Why You Must Self-Publish an Audiobook in Today’s Market

by | Jun 6, 2018 | Book Marketing Basics

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If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to self-publish an audiobook I’ve pulled together, what I feel, are some staggering and extremely motivating statistics for you!

For starters, the Audiobook Publishers Association reported that 26% of the US population has listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months.

Why would you not self-publish an audiobook if over a quarter of the country is listening to them?

What’s Popular in the Audiobook Market

Maybe you’re worried about whether or not your genre or topic is of interest?

Yes, that is of course something to consider. If you write in a really niche category perhaps whether or not to self-publish an audiobook takes a bit more consideration, but by the looks of this graph from Statista, a lot of us fit the bill:

Last year there was $2.4 billion in audiobook sales, an increase from $2.1 billion the year prior, and a 33.9% increase in the number of audiobooks published.

That’s a solidly growing pie to eat off of to fuel the need for savvy and strategic audiobook promotion as well.

If you’re a smart businessperson, and as a self-published author you are a businessperson, you also need to stay on top of the needs of your buyer market.

According to Kristen McClean, executive director of business development for market trends company NPD Book, the top three reasons why people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: they can do other things while listening; audiobooks are portable and people can listen wherever they are; and they enjoy being read to.

So your buyer market is busy. But you probably knew that already. In today’s society reading books is oftentimes considered a luxury, which makes fighting for reader time and attention that much harder.

So what do you do? You self-publish an audiobook. And you work that “usability” and “convenience” angle into your audiobook promotion.

How Audiobooks Will Grow Your Fanbase

Another reason to self-publish an audiobook is to stay ahead of the competition. Yes, audiobook promotion is a growing market, but it’s nowhere near as cluttered as the eBook market. Developing your titles in audiobook format gives you a more focused audience, making it easier to break through the clutter.

To support this argument I found that the top publishing houses have all verified that eBook sales have declined by around 5% and the only way their digital unit has consistently seen profit, is primarily due to audiobooks. So there you go.

Another fantastic reason to self-publish an audiobook is to capitalize on converting fans earlier.

There is a big youth movement when it comes to audiobooks and a staggering 48% of all listeners are under the age 35.

I talk about building your author brand all the time, and authors that write in genres that are popular among adults under 35 have such a fantastic opportunity to build fans that will be with them for decades.

Let your audiobook promotion pad your fan base with people who will likely have your back for awhile.

Think your genre or topic doesn’t fit the bill? You’d be surprised.

Yes, some stereotypes still exist when it comes to who reads what, but with the convergence of books and movies and podcasts all supporting each other for the same cause of building a fan base, there are more bridges in the gaps then ever before.

Audiobooks and Podcasting

Podcasting is huge business. 40% of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 36% in 2016, and 24% listen to podcasts at least every month – up from 21% in 2016.

Almost all of the companies involved on the retail side of audiobook distribution see podcasts as a gateway to audiobooks.

So if you self-publish an audiobook you need to consider the audiobook promotion opportunities podcasts are presenting the market. What bloggers are to print and eBooks, podcasters are becoming to audiobooks.

Assuming I’ve convinced you to self-publish an audiobook, you’re probably wondering where to get started?

How to Self-publish an Audiobook

This is certainly a topic for an entirely separate blog post, but I can tell you that ACX is a popular platform, and you’ll get on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

But there are a number of smaller groups that can help you get on all the most popular retail platforms, just do some research and figure out what’s best for your business.

When it comes to audiobook promotion you can follow a lot of the same rules and strategies for print and eBook promotion, but you get a few extra niche bonus tactics as well.

For starters, there are bloggers dedicated to reviewing audiobooks. As I mentioned previously there’s a lot of crossover with podcasts as well. There are also newsletters and review programs dedicated to audiobook promotion, like Audiobook Boom, which has been coined the audiobook version of Bookbub.

The Takeaway

Deciding whether to self-publish an audiobook really comes down to whether or not your books are good candidates, and whether or not you feel your author brand has room to grow.

Honestly, I’m going to assume most of you have a pretty big opportunity here. If you’re unsure, reach out and we can chat about it!

And here’s another fun idea, if you think you might have what it takes to narrate, Audible also has a program to train narrators via ACX University. Sure, you probably have a lot on your plate as is, but I’ve met a number of authors who cross over into narration and if you think this is something you might be interested it, check it out!

If not, don’t worry, here are some tips I pulled together for hiring the best narrator possible.

Have you self-published an audiobook recently? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!


  1. Artemis Crow

    My brand and book sales have oodles of room to grow. The problem is between editing and cover design costs and low sales, I can’t justify the expense.

    Artemis Crow

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Hi Artemis, I definitely understand that concern. Audiobooks can give you a whole new angle in your outreach, if you decide to go down that path. And I know it’s frustrating to be doing everything you can and not see the needle move. With that in mind, if you really feel like you are hitting all the marks, but would like a personal assessment, I can take a look. Click here to get started.

  2. Elaine Koyama

    I’ve published my first audio book on ACX, but would like help distributing it to the next tier of distribution–the nook, kobo, scribd world. I have heard of Findaway, ListenUp and Author’s Republic, but it looks to me they take a cut of my ACX royalty? is there anyone who won’t do that?



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