South Bay Writers Upcoming Events

September 08, 2014

Mark Coker, Founder of ebook distributor Smashwords

Mark Coker headshotBy Dave LaRoche
Vice President, South Bay Writers

We’re authors, we know how to write, may have our story wrapped, and the big mystery now is how do we get it in front of our readers. Which of the myriad publishing paths do we take?

We know the physical attributes of a book. Conforming our text, while challenging, is not overwhelming and most printers can help. Ebook publishers provide us a template. Marketing, distribution, and sales are the conundrum; moreover, they’re changing and a lot of it’s new. Even the “new” is morphing, much of what’s to come unknown. The entire process, downstream from writing, leaves most authors with a blank stare.

But we can’t leave it there. We’ve labored, sweat that virtual blood, and come to love our creation. We’ve experienced the frustration of rewrites and polishing, spent money on editing and time on peer reviews. We’re totally invested, likely obsessed. We must dig in and go on. We need to see our book read, let others have the experience of knowing our story.

But, let us not fret. There are things to learn that will help us through the publishing maze, road maps to follow, knowledge of what’s there today, and what’s coming. Writing, they say, is a business. People in business know one thing: trends are important—what has happened, what’s happening now, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow. New technology, changing appetites, and needs, ideas relating to time and priorities, all influence the market and the way people behave—in our case, the way people acquire and read books. Knowing these trends will help get our stories where we want them in an expeditious and efficient way. Make us successful authors.

Mark Coker, founder of ebook distributor Smashwords, is at the forefront of all this. He has studied the market and he knows those trends. Not only a successful publisher in the e-book business, he is a publishing student avant-garde, and today shapes some of the movement. At our next meeting, (Sept. 8, 2014) he will tell us about the industry today and what is expected tomorrow. We will learn how technology is driving that change and how we can best take advantage; give us insight into packaging our story and getting in front of readers.

Mark is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, where he received his B.S. in marketing. In 2008, Mark founded online company Smashwords. In June 2010, The Wall Street Journal named Mark one of the “Eight Stars of Self-Publishing.” In March 2012, MediaBistro named Mark one of the “Five Ebook Experts to Watch.” In June 2012, Forbes profiled Mark in a feature story entitled, “Apple’s Biggest Supplier of E-Books.” In both 2013 and 2014, Forbes Magazine named Smashwords one of “America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies.” In the six years since its launch, Smashwords has grown to become the leading ebook distributor. Over 80,000 authors from around the world publish and distribute nearly 300,000 books at Smashwords.

COST: $15 (includes $10 for dinner)

LOCATION: Harry’s Hofbrau, 390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose

6:00 pm Dinner
6:30 pm General Meeting
7:00 pm Break
7:30 pm Speaker Presentation: Mark Coker, Founder of ebook distributor Smashwords
8:30 pm Networking & Dessert
9:00 pm Close