How To Self Publish Your Books: Mark Coker, Smashwords ep10

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Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords, an ebook distributor andone of the go-to sites for authors who are looking to self publish your books.

You can listen to the podcast episode by clicking on the link below

Discussion with Mark Coker

  • Authors publishing their books through Smashwords have turned into New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. Over 100,000 authors have published more than 400,000 books.
  • Since 2009, Smashwords is focused on building a robust distribution system, including Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Overdrive. In 2015, they have announced deals with Gardners in the UK and many other partners.
  • Mark believes that the Internet democratizes the production, distribution and discover ability of content. Anybody with an Internet access can produce and sell . Success will be determined by the quality of the person, quality of the work.
  • In India, books by the same set of authors (Ken Follett, Jeffery Archer) are still available in bookstores. On the other hand, a lot of sub par content is getting pushed by offering a variety of incentives. This is concerning because customers are forced to pick the books out of the limited selection that is available with them.
  • There are multiple Mark Cokers on LinkedIn, and all of them have done well professionally. But Mark would not recommend his name to anybody, even as a pen name.
  • Mark re-purposes his content for Huffington Post and has also started writing for Publishers Weekly.
  • Mark and his wife spent 4 months in a cabin in Vermont to write the draft of Boob Tube. The first draft of the book was 900 pages!
  • Smashwords is a ‘manufactured’ name. It stands for Smash hit, it represents the process of creative destruction (smashing the words), plus, the domain name was available!
  • In Mark’s opinion, it is dangerous over the long term if an author goes exclusive with platforms such as amazon. Smashword’s relationship with Flipkart soured because of amazon’s requirement for authors going exclusive. (Note: Amar’s book, NRI:Now, Returned to India is enrolled in KDP Select at the time this podcast episode will go live).
  • Majority of ebooks available in India are in English. The challenge is getting ebooks in 7 or 8 major languages that are spoken by nearly 50 million people each.
  • Authors from India can upload their books on Smashwords and in a week’s time their book will be available worldwide.
  • As a self published author, one is practically running a business.
  • Any listeners who want to translate Smashwords Style Guide , Book Marketing Guide and Secrets to eBook Publishing Success can reach mark Coker via email at: MC at Smashwords dot com
  • Mark recommends reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
  • His advice to startups in India in the book publishing space: Bootstrap! Seek outside investment once the business model is proven.
  • Three most important factors for ebook success according to Mark: (a) Write a super fabulous book (b)don’t try to design the ebook cover on your own. There are thousands of talented artists (c) Authors should lsit their books on multiple platforms.

Resources and References mentioned in the podcast:

Ways to Contact Mark:

Links to Mark’s Books


Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords, on MyKitaab Podcast

About Mark Coker

He describes himself as a gardener, dreamer, doer, hiker, explorer, battler of squirrels, and co-author of Boob Tube and several other books. Mark previously founded Bestcalls.com, an earnings conference call directory and Dovetail PR. He is an angel investor and advisor to technology startups. He is on the advisory board of Getquik (a restaurant order automation technology provider- now known as Gogocater). Mark is a frequent speaker, guest on podcasts and blog interviews. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post. He is an alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

  • Mark raises homing pigeons and chicken in addition his other pursuits.
  • Mark likes to read science fiction and non fiction business books, he also reads books based on World War II and History. He is not a consumer of books in the form of audiobooks
  • Mark found his calling in his previous startup- bestcalls.com, and it has continued in Smashwords. Bestcalls enabled small investors to listen to the earnings calls that were earlier accessible only to the large investors. Smashwords aims to break the hold of a small number of authors who have typically decided which book should get published .
  • Mark co-authored his first book with his wife. A top notch New York agent represented them, but he was unable to find a publisher. Boob Tube was ultimately self published.