Author Strategies

The Power of Audio Books

Did you know that audio books outsell eBooks by 3 to 1? According to Tina Dietz, world class audiobook publisher, sales of audio books have experienced a meteoric rise in the past several years, with over 20% growth year over year. People are listening to audio books while driving, flying or working out at the gym, when reading isn’t convenient. At the same time, the cost of producing an audio book has dropped by 50%. It’s also a different audience than readers of print books and eBooks, so if an author does not get their book made into an audio book, they are missing out on a sizeable audience.

Tina shared a number of issues to think about when considering whether to have a book made into an audio book. First, she suggested that every author read their book out loud prior to publishing the book. The more conversational the book, the more the book will build an intimate relationship with the reader and the greater likelihood that the reader will enjoy the book. Reading the book out loud will provide a very different sense of the book than reading it silently. It will also give the author a sense as to whether there are portions of the book that could be problematic for narration, such as exercises for the reader.

Another consideration is how the audio book fits in with the business. Interestingly, when an author has an audio book, the author can do 2 launches, using basically the same marketing material, thus doubling the bang for the buck. Also, if the author has plans to do the audio book as well as the print book and eBook, the author can include a link to a sample from the audio book in the print and eBook versions, which can drive more traffic to the author’s website.

Audio books do not require much equipment to produce. The most important equipment to have is a good microphone, and that runs less than $100. Tina recommended either the Blue Yeti or the Audio Technica 2100. The software can be downloaded for free, such as GarageBand or Audacity. It is essential to record the audio in a room that will be absent of any road noises or echo. The author can narrate the book herself, but it is strongly recommended that she take the time to learn good vocal and breathing techniques that are central to audiobook narration.

From a timing perspective, Tina advised that a professional narrator spends about 5 to 6 hours recording one hour of audio, which is about 10,000 words; so for a typical 100 page book, or 30,000 words, it’s about 20 hours for a professional to complete the narration. For an amateur, it would take considerably longer.

Tina has developed a 12 step Audiobook Production & Best Practices guide for authors interested in producing an audio book, and has offered that guide to the SkillBites community. You can download it by going to For more information about Tina Dietz, visit her website,

SkillBites has partnered with Tina Dietz and StartSomething Creative Business Solutions to offer special audiobook production packages. If you are interested in getting your book turned into an audio book, click here for details or contact us.


buy now

A New Content Marketing Approach

Have you ever received an email or direct mail piece, or watched an ad and found it distasteful? Lisa Manyon, the guest on this month’s SkillBites Show, explained that she has felt that way about many commercials and marketing pieces since she was just 4 years old. The standard approach in marketing for many years has been based on the formula Problem – Agitate – Solve. In other words, point out the pain, make it sound horrible if the person experiencing the pain doesn’t do something about it quickly, and then present the solution. For many people, this feels more like emotional manipulation, which does not bode well for attracting them to purchase the service or product being offered.

Lisa developed a different approach, which she refers to as the “Challenge.Solution. Invitation™”formula. It is a subtle energetic shift that is more appealing because it treats people as people, and involves marketing with more integrity. Accordingly, it tends to attract more of the ideal prospects for the particular product or service, and has longer term sustainability.

For any marketing campaign, Lisa advised, there are two critical components: the content or message, and the strategy. The right content without a strategy to drive people to the message is unlikely to succeed, and vice versa. Lisa spends time with her clients determining the best ways for them to market that is consistent with their own values and the preferences of their target market. She also creates a plan for them, a 90-day calendar of what they should do, and how to do it as easily as possible.

Lisa emphasized that there is no quick fix. Marketing takes time, and requires consistency to be effective. It is critical for the business owner to capture his or her own voice and not adopt messages of others. When the message comes from the owner’s core truth, it will be much more effective. Lisa has an exercise that helps her clients identify their core values so that they can ensure that their business activities are congruent with those values. When there is a disconnect, the business is usually not successful.

Lisa recommends questioning everything. When someone suggests something, ask why, and make sure it is a good fit for you, that it will enable you to get where you are going and is good for your clients. When you are clear on your own values and the value you are delivering to your clients, you’ll get a consistent flow of new clients.
To connect with Lisa, go to her website, There, you can sign up to receive her free copywriting action plan.


buy now

Running a Successful Pay Per Click Campaign

Pay Per Click Campaigns (PPC) have the potential for a return of double or triple your investment, if they are done right; but to do the campaign right takes a lot of trial and error, and time. Len Morley, CEO of Mx4 LLC, talked about the critical elements of running a successful PPC campaign on this month’s SkillBites Show.

