Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 Smashwords Survey Featured in Episode 7 of Smart Author Podcast

For each of the last six years, we've published our annual Smashwords Survey here on the blog.

Now, for the first time, the Smashwords Survey is available in episode 7 of the Smart Author Podcast.

To compile the Survey, we crunch millions of dollars worth of actual retail and library sales data, aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network, and then we ask questions of the data.

It's always a fun experience to discover new insights.

The goal of the Survey is to identify author-controllable factors that can than make ebooks more discoverable, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.

Although we can't quantitatively measure book quality, or even the quality of a cover image, there are numerous other factors that can be measured.  The Survey helps us identify the habits and best practices of the bestselling authors and books.

If you want to travel in same orbit as bestselling authors, learn from what they're doing.  Learn what works and what doesn't.

One of the most powerful benefits of our approach to analyzing this data is that it's aggregated.

Although you can study what a single favorite bestselling author is doing, that's just one data point.  Every author will have slightly different results.

With aggregated data, we can identify important factors with greater confidence.

For example, I'll often talk to authors who'll tell me they tried preorders once and they didn't work, or they didn't work for an author friend, so now they just upload the day of release. That's an unfortunate mistake, but it's not a big surprise.

Most authors don't do preorders yet.  For this 12-month Survey period, we found that only about 12% of authors released their books as preorders.  Yet this small minority of books released as preorder dramatically outperformed all other books.  Once you look at the data (or listen to it below), it'll probably change your mind about preorders.

I'm excited to share this podcast episode with you because in all prior six years, the only time I presented the findings live was at the RT Booklovers convention, which where I release the Survey's findings each year.

Although I blog about the findings and share the full presentation online, I've always wanted to make the findings more accessible to more authors.  Now that I'm doing the Smart Author Podcast, for the first time I'm able to bring you this year's findings as audio.

As I was working to transform the visual presentation into this audio presentation, I added new, never-before-released findings that weren't in the original release.  So even if you already studied the Survey we released earlier this year, you'll learn new insight from the podcast presentation.

Enjoy!

Here's where you can listen and subscribe

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 

Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser)


More information:

Download the original 2017 Smashwords Survey presentation
For full transcript of this episode, click here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

How to Market eBooks to Libraries

Public libraries represent a promising sales opportunity for most indie authors.

In Episode 6 of the Smart Author Podcast, out today, you'll learn how to market your indie ebook to public libraries.

Although sales of indie ebooks to libraries are much lower than sales through retail, the library ebook market is growing whereas sales through most retailers are flat to down.

Libraries are engines of book discovery.  Library patrons often discover their new favorite authors through a library checkout, and many of the patrons will go on to purchase other books by the same author at retail.  If you want to sell more ebooks through retail, sell more ebooks to libraries.

There are over 9,000 public libraries in the United Stated, and over 16,000 combined in the English-speaking countries of Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  Worldwide there are over 250,000 public libraries.

In Episode 6 of the Smart Author Podcast you'll learn how librarians discover, curate, acquire, manage and check out ebooks.  You'll learn the mindset of librarians, and how everything they do is razor focused on serving their patrons.  You'll learn six marketing tips that will help get your ebooks purchased by more libraries.

If you enjoy this episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast at your favorite source below, and please share with friends!

Where to Listen Now

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)

iHeartRadio 


Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser)

Enjoy!

Friday, November 3, 2017

How to Work with Beta Readers

Good books aren't good enough anymore.  There's a glut of high-quality, low-cost books on the market.

The supply of books is growing faster than the supply of readers.  Whenever you face such an oversupply problem in any market, producers start tripping over themselves to compete on price.

If you were selling mousetraps, you'd outsource your manufacturing to Mexico or China where labor costs are lower so you can sell your product for less.  As an author, you can't outsource your writing.

But you can compete on quality.  Readers will pay for quality.  Quality books earn 5-star reviews.  Quality books wow the reader and spark word of mouth.

This is where beta readers come in.  Beta readers will help you make your book the best it can be.

Write a Better Book with the Help of Beta Readers

Beta readers are test readers.  Beta readers read your book prior to publication and share feedback.

In episode 5 of the Smart Author Podcast, out today, I teach you how to plan and execute a beta reader round.  As you'll learn, to get the most out of beta readers, it's not enough to just email them a draft of your book and ask them what they think.

I'll show you how to manage a strategic beta reader round.  I'll teach you how to manage beta reader signups.  You'll learn the thinking that goes in to asking the right questions of beta readers so you get the answers you need to guide and inspire your final revision.

Check out Episode 5 now at Apple Podcasts or any of the outlets below.  Remember to subscribe so you don't miss future episodes, and then check out the show notes over at our Smart Author hub page to access the full transcript along with supplemental links and resources.

If you find this episode useful, please do me a favor and share it with friends in your writers group or on social media.  Or, just share a link to this blog post because below I list all the links anyone needs to listen from any device or web browser.

Where to Listen Now:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

TuneIn

Google Play Music

Overcast

YouTube (audio)


Libsyn

Smart Author hub page (Listen over your web browser)