Text for 5 Advanced Promo Code Strategies

Back to the promo codes: You give away 25 codes and you should be emailing these to your list. Not sharing in messenger on Facebook or What’s app or whatever else you might use. Only email, and that only after they have opted into your list. Here is one reason why: If you leave yourself at the mercy of the Tech Giants like Facebook to reach your list, you can be shut out with one click. This Author was sharing review codes with her fans and Facebook put her in “Jail” for spamming! Even though she was replying to requests from her fans. Here’s a screenshot: Facebook thinks I’m a spammer because I gave away a LOT of copies of my Audiobooks today, and I sent the freebie codes through messenger. Now, I’m in Facebook jail, and can’t message new people that are not my friends through messenger. This bites! See why I only use email? It gives me a way to reach my list if I need to, even if Facebook puts me in “Jail” or Twitter deletes my account, whatever. I have my own list! This could have been worse! A lot worse! At least this Author got code requests. Remember what I said about posting in Social Media. If you don’t get interaction, you look like a loser. At least this Author got some requests, but then she couldn’t fill the requests and lost some of the potential for people to get codes, redeem the code for her book and make her money. Lost money and dissapointed fans, bad! Think I’ve made my point. You should always deliver codes with email, and you should keep your own list of your fans where you can always reach them. When you send a code by email remind them that your system will give away available codes that have not been redeemed after 24 hours. Even if your “System” is just YOU doing it, it’s still a system.  Explain in your email: They do not have to LISTEN within 24 hours, they may have a list of Audiobooks they are already listening to. But, they need to redeem the code within 24 hours. Now, as soon as TEN are redeemed you can push the button to generate 25 more and Audible will load you up again. I have had 25 codes out, and no one redeemed any of them yet, and more people want the other 25. Now those first 25 are jamming up my sytem while I have a hot new release other people want! That means 25 codes are going cold as the Audiobook is still in it’s best time for sales. If those first 25 don’t redeem I just take the first ones and give them out again. I forced myself to just tell my fans with codes: Use ’em or lose ’em guys. At first I feared blowback of the “Don’t rush me, you’re not the boss of me, narrator guy!” variety. But, again, this RAISES your status. I tell them “People WANT my codes.” I DO NOT tell fans that I am waiting for them to redeem codes so I can unlock more, I just tell them that they need to redeem them or the system shows them as “Shared” but also, and this is the important part “Available.” When a code is available, especially if they have had it a week or so, and someone requests a code, my system will grab the oldest one that has not been redeemed and share it again to a person who is more likely to redeem it and, get me paid. There are fans who LOVE contests and helping you. These fans want to know what to do, and they want to know how to help you. Kylie Jenner is the world’s youngest billionaire. She sells skin care products called Kylieskin. In one of her instagram promotions she offered a signed box of Skin Body Collection products. Here’s what the promotion required for you to enter to win it: “Follow @kylieskin, like this pic, and our last 3 pics, and then tag a friend in the comments.” Making some demands actually IMPROVES your odds of getting cooperation from fans, we talked about that, but, I want to remind you, just makin’ sure you got it. You aren’t Kylie Jenner, and neither am I. You see me in a swimsuit, there’s a big difference. There is no guarantee you or I can get good participation like she does, and again, if people don’t participate, you look bad. She increases her status by making demands, and having a ton of participation. The demands are a good idea, but if you don’t get replies it can backfire. The solution is this: Don’t make your demands in public! Let your fans share your offers, which raises your status, and have your offers drive people to your optin form, and then put the rules in your reply email. So when you say, “Please redeem the code within 24 hours. I don’t want you to lose your code! I know you have other things to do, so I won’t ask you to listen or review right away, but the codes are in demand and when someone else asks for a code while yours is not redeemed my system will share it again until they are all redeemed.” People have no idea what is really going on. Maybe all your codes are redeemed but the one they have and they are just sitting on. Maybe they will lose it because they haven’t redeemed it yet, which is a powerful motivator because, if you didn’t know: Fear of loss is FAR more powerful than the desire for gain!

Text for 6 What's a Bounty?

“Bounties.” If someone joins Audible and they choose one of your books as their first purchase, you get $75 for what ACX calls a Bounty. It’s like you’re a bounty hunter because you brought them a wanted listener. I just finished narrating a book for an author who didn’t know about any of this. Neither the promo codes nor the Bounty program. He sent me a message: “This is insane! Did you know about this?!” and he had a link to the Bounty program.   There’s a lot of satisfaction giving someone a gift, and even more if I get something too! Let’s whip the dead horse a little longer. What you get by sharing codes is a happy Reader/Listener and maybe even a happy NEW Reader/Listener if your fans are sharing your link, like you ask them to do. This morning one of my fans posted in a large listener group that she just started listening to one of my books. It has the image and the link on it, so that helps my credibility and status. I’m sure people will want Promo Codes because they know the book just released, and first come first served until all the Codes are gone! Actually, I’ve checked and the first 15 minutes since my superfan shared my link codes 18 are gone. I’ve been sharing codes for about three years, and having them all go so fast is new for me. I just started exhausting my codes completely, so I’m not saying you will give away all 50 of your Promo Codes the first time you try. If you do, well, damn. You’re awesome! But it doesn’t have to take you three years either! With what I’m telling you now, it should take you a few months tops. Promo Codes and Bounties for Authors, Narrators and Listeners are a genuine happily ever after for all of us because we each get something we want! A free Audiobook for listeners, a reward payment and a sale recorded for us Authors and Narrators.

