Friday Finds: SmashWords CEO Says Lots to Learn from Romance Authors

Each week, Friday Finds brings you a round-up of helpful writing, editing, and book marketing tips right here... or in your inbox, if you subscribe to my newsletter.

Happy Friday! Whether you’re celebrating Canada Day or Independence Day – or if you’re reading from outside of North America and won’t be celebrating either – I hope you’re looking forward to your weekend.

I, a self-proclaimed night owl, have volunteered to check runners into a July Fourth-themed 5K at six tomorrow morning. (I’ve no idea what possessed me to do such a thing. Send help. And coffee.)

Before I send myself to bed at 7 p.m. to prepare for this ungodly wake-up call, I’m pleased to share this week’s #FridayFinds with you. This is a fantastic, informative bunch, so keep scrolling!

SmashWords 2017 Survey Says There’s Lots to Learn from Self-Published Romance Authors

SmashWords is an e-book publisher and distributor that serves indie authors, publishers, and literary agents. The company has existed for almost ten years, and they’ve performed their annual survey on self-publishing for six.

This year’s survey was first presented by SmashWords CEO Mark Coker at the Romantic Times (RT) Booklovers Convention in May.

This is fitting because, according to his interpretation of the survey data, romance authors are doing pretty darn well for themselves in the self-publishing arena. 2017’s survey shows valuable lessons we can learn from them, like:

  • E-book series are more financially successful than standalone titles.
  • Series that offer the first e-book free (think: gateway drug) are more likely to transform readers into your fans and evangelists.
  • List prices readers respond positively to are relatively low, with high performers including $0.99, $2.99, and $4.99.

Check out the full survey results at this link for Coker’s added blog commentary. Or, if you’re lazy, flip through his 111-slide(!) presentation, embedded below.


All things HP, and I don't mean the steak sauce.

The twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was celebrated on Monday, so pardon this long-time fan for allotting not one but two #FridayFinds to the Boy Who Lived.

The Guardian's "Wizard Interest" Story will Give You a Postprandial Pick-Me-Up

The first HP Find is a feel-good link, about how Harry Potter has changed a variety of lives through the ages. From the military kid who says her one constant was the Harry Potter series to the couple that DIY’ed their wedding into the annals of history, I recommend scrolling through this link right after lunch, when you need that eleventh hour, the-weekend-is-almost-here pick-me-up.

My pilgrimage to Platform 9 3/4 in 2007. Sadly, I got stuck on the Muggle side of the wall.

My pilgrimage to Platform 9 3/4 in 2007. Sadly, I got stuck on the Muggle side of the wall.

HubSpot Shares Six Digital Storytelling Lessons from Pottermore

If you’re a writer in the twenty-first century, then it’s likely JK Rowling is on the shortlist of people you look up to. There’s lots to learn from her storytelling style, but you may not have considered what she can teach you in terms of self-promotion.

HubSpot has.

In this Find, the inbound marketing organization, which I would definitely assign to Ravenclaw House, identifies six digital storytelling lessons that you can glean from Pottermore, Rowling’s social platform dedicated to sharing little-known facts from the Wizarding World and building a community amoung us Muggles.

While it certainly helps to have Rowling’s bankroll for ad spend and a full company backing you, if you have your own author website and dedicated content to share with your fans, there are some great tips to glean from her site.

All right, well, sunset draws nigh, and like an Opposite Day vampire, I’ve got to sign off for tomorrow. I hope these links have informed and delighted you, and that you have a pleasant weekend.

Happy writing,
Jessica Hatch