Episode 197 – Audio first with Karen Williams

Karen WilliamsAudio books are big news. But they’re also expensive and complicated to produce – or are they? Determined to find out for herself, Karen Williams published her latest book Becoming An Authority audio first (in fact it doesn’t even exist yet as a print or ebook).

She discovered a huge amount about the process along the way, including how to write in a way that makes it easier to read aloud, the importance of movement, and how to get an audiobook out across all the different channels, and she generously shares it all here and in the accompanying resources.


Karen’s website: https://librotas.com/

Audio download: https://librotas.com/audio/

Business Book Awards (deadline 31 December): https://businessbookawards.co.uk/

Alison on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alison-jones-9b09893/

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

This Book Means Business – the mentorship programme: https://alisonjones.lpages.co/this-book-means-business-mentorship/

The 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge January 2020: https://alisonjones.leadpages.co/proposal-challenge/

Gift the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge! https://alisonjones.com/christmas-offer/

Alison Jones:                        I’m here today with Karen Williams, who’s the Book Mentor at Librotas, and having started out in business in 2006 and writing her first book in 2009, she knows the difference that writing a book can make to your business. She and her team work with business experts who have a story to tell or a message to share, and they take their clients from idea to publication, ensuring that they write a book that helps them attract more clients, build their credibility and grow their business.

                                                      Karen is the bestselling author of Book Marketing Made Simple, The Mouse That Roars, Your Book is the Hook, How to Stand Out in Your Business, and The Secrets of Successful Coaches and her new book, Becoming An Authority, is out now as an audio book, and I’d particularly like to talk to you about that today, Karen. So, welcome to the show, again.

Karen Williams:                 Thank you, Alison. Thank you for inviting me back again.

Alison Jones:                        I love when we have people back actually, it’s always really interesting, because things have always changed since then, so I’ll have to put up on the show notes the previous episode, which is quite a long time ago now, isn’t it? A few years back.

Karen Williams:                 Oh, must be a few years. Probably when Book Marketing Made Simple came out, which was two years ago, I think it was, so it’s probably around about that time.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, that’s probably it. So it’s very nice to have you back. So audio, tell us why, I think you actually released this book first as audio didn’t you, before it was even a printed book?

Karen Williams:                 Yes, it’s not actually a printed book yet, actually.

Alison Jones:                        Oh, well there you go.

Karen Williams:                 I had the… You know Karen Skidmore? She asked me a question back in March and she said, “What’s happened Karen, since you wrote your first book?” And I opened my mouth and I couldn’t stop talking, and I realised that I had to write another book basically, so Becoming an Authority, it came tumbling out over the last few months, mostly in May. I wrote it really quickly and I wanted to get it out quite quickly as well.

                                                      Many of my clients have been asking, “How do you do audio?” So I thought, “Well, why not use it as a really great experiment?” And that’s pretty much where it started, Alison. Just an experiment, just to see what happens. I released it first on audio and it’s still only available on audio, which is really intriguing.

Alison Jones:                        And when you say audio, do you mean Audible?

Karen Williams:                 That’s a really good question, actually. It’s on all of the audio platforms, apart from Audible and there’s a reason for that.

Alison Jones:                        Ah, good.

Karen Williams:                 And I’m sure I’ll share that with you today.

Alison Jones:                        Oh that’s interesting, so tell us why it’s not on Audible, but all the others? My heart lifts to hear this, but yes, go on, you tell us why you made that decision?

Karen Williams:                 When I did the research which was probably a couple of weeks before I did the recording of the audio book, when I was doing my research on who to host it with, because like with any type of book, you have to host it somewhere and I went onto Audible and I went, “Oh, I can’t host my book on Audible, because I don’t have a print book or any book to attach it to,” and that’s something I didn’t know at the time. That’s a really interesting observation and my book is available, it’s on Apple iBooks, it’s on Google play, it’s on Nook, it’s on Kobo, it’s on about 30 different platforms, but not Audible, unfortunately. That’s the reason why. Nothing more sinister than that.

Alison Jones:                        Oh, you see, I thought this was a philosophical or ideological point, because Audible work quite hard to get you into an exclusive, seven-year agreement, which is insane.