Text for 7 Troll Control

So, once they have a code, many of them feel like they should leave you a review. Point out that they can also click on “This review is helpful” button on Amazon kindle books and Audible Audiobooks both. This is easy for them because it only takes one click, and it really can help you! The default view for ratings and reviews on both Amazon books and Audible Audiobooks is stack ranked by “Most Helpful.” Anyone with an Amazon account can go and find a good review for your book and click on “Helpful.” Lots of clicks on a good review pushes that review to the top. And more importantly, pushes bad reviews and trolls back into the dungeon where they belong. Amazon has one button: “Helpful.” But in Audible there are two buttons: Helpful and Not Helpful. That “Not Helpful” is a pain, tell you why in a minute. Secret tactic: If you have a smart phone, with the Amazon App and you’re logged into it, you can visit Audible and click on the “Helful” button on good reviews. Even if you havn’t bought the Audiobook, and even if you are not an Audible member. Sometimes you’ll see a puzzling “Helpful” status. Like “2 Out of 3 Found This Helpful.” What causes that is a *%$#@ Troll! They clicked that it was “Not Helpful.” Which is rediculous, but it can push a good review down a couple spots. When you send out your codes, be sure your email includes instructions to “Review, rate and or click ‘Helpful’ on good reviews and tell them about the smart phone hack, too. Good reviews help, and telling fans they can help you with one click is a great way to help them help you! Never ask fans to give you anything other than their honest opinion. Do NOT ask them to give you good reviews. It’s unethical and it violates Audible’s terms, so if you’re caught at it, you could get a lot worse than just a crappy review. What you CAN do, is find people who like your stuff and share codes with them, and tell them to invite more people like them, so now you’ve got a monster list of people you appeal to. You only need a few thousand fans to start really killing it with Audiobooks!

8 Care and Feeding of Narrators

by Gunnar Qualen

Text for 8 Care and Feeding of Narrators

Let’s pretend my persuasive writing, or my incredibly sexy voice, has convinced you to get your books performed into Audio. Now what? The best thing for you to do about most of this stuff is to login to ACX and click on “How It Works” right at the top. I am telling you the stuff ACX probably knows, but for whatever reason doesn’t say. Anyway, at ACX you can “Assert your titles” which means you search and find your Kindle books, and then list them as “Open for Auditions” from Narrators. You can search “Producers” who are available to hire and listen to samples. There are 93,000 plus narrators listed, so be sure to listen to samples from them all! When I first started it was only about 50,000. Approaching a narrator can work, I’ve heard that it has, but most people tell me it was wasted time. The narrator was too expensive, slow or didn’t perform as well consistently as their sample sounded. If you know who you want, just approach them. You can probably afford them, but if they are popular what you’ll have to do is be patient. Even the most famous narrators are really fair with pricing. Top voice talent can be really expensive, like in Hollywood, the Simpsons actors started at $30,000 an episode but at the top of the series they were getting $300,000. You can get great talent at $200 to $400 Per Finished Hour “PFH” and if you’re patient you can get even better deals. If you do a royalty split you’re giving up half the royalties, but nothing out of pocket. If the narrator has a list (ahemmm!) and markets to his fans, he can help your sales, so it can be worth it to give up half the royalties to that narrator. A new feature at Audible allows you to bribe a talented narrator. This feature is called Royalty Split Plus, which makes it possible for you to sweeten the pot with a little bonus money. You can offer a few bucks up front to get them to take the deal and then split royalties from then on. Okay, so now you hire the narrator. They perform 15 minutes and load it for you to review. You MUST listen to this for sure. If they aren’t giving you the sound, pace or acting you thought you had bought talk to them. Send a message explaining how you’d like it to sound. Most of us have more than one way we can perform for you. No money has changed hands at this point, and no feelings should be hurt either. This is just business. A narrator can only do what they can do. I can’t do Young Adult British. But I can be your cowboy, biker, barbarian all damn day. If it isn’t going how it should, try to help them understand what you’re after. Then you approve the 15 minute sample and turn your narrator loose to perform the whole book. You can listen to Chapters as the narrator completes them, or listen to the whole thing when he tells you he’s done. So at long last, the narrator is done performing the book. Now everything you’re supposed to know, everything Amazon WANTS you to know is at ACX, Audible’s learning center, and it’s great information, like I said. But they don’t tell you what I’m telling you now. Audible will tell you that you have to review the whole book. Listen to every word and read as you go, to insure that you approve of the performance, and that it’s all correct, and also pretty much verbatim. Doesn’t have to be exact. Sometimes we narrators ignore punctuation, read some things as contractions to sound more real. For example: “I am not going to do that” will be “I’m not gonna do that.” If they’re good, it will be because that character is more believable with that pronunciation. Real people don’t say “Did you eat? Let’s go eat!” What they say sounds like “Joueeeet? Lesqueeet!” Listen to people now with this in mind and you’ll notice how much words just run together. ACX says you must review the whole performance. But you DON”T have to listen to it. You can just SAY you did, and approve it, and then hope it isn’t terrible or full of mistakes. Or, you can do what I do. Have a couple of your superfans read along with the Audiobook as they listen. There are several listeners who LOVE to proof for me. They get to hear the books first. What I do is choose some fans, and allow them to review my books before they go to Audible! Two or three fans do this and very very well! They find places where I pronounce a word wrong or it should be louder or angrier! Whatever. They tell me how much they like it. What would make it better and believe me, they LOVE it! These are listeners who love audiobooks. They use free codes to get them, but now, they get the FIRST look! And last: There are ALWAYS errors! Because there’s more than one reviewer they ALWAYS find errors. Usually they all find the SAME errors and tell me about them. Fixing errors is usually just correcting a mis pronounced word, or making a noise quiet. At this point it’s still easy. Fixing an error on a book that you have approved and made live in Audible is NOT easy. It takes weeks to do it, and you have to really know what you’re doing. Because of this, I would have terrible anxiety about pushing that “I’m Done.” Button in ACX. And I still have that anxiety, but a whole lot LESS anxiety because it wasn’t just me checking it for errors. It was me and my team of reviewers working together!

