14 key ebook publishing tips


Mark Coker started Smashwords when a quarter of 1% of U.S. books sold were ebooks. Now it’s 35% of the total, and he’s a top spokesman in the field. Last year Smashwords authors sold ebooks worth $30-million at retail.

Last Saturday (11/8/14) Coker spoke to BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publisher Association) in Novato, CA (near and north of San Francisco). It was the third time I’ve heard Mark. He’s honest, straightforward, and current—and, blessedly, a good speaker. So let me summarize the 14 steps he shared with the large gathering. Incidentally, I too distribute ebooks through Smashwords (plus Kindle, Nook, Book Baby, and others).

Mark also mentioned a free book that gives greater details about these tips and ebook marketing in general, so I read it this morning. Excellent. Go to Smashwords and look for Mark’s free books in the opening dashboard page, left column where it says Publish Secrets Ebook… Download The Secrets to Ebook Success, with the 30 best practices–then ignore it at peril!

Here’s the summary:

1. WOW your readers with super awesome books. Become evangelists of your subject; make your writing unlimited excellence.

2. Write more books, better each time.

3. For incremental advantage, use “best practices.” Do 100 things right, including professional editing, professional cover design (“the highest impact you can get for the lowest cost”), and pre-orders. (See the free book above.)

4. Connect with community partners.

5. Whether you publish traditionally, are a hybrid, or self-publish, be the best person you can: nice (respect and integrity), honest (trustworthy), ethical, humble, in charge of your own future.

6. Time is all you have—spend more of it writing and imagining. Focus on what’s unique about you. And get helpers for non-strategic actions.

7. Take lots of little risks, experiment, fail often (using each failure as a teaching moment).

8. Be delusional, think too grand, be out of touch.

9. Embrace those who doubt you and have no idea what you do. They are simply clueless.

10. Help others and celebrate other authors’ success.

11. Past success doesn’t equate future success. Bank your profits.

12. Never quit.

13. Dream big. Aim high. You must believe in yourself.

14. Know that your writing is important. It’s your contribution to humanity.

Good stuff. No puffery. (I’ll summarize the rest of Coker’s presentation in another blog here later this week.)

I also explain the submission process at Smashwords (and at other open publishers) in How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Sold Worldwide in Days.)

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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