Create your own stuff.
I’ve written about this theme in the past, but today, I want to show an example and talk about the marketing advantages available to voice talent who choose to cast themselves and develop their own work.
As a service project, I’m narrating the audiobook of A Woman Who Went to Alaska on LibriVox.org. May Kellogg Sullivan wrote the book in 1902 to recount her adventures during the Alaska gold rush at the turn of the 20th century.
Obviously, the audiobook itself is a form of creating my own work. Rather than watching fluff TV shows like American Idol, I choose to spend my spare time this way because:
- I am improving my skills, both in long-form narration and audio editing.
- I am being of service to others in offering a free audiobook.
- I can use the credit in discussions with audio publishers about paying gigs.
- The free audiobook will be helpful in developing a loyal fan base.
Marketing is a HUGE part of any business. It is especially important when the commodity offered by the business is one’s voice. Not only am I creating the audiobook on my own, but I also decided to market it by creating a trailer for it!
Early in my voiceover career, I did a lot of direct mail marketing with imprinted products. While my campaigns were extremely memorable and attracted voiceover jobs to me, they also were extremely time-consuming and expensive to produce.
Here are some immediate marketing benefits of creating this trailer:
- The book is in the public domain, so most of the images had no cost. I only had to spend a few bucks to obtain the stock images that I used. The music came from my royalty-free library, which requires no residual payment.
- The video is another method of advertising my voice to people who haven’t heard of me or listened to my demos.
- The trailer demonstrates to clients and prospects that I could assist them beyond voicing their scripts.
- We live in culture obsessed by and immersed in video. Tell the truth — when you saw the video in this post, did you immediately click on it before reading any of the text? People say they don’t have time to read. Many would watch my trailer who would never read my description of the audiobook.
- I cross-posted the trailer on Facebook, some LinkedIn groups devoted either to audio publishing or Atlanta businesses, LibriVox, AudiobookCommunity.com, and BarbaraSher.com. Note that most of these postings are targeted directly to 1000s of members in niche markets who may be interested in hiring me for their projects!
- I received more responses in a few hours than I ever received from a single mailing.
- The trailer gave me material to add to my blog, which helps my search engine rankings.
- Once the book is done, I will update the trailer from “coming soon” to “available now”.
In addition, the subject matter of an audiobook can point to even more opportunities for marketing it on-line. In this case, a flurry of TV shows are about Alaska, so I know the public has a lot of interest in that state. One show is even about a group of people currently mining for gold in Alaska — a perfect tie-in! Fans of these shows gather in discussion forums where I can post my trailer. I also can post it in forums for people who are considering an Alaskan cruise.
Aside from all of these reasons, perhaps the biggest reason to create your own stuff is that it is fun!
I hope that these examples of my spare time projects give you inspiration to create and market your own stuff. I’d love to see your work, so please leave a comment on the blog!
I previously suggested that people volunteer for LibriVox. Be warned that LibriVox releases its recordings into the Public Domain, which means someone else could sell your recording and/or harvest your voice for AI without any compensation to you. For that reason, I no longer recommend that narrators volunteer there.
David Sigmon says
Thank you for sharing this great example of your creativity. Once again your inspiring project is simply priceless motivation to put my thinking cap on.
Greetings, David! The book trailer idea came to me when I was on vacation. Don’t be surprised when a startling marketing idea comes to you when you take off the thinking cap and feel totally relaxed! I look forward to seeing the implementaton of that idea!
wow! excellent idea! thank you so much for your valuable input. i may just be trying it out myself.
Mitch Krayton says
Well said and nicely produced. You are correct that I did click on the video before I read the copy. After the video I *wanted* to read the copy.
Thanks for this spark of a wonderful idea.
My Voice Is Yours
Greetings, Jill and Mitch! I’m delighted to know that these ideas excite you! The really exciting thing about creating your own work is that you are more in charge of your career. You can decide which project you’d like to do and how to get it in front of your target market. If you can tie in your project to something of interest in pop culture, you’re already ahead!
Thanks for stopping by the blog! I look forward to your show-and-tell!
Miguel Hilao says
Congratulations very good job great video its educational in many ways.
This is good news I been trying do somethging like this but without video. Your information has inspired me to do more with my marketing get out of the box so to speak. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Greetings, Miguel! I read a quote this morning that seems to speak to your comment:
Creativity is not something that you wait for.
Creativity is something that waits for you.
— Neale Donald Walsch
It’s time to open the door to your creative self! I look forward to seeing the results!
Robin Rowan says
Wasn’t this a multi-week project, however? When I record an audio book, it is a crash course in reading, editing, and meeting a deadline!!! Even though you didn’t have a deadline, I’m sure you put in dozens and dozens of hours to this labor of love. Seems that time might be better spent doing other types of marketing (unless it was a short book).
I have recorded 7 audio books now for Audible and Harper Audio, but the well seems to have dried up…but I keep trying. In the meantime, I send my current and former clients clips of projects that I’ve just completed. Because everyone is really busy, I just sent them the link to the trailer of this documentary that I narrated for a PBS affiliate:
This way, they know I’m working on other projects, that I’m a bona fide vo artist, and that I’m staying busy. BTW, I LOVE your logo. And all the very best of luck to you in the new year!
Greetings, Robin! I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing posts by people who endlessly complain that they don’t win auditions — as if waiting for someone else to hire you is the only way you can do voiceover work. By showing these examples of casting myself, I hope people feel inspired to undertake creative projects and make choices that put them in greater charge of their career. Having no deadline allows you to actually play and learn new things, a luxury you don’t have when you’re on the client’s clock!
You’re so right in saying that any audiobook project requires lots of time. If I only did it for the marketing aspect and it was my only marketing venue, I agree that the time could have been better spent in other endeavors. Since this audiobook and trailer are both spare-time projects and labors of love, though, they are just M&Ms to go with the cookies and ice cream of my other efforts!
Thanks for sharing your lighthouse trailer! It represents you well and is sure to attract more terrific projects to you. The audiobook well may seem to be dry at the moment, but we’ve all got keep showing up with our buckets in hand. I always think: THIS could be the day!
Best wishes for continued abundance, health, and prosperity in 2011 and beyond!
Inspired by this post, the talented Audrey Bentham created a beautiful trailer for an art exhibition. Her first comment is from a prospective client who wants something similar for his own exhibit! Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Stefania Lintonbon says
Lovely video. I’ve been reading through your blogs and they’re great. I like the positive attitude, optomistic spirit that flows through them. I’d like to add your blog to my blogroll if I may. I think we have a lot in common.
Best wishes for your continued VO success my new friend!
Greetings, Stefania! Thanks so much for your lovely note! We do have much in common, starting with creating your own work as I know you have been doing with your podcasts. I’d love to be added to your blogroll and look forward to keeping in touch.
And now, it’s my turn to send best wishes to you for your continued health, prosperity, and success!
All, my free, 10.5-hour audiobook of A WOMAN WHO WENT TO ALASKA is now available on LibriVox at this link:
I will use the free audiobook and trailer with additional cross-posts on-line as I described in my article.