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

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This presentation was given April 11 in San Antonio, TX at the Texas Library Association annual conference. It details how public libraries have an exciting opportunity to launch community......

This presentation was given April 11 in San Antonio, TX at the Texas Library Association annual conference. It details how public libraries have an exciting opportunity to launch community publishing initiatives, the goal of which is to marshal local community talent to produce and publish ebooks.

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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
  • 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

Transcript

  • 1. LAUNCH COMMUNITY PUBLISHING INITIATIATIVES WITH SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOKS How Libraries Can Foster a Culture of Authorship April 11, 2014 San Antonio, TX Mark Coker Founder, Smashwords Twitter: @markcoker
  • 2. What We’ll Cover  Publishing past and present  5 Trends shaping the future of publishing  Aligning the common interests of writers, libraries and patrons  How libraries can promote a culture of authorship  How to publish and distribute an ebook (checklist) 2
  • 3. Let’s begin with an over- simplified history of storytelling 3
  • 4. The Story Behind Smashwords 4
  • 5. Publishers Said “No” • Despite great efforts of our agent, every major NY publisher said NO (TWICE!) 5
  • 6. I evaluated our options 1. The rational (conventional) option  Give up, admit failure 2. The irrational option  Believe in ourselves  Try to fix the problem 6
  • 7. How to fix a problem 1. Identify the problem  Big 6 Publishers!!!  Toxic to the future of publishing  Don’t value all writers  Unable to take a risk on all writers 2. Visualize the utopian solution  Every writer should have the freedom to publish  Readers should have the freedom to judge what’s worth reading 3. Create the Solution 7
  • 8. 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  Distribution to ebook stores and libraries 8
  • 9. Smashwords Distribution Network
  • 10. 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Ebooks published at Smashwords 140 6,000 28,800 92,000 191,000 276,000+ 10
  • 11. How Smashwords Works • UPLOAD • Author uploads their manuscript to Smashwords (Word .doc or epub) • Instant, free ebook conversion • For sale within 5 minutes of upload • DISTRIBUTE • Distribution to retailers and libraries • GET PAID • Author earns 60-80% list • Quarterly payments 11
  • 12. Let’s bust a dangerous myth 12
  • 13. What myth should we bust? 13
  • 14. The Myth of Big Publishing 14
  • 15. Writers (and libraries) were taught to bow subservient before the altar of Big Publishing 15
  • 16. Publishers were the bouncers at the pearly gates of author heaven • Promised Perks of the Writer’s Afterlife • editing • printing press • distribution • marketing • royalties • fame and respect • readers • “published author” inscribed on their tombstone 16
  • 17. writers taught they couldn’t graduate to author heaven until a publisher blessed them … and unless they got a book deal, they were a failure 17
  • 18. … and in a sense it was true Publishers held all the power to connect books with readers 18
  • 19. Writers were told to keep toiling, and waiting… Rejection would make them stronger “You’ll get published when you perfected your craft like these other great writers” … 19
  • 20. Justin Bieber got a book deal 20
  • 21. Snooki got a book deal 21
  • 22. Kourtney, Kim and Khloe got a book deal 22
  • 23. Stop Don’t sell your soul 23
  • 24. The old model of publishing is broken It has become harmful to writers to readers to libraries to the future of books 24
  • 25. 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 25
  • 26. Big Publishers Not Friendly to Libraries • Reluctant to sell ebooks to libraries • Publishers fear library ebooks • will cannibalize print books • will cannibalize retail ebook sales • don’t wear out 26
  • 27. 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) 27
  • 28. Do publisher-controlled ebooks threaten the future of libraries? 28
  • 29. Yes. 29
  • 30. Yet the future for ebooks at libraries is brighter than ever 30
  • 31. WHY? 31
  • 32. THE POWER CENTER IN BOOK PUBLISIHNG IS SHIFTING FROM PUBLISHERS TO WRITERS 32
  • 33. INDIE AUTHORS ARE PRO-LIBRARY 33
  • 34. FIVE TRENDS TO ROCK THE WORLD OF LIBRARY EBOOKS 34
  • 35. TREND ONE: Reading Moving to Screens 35
  • 36. Screens are the new paper 36
  • 37. Ebooks as a percentage of US wholesale trade market Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org. 2012-13 Smashwords estimate37
  • 38. Ebooks to overtake print Print books Ebooks UnitsDollars Print books Ebooks 38
  • 39. TREND TWO The Rise of Ebook Self-Publishing (a.k.a indie ebook publishing) 39
  • 40. Number of books published indie vs. traditional Indie books Today? New trad. books 40
  • 41. Readers are Embracing Indie Ebooks • Indies scaling all the bestseller lists • Every week, indie ebooks are in the bestseller lists of every retailer • Almost every week, an indie ebook is hitting the NYT bestseller list • Every week, every retailer is featuring Indie ebooks 41
  • 42. Advantages of Indie Authorship • Indie ebook author advantages • faster time to market • creative control • better distribution to global market • immortal ebooks never go out of print • lower expenses • lower prices to consumers • earn more per book
  • 43. QUADRUPLE + 43
  • 44. Indie Ebook Authors Earn Higher Percentage of List Price • 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 60-80% 12-17% Indie Traditional 44
  • 45. TREND THREE Publishers Losing Monopoly as Writers Gain Tools to Self-Publish 45
  • 46. Big Publishers Losing Their Monopoly • Publishing tools and know-how are freely available: • 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?” 46
  • 47. TREND FOUR The Previous Stigma of Self- Publishing is Disappearing 47
  • 48. Stigmas to Reverse: More Authors will Aspire to Indie Publish Aspire Traditional Aspire Indie Today? Aspire Indie Aspire Traditional 6 yrs ago Soon? 48
  • 49. TREND FIVE As Publishers Turn their Backs on Libraries, Self-Published Authors Ready to Embrace Libraries 49
  • 50. 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 50
  • 51. The Plan Forward 51
  • 52. The 5 Trends Create a Future that Benefits Readers, Writers and Libraries 52
  • 53. Patrons • Patrons want • Accessibility • Discoverability • Diversity 53
  • 54. Authors (the new publishers) • Authors want • Availability • Discoverability • Readership 54
  • 55. Libraries • Libraries • Promote a culture of reading • Satisfy patrons with • Accessibility • Discoverability • Diversity • Curation • Deliver readership to authors 55
  • 56. Ebook self-publishing aligns the interests of libraries, patrons and authors 56
  • 57. Libraries have an exciting opportunity to create a brighter future for books 57
  • 58. THE PATH FORWARD FOR LIBRARIES: 1. Embrace ebooks 2. Promote a culture of authorship 58
  • 59. Embrace Indie Ebooks (Step 1) • Implement ebook checkout systems. Three options: 1. Outsource • Baker & Taylor Axis 360, Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library, EBSCO, others 2. Insource • Douglas County Model + Smashwords Library Direct + direct relationships with progressive publishers 3. Hybrid • Multi-library cooperative such as Califa/ENKI 59
  • 60. Utilize Crowd-Sourced Models of Curation (Step 2) • Aggregated retailer bestseller lists reveal what paid readers are purchasing • Smashwords can provide purchase lists • Leverage social reading sites • Library Thing, Goodreads • Library Journal and Publishers Weekly now reviewing select indie ebook titles • Implement patron-driven models • Gardners UK example • Multi-library collaboration on reviews by librarians? 60
  • 61. Promote Culture of Authorship (Step 3) • 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 Smashwords publishing platform 61
  • 62. Community Publishing Pilot Program with Los Gatos Public Library • Kudos to Henry Bankhead of LGPL for his mentorship and encouragement 62
  • 63. Henry Bankhead Recognized as 2014 Mover and Shaker 63 See March 12 Library Journal for more
  • 64. Community Publishing Pilot Program with Los Gatos Public Library (Goals) • Goals: 1. Marshal local resources to develop and promote a culture of authorship • Library staff • Graphic designers • Published authors • Patrons 2. Develop a future supply of library- friendly authors and books 3. Help authors publish locally, distribute globally 64
  • 65. IMPLEMENTATION 65
  • 66. Community Publishing Pilot Program with Los Gatos Public Library (Implementation) • Implementation: 1. Education: • In partnership with Smashwords, educate local writers about ebook publishing best practices • Leverage the physical space of the library to bring together patrons, published authors, aspiring authors, library staff 2. Co-branded publishing portal • Help authors publish locally, distribute globally 3. Partner with local high school to publish ebooks in the classroom 66
  • 67. 1. Education: LGPL/Smashwords Community Publishing Program • Working with LGPL, Smashwords presented a 3-part seminar series of one-hour workshops 1. Introduction to ebooks (patrons, writers, library staff) 2. Introduction to ebook publishing (writers, staff) 3. Ebook publishing best practices (writers, staff)  Smashwords will supply updated presentations to any library that requests them 67
  • 68. 2. LGPL Co-Branded Publishing Portal • Co-branded publishing portal with Smashwords • Free ebook publishing and distribution services for library patron authors • Local writer asks, “How do I…” • publish an ebook? • make my ebook available to my community’s library? 68
  • 69. 2a. LGPL Publishing Portal • Custom hyperlink from LGPL web site 69
  • 70. 2b. LGPL Publishing Portal • Writer signs up for free Smashwords account 70
  • 71. 2c. LGPL Publishing Portal • Free publishing and global distribution • Smashwords manages end-to-end relationship from publishing to payments 71
  • 72. 2d. LGPL Publishing Portal Free Author Tools • FREE publishing platform • FREE, best-practices resources: • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook) • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book) • Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of successful authors) 72
  • 73. 3. Ebooks in the Classroom: LGPL/Smashwords Community Publishing Program • A first-of-its kind experiment • 125 freshman high school poetry students across five classroom periods will collaborate with Smashwords and LGPL to professionally produce, publish, distribute and sell a class poetry anthology • Mark Coker addressing five classrooms to teach two classes: • Introduction to Ebook Publishing • Ebook Publishing Best Practices • Students collaborate with one another to write, edit, format, publish and promote anthology • Will be used as a freshman class fundraiser • Official book launch will happen at Los Gatos Public Library May 6 73
  • 74. Future plans for LGPL/Smashwords Collaboration • Future plans • Underway: LGPL and Smashwords are partnering with local high school (LGHS) to integrate ebook publishing into creative writing curriculum • Once LGPL implements an ebook checkout system, the building blocks will be in place for local authors to “Publish to the Library” • With over 90,000 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 74
  • 75. Let’s learn how to publish and distribute an ebook! 75
  • 76. 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 76
  • 77. 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 • The author is the publisher, so must act like one • Edit, edit, edit, revise, revise, revise • Involve beta readers (then revise again) • Hire professional editor if necessary 77
  • 78. Ebook Formatting 78
  • 79. Formatting is the layout and design process to prepare your book for publication 79
  • 80. Formatting for Smashwords 300,000+ Downloads! 80
  • 81. 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 81
  • 82. Reflowability: Ebook devices (and customers) shape shift text • Example of Smashwords novel, Heller by JD Nixon as viewed in iBooks e- reading app • Users can select font style, font size and nightime mode, or view in portrait or landscape mode. Reflowability enables this!
