The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

Award-winning marketer Chris Syme and bestselling indie author Becca Syme give self-published authors the latest social media tips and strategies that sell more books and build loyal fans. Join them as they interview top book marketing experts, showcase successful indie authors, and offer tips from their own successes on this weekly show.
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Jun 3, 2019

In this episode we interview nonfiction author and coach Honoree Corder on how to collaborate on projects with other authors. Learn what it takes to work with another author.

Show Notes And Links

-What does the collaboration process look like?

-How do you find another author to collaborate with?

-How do you actually share duties on a project?

-How you should share duties on a project?

-Make sure you tick off all the legal boxes in your partnership.

-Why your biggest asset is being easy to work with

Links (Just click 'em)

Prosperity For Writers - Chris' favorite book by Honoree

Honoree's new book with Ben Hale, Write Like A Boss - get your copy today!

Honoree's Amazon author page

The Prosperous Writers Series boxed set by Honoree Corder and Brian Meeks

May 25, 2019

In this episode Chris revisits her marketing challenge for 2019 to see how you're doing. Time for a midyear check-up. 

Links & Show Notes:

-Why it's time for a marketing disruption and what that means.

-Why readers' desires are going to dictate the direction of marketing.

-Why books don't sell: is it your marketing or is it the book's quality?

-Why your idea of success needs to determine your marketing strategies.

-The two applications of disruptive marketing we're going to cover in the series: writing to market and giving your current books a facelift.

-What we need to keep going forward (don't throw out the baby with the bath water):

1. SMART marketing principles

2. The sales funnel or reader's journey

3. Content strategy that engages readers

Links: click 'em, they're live:

Link to Chris' book, The Author's Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing.

May 17, 2019

In this second part of Crisis Management For Authors, Chris and Becca discuss response strategies to online events and when you should and should not weigh-in publicly.

Links & Show Notes:

-How to separate fact from fiction when determining your response.

-Why you need to remove your emotions from the picture before deciding on any action plan.

-How to know when you’re over your head and need help.

-How you can help a fellow author in a crisis without blasting on social media.

-More on the life of an online swam.

-Why weighing in on social media can make a crisis worse.

Links – Click ’em, they’re live

Link to listen to part one of the two-part series here

Check out Chris' book Crisis Management For Authors


May 12, 2019

In this episode, Chris and Becca kick off their Summer Blast From the Past series by revisiting one of the most popular shows called "It Could Happen to You", an episode on crisis prevention and reputation management. This hot topic was one of the most talked about shows of 2018.

Links and Show Notes:

 -Chris shares her experience in crisis management and why knowing how to handle a crisis is important.

-What you can do to help prevent a crisis.

-Why an engaged social media following is an important asset in a crisis.

-Your best crisis prevention: a good reputation.

-Why it's important to evaluate the threat level of a crisis before taking an action.

-Examples of levels one, two, and three crises.

- Why some "crises" just need to be ignored.

Links - click 'em, they're live 

The link for Chris' book, Crisis Management For Authors (Amazon & also in Kindle Unlimited until May 31)

May 5, 2019

In this final episode in the "how to do a podcast" series Chris visits with historical mystery author Jenny Wheeler about why and how she started her podcast, The Joys of Binge Reading

Show Notes & Links:

-How to get an idea for a show.

-Tips on how to choose and interview guests.

-Be sure and research your guests' platforms.

-The advantages of starting slowly when it comes to marketing.

-Marketing ideas Jenny uses.

-Subscriptions and email lists are keys to growth. 

-Marketing tip: ask your guests to share the show with their audiences.

-Smartypants tip: It's about time.

Links (click em, they're live):

-Jenny Wheeler's podcast, The Joys of Binge Reading

-Jenny Wheeler's author website

-Link to other episodes in this series:

    Episode 124: Should you start  podcast?

    Episode 125: How to start a podcast

    Episode 126: How to grow your podcast audience from zero

Link to more information on the Get Published conference in Bozeman




Apr 28, 2019

In this episode Chris interviews popular podcast host Michelle Nezat  about how she grew her show's audience from the ground up using organic strategies.

Show Notes & Links:

- How to get your podcast off the ground and why the launch strategy is key to growth.

-How Michelle uses a downloadable lead magnet to grow her audience.

-Why Michelle uses scripting to keep her show's consistent and cohesive.

-Downloads, subscriptions, and email lists--oh my. Which metrics are important?

-Ideas for where to host and publish your podcast.

