Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review - The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success is a collection of tips on how indie authors can give their books the best chance of success. Success can have several meanings for authors. For some, making tons of ebook sales is what counts. Others may be satisfied just having people read their books. For others, just the act of actually putting a book out there is reward enough. Except for the last type, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success can help you get your book into the hands of more readers.

The author, Mark Coker, is the founder of Smashwords, a website that helps authors publish their works as ebooks. He's been named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the "Eight Stars of Self-publishing" and he's also a contributing columnist for The Huffington Post. An author himself, Mark put together results of research, experiments, and experiences of other successful authors into a 36,000+ word book and offered it to readers for free. Uh huh, you read that right, the book is free. So, is the book any good? Let's find out.

Content-wise, Mark gave 28 "secrets." Some of them are pretty obvious to anyone but a few seem to run counter to common sense. For instance, he advises authors to give some of their books away for free. It would seem strange for anyone who wants to make money selling books to give away a title or two. Experience, however, shows that it can work. If you write a great book (that's another secret, by the way), marking it free makes it easier for readers to discover you. Once they know you're a good writer, there's a better chance they will pay to get your next books.

The book is written in a conversational style and it's easy to understand and digest. Personally though, I think 28 secrets is too many. I'm not saying that some of the secrets aren't valid. I just think some of them could have been lumped together. When I was  learning public speaking, one of the lessons we were taught was to limit your discussion points to between three and five. The reason was that most people won't remember more than those numbers. Maybe that "rule" doesn't apply to the written word but I still believe the book could have been simpler.

Is there anything wrong about the book? Not anymore, at least none that I can see. When I first downloaded the book, it had a lot of errors. I got the impression the book had been pushed into publication without proper or not enough proofreading. It seemed Mark had slipped with one of his own pieces of advice.

However, one of the nice things about publishing your work as an ebook is that you can make corrections easily. I downloaded Mark's book again recently and found that a lot of the errors have been corrected. You can't afford to do that with a traditionally published book. If you make an error in printing or editing, you may need to reprint them. If the error's really bad, you may have to recall the books from the bookstores and that is going to be very expensive. With ebooks, you just upload a new version.

In conclusion, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success is a good resource for indie authors. It's a great adjunct to another of Mark's free books, the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide. No matter what success means to you, you can't go wrong with following these "secrets."

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