Thursday, 1 October 2015

Choosing the Audio Sample of Your Audio Book for Audible: Mistakes to Avoid

Audible permits up to five minutes of recording time to be sampled by the listener on the site. The audio sample is a vital part of audio book marketing, along with the book blurb and the cover art. What is the best sample to use for your audio book?

Sampling an Audio Book

Selecting your Audio Sample
You have completed and mastered up to ten hours listening time of your audio novel. You have uploaded your sound files, cover art and blurb onto ACX. But what about the audio retail sample? Choosing the wrong sample could cost you sales. So what is the best sample to choose from such a lengthy recording?

Consider choosing a sample that could be listened in isolation yet still make sense to the listener. Remember that the listener does not know the story or the characters like you do. Ask a friend or trusted colleague who knows nothing about your book to help you choose. If the sample makes some sense to them, it will likely make sense to a potential customer on Audible who chances upon your audio book for the first time.

Audio Retail Sample on ACX

Consider selecting a self-contained mini scene that has a beginning, middle and an end, yet still leaves questions unanswered. The listener will understand what is going on yet will experience curiosity about what is going to happen next. Take a listen to the audio retail sample of Nora, by Charles J Harwood narrated by Rachel Shirley describing the events after a big night out.

We are thrown into the troubled thoughts of Nancy who once worked in a care home. We instantly learn that dubious things went on that forms the tip of the iceberg. Nancy has neglected to make a police statement after experiencing a horrendous car crash.

The sample closes with the revelation she has done something, but we are unsure of what. Questions arise: What is the full story of the care home? What was Nancy’s involvement with the dubious goings on there? How did the car crash come about? Who was she with? Why is she postponing writing the police statement? What is the significance of this ‘dagger?’ And what is the connection between the care home and the something that she has done?

Consider also the following possibilities:

A scene including two or more people engaged in dialogue, whether it be an argument, confession or telling a secret. Tensions might exist in subtext that may spur the listener to find out more.

A description of a key scene, which might spur an emotional response. This might be the main character facing a fear such as taking exams or meeting her father for the first time.

Or poignant thought processes of a character that may spur the listener to question the trust of the source or question how the character came to these set of beliefs. What has happened to the character to bring her to this point, and how will this impact upon the story?

Don’t Make These Mistakes in Audio Book Marketing

I have heard book samples that include pieces of music, sound effects, the narrator sounding out which chapter we are listening to, and even the copyright details. Don’t waste valuable recording time on these things. An audio book is all about telling a story, whether fact or fiction.

Avoid using a key climactic scene or one that exists near the end of the book. These may act as spoilers that will ruin the story for the listener. Avoid also of choosing a sample that makes no sense to the listener in isolation. Questions must always arise from the sample. This will pique the curiosity of the listener and increase the chances of uploads.

Find out more about Nora by Charles J Harwood on my other site

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