Karen Williams:                 I know. That’s another reason for not going with Audible. I think even if I had got a print book and an ebook, or an ebook, I wouldn’t have gone exclusively with Audible, because it’s crazy and actually that afternoon of doing the research, I learned so much about the process that I was dabbling, just dipping my toe in before that and I jumped straight in that day, to really find out the pros and cons of using different platforms and how to actually get it done in the best possible way with the best possible distribution, as well.

Alison Jones:                        Well let’s talk about, let’s finish the piece on distribution then we’ll talk about the production bit, because that’s the other part of it. You have to have a file to distribute, but then once you’ve got a file you have to distribute it, so they’re two sides of the same coin. Who are you using for the distribution piece?

Karen Williams:                 I’m using Findaway Voices.

Alison Jones:                        Oh, yes.

Karen Williams:                 There was a couple of people that I had in mind but they were fantastic. Based out in Ohio, in the US.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. Is that Marzia Ghiselli? I can’t remember the name of the person there.

Karen Williams:                 Will Dages is the guy I’ve been dealing with.

Alison Jones:                        Okay.

Karen Williams:                 It’s great. When you’re with Amazon, you’re with a faceless organisation. I’m not saying they’re faceless, but you’re with an organisation, you can’t get anywhere. With Findaway Voices, they’ve been brilliant. Actually having a named contact, being able to correspond with somebody and for someone to respond quite quickly as well, was really great during those early stages, because I was finding my way and actually learning it myself before I could teach anyone else how to do it, so it was great having somebody who I could talk to basically.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. Absolutely, and of course when you say about 30 different platforms, a few people will be boggling at that, because they will only be aware of Audible, as well as those big ones like Apple and Google, there’s an awful lot of library platforms, aren’t there, that are really big for audiobooks now and subscription streaming services? What are the ones you’re most excited about in terms of reaching?

Karen Williams:                 Oh gosh, well I want my message, my book to reach as many people as possible, but really, I think these days with Apple products being on the Apple platform, obviously the Google platform, I think the main four that I’m on is Kobo, Nook, Apple, and Google. I think for me, they were the bigger platforms. Yes, I’d love to be on Audible, but actually that’s not a game changer for me and I think, in a way, we want to go with the smaller company. I’m not saying Google’s a smaller company, but we want to be able to distribute in a different way.

Alison Jones:                        ‘These new startups,’ yes! And I think actually, Audible isn’t the best ecosystem for new authors, for small publishers and so on, because of that dominant credit system – people tend to hoard their credits and spend them on the big blockbusters, don’t they?

Karen Williams:                 Of course.

Alison Jones:                        Yes.

Karen Williams:                 For me it was just getting the book out on audio was partly due to speed and partly due to the fact it’s such a big growing area. When I did the research for Becoming an Authority, I was staggered actually by, I was researching what’s happened in the 10 years since I started writing my first book and I was staggered by how popular audio book downloads have been within the last few years, how it has grown so much, and that was really one of the prompts for going audio first as well, to reach a new audience but also to enable people to consume the information in a different way.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, absolutely. And I think it’s only going to get further down that road because of the prevalence of voice assistance and voice discovery and the whole technology is shifting to that voice and spoken word indexing that Google’s pioneering at the moment. It is fascinating. So we talked about the distribution piece, so let’s back up a bit. We’ve done this the wrong way round, really, but never mind, let’s talk about the production piece, because that’s… Back in the day, I remember going out with Ali Muirden on a Macmillan audiobook thing we were looking at, at Palgrave and, Oh my goodness, it was a performance, literally. You had an actor sitting in a booth in a studio, you had a producer, you had a script assistant. It was three days in a studio. You could not get it below £5,000 or so in those days. It’s very different now, isn’t it?

Karen Williams:                 Yes, you could in effect record it doing something like this. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way, because I think you do need the professionalism of a studio. There’s a couple of things I want to share, Alison. One, is I started with audio in mind when I started writing my book, so I actually wrote it in bite-sized chunks, so I knew that when I recorded it, it would be fairly easy to consume, because I think the great thing about audio is that you can listen to it on the go, you can listen to it when you’re dog walking, when you’re running, when you’re doing the washing up, driving the car, wherever you want to be and I think that’s the great thing about audio, but if you are writing a book with audio in mind, it’s worth thinking about that when you start.

