SFFMP 93: Straddling Genres and Succeeding with Multiple Different Series with Rachel Aaron

Popular fantasy author Rachel Aaron joined us today to talk about succeeding with books that straddle genres, launching later books in a series, and turning your writing into a business, among other topics.

Here are a few more subjects that we touched on:

  • The challenges of writing across genres and marketing books that don’t fit tidily into a category
  • Rachel’s experiments with advertising and what has worked best
  • Using a pre-order to increase sales of an entire series and how to build launch buzz over several weeks
  • Some of the perks of being in Kindle Unlimited (Rachel explains why she believes KU readers are less likely to leave bad reviews)
  • How audiobooks have become a significant source of income for Rachel
  • The challenges of maintaining a high degree of productivity after this becomes a full-fledged business

Visit Rachel on her site, check out the fan art she mentioned, or take a peek at her first Heartstrikers book on Amazon.

 

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SFFMP 50: Patreon, Audiobooks, and Diversifying Your Income with Abigail Hilton

Tonight we chatted with fantasy author Abigail Hilton about making money from Patreon, audiobooks, and web comics as well as full-length novels. She doesn’t write in the most popular subgenre of fantasy, and she creates anthropomorphized characters for her adventures, but she’s diversifying her income and making notable money from her work.

Here’s a bit of what we covered:

  • Supplementing your monthly income with Patreon
  • What Patreon is exactly and how it works
  • Patreon versus Kickstarter
  • Getting people to sign up for your Patreon page and asking for tips versus monthly payments
  • Choosing rewards that don’t require extra work on your part, because they’re things you would do anyway
  • Using Podiobooks to find an audience versus publishing audiobooks straight to Audible
  • The expense of doing full cast recordings for audiobooks and is it worth it?
  • Finding artists to illustrate your world (and to create extras for Patreon rewards)
  • Creating web comics as an add-on for your regular fiction series
  • Hiring reliable artists and whether the expense can be worth it
  • Facebook ads when you’re an author in a small, less popular niche
  • Split testing Facebook ads for covers (figuring out which is your most popular cover option before even publishing the book)

Thanks to Abigail for all of the great information. You can visit her website, where she has free ebooks and audios available, and check out her books on Amazon.

 

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SFFMP 31: Producing and Marketing Audiobooks with Simon Whistler

We got up early to chat with Simon Whistler (who’s currently living in Prague) today. He’s the host of The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast and also the author of Bootstrapping for Indies (Self Publishing on a Budget) and Audiobooks for Indies (The One-Stop Guide for Authors Looking to Make More Money Selling Audiobooks). It’s because of that last book and because of his experience with narrating audiobooks that we wanted to have him on the show. We hadn’t covered marketing (or producing) audiobooks yet, and Simon knows a ton!

The first half of the show is all about finding a narrator and getting your audiobook produced using Amazon’s ACX platform (we also covered equipment and potential pitfalls you should be aware of if you want to do it yourself). In the second half of the show, we got into the marketing side of things.

Here’s some of what we covered related to production:

  • What is ACX and how does it work to connect authors to narrators/producers?
  • The royalty-splitting option, for those doing it on a budget, versus the flat-fee-per-finished-hour option
  • How to get a $100/hour stipend from ACX to make your royalty split option more appealing to narrators
  • What equipment and software authors need if they’re going to produce their own audiobook (Simon uses a Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone and has also heard good things about the less expensive Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. For software, he uses the free Audacity).
  • Hours verses finished hours and just how much work really goes into producing an audiobook (not to mention doing all those different character voices!)

Here’s what we talked about related to marketing:

  • Which genres seem to do best in audiobook form (hint: longer books are often more appealing, because most Audible customers pay for credits that get them a book a month, so the longer, higher priced books seem to be better deals).
  • Making use of the 25 review copies that Audible gives you (and how to make sure the people you give those codes to buy your book instead of someone else’s!). Make sure to check out Simon’s video on Making Better Use of Audible’s Promotional Codes. You can also pick up his Audiobooks for Indies ebook for even more information.
  • How ACX allows you to share a fifteen minute sample on YouTube, your site, social media, etc. Simon recommends grabbing a scintillating few minutes from the middle rather than the title, acknowledgements, etc.
  • AudaVoxx, a site where you can list audiobook giveaways.
  • Taking advantage of Audible’s free-first-book-with-a-subscription policy to entice your mailing list subscribers to grab your book, even if they’ve never been Audible members before and don’t usually buy audiobooks.
  • The importance of reviews (yes, the ones that are specifically for the audiobook are what you need here)
  • If there are any sites out there like Bookbub that can help authors sell their audiobooks (alas, the answer is not yet, largely because authors can’t control pricing on their audiobooks and put them on sale)

 

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