baipa: mark coker, smashwords — ebook publishing best practices

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Nov. 8, 2014 — At an afternoon workshop for the Bay Area Independent Publisher's Association, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks, discussed "16 Secrets of the Bestselling Indie Authors."


  • 1. Ebook Publishing Best Practices16 Secrets of the Bestselling Indie Ebook AuthorsNovember 8, 2014Mark CokerFounder, SmashwordsTwitter: @markcoker

2. Welcome What youll learn The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success 16 Best Practices of the Bestselling Indie EbookAuthors Who this presentation is for Indie authors, aspiring authors, publishedauthors and the people who love and supportthem No technical experience required! 3. Lets talk best practices 4. Platforms like Smashwords makeePublishing and eDistribution Easy 5. Reaching Readers is Difficult ** most books dont sell well 6. The Long Tail of AuthordomAuthor sales rankAuthorearnings 7. The Secret to Reaching Readers:BestPractices! 8. Lets review the best practices ofthe best-selling indie authors 9. Secret One 10. #1 Your best marketing is agreat book With the power to publish comes theresponsibility to be a great publisher Honor your reader with a great book Move reader to a satisfying emotional extreme Turns readers into evangelists Be fanatical about quality Edit, revise, edit, revise, repeat, proof Leverage beta readers Readers prefer L O N G E R books 11. Longer Books Sell Better!As word count drops, sales and sales rank drops. Visualize the powercurve overlaid on this chart. Books ranked in the top 10, 50 or 100 willsell exponentially more units than books ranked 1,000 or worse 12. Secret Two 13. #2 Create a Great Cover image Invest in a quality cover image Your first impression on path to discovery Look professional Resonate with target audience Should arrest reader with thumb nail Makes a promise to the reader 14. Whats this book about? 15. Dont be sloppy 16. Dont do this either 17. Great covers make a promise 18. Great covers make a promise 19. Great covers make a promise 20. Great covers make a promise 21. Great covers make a promise 22. Great covers make a promise 23. And now a case studyThe evolution of one cover 24. to this cover 25. to this cover 26. The cover sparked a breakout atApple 27. And landed her on the NY Times BestsellerList 28. Secret Three 29. #3 Publish Another Great Book The best-selling authors onSmashwords offer deep backlists Each new ebook offersopportunity to cross-promote other titles build trust with your reader build your brand 30. Bestselling Authors Publish MoreBooks 31. Secret Four 32. #4 Give (some of) Your Booksaway for Free If you have a deep backlist, offer atleast one full-length book for free Makes it easier for readers to take a chanceon an unknown, untrusted author ~39X more downloads Turbocharges a series Free works for standalone promos too The highest grossing authors atSmashwords offer at least one freebook 33. FREE Series StartersTurbocharge a Series 34. Secret Five 35. #5 Patience is a Virtue Ebooks develop differently Traditional print books big sell-in, then yankedfrom shelves, then sales go to zero Ebooks can start small and grow slowly beforebreakout Ebooks are immortal Never go out of print When your book lands at retailer, its aseedling, nourish it Never remove Lets look at some examples 36. Slow boil, breakout, slow boil,bigger breakout 37. Slow boil, breakout, slow boil,smaller breakouts 38. Slow boil to breakoutRuth Ann Nordins An Inconvenient Marriage 39. Secret Six 40. #6 Maximize Availability, AvoidExclusivity Ebook retailing is not like sports or politics If your book is not available at every retailer,its not discoverable or purchasable Exclusivity angers fans limits audience limits merchandising opportunities increases your dependence upon asingle sales outlet 41. Smashwords Distribution NetworkUpload/Update Once, Distribute Globally 42. Secret Seven 43. #7 Build a Platform You Control Platform is your ability to reach and cultivatefans Platform gives you control, leverage Let fans decide how to connect Facebook Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn Blog and/or website Mailing list subscription Include Connect with the author links at theend of every book (more on this later!) 44. Secret Eight 45. Secret #8 Use Viral Catalysts toDrive Word of Mouth Books have always been a word ofmouth business Your readers determine your success Leverage viral catalysts 46. Whats a Viral Catalyst? A viral catalyst is anything that makes yourbook more available, accessible, desirableand enjoyable to readers Read the Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (itsFREE!) to learn how viral catalysts spur word-of-mouth 47. Viral Catalysts Every thing you do right increasesviralityGreat coverGreat bookBroad distributionFair priceGood categorizationProfessionally editedGreat formattingGreat titleGreat book descriptionGreat marketingSampling enabledMultiple formatsPatienceLUCK! Fall short anywhere, and youundermine true potential 48. Secret Nine 49. Secret #9 Pricing Strategy isLever for Success Pricing strategy impacts unit sales Unit volume (sales and downloads)builds author platform, drives readersto your backlist Unit sales X royalty per unit = profit Pricing strategy essential to maximizeboth 50. Which Price Points for Fiction GetMost Downloads (% over/underaverage) 51. Which Price Points Yield HighestEarnings 52. Secret Ten 53. Secret 10: Dont Let Fear ofPiracy Paralyze YourPublishing 54. Everything you need to knowabout piracy Obscurity is bigger risk Black hat pirates who steal your bookwouldnt have purchased it anyway Most piracy is accidental its anenthusiastic fan marketing your bookfor you Combat piracy by making your bookeasier to purchase than steal Broad availability at all stores Low, fair price 55. Secret Eleven 56. Secret #11 Leverage Preorders! Whats a preorder? Advance book listing at major retailers Allows readers to reserve a copy in advance ofrelease date Customer credit card not charged until releasedate Fast track to bestseller lists Well do a deep dive on preorders and preorderstrategy in the final segment today! 57. Secret Twelve 58. Secret #12 Practice Partnershipand Positivity Your fellow authors and serviceproviders are your partners Develop relationships Their success is your success Share your secrets Positivity trumps negativity Relationships give you upper hand Internet rants are permanent Google alerts keep no secrets 59. Secret Thirteen 60. Secret #13 Collaborate withFellow Authors Identify authors you love and your fanswill love Publish collaborations Box sets of full-length Short story collections Joint promos They have fans you dont reach, you havefans they dont reach Everyone wins 61. Secret Fourteen 62. Secret #14 Add three sections tobackmatter1. About Yourname Lastname Short bio1. Other books by Yourname Lastname Title 1 Title 21. Connect with Yourname Lastname Facebook: Twitter: Web site: Blog: Smashwords author page: 63. Secret Fifteen 64. Secret #15 Think Globally 65. Apple, B&N, Kobo, Amazon andothers are going globalYou Have the Tools to Reach aWorldwide Market TodayThe tools are FREE 66. The market for your English-language booksoutside the US will soon exceed the USmarketApple operates iBooks in 51 countries. Wedistribute to Apple. In 2013, 45% ofSmashwords Apple iBooks sales were outsidethe US 67. Secret Sixteen 68. Secret #16 Pinch Your Pennies Youre running a business Profit = Sales minus Expenses Most books dont sell well (!!!!) NEVER borrow money to publish abook NEVER spend or invest money youneed for food and shelter DIY then reinvest 69. Thats it! 70. Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: @markcoker