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My Background. About me. Founder of Smashwords Free ebook publishing and distribution platform for indie authors We distribute ebooks to multiple major retailers (Apple, Sony, B&N, Kobo, etc.) Author of…. Backstory on Smashwords. Co-wrote novel with wife, Lesleyann

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About me l.jpg
About me

  • Founder of Smashwords

    • Free ebook publishing and distribution platform for indie authors

    • We distribute ebooks to multiple major retailers (Apple, Sony, B&N, Kobo, etc.)

  • Author of…


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Backstory on Smashwords

  • Co-wrote novel with wife, Lesleyann

    • Landed top NYC literary agent

  • Rejected by all NY publishers (twice)

    • Decided publishing was broken. Realized:

      • Acquisition decisions based on perceived commercial merit

      • Publishers unable to take risk on every author

      • Readers shut out of process

    • My solution: Smashwords

      • Ebook publishing and distribution platform allows any author to self-publish and distribute an ebook, for FREE


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How Smashwords Works

  • UPLOAD

    • Author/publisher uploads a Microsoft Word file, formatted to our Style Guide

  • CONVERT

    • We automatically convert to 9 ebook formats

  • PUBLISH

    • Ready for immediate sale online

  • DISTRIBUTE

    • Distribute to major retailers

  • PAY

    • Authors/publishers receive 85% of net


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Smashwords retailers (partial)

(pending)

Mobile apps



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A BRIEF HISTORYOF PUBLISHING(and what it means for your future)







Slide14 l.jpg
LARGE PUBLISHERS WERE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY CONTROLLED THE PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES


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Publishers were in control PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

  • Publishers decided:

    • Which authors got published

    • Which books could

      • get distributed to bookstores

      • receive heavy promotion

      • get read by readers


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$ PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

THIS CLUBBY, CLOSED SYSTEM WAS PROFITABLE FOR PUBLISHERS

$

$

$

$

$

$

$

$


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BUT THEN THE INTERNET HAPPENED PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES


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… AND THE RULES CHANGED FOREVER PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES


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THREE BIG TRENDS RESHAPING THE RULES OF PUBLISHING PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES


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TREND ONE: PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORESBookselling moving to the Web


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Bookselling moves to the Web PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

  • Customer drivers:

    • Price

    • Convenience

    • Selection

  • Self-published books (P- & E-) displayed side by side with traditional books

  • Publishers lose control

    • If brick & mortar disappears, publishers lose key value proposition: exclusive access to distribution and readers


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Percentage of book purchases made online vs B&M, P- and E- PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

Web

Brick &

Mortar

Today?


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TREND TWO: PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORESAuthors Become Publishers


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Authors become publishers PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

  • Self-publishing platforms allow authors to bypass publishers

    • Equal access to distribution

    • Favorable economics for indies

      • reap 40-100% of retail price, vs. 5-12%

  • More professional authors will go indie

    • Mass exodus imminent?


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Number of books published indie vs. traditional PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

Indie

books

New trad.

books

Today?


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TREND THREE: PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORESAs Reading Moves to Screens, Ebooks Will Overtake print


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Reading moving to screens PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES


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Ebooks as a percentage of US wholesale trade market PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

Source: Association of American Publishers, publishers.org


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Ebooks to overtake print PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

Ebooks

Print books

Today?


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Why ebooks are hot PRINTING PRESSES AND DISTRIBUTION TO BOOKSTORES

  • Screens can offer better reading experience than paper

    • Changeable font size AA AA

    • Portable and compact

  • Ebooks offer better purchasing experience

    • Huge selection

    • Convenient sampling and purchasing

    • Lower cost than print




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… their expenses are too high Legacy Disadvantages


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… they’re exposed to too much risk Legacy Disadvantages

  • Pay author advances

    • Can’t predict demand

    • many books fail and don’t earn out

  • Amazon is eating publishers for lunch

    • Vertically integrated from authors to readers

  • Broken supply chain

    • 30%+ of printed books returned to publisher unsold


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Print book supply chain broken for traditional publishers Legacy Disadvantages

PRINT BOOKS

Print Publisher

printer

Shipper/w/d

bookseller

customer

pass along

remainder

Used bookstores


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… publishers try to mitigate risk Legacy Disadvantages

  • Adopt customer-unfriendly policies

    • Publish fewer books

    • Scarcity tactics to maintain higher prices

    • Limit worldwide distribution

    • DRM

  • Adopt author-unfriendly policies

    • Reluctance to acquire books from unproven authors

    • Require authors to assume more editing, marketing responsibility


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When publishers act less like publishers, authors start questioning why they need a publisher



