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Ebook Publishing Workshop - Mark Coker at South Bay Writers October 29, 2011
 

Ebook Publishing Workshop - Mark Coker at South Bay Writers October 29, 2011

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Mark Coker of Smashwords presented this ebook publishing workshop October 29, 2011 at the South Bay Writers chapter of the California Writers Club. The presentation is divided into three sections: ...

Mark Coker of Smashwords presented this ebook publishing workshop October 29, 2011 at the South Bay Writers chapter of the California Writers Club. The presentation is divided into three sections: 1. Background on the current state of publishing, five big trends impacting publishing; 2. How to produce, publish and distribute an ebook; 3. Best prcactices for selling ebooks.

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    Ebook Publishing Workshop - Mark Coker at South Bay Writers October 29, 2011 Ebook Publishing Workshop - Mark Coker at South Bay Writers October 29, 2011 Presentation Transcript

    •  
    • Part I: My backstory, state of the industry, big trends Part II: How to produce, publish, price and distribute an ebook Part III: Selling ebooks: Best practices for commercial success Outline for SBW Ebook Publishing Workshop
    • My Backstory
    • Rejected (TWICE)
      • Previous soap-opera themed novels had not performed well
      • Ack !@!!!
    • What’s wrong with Big Publishing?
      • Books judged based on perceived commercial potential
      • Backward looking acquisitions
      • Readers shut out
      • Unable to take a risk on every deserving author
    • My Answer: Smashwords
      • Ebook publishing and distribution platform
        • Authors decide what’s published
        • FREE ebook publishing tools for authors, publishers, agents
        • Distribution to Apple, B&N, Kobo, Sony, Diesel
        • 85% net to the author
    • How Smashwords Works
      • UPLOAD
        • Author/publisher uploads a Microsoft Word file, formatted to our Style Guide
        • Free conversion to 9 ebook formats
        • Ready for immediate sale online
      • DISTRIBUTE
        • Distribution to major retailers
      • GET PAID
        • Authors/publishers receive 85% of net = 60% list from major retailers
    • Indie ebooks published at Smashwords 140 6,000 28,800 81,000 + (10/29/11)
    • LET’S GET STARTED
    • TECHNOLOGY IS COLLIDING WITH PUBLISHING
    • Technology Represents the Means by Which Consumer Desires are Realized Accelerates Creative Destruction Things Touched by Technology Transformed to Something Faster, Smaller, Cheaper, Accessible
    • Books in Jeopardy
      • In a world of faster, smaller, cheaper, print books have lost ground
        • Expensive
          • Unaffordable to vast majority of world’s literate population
        • Unavailable, inaccessible to global market
          • Geographic limitations of print distribution
          • Archaic rights practices limit distribution
    • We Must Save Books
    • BIG PUBLISHERS ARE MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE
    • They judge books on commercial merit
    • UNTIL RECENTLY, BIG PUBLISHERS HAD A MONOPOLY. THEY CONTROLLED THE PRINTING PRESS AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES
    • IT WAS A SWEET RACKET FOR PUBLISHERS Readers wanted books Publishers controlled the supply $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
    • Publishers were the deciders
      • Publishers controlled:
        • Who got published
        • Who got distributed
        • What readers could read
    • Publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates
      • Authors told to bow subservient, taught to believe that publishing gods would provide:
        • blessing
        • validation
        • entry into the afterlife of fame, fortune, readers and credibility
        • “ published author” on the tomb stone
    • BUT THEN THE INTERNET HAPPENED
    •  
    • and Amazon happened
    • … THE RULES CHANGED FOREVER
    • ooh, pretty! Big Publishers Not Equipped to Deal with Change
    • It’s Tough for BIG Publishers to Transition from a Print-Centric to an E-Centric World… … they have many self-inflicted wounds
    • Publishers are too slow
      • 12-18 month release cycles
    • … their expenses are too high
    • … they’re exposed to too much risk
        • Pay author advances
        • Can’t predict demand
        • Broken supply chain
          • 30%+ of printed books returned to publisher unsold
        • Amazon is eating publishers for lunch
    • Publishers mitigate risk by giving bean counters increased influence
    • … Publisher bean counters make poor decisions in the name of risk mitigation
        • Adopt customer-unfriendly policies
          • Favor “commercial” & celebrity books
          • High prices
          • Limit worldwide distribution
        • Adopt author-unfriendly policies
          • Acquisition editors must run gauntlet of approvals
          • Acquire fewer books from unproven authors
          • Blackball authors who haven’t earned out
          • Pay lower advances
          • Require authors to assume more responsibility for editing, marketing
    • When publishers act less like publishers, authors ask: 1. What can a publisher do for me that I can’t do for myself? 2. Can I reach more readers without a publisher?
    • Against this backdrop, the world of publishing is changing
    • FIVE BIG TRENDS IMPACTING THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING
    • TREND ONE Bookselling moving to the Web
    • Percentage of book purchases made online vs brick & mortar, P- & E- Brick & Mortar Web Today?
    • Bookselling moves to the Web
      • Customer drivers:
        • Price
        • Convenience
        • Selection
      • Self-published books displayed alongside traditional books
      • Big publishers lose primacy as brick and mortar wanes
    • TREND TWO: Reading Moving to Screens
    • Reading moving to screens
    • Ebooks to overtake print Print books Ebooks Today?
    • Ebooks as a percentage of US wholesale trade market Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org
    • Ebooks replacing print faster than most realize
      • On September 2, 2011, Random House announced ebooks accounted for 20% of first half 2011 revenues
      • Jan-May 2011 vs Jan-May 2010
        • Ebooks increased by 160% while adult massmarket dropped 30% and adult hardcover dropped 23%, (Source: AAP press release, July 21, 2011)
      • Amazon announced May 19 they sell 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books
      • Indie ebook unit market share even higher
        • Some best-selling indies selling 1,000 e- for every p-
    • Why ebooks are hot
      • Screens offer better reading experience than paper
        • Changeable font size A A A A
        • Portable and compact
        • Screens will get better/faster/cheaper
      • Ebooks offer better purchasing experience
        • Lower price than print
        • Convenient sampling and purchasing
        • Huge selection
    • TREND THREE The Rise of Self-Publishing (a.k.a indie publishing)
    • Number of books published indie vs. traditional Indie books Today? New trad. books
    • Publishing and Distribution Tools Available to all
      • Free publishing tools empower authors to become publishers
        • Free printing press in the cloud
        • Distribution to all major online bookstores
    • Indies Can Out-Publish Big Publishers
      • Asymmetric competition
        • field tilted in indie’s favor
      • Smaller indie authors
        • democratized distribution
        • instant access to global market
        • lower expenses
        • closer to customers
        • never go out of print
        • earn more per book
    • Indie ebook economics favor indies
      • Higher profits than traditional
        • Earn 60-100% list price for indie ebooks vs. 5-17% from traditional publishers
      • Price ebooks for less yet still make more per copy than traditionally pubbed print authors
          • $8 mass market paperback earns author <$.40 trad MMP
          • $.99 indie ebook earns $.60
          • Lower price = reach more readers = more sales at higher profits per sale
      MMP=Mass market paperback, aka “pocket book” in some countries
    • TREND FOUR Content Explosion
    • Content explosion
      • Unlimited Internet content alternatives
      • Indie ebooks
      • Zombie books
        • Used books
        • OOP reverted-rights resurrected as ebooks and P.O.D
        • Out of copyright public domain ebooks
    • Content explosion Indie books Online alt content Today? Zombie books New trad. books
    • TREND FIVE Ebook Prices to Decline
    • Ebook Prices to Decline Today?
    • ... driven by supply and demand
      • Explosion of content
        • Excess supply leads to price competition
      • Yet, readers will still pay for content
        • Your book is unique, a one of a kind
      • Lower prices increase affordability and accessibility
        • More books will be sold than ever before
        • Indie authors will earn more, even with lower prices
    • TO SAVE BOOKS, WE MUST CHANGE BOOKS AND CHANGE PUBLISHING
    • How to Save Books
      • To save books, we must harness technology to make books:
        • Smaller, faster, cheaper
        • More available
        • More discoverable
        • More accessible
        • More compelling than alternative content options
    • The Better Book is Here
      • It’s called an ebook
      • Same book, only better
        • Smaller, faster, cheaper
        • More available
        • More discoverable
        • More accessible
        • More functional
    • ! Q&A - BREAK ! Next up: Primer – How to Produce, Publish, Price and Distribute an Ebook
    • Planning your move to ebooks
    • Checklist for Publishing an Ebook
      • Finish the book
      • Format the book prior to conversion
      • Prepare cover image
      • Ebook conversion to multiple formats
      • Pricing
      • ISBNs
      • Copyright
      • Prepare metadata
      • Choose distribution methods
      • Upload
      • Marketing *
    • Finish Your Book
      • Ebook publishing tools make publishing fast, free, easy, but…
        • These tools don’t make it easy to write a great book
          • You’re the publisher, act like one
            • Edit, edit, edit, revise, revise, revise
            • Involve beta readers (then revise again)
            • Hire professional editor if necessary
    • Ebook Formatting
    • Formatting is the process of preparing your book for conversion to an ebook
    • Formatting Secrets
      • Forget (some of) what you know
        • Don’t try to make e- look like p-
          • Ebooks consumed differently than print
          • Less = more with ebooks
          • Liberate text from complex formatting and layout
          • Separate images from the text
          • Design for reflowability, small screens
    • Ebook devices (and customers) shape shift text
      • Example of Smashwords novel, All Good Things Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel
        • iPhone, using the Stanza reader. User-selected options: Font: Verdana; Background pattern: Stone carving; text color: Dark Violet; Font size: larger than normal
    • Formatting for Smashwords Over 120,000 Downloads!
    • Cover Image
    • Create Your Ebook Cover
      • Covers are important
        • First impression
        • Covers are both marketing and content
          • Marketing: Draw reader in
          • Content: Adds to enjoyment of book
        • Should look professional
        • Should look good as thumbnail
        • Should look good as B&W, greyscale
    • DIY Cover, or Hire Professional?
      • Many high-quality free graphics programs
        • Gimp
        • Paint.net
      • Unless you’re an expert graphic designer or cover designer, it’s usually best to hire
        • Email [email_address] for low cost cover designers and formatters
    • Don’t be Lazy
    • Don’t be Dim Le Peuple de L’Etat de New York Contre Dominique Strauss-Khan
    • Most of us design poor covers
    • So I Hired a Pro for $45.00 Send email to: [email_address] for “Mark’s List”
    • Conversion
    • Conversion = Turning your manuscript into an ebook file readable on multiple ebook reading devices
    • E-reading Devices
    • Ebook Conversion Options
      • Conversion Options
        • Automated (e.g. Smashwords, Amazon)
        • Direct from book layout software (e.g. save as PDF, EPUB)
        • DIY conversion tools (Calibre, Sigil: Google ‘ebook conversion tools’)
        • Hire ebook formatter/designer/coder (Complex books)
    • Offer Book in Multiple Ebook Formats
    • Multi-format important
      • PDF does not = ebook any more
      • Multi-format helps customer enjoy your book on any device
        • Expands selling & distribution options
        • Top 4:
          • EPUB: Apple, B&N, Sony, Kobo, Diesel
          • MOBI/PRC: Amazon
          • PDF: Personal computers
          • HTML: Web browsers
    • Pricing
    • Pricing
      • Determine objective
        • Platform building, revenues, or both?
      • Think like a fisherman
        • Blended strategy of chum and hooks
      • Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction
      • Price is not sole determining factor
    • Considerations Beyond Price
    • Considerations Beyond Price
      • Length
      • Reader passion
      • Author platform
      • Earn reader trust at each step?
      • Marketing that builds urgency
      • Series or not
      • Perceived value
      More info, Google: Pricing Strategies for Ebooks (Interview with Mark Coker)
    • ISBN
    • What’s an ISBN?
      • What it is:
        • Unique digital identifier
        • A 13-digit number
        • Helps supply chain communicate about book
        • Required for distribution to Apple, Sony, Kobo
      • What it is NOT:
        • Does not connote ownership or copyright
        • Does not imply “professional” or “real”
        • Not a common discovery method
    • Where to Obtain an ISBN
      • Go to Bowker.com
        • Expensive unless you purchase blocks of 10+
        • Lists you as “publisher” in Books in Print
      • Smashwords
        • FREE ISBNs
        • $9.95 (not recommended), lists you as “publisher”
    • Copyright
    • Copyright Simplified
      • By publishing something you created, you have copyright
        • Copyright entitles you to an exclusive bundle of rights
      • The notation of © is optional
      • For best legal protection, go to Copyright.gov and register copyright online
      • Learn more at the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com
    • Gather Ye Metadata
    • Metadata = Data About Your Book
      • You Determine :
        • Book title
        • Contributors
        • Book description
        • Tags
        • Category
        • Price
        • Cover image
        • ISBN
        • Language
        • Formats
      • Auto-generated post-publication :
        • Publication date
        • Sales rank
        • People who bought X bought Y
        • Reviews
        • Page views
    • Distribution to Retailers
    • Ebook retailers want indie ebooks Mobile apps
    • Direct or Distributor or both?
