eBook Uses

Narrate Your Own Audiobook

Audiobooks are becoming more popular with over 20% of book consumers stating a preference for listening to a book rather than reading one.  If you’ve ever thought about narrating your own book, you would do well to listen to the July 2018 SkillBites Show. Gabriella Cavallero was our guest this month, and as the narrator of over 900 audiobooks, she had some key tips to share about narrating an audiobook.

Gabriella is a lead voice and presentation coach at Articulate: Real&Clear.  She has over 25 years’ experience as a professional actor, teacher, director, voice and dialect coach.

Some of the tips that Gabriella shared include:

– Knowing how to breathe properly is key to communicating authentically. You want to have a full, present, supported voice.

– Learn how to use a microphone properly – make sure you’re not picking up background or environmental noise which will interfere with the recording; avoid breath and mouth noises; and know how modulate your tone based on the distance from the mic and how to keep a steady distance in relationship to the microphone, especially during a long recording session.

– Narrating well involves acting skills such as being able to sound like you are speaking naturally rather than reading written language; speaking without stumbling; knowing when to take breaths and how to take breaths as inaudibly as possible; and knowing when meaningful pauses are effective.  Varying your voice in tone, inflection, resonance, and tempo not only when you have many characters but also in the narrative (non-dialogue) sections of the audiobook is key to being understood and keeping your audience engaged.

– Preparation is critical. You can save a lot of time by doing the homework before you get into the recording session.  You need to be clear about what you want the reader to get out of the book. Marking the text ahead of time is essential, e.g., underlining the words/points you want to stress or lift up for the listener, and notating where you need a definite tone change at the beginning of a new paragraph or section. For books with multiple characters, you also want to mark the varied voice choices you’ll make so the listener has no trouble distinguishing between characters.

– Be consistent in your accents/dialects and vocal choices for your characters.

– Good physical alignment helps you have the fullest vocal quality.  You need to sit or stand with a straight spine with your head over the trunk of your body for optimal breath support.

– You need to maintain an even level of energy.  If you find your energy ebbing, take a break, move around, do a few stretches, and stay hydrated.

– Do a sample narration and listen to it.  Do you like what you sound like? Is there sufficient variation of pace, range, rhythm and tone?  Do you emphasize the right points and pause at appropriate places? Do you hear any breaths or lip smacking?

– Think about whether you ought to hire a professional/s. You want to create a high quality product.  Even if you have a good voice, it may be more expensive in the long run to narrate the work yourself. Creating the best quality, professional audiobook takes a team of people. An engineer who know how to work the recording equipment optimally and be listening for consistency, a coach or director who can be your ears during the process and get the best “reading” you can give, and an editor to do the review and edits before you send the audiobook out into the world can be the difference between an “okay” audiobook and a brilliant one.

For more information on Articulate:  Real&Clear, visit the website www.articulaterc.com.  To reach Gabriella, email her at gabriella@articulaterc.com.

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Are You Leveraging Your Book?

This month I had the opportunity to interview Bob Schiers, founder and CEO of RAS Associates, an award winning Marketing and PR firm, on the need for authors to plan how they will leverage their book.  Bob explained the difference between marketing and PR, as the two are often confused.  Marketing consists of making the target market aware of your service or product.  PR is one component of marketing, and consists of promoting a product or service through a third party, such as a newspaper review of a book, or a radio station interviewing an author.  PR is NOT advertising, which is paid placement, and accordingly has much less credibility.

Bob advised authors to start planning their marketing and PR efforts well before they finish their book.  Think about issues such as:

  • How will you get the word out about your book?
  • Who will you seek to provide endorsements or testimonials?
  • What makes your book unique or special?
  • Why should your target market read your book?  What will they get out of it?
  • What are your goals for your book and how will you achieve those goals?

While writing a book is a terrific tool for business owners to build their business, the book by itself won’t help much.  You need to leverage the book, and for that you should develop a plan detailing what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and what you expect the results to be.  Then you need to implement the plan and frequently assess whether you are on track.

To help our authors leverage their books effectively, SkillBites has teamed with RAS Associates to create a group marketing program designed to help authors develop a marketing plan for their books at a fraction of the cost of individually hiring a marketing professional.  For more information on this program and to sign up, click here.  We are running a special half off promotion for the group starting February 17, 2015; however, we have only a few slots left.  If you want to take advantage of the promotion, you’ll need to sign up quickly before the remaining slots are taken.

