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Making Simple eBooks & Making eBooks Simple


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Mark Coker of Smashwords really “invented” web-based simple ebook creation when he launched Smashwords. Using his online tools, any author can convert a Microsoft Word file into an ebook suitable for …

Mark Coker of Smashwords really “invented” web-based simple ebook creation when he launched Smashwords. Using his online tools, any author can convert a Microsoft Word file into an ebook suitable for widespread distribution. (Smashwords’s system also includes attaching vital metadata to the book and putting it into distribution.) And it can be done for free.

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  • 1. Making Simple eBooksand Making eBooks SimpleSan Francisco, November 2, 2011 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords @markcoker
  • 2. Our Simple MissionMake ebook publishing &distribution Fast Free Simple
  • 3. … and profitable for ourauthors, publishers, agents and retail partners
  • 4. Simple is Good • Simple is faster, smarter, cheaper • ~80%* of ebook units sold are “simple” • Complexity bad • Added cost & risk for publisher • Added cost to consumer*BISG estimates 51% of ebook units sold are fiction. Fiction is narrative.My assumption: 60%+ of remaining 49% is narrative, or narrative + images
  • 5. What Matters to Readers?This is what I think. You’re welcome to think different.
  • 6. How are simple books working for us?
  • 7. 31,000+Number of authors, publishers, agents served by Smashwords
  • 8. 7,000+ebooks released at Smashwords last 30 days
  • 9. 82,000+ebooks published at Smashwords
  • 10. Indie ebooks published at Smashwords 82,000 (11/2/11)9000080000700006000050000 28,8004000030000 6,0002000010000 140 0 2008 2009 2010 2011
  • 11. How did we do it?
  • 12. Bags of VC Money?
  • 13. Army of super-hero ninja squirrels ?
  • 14. Did we shake down authors?
  • 15. No.We provide FREE publishing and distribution toolsWe never stop making our tools faster, simpler, better
  • 16. Here’s how we make books
  • 17. Step 1: BYO Word Processor & ManuscriptMicrosoft Open Office Word Writer
  • 18. Step 2 – Implement our Formatting Tips (over 120,000 copies downloaded!)
  • 19. Step 3 – Instant, FREE Conversion Smashwords MeatgrinderHigh-quality multi-format conversions for narrative & narrative + images, fast/free updating
  • 20. Meatgrinder creates quality books that make readers happy … Reflowable Custom styling Hyperlinks NCX navigation Automated formatting error detection and correction EPUBCHECK compliance Instant updates/revisions
  • 21. Meatgrinder limitations• Doesn’t support direct .epub/.mobi/.pdf/ etc uploads of pre-formatted files• Drop caps weak• Support for bullets and numbered lists needs improvement• Hand-coded books will always provide more precise control (but do readers really care for simple books??)
  • 22. Step 4 - Distribution to Apple,B&N, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, others
  • 23. Final Thoughts• Simple works great for vast majority of books readers want to buy • fiction • narrative non-fiction• Simple is good for books, good for authors/publishers/agents/retailers • cuts production costs/risks • faster time to market • enables lower prices for consumers
  • 24. Thanks for listening!Connect with Mark Coker:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comTwitter: @markcokerEmail: