• Home

Category: Audio

The Audio Channel


 

vintage

Will Rycroft is Community Manager at VINTAGE, and speaker at our next event, ‘How to build a community‘, on the 18th May. VINTAGE books have over 80,000 Twitter followers and over 250,000 fans on Facebook, so it’s quite the community. Here Norah Myers interviews Will to learn more..

1) Why was it important to include a podcast as part of Vintage’s community?

Audio has been growing in importance for several years now and podcasts and audio books have never been so popular or easy to download. The intimacy of the listening experience means it’s a really effective way of communicating about our books. We knew that we had a range of writers and books that would allow us to create brilliant monthly podcasts involving interviews and readings but also stimulating content like cocktail making, food and location-specific recordings. All of this is to show the diversity of VINTAGE’s publishing and also our place as part of a wider cultural conversation.

2) How have you seen Vintage’s offline community – book launches, literary events – grow as a result of the online conversation?

Social media has allowed us to live-tweet events so that people could get an idea of how amazing they can be (this enhanced even further when they see tweets from other people there too). We’ve definitely seen our online community keen to meet us and each other offline and when we trialed a literary walk in London last year, with no idea if anyone would turn up, we were thrilled to see so many join us. We’ll be doing even more VINTAGE Walks this year.

3) Which social media platform has been the most effective for engaging conversation? Why?

Twitter, without a doubt. That’s how the platform is set up really and our approach on there is all about starting and participating in conversation. The fact you’re communicating in real-time, to multiple people but without a clogged feed, means it’s perfectly suited. We’re not there to sell books directly; we’re there to share our passion for them. Even things like the new polling feature can help stimulate conversation and engagement.

4) Why does using visual content in posts – GIFs and pictures – increase engagement?

People love to share things on social media so if you have a gorgeous picture of your books, or a scene to share, then your followers are more likely to share it to theirs. I love GIFs, mainly because they make me laugh and can communicate several things at the same time. They also allow you to reference films, music and popular culture whilst talking about your books. If you imagine someone scrolling through their feed, what posts do you think are going to stand out: text-only or those with a picture, GIF or video?

5) How should social media managers prepare themselves to use new apps and platforms?

Don’t rush in with your brand account. Download new apps and platforms and try them out personally first. Follow other accounts to see what they’re doing and keep an eye out to see what works and what doesn’t. Beware of spreading yourself too thin however. New apps and platforms seem to launch every week and very few of those that break through are attracting lots of users a few months down the line. We concentrate our energies on the main platforms whilst keeping an eye on those that might fit us in the future.

6) What is the best publishing-specific advice you could give to social media managers?

Keep it authentic. People can spot a phony (and will relish the opportunity to point it out!). When it comes to books, the readers you’re talking to will be passionate and fervent so you have to know your stuff – if you get something wrong they WILL tell you. But generally, as long as you’re communicating who you are, what you stand for and doing so with belief, you can’t be wrong. Unless you’re actually wrong of course.

Will Rycroft seeks to engage the reading community wherever they are with his passion for books. He commissions and creates digital content for VINTAGE’s social media channels and the new Penguin consumer website. You can follow his musings on Twitter, his vlog on YouTube and hear him interviewing authors and more on the VINTAGE Podcast.

audiobooks

Last week Penguin Random House announced that it’s establishing its audio business as a standalone division, Penguin Random House UK Audio. Here we interviewed Hannah Telfer, MD Audio and Group Director of Consumer & Digital Development, on what’s new and next for audiobooks at Penguin Random House UK.

1) What exactly is the new audio division?

Audio was the fastest growing part of our Penguin Random House UK business in 2015. We had a record year with publishing highlights including our biggest-ever selling audio download with The Girl On The Train and fastest-ever selling title with YouTubers Dan and Phil’s The Amazing Book is Not on Fire.

In May 2015 Penguin Random House UK became the global exclusive publishers of BBC Audio, publishing audiobooks from the bestselling and award-winning drama, comedy and landmark factual programmes from the BBC Radio network and archives.

In total, we sold more than 30 million hours of audio and we know we can sell more.

By launching as a standalone division – Penguin Random House UK Audio – we will have one unified audio strategy across Penguin Random House UK with our expert audio team working hand-in-hand with their publishing colleagues – which is great news for our authors and our readers.

As the UK’s number 1 audiobook publisher, we capture the benefit of this market for our authors and for the stories and ideas we are privileged to publish.

2) As a new department, what problem is being solved?

In a noisy world, audiences are discovering the pleasure of listening. Audiences are discovering the delight of being transported to new worlds, of experiencing new ideas, of hearing new voices.

At Penguin Random House, we believe there is alchemy to publishing audiobooks; that their magic is unlocked through the care with which they are produced.

