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How Libraries Can Launch Community Publishing Initiatives with Self-Published Ebooks
 

How Libraries Can Launch Community Publishing Initiatives with Self-Published Ebooks

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Libraries have long provided an essential community service by making books and other information products freely available and accessible to local community patrons. Libraries play a critical role ...

Libraries have long provided an essential community service by making books and other information products freely available and accessible to local community patrons. Libraries play a critical role in promoting literacy, a culture of books and the joys of reading.

With the rise of ebooks, public libraries are at a crossroads. Some large traditional publishers, which fear digital lending might cannibalize retail sales of both print books and ebooks, have been hesitant to supply ebooks to libraries at the very time that library patrons are clamoring for access to such products.

This three-part presentation outlines the opportunity for libraries to expand their community role by developing programs that promote a culture of authorship. By holding seminars and classes, and by bringing local authors together with readers and aspiring authors, Libraries are uniquely qualified to orchestrate community resources and talent to help local writers become professional self-publishers. Unlike traditional publishers, self-published authors are pro-library. By developing community publishing initiatives that promote best-practices for professional self-publishing, libraries will help ensure a steady and diverse supply of high-quality books for library patrons and readers worldwide.

This series of three presentations was delivered by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, on March 21, 2013 at the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services symposium held in Lansing, Michigan.The presentations have been combined here for ease of access.

Additional text has been added so viewers will gain contextual background for information that was delivered verbally.

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  • I have an eBook for caregivers of those with Alzheimer's. Thank you Mark for all these good ideas. I want this book full of simple strategies made easily available, and see a pathway towards libraries now. I grew up in East Lansing too, so cool on you for presenting there!
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  • Refuse to sell despite libraries being interesting in purchasing the books. Told “your money is no good here”Print book sales or retail ebook salesSo, no need to purchase replacements
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books
  • Which Henry will discuss in further detail in just a moment.
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books
  • Refuse to sell despite libraries being interesting in purchasing the books. Told “your money is no good here”Print book sales or retail ebook salesSo, no need to purchase replacements
  • What is Smashwords doing to support libraries?Reach new readers through word of mouth, or by purchasing books after checking them outMany price books lower than retail or at freeSmashwords Direct – helps libraries establish an opening collection of books

How Libraries Can Launch Community Publishing Initiatives with Self-Published Ebooks How Libraries Can Launch Community Publishing Initiatives with Self-Published Ebooks Presentation Transcript

  • How Libraries Can LaunchCommunity Publishing Initiatives with Self-Published Ebooks Fostering a Culture of Authorship Lansing, Michigan March 21, 2013 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
  • The opportunity: Build a betterfuture for readers, writers andlibrary patrons:Libraries have long provided an essential community service by makingbooks and other information products freely available and accessible tolocal community patrons. Libraries play a critical role in promotingliteracy, a culture of books and the joys of reading.With the rise of ebooks, public libraries are at a crossroads. Somelarge traditional publishers, which fear digital lending might cannibalizeretail sales of both print books and ebooks, have been hesitant tosupply ebooks to libraries at the very time that library patrons areclamoring for access to such products.This three-part presentation outlines the opportunity for libraries toexpand their community role by developing programs that promote aculture of authorship. By holding seminars and classes, and by bringinglocal authors together with readers and aspiring authors, Libraries areuniquely qualified to orchestrate community resources and talent tohelp local writers become professional self-publishers. Unliketraditional publishers, self-published authors are pro-library. Bydeveloping community publishing initiatives that promote best-practices for professional self-publishing, libraries will help ensure asteady and diverse supply of high-quality books for library patrons andreaders worldwide.
  • About this Slideshare deck:This series of three presentations was delivered by MarkCoker, founder of Smashwords, on March 21, 2013 at the MidwestCollaborative for Library Services symposium held inLansing, Michigan.The presentations have been combined here for ease of access.Additional text has been added so viewers will gain contextualbackground for information that was delivered verbally.USAGE RIGHTS:The creator of this presentation, Mark Coker, gives librarians andlibrary patrons permission to re-use and repurpose any informationin this presentation for the development of educational communitypublishing events held a libraries. Contact Smashwords forupdated presentations.
