Create a Booktrack (Soundtrack for Books) to Market your Book

booktrackLandingBack in July 2014, I read about Booktrack from Jane Friedman’s blog and simply had to try it out. A “booktrack” is exactly what it sounds like… a soundtrack for a book.

There is no dialogue, so it’s not like a true audiobook. Instead, a cursor moves along the page so you know how fast you should be reading (I believe you can change the reading speed to suit your needs), and you hear the different supporting noises for the words on the page.

I was hooked when I read/heard a sample of Alice in Wonderland, and wanted desperately to create one for Haunting Miss Trentwood. The first chapter is rife with ambient sounds… whispers, the wind blowing, dirt falling on a coffin, a ghost crawling from his grave, teapcups clanging, screams, and heartbeats. It wa a blast to make and took me a couple of hours because I was particular about the proper sounds.

Haunting Miss Trentwood on Booktrack as of April 2015
Haunting Miss Trentwood on Booktrack as of April 2015

How do you create a Booktrack?

When you sign into Booktrack, you’re given the option to add books to your bookshelf, or create a project of your own. The steps I took to create my booktrack included…

  1. Adding a chapter of text, including the chapter heading
  2. Selecting sounds per selected section of text
    1. Seems like you can select a single word, or multiple pages, and then decide whether to loop the sound
    2. You search for sounds via their pre-loaded library, which includes music, ambient noises, and more
  3. Listen to your booktrack and tweak the timing
  4. “Publish” your project by adding a title, byline, cover, description, and genre

 What were my results?

Well, first, I had a lot of fun creating this! It was a blast looking through sounds and syncing them with the text. I published the soundtrack and left it alone… when I checked on it in September I only had a couple reads, so I added the link to my website and tweeted about it. That seemed to help. I also added the Booktrack to the Haunting Miss Trentwood page on this website. When I took the screenshot for this post, it was in April, and I had 326 reads with an average rating of 3.8 stars out of 5. Not bad for an indie author!

Have my sales improved since publishing the Booktrack? It’s hard to say. I had to comment on the Booktrack page to confirm to readers this was only the first chapter, and people should go to Amazon and elsewhere to purchase the full book. Haunting Miss Trentwood is an odd little duck; part humor, part horror, part historical fiction. It’s a difficult work to market, but there is an audience out there.

Give Booktrack a try if you’ve always dreamed of having a book trailer, but didn’t have the video capabilities. I love my Booktrack a lot more than my traditional trailer for Catching the Rose. I can’t wait to finish my next work so I can make another one!

Update!

Caroline from Booktrack reached out to me to correct a slight error in my description of the booktrack (very kindly, I might add!). From Caroline:

The cursor along the page, isn’t there to to tell you how fast you should be reading, it tracks your reading speed and automatically adjusts the sound to your reading pace, to make for a customized reading experience.

So there you have it! Booktrack is even more magical than I described, it automagically tracks your reading speed and adjusts the sound accordingly. Let me know if you guys create any, I’d love to read your works!

What to do here?

Dear Reader,

No ROW80 update for me today because I’m at a conference and not getting any writing done.

I’m not sure you knew this, but I’ve been writing this blog for almost four years. Sure, I took a year off to finish graduate school, but other than that, I’ve been putting content out for a while. So today’s post is about how you can make the most of the Worderella online presence.

I make certain to categorize and tag my posts to make it easier to browse, and I finally got an archive page that I really like.

  • About Writing
    Pretty self-explanatory, these are the posts where I found something interesting online about the craft of writing. Or, I’m reflecting on the craft of writing, or I’m talking about my writing… in any case the posts will be about writing.
  • Book Reviews
    When I write a book review, I write a description of the book (my stab at a blurb), pull favorite quotes from the text, and then tell you why, as a reader and/or writer, you would want to read this book.
  • Business
    The nuts and bolts that happen behind the scenes of being an indie author.
  • Everyday Life
    When I have nothing super important to say, but felt like stopping by.
  • Marketing
    Barf. Haha, no, these are the posts where I’m learning about marketing. I share my ups and downs, my mistakes and triumphs (which will hopefully come sooner rather than later).

In terms of my website, we have a lot of content you can sift through, as well. We have free poetry and short stories to read, and both Catching the Rose and Haunting Miss Trentwood have book trailers and soundtracks to enjoy.

Anyway, just wanted to post something quickly to entertain you while I’m off in Boulder, CO getting my learn on.

Best,

Belinda

Dreaming of Books Giveaway

Dear Reader,

I’ve been selected as January’s “Author of the Month” over at A Buckeye Girl Reads. Make sure to check out the interview and leave some love. 🙂 I like that idea, highlighting local authors (I’m on Ohio). Maybe I’ll do something similar, but with indie authors…

Now then. It’s a new month, which means we have a new giveaway! All you have to do is agree to sign up for my newsletter and agree to write a review for my upcoming book of short stories, Love or Lack Thereof. At the end of the giveaway, you will receive a 100%-off discount code to “buy” Love or Lack Thereof.

I am trying to get more reviews on Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com. Goodreads.com is always appreciated. I’ll send you the information through the newsletter when we get closer to the release date, which looks like it will be March.

Pretty simple, right? Happy new year!

