Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Smashwords Author Brian S. Pratt to Earn over $100,000 in 2011

At first glance, Brian S. Pratt of Boswell, Oklahoma doesn't fit the stereotypical profile of a best-selling author. Yet he, and others Smashwords authors like him, represent the future of publishing.

Pratt began publishing with Smashwords in early 2009. His first quarterly royalty payment was $7.82. While most authors would find that number discouraging, Pratt was encouraged. It was a start.

In the quarters since, Pratt's earnings have grown, and in recent quarters he's become a veritable breakout success. Last quarter, he earned over $18,000 from sales across the Smashwords retail distribution network. This quarter, with three weeks to go, he's on track to break $25,000. He's on track to earn over $100,000 in 2011 at Smashwords, and up to $200,000 total when he includes his projected Amazon sales. Not one to count his eggs before they're hatched, though, he's fast at work on a next series.

The road to here was anything but easy. At age 43, he's held a number of eclectic jobs, ranging from an U.S. Air Force avionics technician to a taxi driver. Until recently, as he shares in the interview below, he was living below poverty level.

He writes fast-paced, can't-put-it-down fantasy. Pratt started writing because the series authors he enjoyed reading weren't completing their series fast enough. So he started writing books he'd like to read. Unlike some ebook series writers who carve up books into short serialized chunks, Pratt's books are full-length, with most clocking in around 150,000 words.

His writing style is completely his own, and any New York editor would surely bristle at the rules Brian breaks. His most popular series, The Morcyth Saga, is written in the present tense (though he changed to past tense for subsequent series). It's no wonder that after years trying to land an agent and a publisher, he faced unanimous rejection from publishing experts.

Yet readers had other plans for Pratt, as we learn today in this interview.

Lacking a traditional outlet for his work, Pratt self published in 2005, first in print and later ebooks. Today, his ebook sales far outpace his print sales by a factor of more than 100:1.

Today, Pratt has 17 books at Smashwords, and we distribute the books to Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony and Kobo, as well as to online mobile app catalogs of Stanza and Aldiko.

His Morcyth Saga, a seven-book fantasy adventure series, is by far his most popular collection.

Below in this exclusive interview, Brian S. Pratt recounts the long road to his overnight breakout success.

[Mark Coker] Brian, tell us about your books

[Brian S. Pratt] I have 17 books completed spread across several series. Most are full length, epic fantasy type novels, each anywhere from 120,000-190,000 words. I have a few I call my mini's that are just plain fun and get the reader into the adventure from the get-go. These range from 60,000-90,000 words.

[MC] How did you get started as a writer?

[BSP] Back in 2005, I found myself waiting for several of the main authors to get around to finishing their next novel. The biggest one that annoyed me was The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the series up to around book 6; then it lost me. Action grew infrequent and far between. It got bogged down in mundane details. Jordan wasn't the only one I was impatiently waiting for. So, on March 1, 2005, I sat down at my computer and decided to write The Morcyth Saga. Figured I could do a good job and write the kind of book I wanted to read. One that had action in every chapter, you followed the main character throughout, and descriptions were down to a minimum. That is exactly what you get in The Unsuspecting Mage; Book One of The Morcyth Saga.

[MC] What training do you have as a writer?

[BSP] Training??? Not a bit. All I started with was the drive to write a story and everything else followed. I ended up writing a seven book series in Present Tense, rife with errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Most of the errors have been fixed in subsequent editions. My word usage was not what one would find in the traditionally produced books, some said it was too simple. I don't know about that, but at least you don't need a dictionary at hand when you read my books. Some have liked it, others less so. My books feel different than others for that reason.

[MC] Tell us about some of the first customer reviews you received, and how you reacted?

[BSP] Reviews, yes there have been some dillies. Here's the first one-star I ever received. It was at less than a month after I first published The Unsuspecting Mage.

1.0 out of 5 stars - January 15, 2006
Present tense is an amateurish way to write.....,
.....and this book reads like it was written for a high school English class. Worst book I've read in a long time. I like lots of books, especially ones written by Robin Hobb, George Martin, and Stephen Donaldson to name but three. These books were well written. This one was not. Just wondering - how many of you are still in high school yourselves?
The last line was directed at the other reviewers who said they liked my book.