  • Part I: The Future of PublishingLibraries Have an Opportunity to Foster a Pro-Library Publishing Industry of Tomorrow March 21, 2013 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
  • Let’s begin with an over-simplified history of storytelling
  • In the beginning…… stories were told with pictures
  • … or with grunts, spoken language or physical gesturesImage source: http://readpole.blogspot.com/2010/07/firearms-and-firey-legs-camping-tale-of.html
  • … and then written words were invented
  • … and then monastic scribesadded words and illumination to vellum (animal skin)
  • … and then Gutenberg brought moveable type to paper
  • … which enabled the development of a mass market for books (and then ebooks)
  • … which inspired readers toacquire, read, collect and write books … which brings us to my personal backstory
  • My wife is a bookworm, just like me. She moved in with a lotof books. She’s a former reporter for Soap Opera Weeklymagazine. I suggested she write a book about the wild andwacky world of the soap opera industry. She suggested wewrite it together. So we moved to Burbank and startedinterviewing industry insiders for their stories. We thenfictionalized the stories into a novel, BOOB TUBE.
  • Our first draft was 920 pages. Yikes! Like most writers writingtheir first book, we had a lot to learn before we were ready topublish. We read a lot of books on how to write books. We hiredprofessional editors and book doctors to help us identify ourflaws and learn how to improve our writing. We completeddozens of revisions and multiple beta reader rounds. At eachstage the book got better, and we grew more excited.Finally, when it was ready, we shopped it to literary agents andquickly landed representation by one of the world’s mostrespected NY literary agencies. After investing thousands ofhours, we felt closer than ever to realizing our dream of seeingour book on the shelves of bookstores across the country.
  • Publishers Said “No”• Despite the great efforts of our agent, every major NY publisher said NO (TWICE!)
  • I imagined hundreds of thousands of other writers just like us Silenced
  • I evaluated our options1. The rational (conventional) option  Acknowledge we sucked and weren’t good enough to become published authors  Curl up in fetal position and cry  Give up2. The irrational option  Believe in ourselves  Get mad  Try to fix the problem
  • How to fix a problem1. Identify the problem  Big 6 Publishers!!!  Toxic to the future of publishing  Don’t value all writers  They judge books based on perceived commercial potential  Unable to take a risk on all writers2. Visualize the utopian solution  Every writer should have the right and the ability to publish  Readers should have the power to judge what’s worth reading3. Create the Solution
  • My Answer: Smashwords• * FREE * eBook Publishing Platform • Free ebook publishing tools help writers become ebook publishers • Free learning materials to help writers adopt best practices of professional publishers • Open up distribution to ebook stores and libraries
  • Ebooks published at Smashwords 191,000 92,000 28,800 6,000 140
  • How Smashwords Works• UPLOAD • Author uploads their manuscript to Smashwords (Word .doc or epub) • Instant, free ebook conversion • For sale within 3 minutes• DISTRIBUTE • Distribution to retailers and libraries• GET PAID • Author earns 60-80% list • Quarterly payments
  • Enough about the past and present. Let’s talk about the future
  • But first, let’s bust a dangerous myth
  • Am I referring to the Easter Bunny?
  • The tooth fairy?
  • Santa Claus??? NO, no and no. I thinking of abigger myth…
  • What myth should we bust?
  • The Myth of Big Publishing
  • Writers (and libraries) were taught to bow subservient before the altar of Big Publishing
  • Publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates of book heaven• They promised these Afterlife perks to writers • editing • printing press • distribution • marketing • royalties • fame and respect • readers • “published author” inscribed on their tombstone
  • writers taught they couldn’t become anauthor until a publisher blessed them as such… and unless they got a book deal, they were a failure
  • … and in a sense it was truePublishers held all the power to connect books with readers
  • Writers were told to keep toiling, and waiting… Rejection would make them stronger “You’ll get published when you perfectedyour craft like these other great writers” …
  • Justin Bieber got a book deal
  • Snooki got a book deal
  • Kourtney, Kim and Khloe got a book deal
  • StopDon’t sell your soul
  • The old model ofpublishing is brokenIt has become harmful to writers to readers to libraries to the future of books
  • Publishers have amassed too much power• Publishers Decide • What writers can publish • What readers can read • What libraries can buy • limiting ebooks at libraries • outrageous pricing of ebooks
  • Big Publishers Not Friendly to Libraries• Reluctant to sell ebooks to libraries• Publishers fear • Library ebooks will cannibalize print books • Library ebooks will cannibalize retail ebook sales • Library ebooks don’t wear out
  • Big Publishers Fail to Understand that Libraries Drive Discovery and Sales• Libraries help reach new readers • 41% of library cardholders who read ebooks purchased their most recently read ebook (Pew) • 50% of library card holders go on to purchase books by authors they first discovered at the library (Library Journal, Bowker)
  • Do publisher-controlled ebooks threaten the futureof libraries?