      • Distributors
        • Upload one file to distributor, distributor distributes to multiple retailers
        • Centralized metadata management and sales reporting
      • Retailers that support direct upload
        • Apple, B&N Pubit, Amazon, Smashwords, Google
      • Retailers difficult to reach without distributors
        • Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, others
    • Content Distribution Options Direct to customer Direct to retailer Distributor Pros High margin, direct contact with readers Pays 35-70%, real time reporting Pays 60% (for some retailers, pays more than going direct), time-savings, quickly access multiple retailers, aggregated reporting and analytics, priority support Cons Customer service burden, credit card processing fees, tough to attract traffic Time consuming to manage multiple relationships, not all retailers offer direct option, distributors may offer better margins Slower sales reporting (1 - 4 weeks), takes 5-10% commission on retail price
    • How Royalties Compare Retail Price Smashwords retail site B&N Distributed Via Smashwords B&N Pubit $.99 $.56 $.60 (60%) $.40 (40%) $2.99 $2.21 (74%) $1.80 (60%) $1.94 (65%) $9.99 $7.99 (80%) $6.00 (60%) $6.50 (65%)
    • Upload
    • Upload options
      • Distributors
        • Upload one file, distribute to many retailers
        • Centralized metadata management, sales reporting and payments
      • Direct to Retailers
        • Format for specific retailer
        • Upload one by one, manage each retailer separately
        • Apple, Amazon, Pubit offer direct platforms
        • Sony, Kobo, Diesel usually require distributor, Apple easiest to reach through distributor
    • How about a live demo?
    • Let’s Publish a Book about Squirrels
    • Smashwords Demo
    • Ebook Publishing Resources
      • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
      • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)
      • Mark’s List – Low cost formatters, cover designers [email_address]
    • ! BREAK ! Next up, Part III: Ebook Best Practices, 7 Secrets
    • Let’s talk best practices for indie ebooks
    • The Seven Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success Best practices of the most commercially successful indie ebook authors
    • Secret #1
    • #1 Publish a Great Book
      • With the power to publish comes the responsibility to be a great publisher
      • Honor your reader with a great book
        • Be fanatical about quality
          • Edit, revise, edit, revise, repeat
          • Leverage beta readers
        • Quality metadata/cover/pen name
    • #1 continued… Pen Name
      • Make it searchable
        • H & R Snigglefritz
      • Avoid pen names difficult to spell
        • Alm Hlgh
        • A1m H1gh
        • Alm Hlgh
    • #1 continued… Cover image
      • Invest in a quality cover image
        • Your first impression on path to discovery
        • Should arrest reader with thumb nail
    • Would You Buy This Book?
    • Good Covers Not Expensive (this was $45)
    • And then there are the rule breakers … Ebook cover for Why Me? by Sarah Burleton
    • Now in Third Week on NY Times Ebook Bestseller List
    • Secret Two
    • #2 Publish Another Great Book
      • The best-selling authors on Smashwords offer deep backlists
        • Each ebook offers the opportunity to cross-promote other titles
      • Build trust with your reader
        • You’re the brand
      • Network your books with hyperlinks
    • Secret Three
    • #3 Maximize Distribution
      • Ebook retailing is not like sports, religion or politics
      • If your book is not available everywhere, it’s not discoverable or purchasable
      • Retailers & device-makers invest millions of dollars to attract readers to your book
      • Consider using a distributor to get your book sold in as many ebook stores as possible *
        • spend your time writing, producing, marketing
      * Smashwords is a distributor, so of course I believe this
    • Ebook retailers want indie ebooks Mobile app
    • Secret Four
    • #4 Give (some of) Your Books away for Free
      • The most misunderstood, most underutilized market development tool
      • If you have a deep backlist, offer at least one full-length book for free
        • Eliminates financial risk for first-time readers
      • The highest grossing authors/publishers at Smashwords offer at least one free book
      Additional resource: Read FREE, by Chris Anderson
    • Secret Five
    • #5 Patience is a Virtue
      • Ebooks can develop differently
        • Trad. print books – big sell-in, then yanked from shelves, then sales go to zero
        • Ebooks – can start small and grow slowly before breakout
      • Ebooks are immortal
        • Never go out of print
      • Think of each book at each retailer as an asset – a fruit tree – that will yield fruit over the long term
      • When your book lands at retailer, it’s a seedling, nourish it
    • Secret Six
    • #6 Trust Your Readers and Partners
      • Don’t worry about piracy
        • DRM copy protection is counterproductive
        • If you don’t trust your readers to honor your copyright, you’ll reach fewer paid readers