We are expert here.

From the earliest possible conversations with authors and editors, we cast our audiobooks thoughtfully. The production of an audiobook is an intense and focused process. It’s intimate. We are uniquely placed to build on the intensity of the experience between author and editor and understand the story behind the story.

We find readers who will shine a light on the story. This can be the authors themselves, it can be actors, and it can be celebrities.

And we promote our audiobooks. From the fabulously successfully Penguin Podcast hosted by Richard E Grant, to our audience and author led campaigns, we are finding new and imaginative ways to market our books and partner well with our retailers.

3) Who is the target market?

Audiobooks are important because they reach distinct audiences and the spectrum is significant. Different audiences are growing the market. The profile of audiobook listeners in the UK is young and men are more likely to listen regularly than women.

Audiobooks over-index among BAME readers. This is critical for our industry. Audio has the potential to reach a more diverse audience than physical books and ebooks

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

At Penguin Random House Audio we are ambitious.

We are ambitious about integrating audio into our publishing strategies – to tell our stories well.

We are ambitious about pushing the boundaries of audiobooks – to seeking new listeners for our authors

We believe Audio can be a vanguard for books in a world of entertainment.

5) What will be next for Penguin Random House UK audio after this?

Watch – or should that be listen to – this space.

Hannah Telfer is responsible for consumer insight, group marketing & audience development, digital publishing & product development and the Penguin Random House UK’s Audio business. Prior to this she was Director, Digital Marketing and Digital Product Development at The Random House Group leading an award-wining programme of digital publishing and marketing.

ali muirden audio books
Ali Muirden divides her time between running her own digital publishing company, Creative Content and working on a freelance and consultancy basis for her publishing clients, specialising in audio producing/directing, publishing and also casting audio book projects on their behalf. She is a multi Audie Award winning and Grammy nominated audio book producer and director. Here BookMachine’s Laura Summers interviews her.

Continue reading

skills for publishing

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

It’s a bit of a contradiction in terms but one of the fastest growing areas of the rights and licensing sector is also the one which we arguably hear the least from. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the audiobook industry is currently worth somewhere in the region of $2.5bn to $2.6bn per year and growing. However, the amount of rights business being written often goes under the radar.

Here at IPR License we saw consistent, and substantial, demand for audio rights throughout 2014. This time last year we reported that licensing demand for international audio rights rose by 32 per cent in Q2 2014. This was largely based on publisher to publisher figures and whilst this business continues to grow, more internal analysis shows that enquiries for audio rights for self-published works have more than doubling (58 per cent) in the first half of 2015, when compared to H2 2014 figures.

Continue reading

 

The above is video footage of Simon Callow – who, up to this point, has been most widely acclaimed for his performances as Charles Dickens and his biographies of Orson Welles – reading Teddy & Stanley’s Tall Tale by Laura Quinn. You might think ‘aw, that’s nice, Callow’s gone a bit Jackanory – y’know, for the kids!’ for about six seconds, until the esteemed actor intones the words ‘this story is about a very, very good dog – just like you’, and you realise that this is either what they would have played over the speakers in Dickensian workhouses had they the technology, or is, in fact, the world’s first audiobook designed specifically with dogs in mind.

Continue reading

Can Audio Books Be Cool?

I’m not going to lie – I’ve always thought audio books were lame as hell.  The disappointing nephew of the hardback; the ugly duckling of the literary landscape. They bring back memories of long car rides to boring towns when my mum would put on a tape of some Victorian period drama read by an artist’s rendering of Jane Austen. Invariably I would hear half of it and then miss some and then hear some more of it and the leaps in narrative would piss me off and the English accent would clash with the Australian landscape, and the cases for the tapes were ugly and would get under my feet  – a car accident waiting to happen. 

Continue reading

audio

Videl Bar Kar (Penguin Random House, UK Audio), Claire Powell (audioBoom) and Adam Martin (Acast) formed the panel on Audio Publishing at the Quantum conference today. Here are the top 10 things we learned.

The Market

1) People are listening to podcasts and audiobooks on their runs, commute, in the car and when going to sleep.

2) Men listen more regularly than women and audiobooks reach a more diverse audience in comparison to print.

3) Podcasts are proving to be a highly engaging and intimate means of storytelling. Once people start to listen to them, they tend to carry on.

4) Podcast production is dominated by white middle class men. It’s not making the market any bigger and this needs to change in order to reflect the audience and content available. A broader, mass, millennial appeal needed.

Monetising Podcasts

5) Only when a podcast is downloaded is data available on how much it’s listened to, at which points users stop listening, and how they are shared. It’s hard to monetise without this.

6) Producers are beginning to incorporate data for streaming too, so that they can inform creators of what’s working and what’s not.

7) Data shows that an endorsement by the host is most effective form of advertising and that the commercial message better received. Creators are changing the model: it’s not the advertising agencies coming up with ideas, but the podcaster telling the brand’s story in their own way. If the creator gets it right, the users wants to stop and listen, not skip ahead.

Discoverability

8) The current challenge is reaching potential new users. Go direct to your audiences with links to, and snippets of, your content, e.g. Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Users will often find the gateway show that pulls them in.

9) Listeners are discovering new podcasts by reading recommendations on podcasts themselves.

10) Curated podcast playlists are also becoming increasingly popular.

 

audio

Michel LafranceMichel Lafrance is the founder and managing director for The Owl Field, an audio entertainment company specializing in 3D audio storytelling. In addition to managing the startup, he is the content producer and sound designer. Here we interviewed him. 

 

1) What exactly is The Owl Field?

The Owl Field is about 3D Audio storytelling. We produce immersive audio dramas that place the listener as the story’s central character, and from a first person perspective, everything happens around the listener in a 3D audio soundscape. Characters, sound effects and music surround the listener just as in the real world. The listener wears a pair of headphones, closes their eyes, and is simply transported to their virtual world.

2) What problem does it solve?

Audiobooks have seen amazing growth over the past five years, but the future of entertainment is immersive media like virtual reality and 360video. Our audio dramas fill the current gap between traditional audiobooks and virtual reality, and are a way for publishers to keep pace with those future forms of entertainment. Filling this gap would help attract new listeners, would provide new content for existing fans, and would offer a virtual experience for people living with sight loss who are currently completely underserved in the visuals-based virtual reality industry.

audio 3D

3) Who is your target market?

Our storytelling format can be applied to any story genre so our target market is wide open. We currently have numerous productions for ages 13+, and also one for ages 3+ that we plan to turn into a series. The beauty of 3D audio is that it can be experienced on any standard pair of headphones. There’s no need to purchase expensive or clunky virtual reality headsets so it’s an affordable and accessible form of virtual reality for everyone.

4) What are your goals for the next few years?

We want to be a pioneer in 3D audio storytelling. The popularity of audio entertainment will continue to grow over the next few years and with it the demand for immersive experiences. Our goal is to work with publishers to meet that demand by giving authors and publishers an exciting new format for existing fans and by attracting new listeners to publishing audio entertainment.

5) After you initial success, what will be next for The Owl Field?

We’ve just released a new podcast for all things 3D audio and we’re currently pursuing funding for our next production. We’re thrilled to be working with an award-winning fantasy audio drama writer for it and are equally excited to be augmenting the experience by adding elements of interactivity and personalisation.

You can get in touch with The Owl Field via email, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

You may know that the modern EPUB3 standard has an inbuilt ability to hold audio and video, but one of the most intriguing aspects of EPUB3 that you may have overlooked is ‘Read-aloud’. This technique, sometimes called ‘media overlays’, combines a spoken audio track with accurate timing information usually used to highlight words on the page in time with the spoken audio.

Continue reading

Popular mystery author David Hewson will this week release his latest novel, The Flood. His fans, however, will not be able to read it – at least in the strictest sense of the word – until some time next year, because the novel will initially see release exclusively as an audiobook, with print editions to follow at an as yet unspecified date. Further than that, The Independent reports, Hewson has intimated he may eventually move to writing exclusively for audiobooks.

Continue reading

Bardowl App Icon In a move that will either be hailed as bringing publishing in line with the demands of a perma-streaming society or derided as pandering to a generation increasingly unaccustomed to having to pay for entertainment, Bath company Bardowl has launched a Spotify-style service allowing users to listen to as many audiobooks as they like for a fixed monthly fee of £9.99. Accessed via a free app for iPhone and iPad, subscribers are able to stream any of the company’s library of audiobooks on the go, with unlimited access to all available titles.

Continue reading

In an era where you’re competing with umpteen websites, Facebook feeds, Twitter streams and mobile apps – promoting new books and publications can be somewhat daunting.

Over the course of the next few days, I’ll show you a few tools that are highly effective, low cost (or free) ways of promoting books and authors, engaging with readers and generally doing all you can to sell more books.

The first area we’ll look at is audio. Often overlooked in the rush to create YouTube videos or trailers; audio is still hugely popular. I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a project that I’ve worked on where the number of audio streams accessed or number of podcasts downloaded hasn’t ended up surprising me and my clients alike. It’s definitely worth thinking using a tool like Soundcloud as part of your promotional efforts.

Continue reading

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox

Account


+44 203 040 2298

6 Mitre Passage, Digital Greenwich - 10th Floor, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0ER

© 2018 BookMachine We love your books