Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the power of storytelling for branding. As artists, we are some of the oldest storytellers in history and there is nothing more natural than utilizing the new media formats in our disposal to tell our story.
An interesting format that I’ve been scrutinizing recently is the audiobook. An audiobook is traditionally an audio version of a printed book, but just like the internet has revolutionized music, it has also revolutionized the publishing industry. Today you don’t need a record label to release your music, and similarly, you don’t need a publisher to write and release a book. This means that you can also release your own audiobook, where you can not only tell your own story as an artist, but you can also turn your authentic story into a great branding tool.
I think that artists who have fascinating stories such as Melody Gardot can definitely use audiobooks to not only reach out to their current fans but to also acquire more. You don’t need to wait for a big publishing deal to push your content out there, as you can simply do it yourself with a very small budget. Besides no one will say no to a good story!
From an industry standpoint, audiobook sales have been rapidly expanding worldwide for the past few years with millions and millions of purchases. In fact, in 2014, 20000 Germans filled a stadium to listen to an audiobook. In the U.S. about 80% audiobook sales are digital, while in Europe, 75% of sales are in CD format. Whether digital, or CD format, audiobooks could be a new revenue door for artists to sell audiobook merchandise.
Why do people want to read audiobooks? Because they’re too busy to read, or they like to enjoy a good “read” on their commute while they’re driving home/work, they like that stories take them away from their current lives, they like to be inspired while they walk their dog… You might have a very interesting story as an artist that you’d like to share, and let me give you a secret: nobody likes to read long biographies on websites. If you still would like to talk about yourself, no problem! Put the gist on your websites and leave the details for the audiobook. What’s even more awesome is, you can collaborate with a musician to put some songs in between the story (and if you’re a musician, it’s just another format to release your music with very cool liner notes). So you will have a bit of a story, and a bit of music for the listener. Just imagine the possibilities!
The cool thing about the audiobook is, as people will be listening to you on the road most of the time, you will have a much great deal of their attention on your story compared to 5 minutes of their time as they are browsing through your website.
A good audiobook can be recorded with a good vocal microphone at a quiet location in your home. I will also strongly suggest acquiring a pop filter to cut down unnecessary plosives. Make sure to check out this post before recording, it will save you a great deal. In terms of software, you can even record everything in GarageBand. Once you are done recording everything, if it your product doesn’t sound as “professional”, don’t worry. You still need to edit! For editing the background noises, clicks, hums, deplosives and such, I would suggest using an editing software like RX6. Once you’re done editing, you should either master it yourself using one of the mastering software or ask an audio editor friend for you!
While writing, recording and editing an audiobook can take a while, once you get the hang of it, it is a very repetitive procedure. The result will be completely worth it, as you will end up with an intimate product featuring your story and perhaps, your work attached to it. It will also make you stand out among the mountain of press marketing material that’s floating around and will position you at a unique place as a storyteller.
If you’re a writer and are considering the audiobook format, the Adva Mobile platform can help you promote your new book to your fans. Check us out, or get in touch for more info.
How often do you listen to audiobooks? Do you think that you would listen to your favorite artists’ audiobooks if they told their stories? Feel free to comment below!
Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify, and you can follow him on Instagram or Twitter @alpertuzcu, or visit his website http://www.alpertuzcu.com