Reader Question: Grammar, Second Languages, and Book Soundtracks

We have an interesting question for authors this week from an anonymous reader who created a soundtrack for their upcoming book.

This is a topic that's been on my mind recently as I was looking into BookTrack and also happened across an Amazon Prime music playlist featuring classical music for reading. While I've used soundtracks to help me write stories, listening to soundtracks or reading-specific playlists while I read a book is a completely different animal.

The idea is that the book's soundtrack will help you stay focused on the book longer, while adding new elements to the story, similar to the way a soundtrack enhances a film. Or, in the case of a more general reading playlist, it's about blocking out other distractions (assuming the music itself doesn't distract you).

Here's the question I received:

"I'm an indie author and musician from Israel. One of my books was translated to English, and now, after a professional copyediting and proofreading, it is ready to be published as an eBook on Amazon. The thing is that English is not my native language, and the last thing I want do as an author is to promote my book on a blog or other platform, with grammar mistakes. So I don't know how to promote it.

The only thing is this: I composed a soundtrack for the book, 71 minutes of music that has a tight connection to the plot of the book. So maybe I can promote my book through my music, using a platform like YouTube to introduce the soundtrack and maybe listeners would like to read the book beyond the soundtrack and they will buy the eBook on Amazon.

I dedicated almost five years for this book and its soundtrack, and now it is ready. I will truly appreciate your advice."

Good Writing Goes Beyond Your Book

In this case it sounds like we have a book that's been professionally edited, so grammatical issues there aren't the problem. Instead, the author is concerned about grammatical problems within their marketing efforts.

They're right to be concerned. The writing you do to promote your book will directly influence reader expectations. If your blog posts, guest posts, press releases, email newsletters, and other marketing material is uncomfortable to read, people will probably assume your book suffers from the same problem.

In this case, a soundtrack is not going to make up for those grammatical issues. It's one promotional tool. But your larger marketing plan should include a variety of book promotion tactics to help you get the word out about your book. And your marketing copy should reflect the quality of work readers can expect in your book.

Your best bet in this case is to work with a proofreader on your marketing copy. That includes your book cover copy, website copy, blog posts, guest posts, press releases, other media kit or newsroom copy, newsletters, social media updates, and anything else you use to promote your book.

Will it cost more than what other writers have to pay if they can do it all themselves? Yes. But that extra proofreading is a cost involved in trying to sell books to an audience that speaks a different language. It's a cost any author would have to deal with if they wanted to actively promote translations in other markets, and if they wanted to do the initial work themselves.

If you already have someone helping you promote the original version, I'd start by seeing if they can provide translations of all promotional materials. They might have an easier time outsourcing that project than you would if you tried to put the time in personally.

So, no, a soundtrack isn't an alternative to these other promotional tactics and tools. But I do think it's a smart idea to use it for that purpose. It might be a good starting place for you, and if you make it very clear how the music ties into the book, it could very well drive some traffic to your book's sales page. You might even be able to tie it all together with an audiobook version featuring your soundtrack along with the reading.

Do you have any advice for this reader about using their soundtrack to promote their book? What about grammatical concerns in your marketing materials? Leave a comment to share your stories, experiences, or advice.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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1 thought on “Reader Question: Grammar, Second Languages, and Book Soundtracks”

  1. I say the same thing — go back to the translator and get them to help with the promotional material. Also, run it by someone who’s experienced at (and good at) creating great promotional content.

    I’m forever sweating the grammar in my promotions. The writer who doesn’t is the writer who will miss out on plenty of opportunities. Clients notice.


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