Ebook Publishing Primer for Consultants (Bay Area Consultants Network January 27 2012)


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This presentation explains how consultants can leverage ebooks to grow their consulting businesses. Consultants will learn how to: Distribute and sell an ebook; package their expertise and knowledge into a scalable, sellable ebook product; leverage ebooks to attract consulting clients and drive scalable revenue; and learn best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors. Presented by Mark Coker of Smashwords at the January 27 2012 meeting of the Bay Area Consultants Network in San Rafael, CA.

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Ebook Publishing Primer for Consultants (Bay Area Consultants Network January 27 2012)

  1. 2. My Backstory
  2. 3. Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of writing a book
  3. 4. After 15 years running an award-winning Silicon Valley PR firm, I was ready
  4. 5. I’d share my PR secrets My book would help everyone harness the powerful magic of PR
  5. 6. Fate had other plans
  6. 7. I wrote a novel about daytime television soap operas. Yes, soap operas (!!)
  7. 8. Publishers Said “No” <ul><li>Every major publisher said NO (TWICE!) </li></ul>
  8. 9. The experience opened my eyes to Big Publishing <ul><li>Business practices unchanged in 50 years </li></ul><ul><li>Backward looking </li></ul><ul><li>They can’t predict which books will become commercial successes </li></ul><ul><li>Unable to take a risk on every author </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of thousands of talented writers denied access to readers </li></ul>Could there be a better way?
  9. 10. My Answer: Smashwords <ul><li>Ebooks (!!!) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide writers free tools so they can become their own ebook publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open up the printing press to all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open up distribution to major ebook stores </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. How Smashwords Works <ul><li>UPLOAD </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Author uploads Microsoft Word file, formatted to our Style Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free ebook conversion to multiple formats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell today to a worldwide audience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DISTRIBUTE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution to major retailers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GET PAID </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authors receive 85% of net </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Indie ebooks published at Smashwords 140 6,000 28,800 92,000 +
  12. 13. How’s the ebook market doing?
  13. 14. Ebooks as a percentage of US trade market Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org
  14. 15. Why ebooks are hot <ul><li>Ebooks becoming preferred reading method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changeable font size A A A A </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portable and compact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Screens will get better/faster/cheaper </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Satisfy 3 most important consumer desires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower price than print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Convenient sampling and purchasing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huge selection </li></ul></ul>
  15. 16. Technology is colliding with the traditional book publishing industry
  16. 17. ooh, pretty! Big Publishers Not Equipped to Deal with Change
  18. 19. IT WAS A SWEET RACKET Readers wanted books Publishers controlled the supply $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
  19. 20. Publishers were the deciders <ul><li>Publishers controlled: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who got published </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who got distributed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What readers could read </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates <ul><li>Writers taught to bow subservient and believe publishing gods would provide: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>blessing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>validation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>entry into the afterlife of fame, fortune, readers and credibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ published author” on the tomb stone </li></ul></ul>
  22. 24. Today, the tools for publishing and distribution are open to all <ul><li>Free publishing tools empower experts like you to become publishers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free printing press in the cloud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distribution to all major online bookstores </li></ul></ul>
  23. 25. You Can Out-Publish Big Publishers <ul><li>Asymmetric competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>field tilted in indie’s favor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Smaller indie authors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>democratized distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>instant access to global market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lower expenses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>faster time to market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>never go out of print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>earn more per book </li></ul></ul>
  24. 26. Indie ebook economics favor indies <ul><li>Higher profits than traditional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Earn 60-100% list price for indie ebooks vs. 5-17% from traditional publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indies earn more at lower prices </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Earn $6.00+ selling a $9.99 ebook vs $3.00 selling a $25 hardcover </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lower price = reach more readers = more sales at higher profits per sale </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Or, give away free ebooks, for free </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 27. Q: What do ebooks and consultants have in common?
  26. 28. A: Both are mediums for knowledge transfer
  27. 29. … though ebooks are easier to clone than consultants
  28. 30. Six reasons every consultant should publish ebooks <ul><li>Package, promote and sell your smarts </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable knowledge distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Engage senses of current and prospective clients </li></ul><ul><li>Market to (and prequalify) clients without “selling” </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances reach </li></ul><ul><li>Adds value to consulting engagements </li></ul>
  29. 31. What should you write? <ul><li>Write what you know best </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask: Will this represent a lasting, proud legacy for my name? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actionable, useful, transformative knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write a complete, high quality book </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No teasers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No overt marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Length: As long as it’s complete, length doesn’t matter </li></ul>
  30. 32. How to Publish and Distribute an Ebook
  31. 33. Simplified Ebook Publishing Checklist <ul><li>Write a great book </li></ul><ul><li>Format the book prior to conversion </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare cover image </li></ul><ul><li>Ebook conversion to multiple formats </li></ul><ul><li>ISBNs </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Choose distribution methods </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery and marketing </li></ul>
  32. 34. Write a great book <ul><li>Ebook publishing tools make publishing fast, free, easy, but they don’t make it easy to write a great book </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You’re the publisher, act like one </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Honor the reader </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Edit, edit, edit, revise, revise, revise </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Involve beta readers (then revise again) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hire professional editor if necessary </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 35. Ebook Formatting
