When first researching how to self-publish, and the myriads of issues I had to address five years ago, I found Mark Coker’s advice, research and predictions very useful and thought-provoking. So, naturally, I was excited to hear about his new Smart Author podcast, and, naturally, when the call came for launch-team members I signed up immediately. Why? Because it always amazes me that so many authors I meet and interact with seem unaware or ill-informed of practices and options I take as general knowledge.
And yes, though Mark often talks about Smashwords options, similar options and all the best practices would apply to any digital publisher, no matter their platforms. In other words, I’ve always found that Mark Coker had some interesting information for everyone.
So what did I think of the Smart Author episodes, so far? Ready? Here we go…
Episodes 1-3 are especially useful to those needing the basics, or exploring self-publishing/Indie publishing for the first time. Much of the information can be found in Coker’s free guides on marketing and publishing eBooks. Having read them before four years ago, listening to these episodes were, I thought, a great refresher, especially Episode 3—Best Practices. It’s amazing how much you’ve forgotten when you think you know it all 😀
Episode 4—Pre-Orders was one I was anticipating. I’d tried them before, I thought unsuccessfully, and was interested to see what Mark had to say about them. It was well worth the 23 minutes or so of listening time. And now that Mark has revealed the hidden benefits of pre-orders, one’s I’d never have known otherwise, I’ll definitely be putting my future releases on pre-order.
Episode 5—Beta Reading. This one I think readers would enjoy as much as authors. Mark outlines the process and has links to useful templates you can employ. Though, in my experience, not all would progress as suggested (for example finding that number of dedicated beta-readers on Goodreads may be difficult), this episode is a great starting-off point if you’ve never sent out a beta-read or are planning on becoming a beta-reader. And for those of us who have, there are some interesting ideas to consider as well.
Episode 6—Marketing To Libraries is a must listen for any author; self-published, traditional or hybrid—and for readers looking to find more Indie titles in their local digital libraries. I’ve long believed I needed to have my books available on library platforms, so one of the reasons I’ve kept my books with Smashwords is that they distribute to libraries. I was eager to learn more about this, and where Mark would go with this topic. I was not disappointed.
Learning the why’s and how’s of getting an eBook onto a library platform, and what to do thereafter was exactly what I needed to know. Again, much for me to think about in this episode.
Episode 7—Smashwords Survey 2017, about 52 minutes of listening with downloadable slides available. This was also a refresher and easily accessed information of the survey results that were out earlier in the year. I’ve been following the survey since 2015, so it’s always interesting to see which trends are continuing and what I should be considering for my future titles.
I’m looking forward to the next episodes and can’t wait to hear what Mark Coker is going to share next. I hope we’re going to hear more about changes in digital publishing, episodic fiction, and solving common eBook formatting problems. I’d also love to hear more on metadata and if it could help book visibility outside of libraries.
And, as usual, I’ll be taking what resonates and leaving the rest. After all, I’m an Indie who likes to experiment 🙂
Where to listen to the Smart Author Podcast:
Smashwords (Listen over your web browser + download supporting materials)