Writers: Make audio one of the tools in the marketing chest

It’s no secret that authors these days have to be multi-taskers. No rest for the weary writer once the book is written.

Even the authors who have the best publishing deals have to be on social media, know how to market, make appearances. Those of us with smaller publishers have the same duties, only magnified in a lot of ways.

I’ve written here before about how every little thing we do as authors helps build the foundation for success. I never say no to an appearance request, make sure my social media accounts are active, visit libraries and book stores — you name it, I’ll do it.

I also wholeheartedly embraced the concept of audio versions of my books, though I don’t listen to audio books myself. I wrote here in July about how listening to the audio version of my first book, Cold Hard News, helped make me a better writer.

Now as the audio version of No News is Bad News, the second in the Bernie O’Dea series, nears the final production hurdle, I’m also grateful simply for one more way to bring my books to readers.

I am lucky that I own the audio rights to my books. I’m more than lucky that when I went on ACX.com to explore how to get an audio book made, I came across the perfect narrator and producer, exactly what I wanted. Trudi Knoedler lives in California and I live in Maine, but we certainly are right with each other on how my books should sound.

As with my last blog post on the topic, I won’t go into all the nuts and bolts. Dale Phillips’ blog post from 2013 explains it much better than I could.

The big benefit for me is that I’ve found that audio reaches readers that print and ebooks may not. I had a long conversation with a fan at an event last summer who was thrilled that Cold Hard News was on audio. It surprised me how fervent she was about it.

More recently, I got a nice note from Melanie Coombs, the librarian at MacArthur Library in Biddeford, saying how much she loved the audio of Cold Hard News and asking when No News is Bad News would be out. She enjoys listening to books and took the time out to listen to mine and then to let me know what she thought. She’s also letting patrons of her library know. She also took the time to compliment the job Trudi did with the narration.

A lot of what we do as writers is tough and there doesn’t always seem to be a lot of payoff. I’ve always said, and I sincerely believe, that every little thing adds to the whole. I decided to give audio a shot because — why not? — the books were written and Trudi would do all the work. But I’ve come to realize that it meant way more than that.

I’m looking forward to the audio version of No News is Bad News being available later this month. I put some of my rudimentary digital skills to work to make a little video of a sample to promote it. No, I know, that two-minute video won’t win any Oscars. But every little bit helps.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Click here to watch the video.


EVENTS: Maureen will be one of 10 authors reading from their works at Noir at the Bar, 3-5 p.m., Sunday, November 6, at Bull Feeney’s in Portland. Also reading will be Brenda Buchanan, Gayle Lynds, Gerry Boyle, Jen Blood, Barb Ross, Lea Wait, Bruce Coffin, Jessie Crocker, Brendan Rielly, Dick Cass and more!. Kelly’s Books to Go will be selling books at the event by all of those who are reading. Come on over for a great afternoon!

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at@mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at maureenmilliken.com.

About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at maureenmilliken.com. She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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8 Responses to Writers: Make audio one of the tools in the marketing chest

  1. Gail Arnold says:

    The video teaser is very engaging. Good job!

  2. Maureen, agreed- it sounds so good to have your words read by a skilled narrator. I’ve worked with a number of them through ACX. If your readers want to know more about how to do it, you can refer them to a post here on MCW: http://mainecrimewriters.com/guest-blog/dale-t-phillips-on-producing-your-own-audio-books

    • Dale, it’s because of you I did this. Thanks again for the great advice. The only issue in Maine is that we don’t get the bonus. I’m trying to figure out the legislation that keeps that from happening and work on my representatives, but ACX doesn’t seem to understand my question, and I just keep getting a boilerplate “Maine is one of six states that aren’t allowed bonuses by statute.” My producer, in California, does get her share of the bonus. I can’t believe our Legislature would want hard-working writers not to get what’s coming to them and what people in 44 other states get. I’ll be blogging about this aspect soon, once I have more information.
      But again, you’re wonderful Crime Bake presentation on this and unfailing good humor and positive attitude helped make this happen. Thanks!

  3. Thank you, Maureen! I’ve been thinking of creating an audio version of my historical novel, but lacked the extra push to go ahead. Your post and Dale Phillips’s 2013 writeup are very inspirational. Owning one’s own audio rights is another big advantage of independent publishing!

  4. MCWriTers says:

    Oh yeah. Thanks a lot, Maureen. One more thing (x13) to put on my to-do list. Such a great idea. Please send intern at once, who will take care of this while I meet my book deadline.

    But wait…I could play hooky from work and preview readers, couldn’t I? Put my feet up and listen to audio. It would be so much fun to listen to your book instead of writing mine. Of course, I’ve already read your wonderful new book…but it would be fun to hear it…

    Thanks for this great post. Hope a zillion people read it.

    But wait…then they’ll snap up all the great readers and who will be left for me?

    Ha ha. Love the little youtube video, too. You’re amazing. What do you eat for breakfast, anyway?


    • Ha ha “put my feet up.” I gotta keep moving or I sink, and that’s the truth. I eat humans for breakfast, of course. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. And BTW, all the really great readers read everyone and hunger for more. Listeners too!

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