What I’m reading: Sister, by Rosamund Lupton (Book Club); The Scent of Fear, by Tom Adair (bike)
I’m busy this week — Today and tomorrow, I’m blogging at Just Romantic Suspense (with a giveaway). Tomorrow is also my day at The Blood-Red Pencil. And Thursday evening, I’m over at Triangle Variety Radio for another interview.
Mark Coker of Smashwords gave a second presentation at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. This one was about the Best Practices in ePublishing.
He opened with a simple truth. Publishing an ebook is easy. Reaching readers is not so easy. He’s written a book, THE SECRETS TO E-PUBLISHING SUCCESS, which is free at Smashwords. He touched on some of the more than 25 points he makes in his book, and I’m further touching on those, so this is a diluted report. Elaboration, and deeper explanations of all his points can be found here. These are some of his suggestions.
1. First, you have to have a great book.
2. Be careful choosing a pen name. This is not to say he recommends using a different name from your own, but you have to consider search engines. He says to avoid initials because there are too many ways to search, and you might get missed. For example, if you’re going to use the name J. D. Smith, people might leave out the spaces, or add or omit periods. So they could be looking for JD Smith, or J D Smith, or J.D. Smith, or J. D. Smith. Also, don’t use ‘cutesy’ names. If your name is Nate Forsyth, don’t spell it N8 4cyth.
3. Get a good cover. And make sure it looks good in thumbnail size, which is the first image a reader is going to see.
4. Publish another great book. If readers like your first book, they’re going to be looking for more. So don’t spend all your time marketing. Write.
5. Maximize your distribution. Coker suggests that most books are discovered while readers are looking for something else—something similar to your book. So, the more places your book is available, the greater your chances of someone finding it.
6. Patience. It takes time to be discovered by readers, who then tell other readers. (Sounds a lot like my “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” mantra)
NOOK Contest Question #2 (remember, use the Contact form, NOT the comments, to answer) In what state is WHEN DANGER CALLS set?
7. Don’t worry about piracy. DRM is counterproductive. Pirates can strip it in seconds, and it just irritates readers who might want to read the book on another device.
8. Platform building starts yesterday. Use the social media to build your name (but don’t get a reputation as someone who does nothing but tout your own books. It’s about sharing, not hounding.) Google gives Google+ preferential treatment in search engines, so it’s wise to get a presence over there.
9. Pinch Pennies. Don’t ever spend money that should be used for food and shelter on your book or marketing.
10. Think globally. Coker reports that 45% of Smashwords sales through the Apple iStore are outside of the US. And, he pointed out that other countries are about 2–7 years behind the US in e-books, so your market is just starting over there.
He also showed us, based on an informal survey, how readers find books. The biggest percentage of sales (29%) come from recommendations from others (4% are from personal friends and family). The next biggest percentage (18%) is sales of favorite authors. You can see the full breakdown, complete with a pretty pie chart, in Mark Coker’s blog post here.
Tomorrow, my guest is Peg Herring, talking about writing yourself into a corner. Her visit to Terry’s Place is one stop on her blog tour, and she’s going to be giving away prizes. Come back!