      • Trust your supply chain partners
        • If you limit distribution due to lack of trust, you’ll limit your sales
    • Secret Seven
    • #7 Marketing Starts Yesterday
      • Marketing starts before you publish your book
      • Cultivate your social network
        • Contribute, share ideas, support your fellow writers and publishers
        • Don’t spam your network
        • Your social network will help you reach first readers
      • Your readers are your sales force
        • Give them tools to market your books for you
        • Leverage multiple touch points for discovery
      Resource: Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
    • BONUS Secret Eight
    • Secret #8 Architect for Virality
      • Books have always been a word of mouth business
        • Your readers determine your success
      • Understand the power of your “First Reader”
        • Reach First Readers with marketing
    • The Viral Dream First reader More Readers
    • Viral Decay, The Reality First reader Readers
    • Negative Virality First reader This book sucks!!!! = Last reader
    • How to Architect for Virality
      • Implement the Seven Secrets
      • Eliminate friction that limits
        • availability
        • sampling
        • purchasing
        • enjoyment
      Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
    • Viral Catalysts
      • Every thing you do right increases virality
      Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
      • Great cover
      • Great story
      • Professionally edited
      • Great title
      • Great book description
      • Great book
      • Great marketing
      • Fair price
      • Social media enabled
      • Sampling enabled
      • Multiple formats
      • Broad distribution
      • Good formatting
      • Good categorization
      • LUCK!
    • BONUS Secret Nine
    • Secret #9 Pinch Your Pennies
      • You’re running a business
        • Profit = Sales minus Expenses
      • Most books don’t sell well
      • NEVER borrow money to publish a book
      • NEVER spend or invest money you need for food and shelter
      • DIY then reinvest
    • BONUS Secret Ten
    • Secret #10 Architect for Discovery
      • Availability (distribution) precursor to discovery
      • MobileRead survey
        • See analysis at Smashwords Blog: How Ebook Buyers Discover Ebooks
        • Multiple touch points
          • 29% rely on recommendations from online communities/message boards
          • 18% search for favorite authors
          • 25%+ use some method of “random” discovery
    •  
    • Build Discovery Pathways
      • Think of pathways as breadcrumbs leading to your book
        • Search engine links
        • Social media links (blogs, twitter, facebook)
        • Targeted metadata candy
          • title
          • book description
          • cover image
          • BISAC categorization
      • Sales create discovery pathways!
      Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
    • Contextual Discovery
      • The “Algorithm”
        • Purchase/viewing history
          • “ People who bought this bought this”
          • “ People who looked at this looked at this”
      Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg
    • Sales Rank
      • Unit sales, dollar sales
      • Infinite micro bestseller lists
        • Bestseller lists for every category
      • Velocity
        • Buyer swarms
        • over time
    • The 7 8 9 10 Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success
      • Write a great book
      • Write another great book
      • Maximize distribution
      • Give (some of) your books away for FREE
      • Trust your readers and partners
      • Have patience
      • Marketing starts yesterday
      • Architect for virality
      • Pinch your pennies
      • Architect for discovery
    • The Plan Forward
    • You are the future of publishing
    • You are your own gatekeeper
    • YOU decide when your manuscript graduates to PUBLISHED BOOK
    • Support ALL your retailers Diversify your exposure
    • Take risks, experiment
    • Think Globally
    • Within a Few Years, the Market for Your Books Outside the US will Dwarf the US Market Already, ~50% of Smashwords Apple iBookstore Sales are Outside the US
    • You Have the Tools to Reach a Worldwide Market Today
    • Final Thoughts
      • Power of publishing is shifting to authors
        • You and your readers determine your success
        • Indie vs. Traditional is not an either/or question. Some authors straddle both.
        • Opportunity to reach readers with your words has never been greater
      • Go serve your readers!
    • Free Ebook Publishing Resources
      • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)
      • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
      • More Smashwords presentations on Slideshare: Smashwords SlideShare
    • Thank you for listening! Q&A Connect with me: Web: www.smashwords.com Blog: blog.smashwords.com Twitter: @markcoker Facebook: facebook.com/markcoker HuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker Email: first initial second initial @smashwords.com