-The importance of using keywords and knowing your target audience.

-The smarty pants tip: content is king; audio is queen.

Links (click 'em, they're live):

-Link to Michelle podcast, More Than A Song.

-Link to Anchor (free podcast hosting)

-How to increase SEO with your podcast and episode titles

-Tips to getting into New and Noteworthy on iTunes

The 2-Minute Guide to getting in New & Noteworthy on iTunes

-Link to info on The Get Published Conference in Bozeman June 15

Apr 20, 2019

In this episode Chris gives an overview of all the important elements of producing your own podcast.

Show Notes & Links:

What you need to start:

- A content plan.

-Decide on your format.

-Guests or go solo or hybrid?

-If you want to script your show, use your friendly conversational voice, not your writing voice.

-How to put together a calendar.

-Where are you going to publish your shows?

-What basic equipment do you need?

Links: Click 'em, they're live!

-Link to last week's episode

-Link to the Get Published Conference in Bozeman June 15

-Calendly: free calendar tool.

-Editing application Audacity

-Levelator: sound leveler app

-Skype Call Recorder

-How to upload a podcast to iTunes without a host


Apr 14, 2019

In this episode Chris outlines several reasons why you may want to consider starting a podcast and one big reason why you shouldn't. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Always start with your "why."

-One bad reason why you should not start a podcast

-You may want to consider starting a podcast if:

     1. You're a nonfiction writer.

     2. You have a unique concept or better to solve a problem for your listeners.

     3. You know your way around technology adapt easy to new technologies.

     4. You have a large backlist of books.

     5. You are a good speaker and want to become a better one.

     6. You love connecting personally with your readers.

Links: click 'em, they're live:

-Write Better Faster Academy and Becca Syme's Quitcast Show

-Link to find out more about The GetPublished Conference in Bozeman,Montana June 15.

-Chris' book Sell More Books With Less Marketing     




Mar 31, 2019

In this episode Chris interviews author and copywriting expert Brian Meeks. Brian, best known for expertise on Amazon ads, has a new book on how to write winning copy. The episode starts with an update on Amazon's new lockscreen ads that have many authors befuddled.

Show Notes & Links:

-Are the new lockscreen ads (Amazon) the old product display ads?

-The the goal in copywriting is not the same as in writing a book.

-The difference between structure in ad copy and prose writing.

-Why using a summary of your book as a description to sell your book is a bad choice.

-Why authors hate copywriting and Brian's solution.

-What is a hook and why every piece of copywriting needs one.

-Should you put your social proof (Amazon bestseller, USA Today bestseller) in your book description?

Links: click 'em, they're live:

Check out Brian's new book, Mastering Amazon Descriptions, here

Brian's Facebook group page on Masterin Amazon Descriptions here

Becca Syme's new podcast, The Quitcast

Becca's new book, Dear Writer, You Need To Quit


Mar 25, 2019

This episode is the third of a three-part super series on how to become a BookBub ads expert with David Gaughran. If you haven't listened to episodes one and two, we recommend you start there. Here's the link to the first show in the series:


In this episode Chris and expert guest David Gaughran talk about how to bid for success with BookBub ads. There may be a tiny bit of math involved, but keep calm and carry on.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why using CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding can be foreboding. 

-The reasons why CPM bidding is better than CPC bidding (cost-per-click) on BookBub ads.

-If you haven't optimized your ads through testing and your ad is bad, CPM might be a risk.

-When should you use BookBub ads?

-Is there a difference in effectiveness for authors on KDP-only or wide?

-Why your success rate goes up when you test.

-When BookBub ads are good for free books and when they are not

-Be sure and listen for David's smarty pants tip to rule them all at the end of the show.

Links (click 'em, they're live)

-Get David's new book, BookBub Ads Expert here

-David Gaughran website and blog

-Becca Syme's new Quitcast Show; what to quit, what to keep, and what to question.

Chris Syme's Facebook page


Mar 18, 2019

Part two of three. If you haven't listened to part one, click here and listen first. Then come back!

In this episode David and Chris discuss the tips and tricks to targeting an ad on BookBub. It's not like Facebook or Amazon ads, so you need to know what you're doing for maximum results.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why you should test your BookBub ads using the Amazon US Kindle store.

-The anatomy of a killer ad: why you need to know how to put an engaging image together.

-The #1 reason you shouldn't use BookBub's generated ads as your image.

-How learning to do your own images with the help of a tool like Canva will help you in other ways besides just ads.