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Summary of Indie Author/Publisher Advantages publishers

  • Internet book buying levels playing field for indies

    • Both print and ebook

  • Smaller indie authors/publishers

    • instant access to global market

    • democratized distribution

    • closer to customers

    • lower expenses

    • never go out of print

    • earn more per book


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Indie ebook authors earn more per book publishers

  • Higher profits than traditional print

    • Price ebooks for less yet still make more per copy than traditionally pubbed print authors

      • $8 indie ebook earns $6.35 at SW, vs <$.40 trad MMP

      • $.99 indie ebook earns more than $8.00 trad MMP

      • Lower price = reach more readers = more sales at higher profits per sale

    • Trad. ebook authors earn 25% net

      • Indie authors/publishers earn 70-85% net

MMP=Mass market paperback, aka “pocket book” in some countries



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Planning your move to ebooks publishers

  • Forget (some of) what you know

    • Don’t try to make e- look like p-

      • Ebooks consumed differently that print

      • Less = more with ebooks

      • Liberate text from complex formatting and layout

      • Ebooks are shape shifting creatures (see next slide)


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Ebook devices (and customers) shape shift text publishers

  • 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


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Multi-format important publishers

  • Multiple ebook formats

  • PDF does not = ebook anymore

  • Multi-format lets customer enjoy your book their way

    • Expands your selling & distribution options



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How to Create an Ebook publishers

  • Preparation

    • Most print books originate in Word, InDesign and Quark

    • Anticipate the shape shift

    • Simplify formatting and layout, see Smashwords Style Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52

  • Conversion Options

    • Automated (e.g. Amazon, Smashwords)

    • Direct from book layout software (e.g. save as PDF, EPUB)

    • Conversion tools (Google ‘ebook conversion tools’)

    • Complex books (hire ebook formatter/coder)



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Secret #1 publishers


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#1 Write a Great Book publishers

  • 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

    • Invest in a great cover image



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Secret Two publishers


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#2 Write Another Great Book publishers

  • Build a backlist

    • Each new book offers the opportunity to market your backlist

  • The best-selling authors on Smashwords have deep backlists

  • Build trust with your reader


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Secret Three publishers


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#3 Maximize Distribution publishers

  • If your book is not available, it’s not discoverable

  • Retailers 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

* Smashwords is a distributor, so of course I believe this


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Secret Four publishers


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#4 Give (Some of) Your Books away for Free publishers

  • The most misunderstood, most underutilized market development tool

  • If you have a deep backlist, offer at least one 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


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Secret Five publishers


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#5 Trust Your Readers and Partners publishers

  • If you practice paranoia, you and your books might as well live in a cave

  • Trust your readers

    • DRM 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 shoot yourself in the foot


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Secret Six publishers


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#6 Have Patience publishers

  • Rome wasn’t build in a day, and neither will be your publishing empire

  • Ebooks can develop differently

    • Trad. print books – big sell-in, then yanked from shelves, then sales go to near zero

    • Ebooks – can start small and grow slowly before breakout

  • Ebooks are immortal

    • Never go out of print

  • Think of each book as an asset that will yield income over the long term


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Secret Seven publishers


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#7 Marketing Starts Yesterday publishers

  • Marketing starts before you write your book

  • Build your social network

    • Contribute, share ideas, support your fellow writers

    • 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

  • Network your books with hyperlinks

Resource: Smashwords Book Marketing Guide


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BONUS Secret Eight publishers


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Secret #8 Architect for Virality publishers

  • Secrets #1 - #7 help maximize virality

  • Books have always been a word of mouth business

    • Your readers determine your success

    • Facilitate frictionless word of mouth

  • Understand the concept of “first reader”


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The Viral Dream publishers

First reader

Readers


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Viral Decay, The Reality publishers

First reader

Readers


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Negative Virality publishers

This book

sucks!!!!

First reader

Last reader


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How to Architect for Virality publishers

  • Implement the Seven Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success

  • Eliminate friction that limits

    • availability

    • sampling

    • purchasing

    • enjoyment

Additional resource: Read The Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg


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The 7 8 Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success publishers

  • 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

Visit the Smashwords Blog, 9/16/2010 for the 7 Secrets to Failure:

http://blog.smashwords.com/2010/09/seven-secrets-to-ebook-publishing.html


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Thank you for listening! publishersQ&A

Where to find Mark Coker:

Web: www.smashwords.com

Blog: blog.smashwords.com

HuffPo: huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker

Twitter: @markcoker

Email: [email protected]


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