Knowing your Audience


When you set out to start an audio publishing label, you need to have a clear idea of who your target audience is and the sort of books they will want to listen to. If you are interested in a particular genre, determine which demographic you want to reach within that genre and shape your roster of titles accordingly.

Some publishers specialize in a particular niche within a genre and build an entire brand around it to attract an audience seeking precisely what they have to offer.

One example of this is Rabbit Ears Entertainment, LLC which offers classic literature at its best. Their primary target audience for listening is children but truly, their products entertain parents as well as educators. People who buy audiobooks from Rabbit Ears range from parents to grandparents to libraries to teachers. The company was founded by Mark Sottnick and Doris Wilhousky at their kitchen table in 1985. We highlight their brand here as a prime example of what you could do if you dream big enough, know your market and clarify your goals.

The works Rabbit Ears produces are narrated by celebrity actors the likes of Jeremy Irons, Danny Glover, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Garrison Keillor, Nicolas Cage, Jonathan Winters, Michael Palin, John Candy, Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Amy Grant, Kathleen Turner, Catherine O’Hara, Cher and others accompanied by musical scores composed and performed by top musicians of the day and illustrated by the best artists of our day.

The company has won many awards, including:

  • 2 Grammy Awards
  • 18 Grammy Award nominations
  • 21 Parents’ Choice Awards
  • A Parents’ Choice Award for the Entire Storybook Classics series
  • 7 Action for Children’s Television awards
  • A National Education Association Award
  • The Humanitas Prize

Just like Rabbit Ears, you need to know your target audience.

Drill down regarding specific interests particular your selected people group. Knowing your audience ensures that your expectations and sales goals are in line with what the market will support. The more you know about your target audience, the better you will be able to attract them and provide value to them.

Factors to consider are who your prospective listeners are, why they listen to audiobooks, where they listen to them, how they listen and the kind of audiobooks they consume most frequently.

Does your audience listen to their audiobooks while commuting, jogging, or might they prefer to wind down with an audiobook after a long day at the office or while cleaning house? Where would they expect to hear about your audiobooks? What source or organization would they want recommending your audiobooks to them?

You’ll also need to consider the purpose a specific audiobook serves. Is it a source of entertainment, education, or inspiration?

Would the people you’re targeting rather take the book in as an audiobook over reading a printed copy of the book?

For many people, enjoyment comes from hearing a story, and in some cases, would not be able to consume it in its entirety any other way. Trying to get through a book can be challenging when you need to be sitting down and focusing solely on reading the text. While many people enjoy reading from the text, there are some for whom listening to audiobook narration is preferable.

Does your audience care for who the narrator is or are they only concerned with a good read? Maybe your listening audience enjoys a certain style of voicing and expects words to be pronounced in a particular way or is accustomed to hearing a certain voice type and prefers it above all others. Knowing this about your audience will help you to decide who should be narrating your audiobook.

All of the details are important when it comes to how you position your audiobook on the market to those you hope become your customers.

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