                                                      Things like, I think my chapter, the longest one is about 3000 words, which is about 18 minutes to listen to. So it’s something that could be done in a one mile walk for example, so certainly that’s something to bear in mind and when it comes to narrating it, being able to record it in bite-sized chunks is good as well. I used a professional studio. I did two four-hour sessions, over about a week apart, I think. It was just myself and the producer. What was great is having the producer meant that whenever I made a cockup, and there were plenty of them, he was able to delete them, go back and tell me where to start again, so for me that was a real valuable lesson in terms of using other experts who can do that sort of thing rather than trying to do it myself, because that would have taken days, weeks, to do it just by myself.

Alison Jones:                        And the stamina required for that. That sounds trivial, but actually it’s not. It’s not a trivial thing to read a whole book out, is it?

Karen Williams:                 I was quite surprised on the stamina I needed and I was very much aware of it. I’ve known this, the people who produced it for me, I’ve known them for a long time anyway, so I’d already, when I did my TEDx a couple of years ago, Dyel, who is one of the people who runs the CDO, she gave me some vocal exercises, so I started using those a few weeks before and you have to look after yourself. Say you were giving a presentation for a day, you have to prepare yourself in a similar way, with your energy, with your sleep, what you eat, what you drink, all of that is so important. Being well hydrated and to have your voice warm enough and ready to actually go, because it’s hard work. For hours at a time is really hard work.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. I’ve got images of you sitting there doing your vocal warm up exercises now…

Karen Williams:                 Yes, it’s a bit like that. I had to wait until the house was empty. Shut all the windows and then do it.

Alison Jones:                        But it’s interesting what you say about, just as if you were giving a talk, because one of the funny things about reading an audio book of course is you’re sitting in a studio and there’s just the producer there, and you haven’t got that energy and the reality of the space in the room and talking to people and their visual feedback. How do you keep your energy and the aliveness in your voice through that period of time? What did you discover?

Karen Williams:                 Oh, I discovered it was really hard. I’d discovered I had to move quite a lot and we did, because the way I did it, you could use an iPad of course, but I had a printed copy of my book, so printed double-line spacing, so I had to stop at the bottom of every two pages, so that gave me a breather. It gave me a break before I moved onto the next couple of pages and invariably made a cock-up somewhere along the way anyway.

Alison Jones:                        So you had a nice break?

Karen Williams:                 But you’ve got to move, you’ve got to hydrate and I think all of that is important when you’re doing an audio book.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. It’s so true, isn’t it? And you don’t realise how the quality of your voice changes as it gets tired, if you get a cold, if you’ve not had a drink for a while. Yes, it’s amazing. You said before that you wrote this with audio in mind. For people who’ve written a book and are then thinking about an audio book, there’s obviously quite a lot of editorial stuff that they might not have thought about.

Karen Williams:                 Yes.

Alison Jones:                        The experience of reading a book is quite different to the… Well, the idea is the same, but the experience is very different for the reader to the listener and the way that you reference things in the book is different as well. What are the sorts of things that you made editorial decisions on while you were writing the book, to make the book work audio first rather than what you would have done had it been just a normal print book?

Karen Williams:                 The first thing I did, which I’d recommend every author do anyway, is I had a page on my website, a hidden page on my website that people can sign up for, which had all of the references. All of what would normally have been footnotes or references within the book went onto that page on my website and I regularly, within the book as I was reading it out, I had regular references to that so people can sign up for more information, if they wanted to dig deeper into some of the statistics and things like that, that type of thing.

                                                      Other things to be mindful of is just simple turns of phrases, as you’ll read later, diagrams, exercises, all of those types of things don’t translate so well to audio, so I wrote it very much with inspiration, there was a lot of client stories in there, and again, I referenced all of those types of things within the text itself, so I didn’t actually include any exercises in the book. Obviously this is my sixth book, so I’ve written quite a few others, so I referred back to other books as well, but for me that was certainly a consideration and a really big consideration is what you’ve written, because it’s surprising how a combination of words can be incredibly hard to say.

Alison Jones:                        Go on.

Karen Williams:                 Just a combination of words, so one client is a world champion para-triathlon, no, he’s a former world champion para-triathlete, which is fine if you’re saying it like that, but when you’re saying that as part of a sentence, I certainly realised that a lot of my sentences were too long, that I needed to be snappier, and I was sat there with a pen as I was reading it and making changes as and when I needed to, to make it easier to narrate, because I did narrate it myself.

Alison Jones:                        That’s important, isn’t it? Particularly when you are running a business, when you want to attract people who are going to be working with you, you want that congruence there, so that if they’ve been listening to your audio book and then they give you a call and talk to you, it has to be the same voice.

Karen Williams:                 Yes, and there was no reason for me not to narrate it myself. I had that in mind as I was writing it, but obviously if you’re reading, with fiction for example, a lot of people do choose other narrators, but people hear my voice, so even if they’re reading my books, my previous books, they can hear my voice, so it was important they heard my voice in this one as well.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, absolutely, and I think that point you say about those difficult phrases, I know exactly what you mean. You read something and you have to have four goes at it and a bit of a run-up and that’s probably going to have to go, so I think actually that’s a general, even if you’re not writing for audio primarily, but you should always be thinking of audio when you’re writing a book, because it’s probably going to happen at some point, reading your book aloud, really, it’s the only way you find those things, isn’t it? It’s the only way you actually sound it out and find those difficult phrases, or the repetition. There’s something really magical, I think, about reading a book aloud, even if you’re not planning to record it.

Karen Williams:                 Oh, absolutely. I do that all the time with anything, whether I write a newsletter, a blog, I’m always reading out loud. I always have to tell my husband, “Don’t worry, I’m talking to myself for awhile,” but normally I’m reading it out loud, because I find you don’t pick things up otherwise. It’s so easy for things to slip through. Reading out loud, whether you’re doing an audio book or just reviewing anything, enables you to check it works.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, because it’s actually, as a reader you’re hearing it in your head and any.

Karen Williams:                 Yes.

Alison Jones:                        And we tend to write somehow more formally and stiffly than we speak and you end up sometimes, especially I find, if I’m tired when I’m writing, I regress to an academic, quite dry style, and then you read it back and you’re like, “Oh, for goodness sake. What on earth was I trying to say here?” It keeps you real, doesn’t it? It keeps it real when you actually have to say it out loud, and you go, “Well clearly no human being is ever going to say that, so I need to change it.”

Karen Williams:                 Yes. Absolutely.

Alison Jones:                        What do you think is the future then, for books? Do you see a mixed economy like we have at the moment, where primarily the book form, the paperback, the ebook are first and then the audio? Do you see books that are only audio? Do you see audio first? How do you think it’s going to develop for business books in particular, Karen?

Karen Williams:                 Oh, that’s a really good question, Alison. I’m not 100% sure. I think there’s space for all of them, to be honest. I think going audio only is probably not the best thing to do for most people. I think for me, because I’ve already published five already and I promote them, I go to events, I sell them when I’m speaking, it’s slightly different, but for most people I think they go hand in hand with each other.

                                                      I think a lot of people like me, I prefer a physical book. I prefer holding a book, smelling a book. I prefer reading in that way. An ebook is great if you want to do something quickly or you want to be able to refer to something. ebooks have their place as well, but audio these days I think has to happen as well, because we want to listen on the go. We want bite-sized chunks. So thinking with audio in mind and having that as an option, and that’s really where this came about, because of clients who were saying, “I’d like to do an audio book, where do I start?” And I’m a visual person and actually it was a real shift of mindset to actually do this as an audio book, because that’s not my preferred style of listening. In saying that I’ve started listening a lot to podcasts. I reconnected with you, because I was listening to some of your podcasts, Alison, so I think bearing that in mind is key, that people want to consume things in different ways.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, absolutely, and I do wonder as well, I think most of the time now, audiobooks are simply the narrator reading out the book. I do wonder whether there will be adaptations, audio adaptations? This has started in fiction. You get the full cast, almost like these audio productions like a Radio Four drama of a book, and I do wonder if in business we will start to have more of an adaptation? So, not just things like cutting out the figures, but, I don’t know, perhaps inviting people on to speak. I was listening to an interesting one the other day. Now I can’t remember the title of it, which is terrible. Be the Change. That was it. The author had an interview with somebody who had been a beta reader of the book at the end, so it was like a director’s cut. There’s a little extra scene and stuff, and there’s stuff that you can do, that interview was very engaging, it wouldn’t have worked in the book, but it was great as an audio format and I do wonder if there’s going to be more of that, that sense of we produced the book and it’s in one form for print and that translates very easily to an ebook, but then there’s something else that’s the audio book. There’s a different experience of the book. It’s just interesting to play with that idea, isn’t it?

