Not all authors relish being on video. And although it is definitely a powerful way to market yourself, your business, and your books, there are alternatives that can be just as powerful. One of them is streaming audio – audio-only files that people can listen to online.
If you don’t want to be on camera, but you don’t mind the sound of your voice, streaming audio might be an excellent marketing tool for you. In this post, I’ll cover the myriad ways you can use streaming audio to increase your book sales.
What is streaming audio?
Streaming audio is simply an audio file that someone can listen to online without downloading it. If you listen to music on Pandora, or to podcasts on Stitcher, you’re listening to streaming audio.
How does streaming audio work?
The concept is simple. An audio file, usually a .mp3 file, is uploaded to a server, such as Amazon S3. And then some web-based software or code is linked to that file so when someone clicks on it, they can hear what is included in the file.
For example, for my podcast The Author’s Switch, I upload the .mp3 file of the episode to my Amazon S3 account. I then insert the URL to the audio file into the user interface that Blubrry has integrated into my blog. I then insert a tiny bit of code into my post and Blubrry generates a player for that episode. Visitors to my blog can click play and listen to the podcast!
There are several plugins for WordPress that will allow you to painless post streaming audio to your blog. Some, like Blubrry PowerPress, were created with podcasters in mind. But some are simply ways for you to include a player on your site. And, now WordPress will create one automatically if you insert the audio file’s URL in code view.
How can authors use streaming audio?
There are four main ways that authors can use streaming audio to market their books. They are:
- Being a guest on a podcast
- Hosting a podcast
- Creating Podiobooks
- Hosting teleseminars
Let me go into each one a little more deeply.
Be a guest on other people’s podcasts
Being a guest on someone else’s podcast is a great way to get you and your book in front of an audience filled with potential readers who haven’t heard of you yet. The podcaster has done the work of building an audience, and you get to reap some of those rewards.
Of course, you need to do the work to find the right podcasts. Then you need to pitch yourself to the host. That can be a lot of work. And there is no guarantee that you’ll gain readers.
Host your own streaming audio podcast
Hosting your own podcast that streams from your website and is distributed through a wide variety of podcast directories is a great way to build your authority and grow an audience of readers. When you are the host, you are seen as an expert. And, if you interview others on your show, they will share you with their audiences.
Of course, there is a lot of work that goes into creating and maintaining a podcast. You have to record it, edit it, post it, and promote it. Again, no guarantee that you’ll gain readers. But you do have a better chance by hosting your own than by going on others – if you can grow your audience.
A podiobook is a serialized book. The serialization of stories and books has a long history. Many novels started out as a series of shorter works published over several issues of a magazine. A podiobook is very similar.
You break your book into a series of episodes of a podcast. So, if you have 10 chapters, you might have a 10-episode series. Pop-up, short-lived podcasts are starting to become more popular. Serializing your book this way could attract new readers who discover you on their podcast delivery service, are enthralled, and then go out and buy your book.
Yes, teleseminars still exist – and some people prefer them. It is much easier to listen to a teleseminar while you’re washing the dishes than watching a webinar! If the information you are going to share does not require visuals, why include them just because?
What kinds of equipment do you need to record a streaming audio?
You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to record streaming audio, so it can be much more cost-effective than video. There are several ways you can record audio and I covered them in “Easy Ways to Record Audio.”
After you’ve recorded your audio, you’ll want to edit it. I recommend Audacity, not only because it is used by so many people, but also because it is free!
If you’re going to record audio with your computer, you’ll need a decent mic. I have several mics, but the one I use the most – a headset mic – cost me about $20 on Amazon. I go into several options in Cool Hardware for Facebook Livestreams, which is published on the Public Speaking Super Powers website.
See how easy streaming audio can be?
Now that you can see that creating and distributing streaming audio has a low cost and learning threshold for entry, why not start experimenting to see if it can help you increase your book sales?
NOTE: This post was originally published on Nov. 26, 2007, however it was completely re-written and updated on Dec. 12, 2020.