Needless to say, this devastated me and I stopped writing for a few weeks. Of course, I've had much worse ones since. But then, my books kept selling. And I always told myself that as long as my books keep selling, even if it is marginally, then it would be worth it to continue. I've come to realize that there will always be those that do not like my books, and so what? They simply are not in my target audience. And my target audience is me. I write what I would like to read. And it looks like there are many "me's" out there for I've sold lots of books. If you want to see what may be in your future, check out The Unsuspecting Mage at Amazon.

[MC] You joined Smashwords March 27, 2009 10:26pm (I checked!). Can you take us back to that moment in time, and recall what was going through your mind

[BSP] Let's see. I was a single dad living with three kids and boy, was I poor (under the poverty level). Up until then, I hadn't really thought much about eBooks. I tried Mobipocket for a while and had great sales for three months, then it died off. Sales for my paperbacks, which I had published through iUniverse had fallen off dramatically. Where I had been breaking 4 figures a quarter, I was now less than 600 per quarter and bleeding red. I typed in "self publishing" and saw a quirky little site called Smashwords. It said, Your eBook, Your way. Didn't cost a thing so what did I have to lose? First quarter sales at Smashwords were dismal, 2009-04-07 — $7.92 As it happened, April 7th is my birthday. That was cool. But I wasn't deterred. Books were selling. Sometimes, one or two a week, but they sold. I stayed with it and refused to allow all the naysayers (and there were those by the droves) to stifle my dream. Sales gradually improved and, well, here we are. Can't give up on your dream, EVER!

[MC] Your first quarter at Smashwords you earned $7.92. I've seen some new Smashwords authors jump for glee over a number like that, and others have unpublished their books and quit Smashwords in disgust. What was your reaction?

[BSP] My reaction was "I'm ahead, $7.92” By this time I had been published for a little over 3 years and had seen sales go up and down. Can't make any kind of decision based on just one quarter. Plus, I was getting the hang of how to make Smashwords work for me. You can't just publish your book, sit back and think, "Okay, the money is going to roll in now." It ain't gonna happen. The industry is stacked against anyone who is just starting out. You have to get out there and grab readers by the collar and shout, "Here I am!" They won't find you or care about you until you do.

[MC] Your sales started small but then grew steadily, and in more recent months you've broken out into the best-seller lists at some of our retailers. What was the secret?

[BSP] After receiving my second royalty check which was only $183.60, I figured I needed to get busy and get creative. So I first looked around for a good place to advertise and found Project Wonderful. They suited my needs perfectly; ads would run on websites for pennies a day. I then created a coupon code that would discount my first book for free. I then created a series of ads stating that a free copy was available, all they had to do was copy down the code and go to Smashwords for their free copy. Well, that bombed and bombed badly. Came to realize that I was asking way too much of customer. In order to get my book, they had to go to Smashwords, create an account, put in the code, then download.

People are inherently lazy about shopping, especially in this world where everything is a click away. I pondered on the lack of success with my coupon code, then realized that if I just made the book free, they would only have to click the link in the ad, then download a free copy. Simple. (Keep it Simple-Stupid) I made it so easy for people to download my book, that downloads jumped. Subsequently, sales for books 2-7 jumped as well.

If it’s free and downloading is just a click away, people will do it. Very few can walk away from a free deal. Unknown authors are risky to readers and few wish to risk money, or time, to try a book they are not sure they will even like.

When Smashwords signed the deal with Barnes and Noble, my sales jumped 300% that quarter. Barnes and Noble have one of the best “Free eBook” sections and now people could find my book without having to see a small ad. Without Smashwords free copy of book one at Barnes and Noble, I would hardly be doing the sales I am today. That was the one act that set into motion sales the likes I never thought possible for an Indie without agent, editor, or publisher.

[MC] Prior to publishing at Smashwords, multiple agents and publishers rejected you. Tell us about your most memorable rejections.