  34. 36. Formatting is the process of preparing your book for conversion to an ebook
  35. 37. Formatting for Smashwords Over 140,000 Downloads!
  36. 38. Formatting Secrets <ul><li>Forget (some of) what you know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t try to make e- look like p- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ebooks consumed differently than print </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less = more with ebooks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Complex formatting and layout can reduce accessibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Design for reflowability, small and large screens </li></ul></ul></ul>
  37. 39. E-reading Devices
  38. 40. Ebook devices (and customers) shape shift text <ul><li>Example of Smashwords novel, All Good Things Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iPhone, using the Stanza reader. User-selected options: Font: Verdana; Background pattern: Stone carving; text color: Dark Violet; Font size: larger than normal </li></ul></ul>
  39. 41. Create a professional ebook cover image
  40. 42. Don’t skimp on cover image <ul><li>Covers are important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First impression, make it professional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tells your target reader, “this is for me!” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Covers are both marketing and content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing: Draw reader in </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content: Adds to enjoyment of book </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should look good as thumbnail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should look good as B&W, greyscale </li></ul></ul>
  41. 43. Don’t be Lazy
  42. 44. Don’t be Dim Le Peuple de L’Etat de New York Contre Dominique Strauss-Khan
  43. 45. Connect with your target audience The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg
  44. 46. Most of us design terrible covers
  45. 47. So I Hired a Pro for $45.00 Send email to: [email_address] for “Mark’s List”
  46. 48. Conversion
  47. 49. Conversion = Turning your formatted manuscript into an ebook file readable on multiple ebook reading devices
  48. 50. Ebook Conversion Options <ul><li>Conversion Options </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automated (e.g. Smashwords, Amazon) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DIY conversion tools (Calibre, Sigil: Google ‘ebook conversion tools’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hire ebook formatter/designer/coder (Complex layouts) </li></ul></ul>
  49. 51. ISBN
  50. 52. What’s an ISBN? <ul><li>What it is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unique 13-digit digital identifier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps supply chain communicate about book </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Required for distribution to Apple, Sony, Kobo </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What it is NOT: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not connote ownership or copyright </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not imply “professional” or “real” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a common discovery method </li></ul></ul>
  51. 53. Where to Obtain an ISBN <ul><li>Go to Bowker.com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive unless you purchase blocks of 10+ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists you as “publisher” in Books in Print </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Smashwords </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FREE ISBNs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$9.95 (not recommended), lists you as “publisher” </li></ul></ul>
  52. 54. Copyright
  53. 55. Copyright Simplified <ul><li>By publishing something you created, you have copyright </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright entitles you to an exclusive bundle of rights </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The notation of © is optional </li></ul><ul><li>For best legal protection, go to Copyright.gov and register copyright online </li></ul>
  54. 56. How to Reach Readers
  55. 57. Distribute to as many retailers as possible
  56. 58. Ebook retailers want indie ebooks Mobile apps
  57. 59. Two options for getting your book on a retailer’s virtual shelves <ul><li>Use a Distributor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upload one file, distribute to many retailers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefit: Centralized metadata management, sales reporting and payments, time savings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Direct to Retailers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Format for each specific retailer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upload one by one, manage each retailer separately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apple, Amazon, Pubit offer direct platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sony, Kobo, Diesel usually require distributor, Apple easiest to reach through distributor </li></ul></ul>
  58. 60. Architect for Virality
  59. 61. Architect for Virality <ul><li>Books have always been a word of mouth business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your readers determine your success </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand the power of your “First Reader” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reach First Readers with marketing </li></ul></ul>
  60. 62. The Viral Dream First reader More Readers
  61. 63. Viral Decay, The Reality First reader Readers
  62. 64. Negative Virality First reader This book sucks!!!! = Last reader
  63. 65. How to Architect for Virality <ul><li>Eliminate friction that limits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>affordability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enjoyment </li></ul></ul>Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
  64. 66. Viral Catalysts <ul><li>Every thing you do right increases virality </li></ul>Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg <ul><li>Great cover </li></ul><ul><li>Professionally edited </li></ul><ul><li>Great title </li></ul><ul><li>Great book description </li></ul><ul><li>Great book </li></ul><ul><li>Great marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Fair price </li></ul><ul><li>Broad distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Social media enabled </li></ul><ul><li>Sampling enabled </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple formats </li></ul><ul><li>Good formatting </li></ul><ul><li>Good categorization </li></ul><ul><li>LUCK! </li></ul>
  65. 67. Maximize discoverability
  66. 68. How readers discover ebooks <ul><li>Availability (distribution) precursor to discovery </li></ul><ul><li>MobileRead survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See analysis at Smashwords Blog: How Ebook Buyers Discover Ebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple touch points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Almost 50% use some method of “random” discovery </li></ul></ul></ul>
  67. 70. The Plan Forward
  68. 71. You are the future of book publishing
  69. 72. You are your own gatekeeper
  70. 73. You have something to share with the world
  71. 74. YOU decide when your manuscript graduates to PUBLISHED BOOK
  72. 75. Think Globally
  73. 76. Ebooks help you transcend geography
  74. 77. The Market for Your Smarts Outside the US will soon Dwarf the US Market Almost 50% of Smashwords Apple iBookstore Sales are Outside the US
  75. 78. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Power of publishing is shifting to authors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You and your readers determine your success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to reach readers with your smarts has never been greater </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Go forth and publish! </li></ul>
  76. 79. Free Ebook Publishing Resources <ul><li>Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book) </li></ul><ul><li>Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook) </li></ul><ul><li>More Smashwords presentations on Slideshare: Smashwords SlideShare </li></ul>
  77. 80. Thank you for listening! Q&A Connect: Web: www.smashwords.com Blog: blog.smashwords.com Twitter: @markcoker LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcoker HuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker Email: first initial second initial at smashwords.com