Karen Williams:                 Well certainly one of the things I thought about when I recorded, Becoming an Authority, was to launch it as a podcast series as well, because a podcast has been on my list of things to do for a couple of years now and I now have 16 potential podcast series that I could release if I wanted to do so, or I could release something around there, so I think whether we do podcasts, whether we do interviews, I think being able to do things hand in hand is quite a nice thing to do, because it helps to repurpose information but also add extra value as well.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, exactly. Brilliant that you’re doing a podcast, I can’t recommend it highly enough, but I love the fact you’re thinking in series. I really wish I’d done that. I really wish I’d had the wit to think about a series rather than just doing it every flipping week. It would have been a much better structure.

Karen Williams:                 It’s a lot, yes. When I hear you introduce them, Alison, and it’s 100 and whatever, it’s just like, “How’d you know?” You must have really good records to know exactly where you are. That’s the real achievement to do that, so I really commend you for it.

Alison Jones:                        Heading towards 200 now, it’s quite incredible, isn’t it?

Karen Williams:                 Wow.

Alison Jones:                        That is fascinating about the future of audio, and I think the voice discovery thing, because at the moment one of the things I find frustrating about audio is if I listen to an audio book, which I loved doing, I’ve been consuming a lot of business books this year and I’ve done many of them on long journeys, while I’m cooking, running, all that good stuff, but then you’re writing up a review of it afterwards and you remember, you half remember something. It’s so hard to find it, so I think that the voice search, that piece has to be in place to make this really usable for books as well. I think that’s a missing piece at the moment.

Karen Williams:                 You have got technology like Whispersync, that if you have the ebook and you have the audio book, you can apparently, and I’ve never tried this so don’t quote me totally on this, say for example, you’re reading the ebook over breakfast, then you get in the car, apparently it picks up where you’ve left reading the ebook and puts it onto audio. That’s obviously if you do the full version, not the abridged version, but yes, not explored it, but it’s something that I came across when I was doing my research.

Alison Jones:                        I think Whispersync only really works if you’re on the same platform, though and it doesn’t work terribly reliably.

Karen Williams:                 I can imagine. It’s technology isn’t it, at the end of the day?

Alison Jones:                        Exactly, and even if I’m listening on my Alexa device – sorry if I’ve just woken up your whatsit, sorry – if I’m listening on my device in the bedroom and then I’m listening on my phone in the kitchen, it doesn’t even, it’s the same book on the same platform, and it still doesn’t pick up that I’m at different point in it, so I think we’ve got a way to go on that yet.

Karen Williams:                 I think we have. I think all of it’s work in progress, isn’t it?

Alison Jones:                        Oh yes, absolutely. We want to run before we can walk. It wasn’t even a thing a few years back, so we should be amazed we’ve come as far as we have. We just want more, we want more faster. You started doing this as an experiment, you said. What happens now for you? What do you take all the learnings from this? What are you going to do next with it all?

Karen Williams:                 One thing I have done, Alison, is I’ve documented everything I’ve done on the process, which is available as a free download on my website. Although I don’t imagine myself taking people through the process on a step by step basis, one of the things I’m planning on doing later in 2020, is to do an online programme to help people through what are the nuances, because there are quite a few things I learned that I didn’t expect to learn on the journey. When it comes…

Alison Jones:                        That’s so smart. What you’ve done is experiment, but you’ve actually, you’ve got a product yourself at the end of it, you’ve learned all this stuff and then you are able to teach other people. That’s such a smart way of thinking about this.

