MF 414 : The Poshmark Guide audiobook edition is now available!
Updated: Feb 13
Today, we celebrate the release of The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses, audiobook edition. I share why I wanted to create an audiobook version, the challenges in doing so, and how you can create an audiobook for a book that includes a lot of visuals and exercises without losing its interactivity as a teaching tool. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
The audiobook is finally here!
I'm excited to announce that The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses is now available as an audiobook. Initially, I wanted to have this released by Q4 of 2022 but as my fall filled up, I knew that I would have to push this off to the start of the new year. Unlike the last time I recorded an audiobook in 2020 for Angelo Spenillo's I Am a Professional Metalhead, I didn't have a block of time to hunker down and get the audio files done. Instead, I had to record this one piecemeal, averaging 1-3 chapters per week with a lot of gap weeks.
As I neared the end of 2022, I decided to push off the start of season 10 of the podcast to February, and mapped out how many chapters I had left, aiming to get it published before season 10 and episode 413 premiered. I finished recording the last chapters the second week of January and spent the following week reviewing the files. I also had to finalize the document that went with the audio version of the book (more on this later).
I finalized and submitted the audio files on Friday, January 20th and the audiobook was approved and released on Monday, January 30th, exactly 10 days later, and a couple days before episode 413 premiered.
An interactive audiobook?
Flashing back to last fall, once the paperback and Kindle versions came out, I knew I wanted to do an audio version. I enjoyed working with Angelo on his book and given the popularity of audio books, it was a fitting way to conclude my work on this three-plus year long project. However, unlike Angelo's book, which is a biography and business book that's also a story that you can kick back and read, this one is highly interactive; requiring the reader to engage with the material. It's also highly visual with a lot of pictures, diagrams, and worksheets. I didn't want to sacrifice the interactivity within an audio version since that is what makes it an effective teaching tool.
To maintain the book's immersive experience, I decided to include the visuals and exercises as supplemental materials to the audiobook edition. So, the next question was how to deliver this material to audio listeners.
I considered a few possibilities:
Create a separate document that's available for download from the website or via an email opt in.
Create a video showcasing the images and explaining the exercises, hosted on YouTube or Vimeo with audio instructions on accessing the video(s).
None of these solutions were perfect and each came with potential hiccups and obstacles. Finally, I did what I should have done in the beginning: I looked up whether audiobooks could have attachments. It turns out that, yes, they can!
ACX, which is the major platform for publishing audiobooks to Audible and Apple, allows authors to attach one pdf that's 99 MB or less. Thus, while I was recording the audio files, I also created a separate PDF companion document containing all of the images, worksheets, and exercises from the print version.
As some of you may be authors interested in creating an audiobook or just curious how the process works, let me guide you on some of the basics. These are good-to-know starter points that aren't obvious when setting up an account.
When you set up an ACX account, you'll be asked to pick a category, the two most common being "narrator" and "author." Being that I was technically both, I didn't think it would make a difference so I chose "narrator." That turned out to be the wrong choice.
Narrator accounts are specifically for voiceover talent looking to be hired on audiobook projects. ACX serves as a marketplace for authors to connect with narrators. Narrator accounts are specifically for creating a work-for-hire profiles, as well as searching and auditioning for audio title projects. As I discovered, there's no place to upload an audio title.
If you are an author or author-narrator and want to submit a book for publication, you have to choose the "Author" category. This allows you to submit audio files that you've created or have been created for you, as in the case of when I worked on Angelo's book in 2020. You can also scout freelance VO talent if you're looking to hire a narrator.
Unfortunately, you can't switch categories once you create an account so I had to contact support to have them delete my narrator account and then set up an author one. Incidentally, if you're both an author and a VO talent for hire, you'll need to set up two separate ACX accounts.
PDF goes where?
As mentioned, when I discovered that ACX does accept PDF documents to attach to audio titles, I was elated. However, once I uploaded my audio files, I discovered there's no place to upload that document. I went back to the help page and found out that you have to email it separately to ACX support.
Here's where dueling math comes in.
Remember, the help page specifies that PDFs have to be 99 MB or less. Fortunately, the document I created was around 40-50 MB so I was within the limit. However, emailing a document that size was tricky. First, I couldn't send it as an attachment since it was bigger than my email allows. So, I decided to put it into a Google Drive folder and email them the link. Unfortunately, that was a no go. They emailed back the next day saying they couldn't access external sites like cloud services and I would have to re-send it as an attachment.
Thus, I had to shrink the file down to a size that my email could handle. This meant tinkering around with the graphics and file to get it down to 24-25 MB, the upper limit my email account would accept as outgoing attachments. The alternative is to send it using a compression system called .rar. The latter seemed complicated, requiring third-party software so I opted for the first solution.
Once I got the file down to 24 MB, I sent it and voila! ... The email bounced back within a few minutes with a message from ACX's email server saying that it couldn't accept attachments bigger than 20 MB!
So, back to the file-compression-drawing board. I tinkered around with the file and finally managed to get it down to under 20 MB without losing image quality. I sent it again and this time it went through. I also had to specify whether I wanted the PDF available on the Amazon sales page for anyone to view or only to purchasers of the audio title. I opted for the latter and ACX support emailed back saying they would attach it to the book once approved.
Thankfully, the audiobook published without a hitch and the PDF is included as part of the audiobook purchase on both Audible and Apple. I tried it out on Audible and it works beautifully. It's integrated seamlessly into the audiobook as a menu option and a view option even pops up when you start listening to the audiobook. Moreover, both the Amazon and Apple sales pages have notices indicating that a PDF comes with the audiobook purchase.
Other tweaks to making this audio friendly
Notably, I did a few other things to make this an audio-friendly title.
I added a small chapter in the beginning called "Audiobook preparation," in which I explain to the listener that the book is interactive and that the images and exercises are in the attached PDF.
I added reminders to listeners that all photos and exercises are in the supplemental PDF within the sections that they would normally appear in the print version.
I also took the opportunity to update listeners on some new Poshmark enhancements that came out after the print version was published.
To sum, audio is more popular than ever, and with this ACX workaround, creators can adapt interactive and visual books into an audio format without losing the interactive nature of the publication. Moreover, as I originally started sharing my Poshmark journey on this podcast, it was only fitting that I should have an audio version of the book as an option for readers. Surprisingly, The Poshmark Guide is one the few Poshmark titles on Amazon to have an audiobook option.
Regardless, I'm happy I could cover all three major formats and whether you've purchased this in print, ebook or audio, I'm grateful for your support. My hope is that whether you read or listen to this book, that it was give you the tools and encouragement to move forward with starting a business on Poshmark.
For more on creating audiobooks
Check out the Create an Audiobook miniseries.
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses is now available as an audiobook
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