  • 83. Cover Image 83
  • 84. Create Your Ebook Cover • Covers are important • First impression • Great covers make a promise • Make it:  engaging, matched to target audience  professional  good as thumbnail  good as B&W, greyscale
  • 85. DIY Cover, or Hire Professional? • Unless the author is an expert graphic designer or cover designer, they hire someone (covers are inexpensive!) • Email list@smashwords.com for low cost cover designers and formatters • $50-$150 (Mark’s list) or under $300 elsewhere (still cheap!) • Library Idea: Find patrons expert in graphic design to leverage library’s multimedia lab to produce covers
  • 86. Great covers make a promise 86
  • 87. Great covers make a promise 87
  • 88. Great covers make a promise 88
  • 89. Great covers make a promise 89
  • 90. Great covers make a promise 90
  • 91. Great covers make a promise 91
  • 92. Metadata 92
  • 93. Metadata is data that makes your book discoverable in a store Book title Book description Author name Book category Price Publication dateISBN Language Tags
  • 94. Ebook Conversion 94
  • 95. Conversion = Turning your formatted manuscript into an ebook file readable on multiple ebook reading devices 95
  • 96. E-reading Devices 96
  • 97. Ebook Conversion at Smashwords
  • 98. Pricing 98
  • 99. Pricing • Determine objective • Platform building, sales, or both? • Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction • If you publish multiple books, cover multiple price points to capture the most readers • FREE, $.99, $2.99, $3.99, $4.99+ • Pricing strategy is integral to building readership
  • 100. ISBN 100
  • 101. 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 101
  • 102. 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 102
  • 103. Copyright 103
  • 104. 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 104
  • 105. Distribution to retailers and libraries 105
  • 106. Smashwords Distribution Network
  • 107. Maximize Availability, Avoid Exclusivity • Ebook retailing is not like sports, religion or politics • If your book is not available at every retailer, it’s not discoverable or purchasable • Exclusivity • angers fans • limits audience • increases your dependence upon a single sales outlet
  • 108. Two options for getting your book on a retailer’s virtual shelves 1. Use a Distributor (such as Smashwords) • Spend more time writing, less time on everything else • Upload one file, reach many retailers • Centralized metadata management • Time-savings, consolidated payments and tax reporting • Preorders to Apple, B&N, Kobo 2. Direct to Retailers • Format for each specific retailer • Upload to, and manage each retailer separately • Some retailers (Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd, etc) and Libraries require distributor
  • 109. Distribution to libraries 109
  • 110. 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 110
  • 111. Smashwords and our 90,000 authors and publishers see opportunity • Smashwords library initiatives: • Custom library pricing • Smashwords Library Direct (direct sales to libraries) • Distribute via library aggregators • Baker & Taylor Axis 360 • Overdrive (coming soon!) • 3M Cloud Library (future) • Others in the works 111
  • 112. Piracy 112
  • 113. Everything you need to know about piracy • Obscurity is bigger risk • Black hat pirates who steal your book wouldn’t have purchased it anyway • Most piracy is accidental – it’s an enthusiastic fan marketing your book for you • Combat piracy by making your book easier to purchase than steal • Broad distribution • Low, fair price
  • 114. 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 114
  • 115. Marketing 115
  • 116. 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 116
  • 117. The Plan Forward 117
  • 118. Summary: How to Foster a Culture of Authorship in Your Community • Indie authors are • the future of publishing • pro-library • It takes a village to publish a great book • Help your community publish great books • Marshal local talent of patrons to mentor next generation of pro-library writers • Hold events featuring local authors who can help mentor the next generation of authors • Help your patrons publish locally and distribute globally (Smashwords PubPortal can help!) 118
  • 119. Learn how to e-publish like a pro with Smashwords Tutorials at Youtube at youtube.com/user/Smashwords 119
  • 120. 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) 120
  • 121. Thanks for Listening, and Good Luck! 121
  • 122. Q&A Connect with Mark Coker and Smashwords: Web: www.smashwords.com Blog: blog.smashwords.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/markcoker Facebook: facebook.com/markcoker HuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker Twitter: @markcoker 122