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Mark Coker
Works at Smashwords
Attended University of California, Berkeley
Lives in Silicon Valley
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Mark Coker

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A few months ago Smashwords offered enhanced metadata capabilities for book series.  This week, the new feature enabled over 70 Smashwords authors to be featured in an Apple iBooks promotion taking place now in the US, Australia and New Zealand.  Approximately 80 Smashwords titles are featured in the FREE SERIES STARTER promo
Apple iBooks this week introduced an international merchandising promotion in the US, Australia and New Zealand spotlighting free series starters.  Smashwords-distributed books make over 80 appearances in the promotion. All f...
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Read an Ebook Week kicks off this Sunday, offering seven days of ebook fun and gluttony.  Over 40,000 books will be available for free download at Smashwords, and there will be thousands more that are deep-discounted.   Help spread the word by enrolling your books in the promotion, and download/share/post the various fun badges, buttons and banners.  Let's push ebooks to every corner of the globe!
Read an Ebook Week kicks off this Sunday.  Smashwords is again sponsoring the event for the sixth year running. Thousands of Smashwords authors will offer free and deep-discounted titles starting Sunday March 2 and running th...
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I'm signed up. I participated in the Summer promotion last year, and while I didn't ring up record sales or anything, I sold far more than I had expected.
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Mark Coker

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GUEST POST BY ALISON BAVERSTOCK

I'd like to thank my friend Alison Baverstock for contributing this exclusive guest post for my Google Plus feed.  Alison is organizing a self publishing conference to take place February 25 in Portland, Oregon.  I'll be there.  If you're nearby, come join us!

Now on with her post:

Why an understanding of change within publishing is now being developed within universities

by Alison Baverstock

I began my working life as a publisher, but spotted early the irony that despite managing so much content, the publishing industry reflected relatively little on itself. Combining freelance work within the industry with raising a young family, I started trying to explore and chronicle the processes of publishing. The result was a series of books which were (just as I had hoped) used by the industry. But they also made their way into universities, to support courses in the newly established discipline of Publishing Studies; fast becoming a standard route into the industry.

I followed them, co-establishing the MA Publishing program at Kingston University in 2006 – of which I am now Course Leader. We recruit internationally and a consistently significant percentage of our cohort comes from the US. We offer an MA in one year (although it can be taken part-time over two), our qualification has a worldwide cachet and our graduates are very successful in obtaining employment.

While my work on chronicling publishing has continued – I am currently working on the 5th edition of How to market books – I was fascinated by the rise of self-publishing, and this became my main research focus.

My exploration of the principles of self-publishing – The Naked Author – came out in 2011 (foreword by Mark Coker) and I have continued with a series of related research projects.

Doing this from inside a university is a definite plus. Not only can I draw on the support and interest of colleagues – for my new research into how self-publishing is impacting on the freelance editorial market I am working with colleagues from our faculty of Business and Law – I am also immersed in an atmosphere of significant stakeholders.

Healthcare apart, there can be few other disciplines within the academy that are of interest to the entire community; overlaps between the processes of academic publishing and self-publishing are particularly significant.

And so to Portland Oregon, where I will be with Mark Coker on Tuesday 25th February 2014.  I am currently working with Professor Per Henningsgaard of Portland University on an international research project into how profession-based subjects fare within the academy. What began as discussion over coffee at an academic conference has now grown into an international collaboration involving university colleagues in four continents – and we will be discussing this at the AWP in Seattle.

This handily gives us an opportunity to bring together key movers within self-publishing from the US and UK, and to share our progress and ideas within a US university. At Portland University on 25th February 2014 we are running a day on self-publishing for staff and students. In addition to Mark and me, Jill Kelly of The Northwest  Independent Editors Guild (US) will explore the role of the editor and how to work towards material that can be shared with confidence, and Eela Devani of Bloomsbury Publishers (UK) will consider how the market is developing, and in particular how to maximise the potential of work online.