Karen Williams:                 Yes, I started with that and I think with, Becoming an Authority, I’m sure it probably will become a print book or at least an ebook in 2020, but I haven’t quite put my finger exactly on which date at the moment, but I’m already getting amazing feedback from people who don’t listen to audio and I’ve had one person who has had me on a loop in the car as well, and she’s finding that for her being dyslexic, it’s really helped to actually be able to, and that’s one thing that I’ve learned on the journey, I suppose, is it gives people a different way of tapping into some of the stuff I’m sharing. If they’re finding it takes a long time to read a book or something like that, actually having me in their ears or however they want to listen to me, it’s just another way of doing it.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, and it’s a point I think many people don’t realise, that the advent of ebooks and digital audio has been so fantastic for accessibility and social inclusion, because yes, you had large print books but not for everything and it was quite a commitment for a publisher to to do that. It had to be funded somehow. But with digital books, whether that’s ebooks or digital audio, suddenly you can plug them into any number of different accessibility screen reader type thing, and it’s actually fantastic.

Karen Williams:                 Yeah, just one thing where it comes to audio, obviously to record an audio, you do you need to have a budget, but actually if you, bearing in mind that file can be available obviously for people to buy, you’ve also got that file which could be available as a free bonus on a programme or something like that, so it’s about being mindful of how you can use it in terms of an audio book file, because if you try and sell it and that’s all you’re doing, obviously you’re not going to recoup your investment because it’s not necessarily a cheap thing to do if you do it well, but it’s something to bear in mind that you do have something that you can then multipurpose and use in different formats later on.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, and that is the elephant in the room, isn’t it? Because you say it as though it’s self evident, that you probably won’t recoup your investment on an audio book, but actually people will be horrified to hear that. But it’s a real reality check. There is a cost to producing an audio book. If you do it really well, like you did, going into a studio with a producer, which is going to give the best experience for your listeners, you’re not going to come in much under a couple of grand for that and there are other ways of doing it. You can lock yourself in your room with a microphone, but it’s more difficult to do. You’re probably not going to get as good quality, and you may well just get rejected by the platforms, because you’re not meeting their standards, which are quite exacting. I think being aware of that. I suppose it’s like anything, any business book, isn’t it? Being aware that books are low cost, low margin things and your return on investment had better be broader than that.

Karen Williams:                 Absolutely, and the great thing about using a studio is they produce the files in exactly the right format. I uploaded it, didn’t have to do anything else. I didn’t have to worry about any technical side of things. They made it so easy for me. I think when it comes to books, people don’t necessarily want to invest in book mentors, book coaches, audio, to a certain extent, some people do, but not everybody sees the value of it, but actually when you have someone giving you the best possible product that you can create, for me that’s what it’s all about, is having something that’s going to enhance your brand, enhance your reputation, although not everybody needs it. A lot of people do need support at some level to help them to get started or get over the finish point.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, absolutely, but it’s interesting. We’ve got two packages, so you can get the kit delivered to you and record your book to the standards that we set, and so on, or you can have a studio and it’s really interesting, some people are just like, “Why would I need a studio? Just give you the mic, I’m good,” and other people are like, “Oh for goodness sake. I can’t imagine doing this on my own.” It’s a real spectrum of experience on it, but yes, I think doing good audio book well, it’s not just sitting down and recording your book. There’s actually a huge amount more, from preparing your script, if you haven’t written it for audio, through, as you said, the stamina, the vocal demands of it, making the mistakes and spotting them and going back and doing it, and then as you’re getting them ready for the distribution platform, and we use a digital asset distribution system as well, that takes it to all the platforms, which I think is really important. I think it’s really important that we have competition in this space and that we’re… Amazon is a very dominant force in the book thing, but it’s not the only game in town, and heaven forfend the day it should be.

