Make yourself heard: how to market and promote audiobooks effectively

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Audiobooks are one the fastest-growing divisions in the publishing industry. This will likely keep increasing as more booklovers move towards digital platforms. Though audiobooks are a fantastic way to reach more readers and boost your revenue, physical books outnumber this format by far. You’ll still need to compete with hundreds of thousands of other audiobooks out there. So here are some things you can do to market and promote your audiobooks effectively.

Build a relationship with audiobook retailers

Beyond Audible and Apple Books, there is a world of audiobook apps out there! Bookbeat and Storytel for example, each with their own audience, are fantastic audiobook-centric shops. You can get a placement for your audiobooks by finding out who the content curator is and pitching your content to them. Retailers such as these will always be interested in monthly promotional opportunities, so make it easy for them by sending over press-packs and release schedules. I curate the Lismio app which allows readers to discover and listen to audiobooks available on Spotify. It includes promotional tools such as banners and a slot for a weekly ‘audiobook of the week’, so I find it really helpful and exciting when publishers send over content schedules with titles that I can then highlight in the app.

Focus on marketing activities that drive engagement

Promoting all available retailers always ensures better results than only referring your listeners to one place to buy your audiobooks. This is easily achievable by using marketing tools such as Linkfire which allows you to create pre-release and release links that simplify your audiobook marketing with beautiful, trackable landing pages, as well as build momentum for your upcoming audiobooks by encouraging readers to pre-order. Through Linkfire, you can also create bio links – a great way to bring all your content together – and reward links, which help you grow your following across retailers by offering instant access to secret content or to contests. These user-friendly links can be shared everywhere, from social media bios and posts to email newsletters, press releases and publisher and/or author websites.

Take advantage of all formats

You shouldfocus on the importance of simultaneous publication of audio with print and eBook versions. That way, readers who prefer one format over another won’t have to wait for months for its release and potentially lose interest in the meantime. Not only will a simultaneous release save you from running two separate marketing campaigns, but it could also influence the algorithms in your favour. For instance, Boldwood Books – an award-winning independent, global fiction publishing house – guarantees the release of their books in all formats on the same publication day. In doing so, they have found an audience for each format and all the promotion done for the print copy feeds through to the audiobook release.

Make use of everything social media has to offer

This might seem a little obvious, but delve into Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and reddit to share quotes and audiograms. BookTok has become one of the most successful communities with over 65 million views, so share reviews, and tap into the fan culture that’s having a real impact on book sales globally. There are many audiobook lovers and influencers out there who will happily help you promote your audiobook or highlight a shareable post. This is also where hiring a narrator with a following comes in; not only will your audiobook hit the ground running from the beginning, the narrator will also offer an additional channel for promoting your audiobook.

Upload your audiobooks to streaming services

Alongside our strong partnerships with audiobook-centric retailers, Zebralution specialises in delivering to music-streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and YouTube. On Spotify, we curate over 500 playlists and support publishers who want to produce their own audiobook playlists. If your audiobook is on Spotify, you can use their artist tool to effectively increase the discoverability of your audiobook. Spotify for artists is free to use and allows you to strengthen your author profile by adding banners, artist playlist picks, bios, book launches, and links to social media channels. All of this really helps to build listeners. If you don’t want your audiobook to be fully available on a streaming platform, that’s ok too; with YouTube you can easily upload a trailer or sample chapter with links to your retailers in the description.

In summary, there are plenty of ways publishers can market their audiobooks. Our biggest piece of advice when talking to our Zebralution partners about promoting their audiobooks is to focus on activities that drive engagement. If you offer valuable content, you will see the same in return. Make a connection with your listeners and readers, get to know them, and personalise your fan outreach. Remember that a successful collaboration between author, publisher and narrator will always shine through to your audience.

Mia Lioni joined Zebralution in April as Junior Audiobook Manager, and is responsible for the content management of Zebralution’s English and Dutch audiobook content. As well as managing the distribution and marketing of audiobooks from publishers such as Scholastic, Pan Macmillan and Boldwood Books, Mia leads the curation and management of the lismio audiobook app and Spotify channels.

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