-Should a book cover be front and center on a BookBub ad?

-Why we need to analyze and understand what our cost-per-click buys us on the different ad platforms.

-Targeting options on BookBub ads are different than other platforms. Why targeting mega authors doesn't work there.

-Understanding target audiences and author targets on BookBub ads. 

-How to target multiple genre authors.

Links (click 'em, they're live):

Be sure and grab a copy of David's book, BookBub Ads Expert

Follow David's blog here

Becca Syme's new Quitcast Show on YouTube

Find out more about Chris' premium online class for authors: The Content Formula: A Blueprint for Engagement and Loyalty. 



Mar 10, 2019

This week, Chris starts a three-week series with David Gaughran, author of the new book, BookBub Ads Expert. In this first part, it's all about how to test for success and find a template you can use to replicate for success. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Why David wrote his new book and how he got his data.

-Why testing is absolutely necessary for success.

-Why conversions (sales) are a more important measure than click-throughs. Hint:clicks don't tell the right story.

-Why you'll get the bet results with a discounted ad and why you should start there.

-How a "deal" can hook a reader to buy a full price book.

-Why testing helps you understand the nuances of the BookBub ad platform and how that works to your advantage.

-Why targeting big name, bestselling authors for your ads on BookBub won't work like it does on Amazon or Facebook.

Links (click 'em, they're live)

-Get your copy of BookBub Ads Expert here

-A link to David Gaughran's website--sign up for his email list and get his free book, Amazon Decoded.

-Link to the BookBub Partner Dashboard blog (good resources here)

-Link to Becca Syme's new videocast: The Quitcast.

-Link to leave a comment or ask a question on the podcast page


Mar 4, 2019

In this episode, Chris and Becca introduce the second principle from the Quitcast tag line: what to quit, what to keep, what to question. This week we tackle what every author needs to keep. 

Show Notes & Links:

- The best predictor of your success: your strengths.

-Why knowing your strengths will enhance every area of your author business from writing to marketing and everything in-between.

-Why working on your strengths statistically gives you more success than working on your weaknesses.

-Understanding your strengths will give you the confidence to know what you can do, recognize what others might expect of you, and how you can balance the two. 

Links (click 'em, they're live):

Watch the video episode on Becca's YouTube channel

-Learn more about the CliftonStrengths® Assessment:

Terry Schott, everybody:

Take the CliftonStrengths® Assessment:

Becca's website:

Support this podcast and learn more about insider benefits:



Feb 25, 2019

In this episode of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast, Chris and Becca introduce The Quitcast, Becca's new podcast for authors: what to keep, what to quit, and what to question.

Links & Show Notes

-Introducing The Quitcast, a new videocast on YouTube for authors who want to take the next step in their success journey as an author. There is nothing out there for authors like this show--you will want to become a regular!

-Challenging the premise that quitting something is negative. Why strategic quitting is good for you.

-What does your own personal success look like?

-Four actions that produce success...and which one we're getting wrong.

-The one thing you need to quit today and why.

Show Notes (click 'em, they're live)

The Quitcast videocast on YouTube

Find out more about Becca and The Better-Faster Academy

Visit Becca's Patreon page and find out more perks for the show.


Feb 18, 2019

In this week's episode of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast, Chris gives three good reasons why a lead magnet (or reader magnet) might not be enough. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Why tactics are an incomplete marketing strategy

A lead magnet is not enough:

1. Because it's a tactic! Where's the why? The Seinfeld-ism: You know how to hook the reader, you just don't know how to keep the reader. 

2. If you have only one or two books published. Match your lead magnet strategy with your publishing strategy.

[Sell through definition: the percentage of readers who buy book two after book one, and then book three and so on...Each book has its own sell-through rate.]

3. If you are leaving readers high and dry with nowhere to go or nowhere to connect. 

The perma-free book needs to be a doorway for readers to enter your publishing platform or business. It's not just a standalone book. 

Links - click 'em, they're live:

-Link to Becca Syme's new video podcast: The Quitcast.

-Link to Becca's new book, Dear Writer, You Need To Quit

-Link to the Better Faster Academy

-Link to Chris' free email strategy class on Teachable

-Sara Rosett's podcast on how to sell more books with Pinterest



Feb 4, 2019

In this week's show Chris analyzes data on how social media helps word-of-mouth and increases sales. Also, why most authors only need one primary social media channel for their platform.

Show Notes:

-Know the why behind the power of social media.

-Updated social media stats.

-Updated research on why social media increases sales.