[BSP] No one wanted me. All the rejection letters were worded very politely, but you can’t help but adding phrases to them like “You suck as a writer” or “Your book would be good to keep my table level but as for making money, it has a better chance to spontaneously combust.” When I published it through iUniverse, I opted for an editorial review ($300 at the time). They basically said the manuscript would need a serious overhaul before it would become commercially viable. And oh by the way, we do have many such services available…for a price. At the time I thought it was a complete waste of time. But now looking back with five years experience under my belt, many of their comments had merit. Although one must keep in mind, had I continued working with my first book to get it right, I’d still be working on it to this day and all subsequent ones never having seen publication. There comes a point when a writer has to say, “It’s ready. Good or bad, let’s see what happens.” What happened in this case was that there were many people out there who enjoy a good adventure and have since traveled with James through 8 books and are patiently (impatiently might be a better word) waiting for the second installment of the follow-up series, Travail of The Dark Mage.

[MC] What does it mean to you to be described as a self-published author, or an Indie author?

[BSP] The biggest worry a writer had back in 2005 was whether or not they wanted to be stigmatized as “self-published.” Once stigmatized, I was told, never again would a traditional publisher take you on. Unless you sold over 50,000 copies. But then, I thought, if I sold 50,000 copies, what would I need a publisher for?

Now, I think of it as a badge of pride. My success is mine, no one else’s. Everything that comes from my books, comes because of the hard work I, and I alone, put into it. Others have helped, but I spearheaded it and got it done. Even if today I was to get a publisher, from what I’ve heard of other author’s experiences, they still do most of their own publicity and get tied into restrictive contracts and unrealistic demands. Case in point, the movie Back to the Future. The head of the studio sent the producers a memo in which he stated that “Frogman from Mars” would be a better title. What a nightmare to have to deal with that. As a self-published author I don’t have to worry about another’s “taste” or “ideas.”

Of course, if you fail, again you have no one else to blame. But the only failure you will have, is if you quit. Try new ideas, talk to those who have succeeded, most of all don’t give up.

[MC] What's your view of the future of indie authorship, and where do you think traditional publishers fit into your plans, if at all?

[BSP] Indie authorship is here to stay and the traditional publishing houses better get used to it. They also better not discount the effectiveness of its appeal or they’re going to regret it. I think they are going to wake up one morning and wonder where all their profits have gone. The better authors will do it themselves because they are going to make more money at it. Also, as the Indie Revolution continues, more and more authors being sought by publishers will be taking hard looks at their contracts. True, if you only have a single book, traditional publishers may be the best route. I make money because I have a series, a completed series, and give the first one away free. Can’t beat free for advertising.

As of today, I no longer send query letters (what a waste of time that was) to agents. No longer submit to publishers or even enter contests. My books are not award winners. They are merely fun books. I’ve tracked winners in the past and they don’t always do well.

What would happen if I got an email from a publisher asking for publishing rights? I’d listen to what they have to say. I’d carefully scrutinize any contract for how future books would be affected and so forth. I feel the restriction and demands made by them would far outweigh any increased royalties. But I could be wrong. Never say never to anything where money is concerned.

[MC] Where does print fit into your publishing strategy going forward?

[BSP] Print goes hand in hand with eBooks. You have to have a print copy of your book. I sell maybe 2 or 3 books per 1000 eBooks. Not much, right? Keep this in mind. eBook readers tell their book reader friends about your books. If you want them to buy it, it needs to be available. My biggest hurdle with print has always been pricing. Not much you can do about that, self-publishing print books is expensive no matter where you do it. I’d suggest Lightning Source Inc. they’re the best and will put your books before the most customers.

[MC] Imagine you're mentoring a new author today. What three secrets to success would you share, and why?

[BSP] Actually, I’ve already helped over a dozen authors with getting started. I take the time to answer questions and give advice freely.

  1. First thing I advise is to be approachable. Have an email address solely for those contacting you as an author and post it everywhere. If someone sees your book, that email address had better be there too. And remove the spam filter. About a year after I published my first book, I happened to check my spam folder and found 3 emails from readers. Made me mad. Also made me wonder how many others couldn’t get hold of me due to my (censored) spam filter. There was this one author, forgot who, but I saw his profile on Amazon. It basically said that he didn’t want to be bothered with questions from readers, nor did he want to hear from other authors. And oh by the way, won’t you buy my book? –Not word for word, but that was the gist of it. Needless to say, I didn’t even look as his book and have since forgotten the guy. I’ve earned many steadfast fans simply because I responded to them in a personal and friendly manner.