Best,
Belinda

http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=56855

Using “Free” as a Marketing Tool

Dear Reader,

This guest post is brought to you by fantasy author Lindsay Buroker. You can visit her e-publishing blog for more information on internet marketing, search engine optimization, and online advertising, as it relates to marketing one’s books. She’s a new author, but she’s been making a living online for nearly a decade now.

Can Giving Away a Free Ebook Help Sell Your Other Work?

Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, you’re most likely on your own for marketing. It’s hard getting noticed in the beginning, too. I’m a new ebook author myself, so I know all about it!

I’ve seen some debate when it comes to giving free ebooks away. Is it a way to create interest and possibly sell your other works? Or is it a waste of time?

Numerous people argue, surprisingly vehemently, that folks who hurry to grab freebies aren’t interested in paying for anything–ever. (And they probably still go to their parents’ houses to have mom handle the laundry, too!). I’ve seen fewer folks tote the benefits of giving away a free ebook, but I decided to try for myself. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and it might help.

As I write this, it’s been about two weeks since I released a fantasy short story as a free ebook at Smashwords and Feedbooks. It’s had more than a thousand downloads.

I chose to use the same main characters as were starring in the novel I had coming out a few days later (one I charge for). At the end of the free ebook, I included an excerpt from that story. I also included a link to the novel’s page at Smashwords with a not-so-subtle hint that readers who enjoyed the free adventure might like to purchase the longer piece.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that this flooded my inbox with oh-my-gosh-someone-bought-your-book notifications, but I believe it is what led to my first few sales at Smashwords. I’ve heard authors say they sell twenty books at Amazon for every one at Smashwords (since it’s a much smaller marketplace). I’m well above that ratio right now,  even though I’ve worked harder at promoting my Amazon link. I’m positive my free ebook is what’s been responsible for those Smashwords sales.

It’s early in the process, too, and I’m assuming folks will continue to discover the freebie in the months and years to come. I’m hoping it can continue to be a marketing tool for me. (Especially when Smashwords, which doubles as a distributor, gets it out to Barnes & Noble and other retail sites that accept free ebooks but don’t let you upload them directly.) 

If you think you’d like to try releasing a free ebook of your own, here are a few suggestions:

Make your free ebook Book 1 in a series or try using the same characters that star in your other works

I don’t have enough novels written yet to release a free “Book 1” as the entry point into a multi-ebook series, or I’d definitely try that. Smashwords fantasy author Brian S. Pratt made well over $100,000 from his ebooks last year, and he gave the first one away free while charging for the rest. I don’t know if his first novel ends in a cliffhanger or not, but it sounds like a good way to get people to go on and buy more in the series!

Since I couldn’t do that, I used a short story I had sitting on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust. It’s a fun little fantasy adventure that stands alone, but I also hope it leaves readers wondering about the characters. How did such an unlikely pair get together? Why are they wanted by the law? Etc, etc. etc. These questions are of course answered in the novel.

I suspect putting out a free ebook that’s unrelated to your other titles would be the least likely to help with sales, but I’d be happy to be proven incorrect.

Upload your ebook in a number of places

Once you’ve chosen your freebie, it’s time to get it out there to the world. The great thing about free ebooks is there are numerous websites that accept them. As I mentioned, I started with Feedbooks and Smashwords, but others I’m checking out are Fictionwise, Scribd, and the Bit Torrent network. (If you have any others you’d recommend, please mention them in the comments.)

Make sure to let readers know where to buy your non-free ebooks!

Most e-readers let you click on links in the ebook itself, so don’t be shy about including a link to your author page and/or a sales page for a related book. The whole point here is to market your other work, so be sure to tuck in those details. You may want to try including an excerpt as well.

What do you guys think? Is a free ebook a good marketing tool?

Releasing the Ghost

Dear Reader,

Haunting Miss Trentwood is now available for pre-print publication reviews!

What does that mean? It means the digital version is available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com. Huzzah!

If you would like to receive a free copy for an honest review of either Haunting Miss Trentwood or my first book Catching the Rose there are a couple of ways to contact me…

  1. The Goodreads invitation
  2. Through Facebook
  3. Comment on this blog post with your email

All I ask is that you agree to provide a review on Smashwords.com, Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, and/or Barnes and Noble.com to receive your free copy. When you contact me I will send a coupon for a free purchase from Smashwords.

My goal is to get at least three reviews on each website by Halloween. Don’t have time, or is your to-be-read list too long as it is? Tell your friends and family about this offer.

Haunting Miss Trentwood Tea Tasting!

My sister and Ava Misseldine
My sister and Ava Misseldine

Haunting Miss Trentwood is set in England, which means, of course, we ought to drink tea to celebrate the launch of the book. Are you, your friends, or family in the Columbus, Ohio area? If so, go to the main branch of the metropolitan library on October 27, 2010 at 6:30 PM.

I have been working with local tea salon owner Ava Misseldine to select teas which represent the main characters of Haunting Miss Trentwood. We will be talking about the book, my experience as an independent publisher, and more.

Print copies of Catching the Rose (and hopefully Haunting Miss Trentwood… postal service, don’t let me down!) will be available for purchase.

I hope to see you there!

Best,

Belinda