Online communication is a wonderful thing. But through seeking to get greater value from our travel, this one-off, first-hand gathering of key people within self-publishing on 25th February is undeniably significant.  University colleagues and students will occupy the majority of the places, but additional spaces are available (£55/$90 which includes a free copy of The Naked Author).

For more information please go to https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/services/publishing-route 

Where is self-publishing going next? Join us, listen to the debate – and be part of publishing history.
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Smashwords today announced a two-part global distribution agreement with Scribd.  We'll supply over 200,000 indie ebooks to their new ebook subscription service, and we'll also sell individual titles in the store.  More at the Smashwords blog.
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Paolo, IMHO Scribd is very author friendly.  They're reorienting their entire business around authors and books.
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What are the business models of the new ebook subscription services?  How will the advent of ebook subscriptions alter how we measure the value of books?  These are the two questions I tackled today in a two-part series of blog posts.  The link is to part I.
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Mark Coker

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A debate is raging over the size of the self publishing market, spawned in part by Hugh Howey's AuthorEarnings.com web site. 

I think self published ebooks will account for 50% of the US ebook market by the year 2020.  What do you think?  I created a spreadsheet you can use to input your own estimates and publish your own projections with a pretty chart. 

I also listed 10 reasons why I think indie authors will capture at least half of the ebook market by 2020:

1.  Print will continue to decline as a book-reading format as more readers transition to screens. The transition to screens will be driven by the low prices, selection, exceptional discoverability and instant reading pleasure delivered by ebooks.

2.  Brick and mortar bookstores will continue their march into the sunset with more store closures.  I'm not happy about this, but I don't see the trend reversing unless bookstores start serving wine and pot brownies in their cafes.

3.  The perceived value of publishers will decline in the eyes of writers as the importance of print distribution declines.  Print distribution is an important glue that holds many writers to their traditional publishers.  When publisher stickiness decreases, writers will be tempted to explore the indie author camp.

4.  Indie authors have learned to publish like professionals, which means self publishing will lead to more better books, and more diversity of better books.   The professionalism and sophistication of indie authors has increased dramatically in the six years since we launched Smashwords, and this professionalism will increase in the future as indies pioneer tomorrow's best practices.  These authors are publishing books that are quality-competitive with traditionally published books, but priced dramatically lower.  As a result, these authors have the ability to under-price, outsell and out-compete the ebooks from traditional publishers.  It means indie authors will have platform-building advantages over traditionally published authors.

5.  The number of self-published ebooks will explode, and these ebooks will continue to enjoy democratized access to professional publishing and distribution tools such as Smashwords, and democratized access to global online retail distribution (every major ebook store wants to carry self-published ebooks).  Every author - even indie authors - will face increased competition from the glut of high quality works that never go out of print.

6.  The most successful indie authors are mentoring the next generation of authors.  Indie authors act like a vast publishing collective of writers helping writers.

7.  The stigma once associated with self publishing is melting away at the same time the stigma of traditional publishing is on the rise.  Indie authors are in the cool kids club now.  They know they can publish with pride and professionalism, and they're developing teflon skin that deflects the once ego-bruising criticism levied by self publishing naysayers.  If you haven't been to a writers conference lately, go to one.  A few years ago, writers would leave conferences depressed in the knowledge that their dream agent only accepts one in 10,000 queries.  Today, writers attend conferences and learn to self publish like a pro.  They leave the conference upbeat in the knowledge that one way or another, they'll publish their book their way.

8.  Writers are discovering the joy of self publishing. If publishers are from Mars, authors are from Venus.  They speak different languages and hold different values. The rewards of self publishing transcend the conventional and myopic commercial metric value systems of publishers.  Indie authors are enjoying total creative control, faster time to market, ownership over their publishing future, and the flexibility to innovate and evolve their immortal ebooks which will never go out of print.  Indie authors enjoy the freedom to serve their fans as they want to serve them.  Icing on the indie author's cake: Indie ebook authors earn royalty rates 4-5 time higher than they'd earn from traditional publishers.

9.  Readers don't care about the publisher name on the ebook's virtual spine.  The brand they care about is the author brand. Indie authors are learning to build their own brands.