  2. Get a website. They’re pretty cheap and are absolutely invaluable. Your readers need a place they can go to learn more about the books, and about you.

  3. Listen to your heart, not reviewers. If you can’t stand criticism, find something else to do. Also, when you get your book first published, friends and family always like to post reviews. Well, there are certain things you need to explain to these reviewers before they post.

    One line reviews are worthless. Saying, “This is greatest book I’ve ever read!!!” is a waste of time. It means nothing to no one.

    Tell potential customers about the book. Why is it great? Why did you love it? Why should they spend time and money to read it? Give an example from the book. If you use an example, it gives your review more weight for it lends credence that you actually read the book.

    Don’t talk about just the good. Pick something negative and write about that too. A balanced review is more helpful, and more believable than one that just gushes praise. No matter the book, there has to be something that bugged them. If the book is self-published, there will be something to criticize. I received an email from one reader that said he read a review in which a previous customer complained that my book read like a D&D game transcript. The reader, a gamer by the way, checked it out on that basis alone and ended up buying the entire series. So never assume that a negative review will be negative to all readers.

  4. Here’s the biggie. Write. Seems simple doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how often we come up with excuses why we can’t write. If you’re a writer, then you better be writing. Finished a book? When’s the next one going to be published? Don’t stand still and see if the first one sells well before starting the second. Do you believe in what you are doing? Then for heaven’s sake, write. Set a goal. In the beginning, my goal was 20,000 words a week, or an equivalent time editing. I met that and in fact wrote Shepherd’s Quest, a 130,000 word book in 5 weeks. I was on roll.

  5. Don’t go to your family with your manuscript and ask, “How is it?” If you want an honest answer, go to and join. You’ll find out fast just how good/bad your manuscript is. Friends and family are biased and will have a hard time seeing your work for what it truly is. If you ask for an opinion from someone who knows you, the person answering you knows that they’ll have to deal with you afterward so will say “it’s great” or give some other affirmative response. They don’t want to crush your spirit. I watched this one show once where a guy wore this t-shirt that said, “My mom thinks I’m cool.” Enough said.

  6. I have posted lots of useful info for self-published authors, or those thinking of going that route on my website. If you’re interested, check out my site, Brian Pratt Books. It’s a year old, but most of the info should still be fairly current. It will definitely give you some things to think about.

  7. We’re all in this together. Email me should you have questions or anything.

[MC] Every author must compete against hundreds of thousands of other books. What's the secret to breaking out?

[BSP] Write, keep writing, and when your fingers are sore, write some more. The more books you have out, available through the most channels, the better your exposure. Never cancel a channel unless you know another will fill the void. Best channels right now are Smashwords and Kindle. Neither costs you anything but time. From the first sale, you’re making a profit. If you give up, it’s over. Until then, anything can happen. I’m a prime example of that.

Find ways to get your book in front of people. Don’t expect glowing reviews to sell your book. After all, if readers don’t find your book in the first place, no amount of “good” reviews will help.

[MC] Now that you've achieved success as a writer, how might your writing change, if at all?

[BSP] I now understand why some authors take a long time in getting out the next book. The more books you have, the more time ends up being devoted to previous titles and other things (this Q&A is a prime example). Editing has always been a sore point with [my] readers, or rather, the lack of it. My books have never seen a professional editor and could use a touch of polishing. I’ll be looking into that with the new year.

[MC] Now that you're able to devote full time to your writing, what's your typical day like. What's your process?

[BSP] I spend far too much time on the internet checking sales, answering emails (I love that part) and seeing what’s going on in the world of publishing. Smashwords is usually the first page I visit in the hopes that sales have posted. Most days, I’m disappointed. There have been times when I thought, “What the heck is going on? Where are my sales?” But you know, they all come in before the quarter payout, and I’ve never had a problem with getting my money from Smashwords. [Note from MC: We hear you Brian! Faster reporting is one of our top priorities for 2011]

After that, I try to get some editing done on my newer works, then an hour or so of computer gaming. I write some, check emails again, and so forth. The longer a series goes, the more complex it becomes. You need to take into account all that has gone before, keep your characters consistent, and make it all seem flawless.