-70% of people over 13 years old are on at least one social media channel to connect (88% of 18-29 age group).

-Facebook and YouTube have the highest numbers and best age spread.

-Only 10% of people over 65 are on Instagram.

-A primary social media channel is the place where you connect with fans. You only need one in most cases.

-Why getting good at content is the key to your success.


Link to Hubspot research article

Link to Pew Internet research

Link to Becca's new book, Dear Writer, You Need To Quit

Link to Chris' book, The Authors Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing.


Jan 27, 2019

In this episode Chris interviews Ricardo Fayet, one of the founders of Reedsy, about their new Book Promotions Services data base. This searchable data base helps authors find specific promotions that fit their platform level, their budget, and their goals.

Show Notes & Links:

-What in the heck is Reedsy?

-Sorting through the Book Promotions Services data base by criteria.

-How was the Reedsy list curated?

-Is a BookBub Featured Deal really worth the investment?

-What are the best alternatives to a BookBub Featured Deal?

-Why a lack of budget shouldn't stop you from applying for a BookBub Featured Deal.

-What is the value of running free promotions?

-Ricardo's smarty pants tips: why authors don't need to be doing everything.

Links - Click 'em they're live: website

Reedsy Book Promotions Tool 2019

Link to Becca's new nonfiction book (a sneak peek)

Link to find out more about Chris' online course, The Content Formula: a Blueprint for Fan Engagement


Jan 20, 2019

In this episode Chris lays the foundation for the "less is more" marketing system. This week, Chris shows you the first part of that SMART marketing equation: The Big Three + platform-specific promotions by defining the three goals and three platforms you need to establish.

Show Notes & Links:

- "Less is more marketing" requires more attention to detail, laser-focused strategy, and requires you to let go of FOMO and the splatter method of marketing.

-You need The Big Three Platforms:

1. A professional website - what does a professional website look like?

2. An interactive email strategy-the ultimate email resource

3. A primary social media channel for engagement-the urge to engage on every social media channel is your biggest waste of time

Each of those three must have strategies to meet the Big Three Goals:

1. Discovery - find new readers.

2. Sales - lead readers to opportunities to buy your books.

3. Develop loyalty - strategies to turn your readers into raving word-of-mouth marketers.

Links: click 'em, they're live:

- Link to last week's podcast that describes author platform levels

-Link to podcast with Tammi Labreceque on email marketing

-Link to Joanna Penn's tutorial on how to set up a website

-Link to get my latest book, The Author's Guide To Sell More Books With Less Marketing




Jan 14, 2019

In this episode, Chris talks about three fundamentals you need to master to plot a successful marketing plan. The beginning of a series on selling more books with less marketing in 2019.

Show Notes & Links:

The three fundamentals you need to master to give your marketing plan the best chance of success.

1. Platform: why a good book is no longer enough.

2. You need a Marketing Manifesto. No, we're not going to take over the world, just set our own course for success with three important commitments.

3. Learn how to sell.

-Most authors don't know the fundamentals of selling: how to reach readers in the various stages of the sales funnel, how to calculate important metrics like sell-through, or how to write copy that converts to sales.

-You can learn how to sell effectively without being sleazy or pushy.

Links: click 'em, they're live:

Link to podcast 101: How to be a newsletter Ninja with Tammi Labrecque

Link to Chris' updated book, The Author's Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing (e-book only)


Jan 7, 2019

In this episode of the podcast, Chris reviews the 2018 Word of Mouth Marketing Report from Convince and Convert Consulting and how it can help authors sell more books.

Show Notes & Links

- 66% of people start a purchase decision with an online search.

- How many people search retail sites like Amazon for books?

-Why book reviews are so important and why your ARC team needs to know the procedure for books they do not like.

- Social Proof and why young readers will buy based on a second hand recommendation.

-Why social media is only the vehicle to connection, not the magic bullet.

-People value word of mouth from friends and family 41% more than social media.

-Why we follow authentic people on social media: shout out to Kevin Tumlinson and Kirsten Oliphant

Links: click 'em, they're live

Click here to see the report from Convince & Convert (the link to the report is at the bottom of this blog post)

Click here to get a copy of the revised version of The Author's Guide To Sell More Books With Less Marketing

Click here to listen to episode 110 on word of mouth marketing


Dec 29, 2018

Sorry--somehow the introduction got dropped on the file. This is episode 111 of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

In this episode of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast, Chris interviews USA Today Bestselling author Sara Rosett about marketing strategies she is experimenting with including using Pinterest to provide bonus content for her fiction books. 