Karen Williams:                 Yes, absolutely. However you distribute your book, however you record your book, we mustn’t forget the marketing of it as well. Certainly for myself, I’ve been doing a lot of podcast interviews, guest blog posts, articles, you name it. I’ve been putting my feelers out over the last few months in terms of actually marketing it, but what I will say, Alison, just really to finish up around this, is that it’s a real, when you haven’t got a physical book, it’s become harder to actually promote it because it’s amazing what a difference having something in your hand actually makes to marketing a book.

Alison Jones:                        That’s so interesting.

Karen Williams:                 It’s been a strange experience. A good one, but a strange one.

Alison Jones:                        And yes, of course, if you’re going out on lots of different platforms, there’s not one single link that you can point people to either, presumably?

Karen Williams:                 No, I’ve got, becominganauthority.co.uk, is the website, just a one pager for the book and I’m just linking to the four main platforms from there, because yes, you’re right, there’s not one distinct platform. Normally I would probably send people to Amazon, because that’s the biggest platform, whereas actually with this it’s giving people that choice of where they want to go and where they want to purchase it from.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, and there is some complexity around that, which is a good thing in terms of choice, but it’s a bad thing in terms of cognitive overload, isn’t it?

Karen Williams:                 Yes.

Alison Jones:                        Well I was going to ask you, is there any difference in promoting an audio book from a physical book, but anything else that you could draw out from that?

Karen Williams:                 Just mainly not actually having the physical book, I think, but certainly you still have to do the same things. It’s still about telling people that it exists, sharing the information, and having a plan around it. For me, it’s just been a very different plan this time, but as I said, if this is my only book, it would have been quite a struggle, but because I do have my other books, that whenever I speak at an event, or I give a talk or something, I’ve always got those with me anyway, but if this was my only book it would have been quite hard, I think, to promote it successfully and it is a work in progress, as well.

Alison Jones:                        Absolutely, but you do point to something really interesting, which is I think all of us, I know when I was in publishing 10 years ago, and we were like, “Okay, it’s all going to go digital,” and actually the print book has been so resilient and I think you’ve put your finger on, why haven’t? It’s the fact of having something in your hands, something you can physically give to someone else, something you could hold and look at, there is real power in that.

Karen Williams:                 Absolutely.

Alison Jones:                        So Karen, I always ask people what would be your best tip for a first time business? I don’t know if you can even remember being a first time business book author because it was so long ago, but you’ve certainly talked to lots of them, so what’s your best tip for somebody listening?

Karen Williams:                 Well, there’s three tips I’ll share, which all come in together. First of all, be really clear on what you’re writing, who it’s for, and why you’re writing it before you get started.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. Can’t argue with any of that. Oh wait, was that the three tips?

Karen Williams:                 That was the three. That was my three tips in one, yes.

Alison Jones:                        Okay. Blimey, that was succinct. Right. And also would you like to recommend, I say a business book. Doesn’t have to be a business book, but a book that you think that everybody listening should read and that would be helpful for them?

Karen Williams:                 Gosh, that’s really hard, and I can’t remember which one I recommended last time, so I might be repeating myself.

Alison Jones:                        Neither can I, and if we can’t, they probably won’t say. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Karen Williams:                 That’s good. I loved Daniel Priestley’s first book, Key Person of Influence.

Alison Jones:                        Yes. It’s a good one.

Karen Williams:                 It was one of those books that I read and went, “Oh, I wish I’d written it.” A lot of us can go through that at some stages in our book writing career and it was one of those which really stuck with me and I learned so much from it. I must’ve picked it up about the time I was transitioning to the book mentoring side of things, so probably around about 2013, 2014. It made perfect sense to me and it still does. It stands the test of time, I think.

Alison Jones:                        Yes, it is. It’s a cracking book and I know what you mean, I have slight book envy over that, as well. Yes, you did that really well. And also it’s so brilliantly structured, his principles, the five principle, it’s all alliterative. It’s really well done.

Karen Williams:                 Yes.

Alison Jones:                        Karen, if people want to find out more about you, where should they go?

Karen Williams:                 Well my website is librotas.com, and the download for the audio experience that I’ve been through can be at librotas.com/audio.

Alison Jones:                        Fantastic, and I will put all those links up on the show notes, at extraordinarybusinessbooks.com. Thank you so much, Karen. It’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you today.

Karen Williams:                 Thank you, Alison.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.