[MC] What's coming next?

[BSP] Finish Travail of The Dark Mage. I’m on book 2 and figure the series will be around 5 books. Never know for sure until I’m done. The initial plan for The Morcyth Saga was 10 books. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had contracted for 10 books with a publisher and instead came through with 7? Love being an Indie.

I do have ideas for another 2 series after Travail, as well as off-shoots like The Improbable Adventures of Scar and Potbelly, a series of short adventure books based on the duo from the series. One thing I do know for sure. I will not release another series unless I have it already completed. I hate making readers wait.

[MC] Thanks for sharing, Brian!

To sample or purchase the ebooks of Brian S. Pratt, visit his Smashwords author page


Randolph Lalonde said...

Great interview and some fantastic advice from Brian, an author I've watched on and off since I saw his books on Barnes and Noble.

We share some of the same struggles and experiences, I'm glad to say. There are days where I'm busy writing and it's as exciting as running with the bulls. Then there are other days when I'm busy editing something I finished two years ago and I feel like a curator in a museum.

Both types of work are necessary, and I have to say I derive completely different kinds of enjoyment from each. Entertaining has become my job, and I couldn't be happier.

While I don't have a family to support, I was well below the poverty line before my fan base found me on Mobipocket, so I can sympathize there too. Only in the last nine months have I really gotten my head above water, and it feels good to think that I have hundreds if not thousands of readers to thank for that.

Who needs a publisher or agent when the readers like what they see, pay the price of admission, and come back for more. I can't write fast enough for these good people. It's amazing to have an audience and successful authors like yourself draw positive attention to sites like Smashwords so readers feel more comfortable exploring. The readerships grow, writers get more time to write, more content becomes available, and everyone wins.

Thank you for sharing Brian, I can only hope to reach your level or to entertain my readership as well.


Anonymous said...


So impressive!

Thank you so much for taking the time to give us insight into your world.

I'm so happy for you and yearn to follow in your footsteps.

I've got ten titles on Smashwords with two more being uploaded within the next month.

Thanks again...

Daryl Sedore

Lindsay Buroker said...

Holy moly, congratulations, Brian!

Hm, I better take another stab at the Smashwords converted and get my stories up there, lol.

Shayne Parkinson said...

Thanks, Mark and Brian, for this in-depth interview. And thanks, Brian, for being so generous in sharing your experiences, the bad ones as well as the good!

Your hard-won success is an inspiration.

Oswald Bastable said...


I see a LOT of my story in there, a few new ideas to try and confirmation that my marketing plans for the future are valid.

Congratulations and may your sales reflect Smashwords growth.

Wayne Watson
Meddlers in Time

graywave said...

"I'm ahead, $7.92” Now those are words that resonated with me! I've been commercially published and I have books out through Smashwords (under my own name and under a pseudonym) and the difference is striking. While commercial publishing brings all the kudos, it is hard work and a long, slow struggle. By contrast, publishing with Smashwords has been an absolute pleasure and every cent earned feels like a bonus.

I think what I take away from your story is this - and it will occupy my thoughts for some time, I expect - it is comnitment to the channel that has paid off for you

Unknown said...

I love this interview, it shows that we all have a chance to make it as a writer.

I love the stories of dealing with the literary agents, I have experienced quite a few of those myself.

I jotted down quite a few notes from this article, thanks for the information.

Props go out to Brian and Mark for this success and to everyone else, keep up the good work.

Adam Nickerson

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Brian- A truly inspirational story. Thanks for taking the time to share all this great info with us. Best of luck and continued success

Noel Bodenmiller said...

Brian, I thought I was the only one off to such a slow start, this interview is very encouraging. And that Mark Coker is quite the genius too, isn't he? Thank you, Noel Bodenmiller

Dan McGirt said...

Excellent interview, Mark, and another demonstration of what an amazing platform Smashwords is for empowering a writer to take control of his or her own destiny.