  • Yes.
  • Yet the future for ebooksat libraries is brighter than ever
  • WHY?
  • THE POWER CENTER IN BOOKPUBLISHING IS SHIFTING FROM PUBLISHERS TO WRITERS
  • AS WE’LL LEARN IN A MOMENT, WRITERS ARE PRO-LIBRARY
  • FIVE TRENDS TO ROCK THE WORLD OF LIBRARY EBOOKS
  • TREND ONE:Reading Moving to Screens
  • Screens are the new paper
  • Ebooks as a percentage of US wholesale trade market 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org. 2012 Smashwords estimate
  • Ebooks to overtake printPrint books Ebooks Print books Ebooks Dollars UnitsSince most market share numbers measure dollar sales, and becauseebooks are less expensive than print, the market data UNDERESTIMATEShow quickly reader eyeballs are moving to ebooks. On a unit volumebasis, ebooks will likely surpass print within a year. Follow the eyeballs!
  • Why ebooks are hot• Screens offering reading experience that rivals – or exceeds – paper • Changeable font size A B C D• Ebooks offer better consumption experience • Lower cost than print • Convenient discovery, sampling and acquisition • Huge selection
  • TREND TWOThe Rise of Ebook Self-Publishing (a.k.a indie ebook publishing)
  • Number of books published indie vs. traditional Indie books New trad. books Today?More ebooks are self-published than traditionallypublished. This trend will continue. In thefuture, most books will be self-published.
  • Readers are Embracing Indie Ebooks• Indies scaling all the bestseller lists • Four Smashwords authors hit August 5 2012 NY Times Bestseller list. • Every week, indie ebooks are in the bestseller lists of every retailer • Every week, every retailer is featuring Indie ebooks
  • Indie Ebook Authors are Out- Competing Big Publishers• Indie authors have a greater ability to satisfy readers • faster time to market • greater creative control • lower expenses • better distribution to global market • immortal ebooks never go out of print • lower prices to consumers • economics: Indie authors earn more per book
  • QUADRUPLE +
  • Indie vs. Traditional: The percentage of list price earned by the author Indie Traditional 60-80% 12-17%• Indies earn more at lower prices • At $2.99, an indie author earns more (~$2.00) than a traditionally published author selling an ebook at $10.00 ($1.20-$1.70) • Lower price = reach more readers = more sales at higher profits per sale • The economics will drive more authors to favor indie ebook publishing vs. traditional methods.
  • TREND THREE Publishers Losing Monopoly asWriters Gain Tools to Self-Publish
  • Big Publishers Losing Their Monopoly• Publishing tools and know-how are freely available (Smashwords): • Printing press • Distribution • The knowledge of professional publishing best- practices• Writers asking: • “What can a publisher do for me that I can’t do for myself?” • “Will a publisher actually harm my ability to reach readers?” • YES. Publishers charge too much, and limit distribution to libraries
  • TREND FOURThe Previous Stigma of Self- Publishing is Disappearing
  • Stigmas to reverse: Soon, more writers will aspire to join the cool kids club of indie authors Aspire AspireTraditional IndieAspire Indie Aspire Traditional 5 yrs ago Today? Future?