Show Notes & Links:

- How authors can use traditional retail events like Black Friday to give loyal readers an exclusive promotion.

-Why you need to deliver on what you promise in your newsletter.

-The importance of getting good at organic (non-paid) promotions.

-Why your promotions need to have a specific goal.

-Ways you can use Pinterest to build reader loyalty.

-How Pinterest boards can become bonus content for fiction books that will boost sales and enhance the reader experience.

-Why you need to find a marketing system that fits you.

Links (click 'em, they're live)

-Link to Sara's Pinterest page

-Link to Sara's blog post on how authors can get started using Pinterest for promotion.

-Link to Sara's website.

-Link to Sara's Amazon author page

Be sure and visit the podcast page at to leave a comment or question. 

Dec 16, 2018

In this episode Chris defines word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing and talks about why it will be a go-to strategy going forward. Chris shares seven key WOM strategies you'll need in 2019.

Show Notes & Links: 

-What’s coming to the show in 2019? 

-What is word-of-mouth marketing?

-Why the data for WOM marketing is your why.

-Statistics on why word-of-mouth marketing is key to any marketing system.

-Our present marketing systems rely too much on paid ad strategies.

7 Word-of Mouth Strategies to Start Now:

  • Build an author friend network in your genre.
  • Build an advance reader/review team.
  • Encourage fan-generated content on your Facebook page.
  • Share reader reviews on social media.
  • Consider a rewards program
  • Highlight a super fan book review every newsletter.
  • Be generous! 

Links (Click' em, they're live):

22Social (rewards and promotions application for Facebook) – check them out here: 

NY Times bestselling author Roni Loren “building a fan group” podcast:

Anne Janzer blog post of books to give writer friends:

Dec 10, 2018

In this episode Chris teaches authors how to scale (or copy) the promotion of another author and have success. 

Show Notes & Links:

Why do you need to know how to scale a book promotion you want to copy?

The three cardinal rules of book promotion—rules you can’t violate:

  1. Always consider value over cost.
  2. If you copy another author you may not get the same results, so start with scale
  3. You can have good success with free promotions but sometimes you’ll have to spend money to make money. 

Don’t waste your time with promotions that don’t return.

Why you need a goal for every promotion you run.

Why new authors probably shouldn’t be buying ads

Why every author needs to get good at running organic, nonpaid marketing promotions. 

How to copy a promotion that another author does and make it work for you

How to check if another author’s promotion will work for you. 

What is the biggest mistake new authors make with promotions?

How to find out if a particular promotion will work for you?

Why you need to go into every promotion able to lose all the money you’re spending and not get a return.

Links: Click 'em they're live

Download your platform level cheat sheet here

Reedsy Book Promotions Resource

Dec 2, 2018

In this episode, the discussion continues about the new marketing and where we need to be going in 2019 to optimize book sales and business growth (yes, author--you are a business owner). Chris also shares where the podcast is going in 2019 and changes listeners can expect as the show expands it content. 

Links & Show Notes:

"The biggest mistake we've made in marketing is ignoring the emotional connection that readers have to our stories."

-Chris Syme

-What's coming in 2019 and why you'll want to stay tuned.

-Takeaways from Seth Godin's new book, This is Marketing.

-Why advertising and marketing are not the same thing.

-Why we need to quit telling people what they should be buying.

-Why ads are no longer a go-to strategy for most authors.

-Why you may want to take a second look at redefining "write to market."


Seth Godin's new book, This Is Marketing.

David Gaughran's Strangers to Superfans book


Nov 11, 2018

In this episode Chris introduces a short series on disruptive marketing. Because traditional methods we've been using for years are not delivering as well as they used to, it may be time to shake things up going into 2019. Not for the faint of heart. 

Links & Show Notes:

-Why it's time for a marketing disruption and what that means.

-Why readers' desires are going to dictate the direction of marketing.

-Why books don't sell: is it your marketing or is it the book's quality?

-Why your idea of success needs to determine your marketing strategies. 

-The two applications of disruptive marketing we're going to cover in the series: writing to market and giving your current books a facelift.

-What we need to keep going forward (don't throw out the baby with the bath water):

1. SMART marketing principles

2. The sales funnel or reader's journey

3. Content strategy that engages readers

Links: click 'em, they're live:

Link to Chris' Amazon author page and the SMART Marketing for Authors book series.

Link to information about The Content Formula online class

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