Congratulations, Brian, on your success in finding, building, and -- most importantly -- entertaining your audience. My first Smashwords payout was an astounding $12.44, and I felt the same way you did: "Wow! I'm up $12.44! People are actually paying to read my stories!"

I am always very excited to see other independent writers blazing the way forward. Your success, and the hard work behind it, encourages me to buckle down and keep writing!

Dan McGirt

Nick said...

Every great journey begins with a single step, and Mr Pratt has under gone a great journey, much kudos to him and hard earned success.

Much of this interview made me smile, and comments on at some point you have to let the novel go is so true. My novel The Tether is so far off mainstream in subject, and style that I know it will never be traditionally published.

But I wrote it because it was a story I wanted to tell, and now People are buying it so I know its appealing to a collection of readers.

Every step brings us closer to our dreams.

True Life and Fiction said...

Wow, I'm impressed.

Great interview and oh so motivating for someone like me, an amateur just starting out on smashwords.

David Robinson said...

Brilliant interview and deserved succes Brian.

I'm aiming to follow your lead.

Paul said...

I visited Brian's website. It is a wealth of practical information. When you self-edit, you are going to want to go with a publishing option that allows you to easily correct published books. I find Smashwords very easy to correct and update a published book and almost impossible with Kindle. And making Mobi work is shall we say a challenge. I like Kindle books and buy and read them, but as an author I think Kindle is an advertisement for Smashwords. I think the advent of Google will change the overall publishing world towards ebooks. One publishing platform that accesses all distribution outlets will be a big winner.

Unknown said...

This is an inspiring interview. I've read about several, self-pub success stories and it really motivates me. I'm also an indie author.

The great thing here is all the good advice that I read. I intend on utilizing some of it. You always need to keep updating your tool kit.

My thanks to Brian for his hard efforts. It goes beyond him.

Thanks, Mark, for interviewing this author.

My second book is on its way for anyone interested:)

Dodge Winston's Site

Anonymous said...

I found this interview really helpful as it outlined steps to take, where to go and what to do. Learning about Brian's struggles first hand is so useful for all of us apsiring writers who are contemplating agent vs self publishing. Thank you for sharing!

Fran Shaff said...

Terrific advice, Brian. Congratulations on your success. I've published with traditional print publishers in hardcover and paperback, and I LOVE working with Smashwords as an Independent Author.

Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

Glenn G. Thater said...

This is a fantastic success story. Congratulations Brian. I wish you continued success with your books. And thanks Mark for sharing Brian's story with us.

glenn g. thater

Rex Kusler said...

This guy Brian Pratt has thrown the entire rule book out the window. I think it comes down to what the late V.C. Andrews said: "...tell a whopping good story..."

Wilson James said...

I recall reading in a previous post on Smashwords Blog about Brian Pratt's success, and I am deeply appreciative of his sharing his story with all of us. My thanks to Mark Coker for pursuing the interview.

Like Brian S. Pratt, I started writing because I had some stories to tell, and I wrote what I wanted to read. For me, it was not so much about making money (sure, that's nice), as it was about putting my stories out there for people to read. I target Young Adults, and tell adventure stories about family and courage with various backdrops including sailing, aquatics, downhill skiing, international competition, and success at young ages, set in Europe and North America.

I’ve done only a minimal amount of marketing, and I know I could and should be doing more.
However, I do keep writing, and I am preparing to publish my newest book, Aiden’s Arrival, on Smashwords very shortly.

So, what has Smashwords done for me? Well, there is interest in my books. The interest is much, much more than I expected. I would keep writing anyway, but now I’m excited about the numbers of downloads, and I am hopeful that I will see some further financial reward in the future. Oh, and by the way, I now call myself an author.


Anonymous said...

Great article. Congratulations, Brian! Thank you for sharing your story.

Scott M. Shafer said...

Those kind of financial numbers are very exciting to see for me personally. It seems like all our marketing efforts are so unique and not a one size fits all. Furthermore the process of Brians success is inspiring. How it started small and grew over time certainly speaks volumes about that process. Thanks for the interview Mark & Brian!

Anonymous said...

Hope for all of us then! Great story, great interview and great site (Smashwords). Great news all round for indie authors, good luck!


mike poeltl said...

Truely inspiring, Brian. I'm working towards the same goal. It's not happening as fast as I hoped, but to know it is possible is everything.


Unknown said...

Love this success story. I work with authors every day of my life and many would kill to be in Brian's shoes. They spend tons of money self-publishing or years finding an agent to wait years to get a publishing deal. I like Smashwords but know Brian's story isn't the average. Again, working with self-pub authors, I watch the numbers and they can be dismal, so kudos, Brian!! You made me try my hand at posting a book there. Under my pen name of Alexandria Rae. If I have one-tenth of the success you've had, I'll be a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview, Mark, and thank you for sharing your story, Brian. As an author previously published in New York, I'm really enjoying the freedom of being an indie author. My inspirational thriller, Blood Son, by M.C. Walker, is available exclusively as an ebook, so that is very exciting for me. Yes, it is fun writing the books YOU want to write with no restrictions or following someone else's rules. Much continued success, Brian!

Ilona said...

A really interesting interview.
Brian, congratulations! :)

Anna L. Walls said...

Brian, you sound just like me, though I haven't seen the success you have. Then again, I haven't done the publishing things you have either, but I was talking about the way you write and why you started. I live in the wilderness (literally) and I'd read every book I own many times over. It was time to 'read' something new. It wasn't until we finally got internet that I started learning all the little tricks of the trade. Now it down to editing and publishing.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this great interview. My first payout on Smashwords was not enough to offset the cost of paying for Premium status for my books, but it still made me feel great. I've done better since then, and as long as I keep publishing I expect to do better still. Smashwords has been a blessing for authors everywhere.

Zacharias O'Bryan said...

Hey Brian -- Great interview, great attitude toward life! As an old guy (60), I look back on every profession I've been a part of: travel biz, financial consulting, and now indie book writing... and I've almost always done it on my own -- which times have always correlated with the times I'm happiest. Thanks for taking this break from your 3,000 words/day schedule. May Lady Fortune continue to smile

Zacharias O'Bryan

Steffi said...

Gives me hope! Great interview, and his books are pretty hard to put down.

DrDln said...

Congratulations Brian! And thanks SW for bringing to our attention.

I had been resisting giving any of my books free. You made me think. Thanks.

Vern at said...

I love hearing about your success, knowing that you are not a writer - like me. Smashwords has been good to me, but still trying to break through the 4 figures per quarter goal. Almost there... still writing.

Martin Reaves said...

Very encouraging, many thanks, and congrats on the continued success!

Richard_Del_Connor said...

Are ALL the smashwords distributors allowing a book to be priced for free now?

anniesays said...

Thank you Brian, your interview has given me hope that when my erotic romance is finished I will be able to take some of your advice on how to get the word out about my book, I will publish on smashwords, and one day I will be on the break out list too. Brian, you and mark both have inspirational stories,thank you again. Ann K

Pierre said...

I take my hat off to you, Brian. You are such an inspiration to all of us, although I'm very new with Smashwords and in self publishing, not considering that I had actually launched and sold my first extremely short eBook a decade ago with Clickbank.

Your life story is truly very inspirational and encouraging! You've earned your own keeps, and you deserve every inch of your success.

We all owe this excellent interview and the many tried-and-tested down-to-earth hands-on How-to success tips also to Mark Coker.

Mark, you've earned my high respect for all that you've done for this community.

God bless Smashwords with radical & exponential success and in great abundance, as well as both of you gentlemen and your families also in great health and prosperity!

Wrangler said...

Congratulations Brian! I checked your website but it is down or hacked by some Chinese people.
Anyway, I get a lot inspiration from your interview. i was trying to find some motivation to write a motivational book and publish on Smashwords and I found that motivation in this interview. Please re-up your website asap.
Best luck!

Anonymous said...

I owe a big thank you to both and Brian for sharing these insights. It's a great eye-opener and encouragement for a new Indie author like myself.

Now I have an idea on what to do next, but most importantly, keep writing!

Keep up the amazing work!

I've started following both of you and will spread the word to everyone I know.

Thanks again!