Len identified four key steps that need to be taken before running a PPC campaign:

  1. Understand your market. What does your market want? What are their key pain points?
  2. Define the solution you provide.
  3. Determine the key words that your market is likely to use when searching for the product or service you provide, so that you get in front of people who are ready to buy.
  4. Prepare an incentive to build the relationship, such as an eBook or free report.

These are needed to help develop the strategy behind your campaign.

The next step is determining where you want to run your campaign. Google has the widest audience. Facebook and other social media platforms are an option, particularly if you have a large following on one or more social media platforms.

Ideally, you would conduct some split testing, where you run the same ad on different platforms and see which platform responds the best. You would also want to run different ads, to determine which ad gets the most response. Len recommends planning on at least an 8 week campaign so that you can adequately test the different platforms and ads to determine the most effective combination.

If you don’t want to spend your time doing the split testing and evaluating the analytics, you can hire someone to do that for you. You’ll want to review the track record of the consultants you are considering, as well as their experience in your market. Find out if they have expertise in developing the strategy as well as the implementation. You might also want to find out if they have the ability to filter fraudulent clicks, such as from bots instead of people, which Len’s company provides.

To run an 8 week PPC campaign, Len recommends budgeting at least $500/week. If you hire a consultant to help, that would be at least an additional $250/week. Thus, if you aren’t prepared to spend $6000, you would be better off not embarking on this path.

Len’s company not only provides PPC services, it also does SEO, web design, brand management and other digital marketing services. Len is offering members of the SkillBites community a free SEO audit of their website. To obtain this audit, go to the Contact Us page of his website,, and fill out the form.


buy now

Should You Use A Literary Agent?

If you’ve written a book, or are in the process of writing one, you may have thought about whether to find a literary agent to help you get your book published. On the December SkillBites Show, we spoke to Gabrielle Sellei, an attorney who represents authors and literary agents. As Gabrielle explained, literary agents play a valuable role. They serve as matchmakers between authors and publishers. Many publishers will not even consider a book unless a literary agent brings the book to them. In addition, literary agents understand which publishers to approach and can help negotiate a contract between the publisher and author.

Literary agents typically work on a commission only basis, so you don’t have to pay your agent anything to shop your book for you. The standard commission is 15% of what the author gets paid by the publisher (including 15% of any advance). So if the author receives a 15% royalty from the publisher, the literary agent would receive 15% of the 15%; in that case, for every dollar earned from the sale of the book, the publisher would keep 85¢, the author would get 12.75¢, and the literary agent would get 2.25¢. The publisher pays the author’s royalty and advance to the literary agent, who takes out her share and passes the remainder to the author. Publishers generally make royalty payments twice a year.

For fiction writers who are looking for a traditional publisher, literary agents are almost essential. For non-fiction books, certain niche areas such as romance novels, or if an author is pursuing a small publishing house, the author may not need a literary agent. And if an author wants to self-publish, then there’s no need for a literary agent.

The primary advantages of getting a traditional publisher are the distribution channels they offer, the services they provide to get a book published (such as editing, layout and cover design), and the prestige of having the traditional publisher’s name in the book. The drawbacks, however, are that it takes a lot of time to get a traditional publisher to accept a book, it takes much longer before the book comes out, and the royalty for the author is much smaller. Traditional publishers are hesitant about taking on books from new authors because they want assurance that they will receive a return on their investment. In order to maximize an author’s chances of capturing an agent’s (or a publisher’s) attention, a book must be really good, and/or the author must have a huge following and a strong platform (blog, social media presence, podcast), and/or the author must have a compelling marketing plan for selling thousands of copies of the book.

In contrast, when an author self-publishes, the author can get the book out quicker and keep 100% of the sales proceeds (after Amazon or other publishing site takes its share). The author, however, has to spend his or her valuable time to find an editor, book layout person and cover designer, figure out how to get the book on Amazon and other book sellers, and pay for any services outsourced to others. A third alternative is to use publishers such as SkillBites, who can do all of the post-manuscript work and get the book on Amazon, saving the author from hours of work and frustration, so the author can do what the author does best. The book will come out quicker than the author could do themselves and likely be higher quality as well. The author pays a fee for the services needed and receives a large portion of the book sale proceeds.

If an author does want to pursue the traditional publishing route and utilize a literary agent, one way to find a suitable agent is to look at the Acknowledgement section of books in the same genre as the author’s book. Often the literary agent will be listed there. Another source is to join and search for a literary agent on that site. Literary agents look for the same credentials as publishers. They don’t want to spend their time shopping for a publisher unless they feel the book is likely to be picked up by a publisher. Not only can it take time to get a publisher to accept a book, it can take time to get a literary agent to accept the role for a book as well.