10.   The growing rift between writers and publishers will cause the next generation of writers to avoid shopping their books to publishers, and will undermine the goodwill of writers who until now have been loyal to their traditional publishers.  Writers are angry.  After centuries of living on the bottom rung of the publishing ladder, they're feeling their oats and relishing their new-found power and respect.  I wrote about this last week for Publishers Weekly in my opinion piece, Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt (may require registration).
There's a debate raging about the size of the self publishing market.   I think indie ebooks will account for 50% of ebook sales by 2020. What do you think? On one side of the debate, you have folks such as myself who believe...
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Just did a post on my blog about this article -- Thanks +Mark Coker *:-)*
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Renee Benzaim summarizes the benefits of Smashwords preorders.
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I wrote this for PW.  Thanks Carla for sharing.
 
Awesome post by +Mark Coker "The rift between authors and publishers grew more pronounced last week with the release and ensuing controversy surrounding Hugh Howey’s Authorearnings Web site. Critics have accused Howey and his anonymous Data Magician of perpetuating horrible crimes against statistics. Supporters--most of them indie authors and indie author sympathizers – hailed Howey’s conclusions as further evidence that authors no longer need publishers... the critics of Howey’s data and methodology are missing the point." Read it here: http://bit.ly/1hbWd9I
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That Donald Maas exchange reminds me of +Hugh MacLeod's cartoon:

"I'm not delusional, I'm an entrepreneur."

http://gapingvoid.com/2010/02/28/random-thoughts-on-being-an-entrepreneur-2/

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Smashwords today released a major website redesign that makes our books more accessible to more readers on more devices, especial mobile.  It utilized an adaptive design so it's more mobile-friendly than ever before.

This is our first web site redesign since we launched Smashwords back in 2008.  More improvements coming as we iterate and iterate.
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The site update looks great, Mark. Thank you for everything you're doing to help Indie authors.
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I produced a series of five ebook publishing workshops and posted them on Youtube.

Whether you're considering publishing an ebook for the first time, or you're already an ebook publishing veteran, I hope you enjoy these workshops and learn new ideas that will help you publish with greater ease, confidence and success.

In total, they run eight hours.  It's like an all-day digital publishing seminar you can attend at your leisure.  Although the videos can be watched (or listened to) in any order, if you're new to ebook publishing, then start with #1 since it explains foundational information that will make the other videos more useful to you.

The ebook publishing workshop series includes:

#1 - An Introduction to Ebook Publishing (a primer and e-publishing checklist)

#2 - The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices secrets for reaching more readers)

#3 - Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More Books (pricing strategy and fun metrics)

#4 - 10 Trends Driving the Future of Authorship (indie authors are the future of publishing!)

#5 - How to Reach More Readers at Apple iBooks (merchandising secrets to grow sales!)
I've posted a series of five ebook publishing workshops at Youtube.  Each is embedded below. Whether you're considering publishing an ebook for the first time, or you're already an ebook publishing veteran, I hope you enjoy t...
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Thank you!
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Work
Occupation
Ebook distribution
Employment
  • Smashwords
    Founder, 2008 - present
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Currently
Silicon Valley
Previously
Bedford, NY 10506 - Berkeley, CA
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Tagline
Founder of Smashwords, an ebook distributor. Also angel investor, gardener, hiker, battler of squirrels, dreamer, doer, co-author of Boob Tube
Introduction
Founder of Smashwords, a distributor of ebooks serving 50,000+ indie authors and publishers.  We publish over 200,000 ebooks, and distribute them to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, libraries and multiple mobile platforms.

Quick links to my ebooks:
The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors)
The Smashwords Style Guide
(how to produce, publish and distribute an ebook)
The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (market any book for free)
The 10-Minute PR Checklist (earn the publicity you deserve)
Boob Tube (a novel about soap operas.  this is the book that spawned my Smashwords adventure)

Connect with me:
Blog:  http://blog.smashwords.com
Twitter:  @markcoker
Facebook:  facebook.com/markcoker
Bragging rights
Climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Education
  • University of California, Berkeley
    Marketing
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Male