The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a free ebook written by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, an ebook publishing company. It's a good read directed at authors, covering topics on what makes a good book, how to publish it, marketing, pricing, distribution. Even if you never plan to use Smashwords, it has a lot of good information. All readers are encouraged to share this free ebook, available for free on Smashwords.com, or for 99 cents on Amazon.
The rest of this review is not a review, but my personal journey with ebook publishing directed at authors of ebooks.
I found it interesting that this book was published in March this year, shortly after Amazon announced its KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program for authors. It's a "new option to make money and promote your book." The catch is you have to make your book exclusive to Kindle for at least 90 days, to get all the benefits of the program. You can even promote your book as free for up to 5 days in that period. When Amazon says exclusive, they mean exclusive. An author has to remove said book from all other distribution channels...Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and of course Smashwords and any place else it might be lurking. Any violation during the 90 days means said ebook will never appear on Kindle again.
I have been following a number of authors who are in the KDP select program, and it appears to work well for authors with a backlist of books. A five-year-old book that has declined in sales gets new life, and the author also sees a surge in sales of more recent books.
I must admit I am a long-time Amazon fan. Amazon was the first online store I ever shopped, beginning in 1999. I have long considered Amazon the gold-standard when it comes to online purchasing and customer service. But somehow the KDP select program smacks of monopoly.
I am also a fan of Smashwords. They haven't been around very long (founded in 2008), but they filled a niche that satisfied my personal requirement in 2009. I self-published my first book in 2008 (in paperback), using Lulu.com. At that time Lulu was free. You paid only for the books you bought. If you wanted distribution, it cost $99 for an ISBN and distribution to all the online bookstores, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony, and dozens of others all over the globe. Lulu didn't venture into ebook publishing until this year.
When I did the research on how to publish an ebook, I learned I could do it directly through Kindle Direct Publishing, but that only covered Kindle format. I had my book up and running on Kindle in 2009. Then I learned about Smashwords, which covers all the other formats as well as mobi for Kindle. The only cost for distribution in the "Premium Catalog" is $9.95 for an ISBN. I don't understand why I needed another ISBN, but for $9.95 I didn't care. And they don't even ask for the money up front, they take it out of future sales. Now I'm really a fan. That $9.95 gets me international sales. OK, Amazon get me international sales too. But Smashwords gets my same ebook on B&N, Kobo, Sony, and get this...the Apple store, as well as some ebook readers I had never heard of. I'm always surprised at my numbers for iPad. Yeah I know the KDP Select devotees will point out that there is a free Kindle app for iPad, iPhone, Droid, whatever else you have. But when somebody with an iPad goes browsing in the Apple store, I want my book to be there.
So when I read the chapters in this book entitled, "Maximize Distribution," and "Think Globally," I'm a believer. I'll be sticking with Smashwords for a while.
View all my reviews