9 Bonus for Romance Writers

by Gunnar Qualen

Text for 9 Bonus for Romance Writers

There are four main ways to have your Romance novel performed. Solo: One person performs the whole book. Dual: Two people perform the book. Point of view books are popular where one chapter is His point of view, the next is Her point of view. The chapters are read solo but usually it’s a dude performing the chapters in His point of view, and the Lady performs the chapters that are Her point of view. Duet: In these books it’s often still written point of view, but any line that’s His will be performed by the man, even in Chapters that are Her point of view. Any line that’s Hers will be performed by the lady, even if it’s a Chapter that is from His point of view. Ensemble: A cast of narrators perform all the lines for their respective characters. Basically a movie in your mind. Lauren Blakely is producing probably the most ambitious ensemble romance ever. There are over a dozen famous and talented narrators performing a new Romance for her, and we’re all interested in how it does. Thinking probably it will be amazing. Since listening is more of a movie of the mind sort of thing, writing for Audible requires some adjusting. Writers are dropping commentary such as “He said” because clearly, when it’s narrated, he says it. Some narrators drop these out of the performancek, they just don’t say “He said” every time it’s written, although not performing verbatim can cost you the whispersync and hurt sales. If the narrator drops more than a word or two in a hundred you might not get the whispersync feature. Back in the day it was written like this: “Lillian!” He said, his face red with anger. Now what I see more and more is clever stage direction in the dialogue: “Lillian!” I roar, running to catch the chardonnay glass. “That’s the last of the fruity sommelier! How could you simply drop it!” Collaborating is where it’s really at with this. Get your script to the narrator you like before it’s published. Let them become familiar with the story because that’s part of getting a good performance. I’ve read books where I didn’t know a character had a deep authoritative voice until page 240! Imagine if I had performed him in a clinical mousy way for 240 pages and THEN learned how to make him sound? I have to read it, and know the characters before I say a word of it into a mic. Your book will be hot upon release, right? Well it helps if the audiobook is out close to the same time. Perform one finished hour takes us narrators about 6 hours, according to ACX. With coffee breaks, whiskey and floozie breaks in my case, one finished hour takes longer! If you give me a 5 hour book, plan on three weeks. Here’s the time line. 4 days to perform it, 5 days for a sound engineer to edit mistakes, burps, swallows and mispronounced bloopers out of it. 2 days for my review team to listen to it and read along with my narration, looking for errors, and telling me what they find. Remember, there are ALWAYS some things you can do better in a performance up to 10 or even 20 hours long. So they tell me what to fix, and that can take another day or two. Then it goes to Audible who take another two weeks to do their own quality review. I just had a book release yesterday. It took ACX 12 days to review it, and they found no errors! Yay. If ACX does find things they want corrected, you have to fix the problem, whatever it was, and then upload the sound files again, and the two week ACX quality review waiting time starts over. An audiobook can easily take two months to go from performance to release because of all these steps. All of this, every word is just my opinion. But, well, ya know, looking back at it. Some of it is stone cold fact, pretty awesome and I’m sure it will help you! If you didn’t go to GunnarQualen.com when I mentioned it in the beginnning, then do it now. Everything you’ve just learned is still changing and I send updates to you as they happen. Best of all it’s free so go do it: GunnarQualen.com Talk to you soon!