About a year ago, Horse Sense and Cents® began offering audio products. This has involved a lot of lessons learned the hard way, trial and error and occasional frustration, but it’s exciting to see success. Sometimes the simplest solutions prove to be the best.
Most recently, we started making the books and e-booklets available through Amazon, iTunes and a number of other online sites as audio downloads. For these we found a royalty-share resource (more on this later). Their ability to get these titles listed where we could not as a small publisher made all the difference.
What’s been amazing is how quickly sales have started to come in for these products with virtually no promotion on our part. What’s even more surprising is how many seem to prefer listening to reading, as the e-booklets are less than half the price but the audio products seem to be more popular.
Getting started with audio
Our first foray into the retail audio arena was in December 2011 with the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series. We spent a ton of time and money researching and buying quality recording equipment, designing the packaging, manufacturing the product and arranging for warehousing and fulfillment. Of course, that was all after the considerable effort designing the perfect mix of contributors and devoting hundreds of hours to gathering information, interviews, editing and infrastructure to make a big splash.
It was an interesting learning experience.
Today, we’re partnering with ACX on the book and e-booklet titles. Reaching Alpha Horses was completed in mid-December and available on Amazon almost immediately. A few days later, Reaching Alpha Horses was on iTunes.
Bringing home an off-the-track Thoroughbred was approved January 18th, immediately available on Amazon Audible and on iTunes to following day.
We should have the full length Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners completed within the next week and live on various sites as an audio product in February.
Sometimes you miss
The thinking with the Inventing Your Horse Career CD Series was horse owners spend a ton of time in their cars (more often trucks), most have probably at least fantasized about a career with horses in the mix and many would appreciate having an attractively boxed package to own or give as a gift. Since it was so hard to find great material on alternative equine careers, we thought there would be a high demand for a resource that put it all together in one place.
All involved felt the research, time and money required to put this together would help younger equestrians or more mature adults (with many starting horse-related small businesses as a second career) get a head start – or leg up, so to speak – in careers where others had learned many lessons the hard way. In fact, some of the contributors to this series literally invented the industry niches where they now prosper. All have great stories to tell and a generous philosophy of giving back to help future equestrian entrepreneurs. Each was amazed with the quality of the final product – and lineup of co-contributors. So, we figured the product would be a big hit.
We were wrong. Whether it was poor promotion, the CD format, the length of the series (it’s 9 CDs of content at about one hour each), timing or something else, we weren’t scrambling to keep up with demand as imagined. Nor did we have buyers clamoring for updates with new featured equine visionaries annually (initially our plan was to start production of a second series about six months after the first was released – that’s postponed – perhaps indefinitely).
So, for those of you who prefer CDs to MP3s, we’re selling out our remaining stock of the boxed CD set at half off as we transition to a digital download only model. It’s a great gift to be treasured by you or someone special with an amazing mix of knowledge, insight, stories and tips.
If MP3 is your preference, we’re offering a special price for single downloads of $9.99 (normally $15.99) through March on the Horse Sense and Cents® website.
There’s no way right now (at least not that we’ve found) to run this through ACX, so we still working on strategies to get it listed with the big boys.
Finding the right partners for your equine business products
ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) came up several times in the six months of research I did trying to figure out how to get our Inventing Your Horse Career MP3 offerings listed on iTunes and other sites where people tend to go to find material that satisfies their listening pleasures. This is a relatively young company. They’re doing a lot of things right.
Basically, it’s resource that connects voiceover talent with publishers and authors. What’s even more awesome about the offerings, though, is they’ve established relationships with the online retail giants, so once your product goes through their quality control process, you’re in.
I’ve been thrilled with this company thus far. I would strongly recommend using the voiceover talent option (you don’t have to) if your title lends itself well to being narrated by another (if you do a royalty share arrangement, their motivation is equal to yours in seeing the product sell).
For Eleven Quick Tips on using ACX and a bit more information on the discovery of this resource, visit www.nanettelevin.com.
Where do you go to find horse audio products?
Given our challenges with the Inventing Your Horse Career Series, particularly as it relates to getting the MP3s listed, I’d love to hear your ideas or experiences with sites that offer audio products for sale. What’s your favorite place to visit? Where do you find the best horse stuff? Do you sell audio products through a resource you relish and are willing the share your find? Please consider participating in the comment section below, or if you’d prefer to respond privately, you’re welcome to contact me at Nlevin@HorseSenseAndCents.com. Thanks!