If an agent is willing to accept a book, the author should make sure the agent is well-versed in the market for books of that genre, and genuinely likes the book. Some questions to ask would include:

  • What other books the agent has handled in the genre;
  • What publishing houses would the agent recommend submitting the manuscript to;
  • What excited the agent about the book; and
  • What advice does the agent have to best position the book.

Finally, if there is a good match between an author and literary agent, it is important to enter into a written agreement. Some literary agents wait to enter into a written agreement until after a publisher has accepted a book for publication; and if this is the case, the author should at least document the key terms of the verbal agreement in an email.

The literary agent will want a representation from the author that the work is original and doesn’t infringe anyone else’s copyright interest. The agent often asks for a right of first refusal on any subsequent book and any subsidiary rights (such as film, TV and foreign translations). From the author’s perspective, the author should make sure the literary agent has the capacity to exploit the subsidiary rights before granting those. Also, the author should include a provision in the agreement entitling the author to terminate the agency relationship if (a) the particular agent leaves the agency, so the author can continue to work with the agent in question; or (b) the work is not sold after a certain period of time; or (c) the relationship falls apart. Authors should appreciate that getting a second agent after terminating an agency agreement will be much harder, as other agents will be reluctant to work with an author who has terminated another agent after a book has already been shopped around.

To learn more about Gabrielle Sellei, visit her website at


buy now

Using LinkedIn To Get More Clients

Is it really worth your time to do social media? Which platform should you focus on, and what are the key steps to take? In this month’s SkillBites Show, LinkedIn expert David Steel, CEO of Everyone LinkedIn, explained why LinkedIn is such a powerful business development tool for B2B companies, and shared his successful strategy for using LinkedIn to get more clients.

Before implementing a LinkedIn strategy, David advised that you need to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is optimized. Most people have understated profiles, according to David. Your profile should showcase your greatest skills, value proposition and accomplishments. Unless you are a celebrity, the profile should be written in the first person, as it will be more readable. Since most people just skim profiles, put your best foot forward in your Summary, and in the first line of each section. Fill out all the sections, including any awards, hobbies or other interests, organizations you belong to, teams you were on, etc., as you may find someone wanting to do business with you because they share an interest that you identified. David got an investor for an organization he was heading because the investor saw on David’s profile that he rowed crew at college, as did the investor.

To make your profile stand out even more, include videos and presentations. People will take the time to watch a 1 minute video rather than read 4 or 5 paragraphs, and you can include a lot more information in a 1 minute video. It doesn’t need to be professional quality, and it’s easy to add to your profile. You’ll get more people viewing your profile.

Try to get people to recommend you. When you write recommendations for others, they may reciprocate. If you get people endorsing you, you don’t have to accept the endorsement if the endorsed skill isn’t a skill that you feel is important. It’s better to have fewer, highly relevant skills with more endorsements that more skills with not many endorsements.
A strategy that David has used effectively for his clients is to find people in his clients’ target market, seek to connect with them and send several messages to them. First you need to know who your target market is – their geographic area, title, company size, etc. Then you can join groups that these people are likely to join and connect with them. You can also set up an advanced search to identify people on LinkedIn that fit those criteria.

You have two alternatives once you identify people in your target market. You can send them a form invitation to connect or you can send them a customized message. The former is much quicker, but is less efficacious. If you want to send a customized message, it’s a bit harder and more time consuming, as you need to identify a connection with the person, such as that they’ve done business with you. Sometimes you need to know their email before you can send out a customized message. If people you try to connect with advise LinkedIn that they don’t know you, LinkedIn could warn you to stop reaching out, and could kick you off the platform.

Once someone has accepted your invitation to connect, you should have a follow-up campaign of several message to keep you top of mind. Provide value to them, such as offering a free consultation or providing a free eBook. Include in each message a call to action.

Ideally, you should track your performance by keeping a spreadsheet of those with whom you invite to connect. The aim is to be able to evaluate whether you are reaching the right people with the right message and the right call to action.

David’s company does the legwork for his clients of identifying the people to connect with, messaging those people and tracking the results. His clients typically have at least 10 employees and earn over $1 million in revenue annually.

David offered a complimentary consultation to any member of the SkillBites community. Just go to his website,, and sign up on his calendar. He is also willing to provide a free copy of his eBook on LinkedIn and a 20% discount on his services if you mention the SkillBites Show when you request his book or services.


buy now


SkillBites Exclusives

Click Below to receive a FREE eBook in your preferred category!

Business SkillBites Lifestyle SkillBites