  • TREND FIVEAs Publishers Turn their Backs onLibraries, Self-Published Authors Ready to Embrace Libraries
  • Self-Published Authors Are Pro-Library• Survey of 200+ Smashwords authors/publishers (June 2012) • 82% believe by exposing their books to library patrons, they’ll sell more books at retail • 2/3 said they’d price their books for libraries equal to or lower than the retail price • 24% said they’d give their books to libraries for FREE
  • The Plan Forward
  • The 5 Trends Create a Future that Benefits Readers, Writers and Libraries
  • Patrons• Patrons want • Accessibility • Discoverability • Diversity
  • Authors (the new publishers)• Authors want • Availability • Discoverability • Readership• Authors want to support libraries
  • Libraries• Libraries • Promote a culture of reading • Satisfy patrons with • Accessibility • Discoverability • Diversity • Curation • Deliver readership to authors
  • Ebook self-publishingaligns the interests oflibraries, patrons and authors
  • Libraries have an excitingopportunity to create a brighter future for books
  • THE PATH FORWARD FOR LIBRARIES: 1. Embrace ebooks2. Promote a culture of authorship
  • Embrace Indie Ebooks (Step 1)• Implement ebook checkout systems. Two options: • Outsource • Baker & Taylor Axis 360, 3M Cloud Library, Overdrive, others • Insource • Douglas County Model + Smashwords Library Direct + direct relationships with progressive publishers• Utilize crowd-sourced models of curation
  • Promote Culture of Authorship (Step 2)• Facilitate Community Publishing • Orchestrate workshops, seminars, panels to promote best practices for writing and publishing • Help your community of writers to publish locally, distribute globally• Smashwords can help • Free training materials • “Publish to the library” with co-branded publishing platform (see next part of this presentation for LGPL example)
  • Welcome to the new world of publishing
  • Free Ebook Publishing Resources• NEW! Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of successful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
  • Thank you for considering the future! Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcokerFacebook: facebook.com/markcokerHuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-cokerTwitter: @markcoker
  • Part II: Ebook Publishing 101How Libraries Can Promote a Culture of Authorship March 21, 2013 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
  • Part II: Ebook Publishing Primer for Libraries1. Overview of Smashwords community publishing pilot program with Los Gatos Public Library2. Introduction to ebook publishing • Ebook self-publishing checklist
  • Community Publishing Pilot Program with Los Gatos Public Library• Kudos to Henry Bankhead of LGPL for his mentorship and encouragement• Working with LGPL, we developed a 3-part seminar series to promote a culture of authorship • Introduction to ebooks (for patrons, writers, library staff) • Introduction to ebook publishing (for writers, staff) • The next part of this deck covers this primer. • Ebook publishing best practices (writers, staff) • Part III of this deck covers the best practices• LGPL co-branded publishing portal (NEW LAST WEEK!)
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 1)• Local writer asks • How do I publish an ebook? • How do I make my ebook available to my community library?
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 2)• Custom hyperlink from LGPL web site leads to Smashwords
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 3)Writer signs up for free Smashwords account. Note co-branding.
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 4)Smashwords manages end-to-end relationship from publishing topaymentsFor the life of this writer at Smashwords, each time theypublish, they’ll be reminded of their connection to theircommunity library.
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 5)• Smashwords provides a FREE publishing platform, and free best-practices resources: • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format and publish an ebook) • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book) • Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of successful authors)
  • LGPL Publishing Portal (Step 6)• Future plans • Once LGPL implements an ebook checkout system, the building blocks will be in place for local authors to “Publish to the Library” • With over 50,000 authors, Smashwords has authors in nearly every zip code in the US. • These authors can be invited to the library to for seminars, workshops and panel discussions to mentor fellow writers about ebook self-publishing• The co-branded publishing portal is free to the library. Contact Smashwords to learn how. Or, if the co-branding element isn’t important, simply link to Smashwords without the co-branding.
  • Let’s learn how to publish and distribute an ebook!(Note to librarians: This is an updated version of the Ebook Publishing Primer, presented by Smashwords in the LGPL seminar series. Libraries are welcome to use this for their own community publishing initiatives, or contact Smashwords for the most up-to-date version)
  • Checklist for Publishing an Ebook Finish a super-awesome book Format the book prior to conversion Prepare cover image Prepare the metadata Ebook conversion to multiple formats Pricing ISBNs Copyright Distribution to retailers, libraries Piracy Marketing
  • Finish Your Super-Awesome Book• Ebook publishing tools make publishing fast, free and easy, but… • They don’t make it easy to write a great book • You (the author) are 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 layout and design process to prepare your book for publication
  • Formatting for Smashwords300,000+Downloads!
