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Case History, Part 1
Audiobook Marketing: No One
Is Going To Do It For You …
By John Pruden
Audiobook Narrator
It’s not enough to just read an instructional book, or to attend a seminar or workshop, or take part in a teleconference to be more successful at what you want to do.
You have to physically and mentally put the information you learned - the information you paid for - to good use by incorporating it into what you do every day.
You have to do this because no one is going to do it for you!
You hear and read a lot about marketing and how to market yourself. It all boils down to letting a prospective client know who you are and what you can do for them. Everything they say is true!
In my case, "they” are all the instructors, coaches, and successful voice actors I’ve ever worked with.
And the "everything” they said was about how to get someone to hire you for voice-over work – in my case, as an audiobook narrator.
What follows is how I listened - and didn’t listen - to what they said I had to do to get hired by my third audiobook publisher.
First, I needed to know to whom I should be talking. So, I researched a lot of audiobook publishers and found out exactly who does the hiring - that is, the person who listens to the demos.
The two best resources for this are Audiofile Magazine’s Audiobook Reference Guide (see links below) and your telephone.
I called one of those people, introduced myself, and asked exactly how he likes to receive his demos (via CD, email attachment, or email link). Then I sent him a demo according to his preference.
In all honesty, I didn't do a good job following up. So I probably came across as uninterested and maybe even a little unreliable.
And, as you might expect, I never heard back from him!
That’s how not to do it. That was October 2008.
Flash forward to the Audio Publishers Association mixer in August 2009.
The APA mixers, which take place every few months in New York City, are a great way to meet lots of people in the audiobook industry in a casual atmosphere.
I live less than three hours away, so it’s a $75 round-trip train fare – a lot of money just to get to a Happy Hour, but it’s worth it. Besides, it’s tax deductible.
One person I met there was a partner at a medium-sized publisher. She told me they needed more narrators and that I should contact their editorial supervisor – the same gentleman I’d contacted last year!
I mentioned that I knew of him and that I would do as she suggested. I got her business card, and later wrote on the back everything that she’d said.
During every networking event, I gather all the business cards I can and write notes on the back of each one - what that person said, who they referred me to, etc.
When I get home, I put all of that info into my contact spreadsheet. I include the date I met that person and the event where we met.
A few days later I email every person I met, saying:
  • how nice it was to meet them, and
  • something in addition, that they might find useful.
I add the extra "useful" info because you have to show people what you can do for them – not the other way around.
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!
Every time I contact someone I update that spreadsheet. This allows me to start our next conversation with:
"We haven't talked since the APA Mixer in August!" or
"When we spoke on Nov 3, you mentioned ...."
This saves them the potential embarrassment of that awkward, "I’m sorry, you're who?"
By including a date in my notes, I can also see if it's too soon to contact them again, or if it's been too long, or maybe it's just right.
If I tell a person when I will contact them again, I set an appointment with an alarm in my iCalendar to remind me, so that I can reliably follow up on the promises I make.
Added tip: For some excellent advice on how to handle yourself in an initial phone conversation or cover letter, take a look at Edge Studio's article, 15 Things NOT To Say, by David Goldberg.
John Pruden is a full-time audiobook narrator who also performs in corporate narrations, as animation and video game characters, and in radio and TV commercials through his company, Voice Acting With Character. In just under three years, he went from being a part-time voice actor with a day job to becoming a full-time, home-based audiobook narrator. He will be writing more VoiceOverXtra articles chronicling how he got where he is today, and what he has learned along the way.
Audiofile Magazine:
Audio Publishers Association:
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