M.K. Williams 1:02:06
Number one M.K. Williams. And I also have the Author Your Ambition brand. So authoryourambition.com. YouTube is my biggest channel, so just Google on your YouTube search. M.K. Williams, author your ambition, and I’ll show up.
Kevin Tumlinson 1:02:20
Awesome. I like to tell people that we’re Draft number 2 Digital, we take on that number two because we want to make the authors number one. Look for that in our marketing speak from this point forward.
E.S. Curry 1:02:38
It’s good. Well, thanks Kevin. Thanks M.K. And we’ll see everyone with Miss Kyla Stone on Thursday. Everyone have a great rest of your day.
Kevin Tumlinson 1:02:50