Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, recently gave a talk at the Self Publishing Book Expo. It was about the seven secrets to e-book publishing success. I’m not going to go over all his points but I will talk about some of them. If you want to read his entire article go here.
1. Write a great book
2. Write another great book
3. Maximize distribution
4. Give (some of) your books away for free
5. Trust your readers
6. Have patience
7. Marketing starts yesterday
While I agree with what he says, there are a few things which I slightly disagree about.
Writing a great book is something we all strive to do. Even those books we read that we say are bad or that the author was out for a paycheck. You can revise a book all you want but I believe a book being great is up to the reader. Like all forms of entertainment, it’s up to your audience to decide whether it’s good or not. You try your hardest to make it good and then hope they like it and it catches on.
Another thing I don’t necessarily agree with is giving away your books for free. Now, since I plan to write a series, I will at some point, give away the first one for free. This is assuming I make enough money to continue past the first book. Or more accurately, that I’m not in the red too badly. I don’t know why Coker says this to beginners. I would say if you don’t have a day time job you could get out a book in six months. Since most of us have those jobs, I would say a book a year is doable. Now if you’re writing novellas or short stories, I could see stories coming out faster.
I like Coker and what he’s trying to do. Since I wasn’t at the Book Expo, I don’t know whom his talk was tailored to. Most of it’s good sense but at times it feels like it’s catered to newbies like me while at other times it feels like it’s catered to people that have already been going this route.