Behind the Scenes of a Chirp Audiobook Deal

By Dr. Shira Shiloah for New Shelves on September 30, 2021
By Shira Shiloah, MD for New Shelves on September 30, 2021

The audiobook industry is booming loudly and at various playback speeds. US publishers reported audiobook sales rose to 1.3 billion dollars last year according to Publisher’s Weekly.

So how does an indie author profit and get their book heard amongst all the noise? By chirping.

Chirp, a new way to promote audiobooks

Chirp, an audiobook retailer, powered by the famed discount eBook site BookBub (with twenty million readers), allows readers to purchase audiobooks à la carte, and unlike Audible, there is no subscription fee required.

Every day Chirp sends an email to their subscribers with audiobook deals in their favorite genres and links to purchase wherever the audiobook is sold. They also highlight a new selection of limited-time audiobook deals every day on their website.

What are the rules regarding Chirp?

  • Deals are submitted by authors and publishers and curated by the same editorial team behind BookBub’s Featured Deals for ebooks.
  • You must have discounting rights for the title and be willing to discount your book to $4.99 or less.
  • Competition is fierce, as they receive over three hundred submissions a day, so I was delighted when my debut thriller, Emergence, was chosen.

So how did the four-week promotion go?

  1. Chirp confirms the promotion dates and coordinates the discount with Findaway Voices, making the set-up process seamless for the author.
  2. On my feature deal day, my book was sent out to thousands of Chirp subscribers interested in my book genre. Getting an email from Chirp with Emergence as their feature deal was surreal. (And thrilling.)
  3. Chirp promoted my book in the United States and Canada.
  4. Did I mention this promotion was free to me? Chirp requested no advertising fees for their service.
  5. Sales started rolling in. By the end of the four-week promotion period I had sold six hundred audiobooks through Chirp.

Using Chirp as a more extensive book marketing strategy

To bolster the Chirp audiobook promotion, I also dropped the eBook to $2.99 for the four-week duration of Chirp’s promo and purchased BookBub, Amazon, and Facebook ads to drive sales further. I did see a very modest bump in eBook sales; however, not enough to justify the expense of these ads. If I had to do it over again, I would purchase only Amazon ads.

How much are authors paid if they offer their books through Chirp?

I received a $1.35 royalty per audiobook sold at the $2.99 promo price. My audiobook sales soared, specifically in the first two days of the promo, similar to the BookBub spike I’d seen during a previous eBook promotion.

How does Chirp stack up compared to BookBub?

In my genre, audiobook sales typically account for one-quarter of all book sales for an individual title. My Chirp deal met this prediction––it got precisely one-quarter of the sales compared to my domestic eBook promotion with BookBub.

Are you interested in hearing from an insider at Chirp and BookBub?

Carlyn Robertson, a Product marketer at BookBub, discusses the process for being selected, as well as advice on BookBub ads, in this free webinar:

Chirp – worth the effort?

Chirp audiobook deals can significantly spike audio sales, find new fans, and market digital audiobooks directly to consumers. As a bonus, the increase in sales will almost always result in new reviews for your audiobook. (My audiobook received over eighty during the promotion period alone.) Considering this is currently a free service, (Please see update below.) I highly recommend authors submit for the chance at a Chirp deal. It is worth the effort.

UPDATE: Chirp featured deal fees

How much does it cost to run a Chirp featured deal?

If your book is selected as a Chirp featured deal, we will charge an additional 10% royalty fee on that title during your discount period on top of Chirp’s standard royalty rate.

This additional royalty fee only applies to sales of the featured title, and only during the duration of the deal. Sales of any other titles, both discounted and full price, during the same time period will receive your standard royalty rate. For example, if your standard royalty rate is 45%, then your royalty rate for your promoted book will be 35% during the discount period for your Chirp deal and will revert back to 45% following your promotion.

This fee will apply to all books selected as Chirp featured deals that are submitted on or after December 1st, 2021.

Is there an up-front fee to run a Chirp featured deal?

No, there are not any up-front costs associated with running a Chirp promotion.

Shira Shiloah, MD is the author of the international bestseller EMERGENCE, a romantic medical thriller that explores what happens when a sociopath holds a scalpel to anesthetized patients. She received her medical degree from the University of Tennessee and completed her Anesthesiology residency at Northwestern University. Learn more at and connect on Facebook and Twitter via @ShiraShiloahMd.

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