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Using eBooks to Generate Leads

It would be wonderful if every prospect could be converted into a customer, but things just don’t work that way.  It can take hundreds of leads to get a handful of customers.  The struggle for business owners is finding a way to generate those leads in an easy, quick and affordable manner.  Writing a short eBook is a great tool to do this.

If you have your book on Amazon, your book can be found by millions of people looking for the information that you discuss in your book.  And if your book is in the Kindle KDP Program, you can give your book away for up to 5 days in a 90 day period, which will entice many people to download it and read it.

While it’s terrific that others can learn of you this way, you need a way to know who is buying your book.  Amazon won’t give you that information, and you don’t want to leave it to the reader to contact you.  How do you find out who has bought your book?  With eBooks, you can include opt-in opportunities in your book, enticing the reader to provide you with their contact information in order to receive additional information, checklists, workbooks, free consultations or other items that the reader would want.  Then you get them in your prospect funnel, where you can set up a campaign to woo them and hopefully convert many of them into customers.

You can use your book to generate leads even before it is written!  When you are planning your book, start to build buzz about your book with your network. Social media is a great avenue for getting the word out to hundreds of people and getting some helpful advice along the way.  For instance, you can ask your network which title they prefer for your book, or what issues they would be interested in having you address in your book.  Once your book is published, you can conduct a launch of your book, creating massive publicity.  That gets your name out in front of thousands, and as a published author, you will be viewed as an expert, leading prospects to contact you for your expertise.

You can also reach out to everyone in your network to let them know about your (upcoming and then published) book.  Reminding current and former customers of your expertise will lead some of them to contact you for further services.

Having an eBook makes a great give-away to prospects, and can be used as an opt-in tool on your website as well, which provides you with more leads and generates more traffic on your site.  You can easily email the book to prospects, as well as using it as a raffle prize at conferences and trade shows.  These are just some of the many ways to use an eBook to generate leads for your business.

Now, you may be thinking, how do you write a book, and how do you find the time to do so?  That’s where SkillBites comes in.  We have designed our publishing platform specifically to make it easy, quick and affordable for business owners and professionals to write and publish a book.  You can learn more about our services by clicking here, or if you would like to set up a complimentary consultation, just click here to schedule a time on our online calendar.  We look forward to helping you get a book written and start generating more leads.

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Build Trust With Your Customers…Before You Meet Them

More and more, potential customers are checking out your company’s website and your social media pages before they consider doing business with you. While that’s not exactly earth-shattering news, it is something that many business owners tend to ignore. Make sure your online content is modern, clean, and demonstrates your expertise. You can also use your online content to build your future customers’ trust in you and your products or services.

How can your website and social media efforts help your customers trust you? A modern, up-to-date, fast website and frequent posts on social media are seen as a sign that you are actively involved. Simple touches, like updating the copyright symbol at the bottom of your pages, can go a long way. You should also make sure that you provide plenty of free information on your area of expertise. By providing high-quality free content, you can encourage return visits.

You can also integrate “freebies” into your website, and accomplish multiple goals at the same time. Offering one (or more) of your eBooks for free on your site can get people coming back to your site, and can be very helpful in demonstrating your level of expertise to your potential customers. You can also use the free business eBooks to grow your email list: By offering the free eBook (on a very useful topic in your industry) in exchange for a visitor’s email address, you can get your information into the hands of those who need it, and grow your mailing list at the same time.

By giving your website visitors and social media fans valuable information to get to know and trust you, you’re making it much easier on yourself to convert them into customers.

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Selling your eBook around the holidays

These days, it seems like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are celebrated every bit as much as Thanksgiving.  With more and more holiday shopping being done online every year, it’s time for you to capitalize on the trend and earn some sales for your eBooks.

Here are just a few ways that our SkillBites authors have promoted their books for the holiday season:

Free promotions  It seems counterintuitive to try and boost eBook sales by offering a “free eBook holiday promotion” but this is an effective method.  Services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing allow you to offer your book for free for limited amounts of time.  By offering one of your older eBooks for free (and broadcasting the promotion to your contacts via e-mail and social media), you can generate an increased interest in your other works, driving your sales up.

Bundles  If your e-commerce solution allows, offer a “two for one” deal, or a group of your books on similar subjects for a reduced price.  The key to a promotion like this is to have a very limited time window.  Create a sense of urgency for your contacts to want to go and purchase.

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