  • 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 • Remove narrative from images • Liberate text from complex formatting and layout • Design for reflowability, small screens
  • Reflowability: Allows text toshape shift (reflow) across all screen sizes • 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
  • Cover Image
  • Create Your Ebook Cover• Covers are important • First impression • Covers are both marketing and content • Make it:  engaging, matched to target audience  professional  good as thumbnail  good as B&W, greyscale
  • DIY Cover, or Hire Professional?• Unless you’re an expert graphic designer or cover designer, hire an expert • Email list@smashwords.com for low cost cover designers and formatters • It’s inexpensive: $50-$100 (Mark’s list) or $100-$300 elsewhere (still cheap!) • Cover design is the lowest-cost, highest-impact investment an author can make.
  • Most of us design terrible covers
  • So I Hired a Pro for $45.00Send email to:list@smashwords.comfor “Mark’s List”
  • Metadata
  • Metadata is information about your book• Metadata enables • Categorization • Discovery • Sales reporting • Author payments• Some metadata you or your publisher will create • Some is auto-generated
  • Metadata = Data About Your Book• You Determine: • Auto-generated post- publication: • Book title • Publication date • Contributors • Sales rank • Book description • People who bought X bought Y • Tags • People who viewed X viewed Y • Category • Reviews • Price • Page views • Cover image • Sales data • ISBN • Language • Formats
  • Ebook Conversion
  • Conversion = Turning your formattedmanuscript into an ebook file readable on multiple ebook reading devices
  • E-reading Devices
  • Ebook Conversion Options Conversion Options 1. Automated (Smashwords, Amazon) 2. DIY conversion tools (Calibre, Sigil, Adobe InDesign) 3. Hire ebook formatter/ designer/coder (Complex books)
  • Pricing
  • Pricing• Determine objective • Platform building, sales, or both? • Low prices generate more sales volume, and more volume = more readers • If you don’t care about making money, price it at FREE, where you’ll get ~100 times more download volume than a priced book.• Think like a fisherman • Blended strategy of chum and hooks, low prices and higher prices • Publish multiple books, and play at multiple price points• Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction
  • 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• Go to Smashwords • FREE ISBNs
  • 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
  • Distribution to retailers
  • Ebook retailers and libraryaggregators want indie ebooks (partial list)
  • Support ALL your retailersDiversify your exposure, avoid exclusivity, think globally
  • Two options for getting your book on a retailer’s virtual shelves1. Use a Distributor (such as Smashwords) • Upload one file, distribute to many retailers • Benefits: Centralized sales reporting and payments, simplified tax reporting, time savings from centralized publishing, distribution and metadata management. Spend more time writing!2. Direct to Retailers • Format for each specific retailer • Upload to, and manage each retailer separately • Apple, Amazon, Pubit and Kobo offer direct platforms • Sony, Diesel, libraries usually require distributor
  • Distribution to libraries
  • Libraries and ebooks• Libraries are important to the future of books. Libraries… • Make books available and accessible to everyone • Promote literacy and a culture of books to children and adults alike • Facilitate community around books • Bring readers face to face with authors • Beginning to offer ebook lending
  • Libraries Drive Discovery• Libraries help reach new readers • 41% of library cardholders who read ebooks purchased their most recently read ebook (Pew) • 50% of library card holders go on to purchase books by authors they discovered at the library (Library Journal, Bowker)
  • Big publishers are not friendly to libraries• Big publishers refuse to sell ebooks, or charge outrageous multiples of the retail price• Publishers fear library ebooks will • cannibalize print books • cannibalize retail ebook sales • never wear out
  • Smashwords and our 50,000+ authors and publishers see opportunity• Smashwords library initiatives: • Custom library pricing • Smashwords Library Direct (direct sales to libraries operating their own checkout systems [DCL model]) • Distribution via major library aggregators • Baker & Taylor Axis 360 • 3M Cloud Library • Overdrive (coming soon!)
  • Piracy
  • Everything you need to know about piracy• Don’t worry about piracy • Obscurity is your biggest risk• Black hat pirates who steal your book wouldn’t have purchased it anyway• Most piracy is accidental – it’s enthusiastic fans marketing your book for you• Combat piracy by making your book easier to purchase than steal
  • Irrational fear of piracy leads leads to obscurity• The only reliable method of piracy prevention is to NEVER PUBLISH• Anti-piracy measures such as DRM only limit availability, accessibility and enjoyment
  • Marketing
  • Traditional marketing isn’t as important as you think it is• Marketing is a catalyst, not fuel • Your book is your best marketing • Reader word of mouth determines your success • Viral catalysts amplify word of mouth• Build permanence • Platform building • Platform is your ability to reach readers, or people who can help you reach readers
  • The Plan Forward
  • The Publishing Industry is in flux. These changes will… Benefit Indie Authors Disadvantage Traditionally Published Authors
  • Writers are the future of publishing
  • Every writer’s words have value
  • Writers possess stories andknowledge that deserve to be shared Writers have a right to publish
  • Indie authors are their own gatekeepers
  • Honor your readers
  • Give readers great books that are as good or better than those released by Big Publishers (and do it faster with lower prices)
  • The task before you is not easy, yet…
  • The Opportunity to Reach Readers Has Never Been Greater
  • You’re in charge now.
  • Key points to remember• Free tools make ebook publishing fast, free and easy to publish a book• Although it’s easy to publish, it’s difficult to write a great book • Honor your readers with a great book! • A great book is your best marketing • Study and implement best practices • Iterate • Support libraries!
  • Free Ebook Publishing Resources• NEW! Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of successful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
  • Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcokerFacebook: facebook.com/markcokerHuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-cokerTwitter: @markcoker
  • Part III: The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success Ebook Publishing Best Practices March 21, 2013 Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
  • Summary of Parts I and II• Part 1 – The Future of Publishing • Power in publishing industry is shifting to writers • Writers are pro-library • Libraries should assist local writers to publish more, better books• Part II – Ebook Publishing 101 • How libraries can facilitate community publishing • Ebook publishing checklist
  • Part III: Best Practices• We’ll build upon the foundational knowledge of Parts I & II and learn: • The best practices of the most commercially successful indie ebook authors • How to get your book discovered amid a glut of books
  • Let’s talk best practices (Note to librarians: This is an updated version of the EbookPublishing Best Practices talk, presented by Smashwords inthe LGPL seminar series. Libraries are welcome to use this for their own community publishing initiatives, or contact Smashwords for the most up-to-date version)
  • Self-publishing platforms likeSmashwords make ePublishing and eDistribution Easy…
  • Reaching Readers is Still Difficult * * but achievable if you emulate best practices
  • Let’s review the best practices of the best-selling indie authors
  • Secret One
  • #1 Your best marketing is a great book• With the power to publish comes the responsibility to be a great publisher• Honor your reader with a great book • Turn readers into evangelists• Be fanatical about quality • Edit, revise, edit, revise, repeat, proof • Leverage beta readers
  • Secret Two
  • #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 • Makes a promise to the reader • Should arrest reader with thumb nail
  • Don’t create an ebook cover imageby photographing your print book_
  • Great covers make a promiseA good cover image tells the reader – with image alone – whatthey’re going to experience with the book. Covers should begenre-appropriate, and carefully targeted to your target reader.More on this (see the comments too) athttp://blog.smashwords.com/2013/03/six-tips-to-read-reader-tea-leaves-how.html
  • Here’s another promise
  • And now a case study…Look what happened when the author went from this cover
  • … to this cover…
  • The cover sparked a multi-week breakout at Apple
  • And landed her on the NY Times Bestseller List
  • Secret Three
  • #3 Publish Another Great Book• The best-selling authors on Smashwords offer deep backlists• Each new ebook offers opportunity to • cross-promote other titles • build trust with your reader • build your brand
  • Secret Four
  • #4 Give (some of) Your Books away for Free• Most misunderstood, 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 • Turbocharges a series• The highest grossing authors/publishers at Smashwords offer at least one free book
  • Secret Five
  • #5 Patience is a Virtue• Ebooks are immortal • Never go out of print• When your book lands at retailer, it’s a seedling, nourish it • Never pull out by the roots• Ebooks develop differently • Traditional print books – big sell-in, then yanked from shelves, then sales go to zero • Ebooks – can start small and grow slowly before breakout • Let’s look at some examples…
  • Slow boil, breakout, slow boil, bigger breakout
  • Slow boil, slow build, breakout, slow boil
  • Slow boil, breakout, slow boil, smaller breakouts
  • Slow boil to breakoutRuth Ann Nordin’s An Inconvenient Marriage. This book brokeout at another retailer a year before it broke out at Apple.Ebooks break out at different retailers at different times. It’sone reason it’s important to maintain broad, non-stop exposureto multiple retail channels.
  • Secret Six
  • #6 Maximize Availability, Avoid Exclusivity• Ebook retailing is not like sports, religion or politics • Don’t try to pick a single winner. Play the field.• If your book is not available at every retailer, it’s not discoverable or purchasable• Retailers, libraries & device-makers invest millions of dollars to attract readers to your books• Maximize availability at retailers AND libraries• Exclusivity angers fans, limits audience, increases your dependence upon a single sales outlet
  • Ebook retailers want indie ebooks (partial list)
  • Secret Seven
  • #7 Trust Your Readers and Partners• Don’t worry about piracy • 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 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 DreamFirst reader More Readers
  • Viral Decay, The RealityFirst reader Readers
  • Negative Virality This book sucks!!!! First reader = Last reader Fun fact: 29 of 30 recent Apple bestsellers had rating of 4.5 stars of 5. Write a book that moves the readerto an emotionally pleasing extreme if you want to generate word of mouth.
  • How to Architect for Virality• Implement the Secrets• Eliminate friction that limits • availability • sampling • purchasing • enjoyment• Leverage viral catalysts
  • What’s a Viral Catalyst?• A viral catalyst is anything that makes your book more available, accessible, desirable and enjoyable to readers• Read the Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (it’s FREE!) to learn how viral catalysts spur word-of-mouth
  • Viral Catalysts• Every thing you do right increases virality Great cover Social media enabled Great story Sampling enabled Professionally edited Multiple formats Great title Broad distribution Great book description Quality formatting Great book Good categorization Great marketing LUCK! Fair price
  • Secret Nine
  • Secret #9 Unit Volume is Lever for Success• Unit volume (sales and downloads) increase readership, drives readers to your backlist, increases fan base• Unit volume X royalty per unit = profit• Pricing strategy essential to maximize both
  • How Price Impacts Units SoldIn a 2012 study, Smashwords found that a book priced at $2.99 sells6.2 times more units than a book priced over $10.00. Low prices driveunit volume. But at what price does the author net the most earnings?
  • What Price Yields Highest Earnings?Under $1.99 underperforms. $2.99 and up earns about the same. Q: if given thechoice to price at $2.99 or $10+, what’s the best option? A: For mostauthors, especially genre authors, the $2.99 gets more 6.2X more readers andabout the same earnings. Readers, in the long run, will drive future earningsbecause they’ll buy all your books, and will spawn word of mouth. This is whyindie authors have platform-building advantage over traditionally published authors(whose books are priced too high by their publishers). Once a true fan isearned, they’ll be willing to pay more. Several SW authors have started with lowprices, then increased prices after they built fan base.
  • Secret Ten
  • Secret #10 Practice Partnership and Positivity• Your fellow authors and service providers are your partners • Help them be successful • Learn from them • Share your secrets• Positivity trumps negativity • Relationships give you upper hand • Internet rants are permanent • Google alerts keeps no secrets
  • Secret Eleven
  • Secret #11 Think Globally
  • Apple, B&N, Kobo, Amazon and others are going globalYou Have the Tools to Reach a Worldwide Market Today The tools are FREE
  • The market for your English-language booksoutside the US will soon dwarf the US market Apple operates iBookstores in 51 countries. We distribute to Apple. In January 2013,~48% of Smashwords Apple iBookstore sales were outside the US
  • Secret Twelve
  • Secret #12 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
  • Thanks for Listening, and Good Luck!
  • Free Ebook Publishing Resources• NEW! Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of successful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
  • Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcokerFacebook: facebook.com/markcokerHuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-cokerTwitter: @markcoker