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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Mar 12, 2018

In this episode Chris breaks down the new data from Pew Internet Research in the 2018 Social Media Use Report and what that means for indie authors.

Show Notes and Links:

-Why Facebook's numbers are still the best.

-Why the new numbers are still a challenge for YA and children's writers.

-How much social media is enough?

-Why authors should be cutting back on social media not adding on more.

-What are the criteria for an outpost channel and why you might want to have a couple.


-Read the Pew Internet Research report here.

-Link to Chris' course, The Content Formula

Feb 24, 2018

In this episode Chris discusses five principles that will help you find online classes, books, webinars, and Facebook groups that will help you sell more books and not just waste your time.

Show Notes & Links:

-First things first: know thyself.

-How to find platform-appropriate marketing training

-Why FOMO (fear of missing out) is your mortal enemy

-Why you should always consider value over price.

-When copying what other authors are doing might not be a good idea

-Why you need to know your base knowledge before you buy or enroll

-What is your budget for lifelong learning?

-What is the best strategy for selling more books?

Links (click 'em, they're live)

Platform Level pdf download

Episode 31 - Platform-friendly book marketing

My online classes and who they're a good fit for:

Level One Authors: 

Free class on building an email listThis class is designed for authors who do not have an email list started yet or are struggling trying to make their small list (less than 200) grow. 

Paid Courses and who they're good for:

All these courses have information pages that tell you about the course.

1. How to build a Facebook page that sells more books. If you have published one or more books and do not have a Facebook author page set up, this is a good course for you. Also, if you do have a page set up and you're not using the Shop template to sell books or integrating your email sign-up with your page, it's also a good course for you. Cost: $49

2. How to write online content (social media & ads) that will get you more engagement and more book sales. Best course I've ever put together. It includes updates and info on the latest Facebook algorithm change in January 2018. This course if for high level one authors and above (levels two through four) who have Facebook business pages and are struggling with engagement and sales. It contains 11 videos and numerous tools and learning labs.   

Cost: $79.


Feb 12, 2018

In this episode Becca and Chris interview Krystal Shannan, contemporary and paranormal romance writer,on how to build a review team. 

Show Notes & Links

- How to start from square one if you're a new author.

-Why you need to have goals.

-Tips on how to recruit reviewers.

-Tips on how to make sure reviewers post their reviews.

-How Krystal keeps her reviewers engaged.

-The difference between a beta reader and a review team member.

-Why authors should not get obsessed with reading their reviews.

-When you should look at your reviews.

-Krystal's smarty pants tip.

Links (click'em, they're live)

Krystal Shannan's author website

Krystal's Amazon Author Page

Krystal's author Facebook page

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Feb 3, 2018

In this episode, Chris and Becca interview authors Honoree Corder and Ben Hale about their newest book, Market Like A Boss.

Show Notes & Links

-The difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a business.

-Why you need a personal vision of success rather than a general vision of success based on what others have done.

-Marketing success is a long game. It's not instant and it's never "done."

-Why "six-figure author" can be a double challenge for some authors.

-Why watching your books sales can be like watching grass grow.

-Why learning is a huge part of your marketing success. 

-When to use a professionals to help in your publishing journey.

-Ben's "good book cover" test.


-Get your copy of Market Like A Boss here.

-Honoree's Amazon Author page.

-Ben's Amazon author page.

-Book One: Write Like A Boss

-Book Two: Publish Like A Boss

Join the SMART Marketing For Authors Mastermind Facebook group. You'll have to answer three questions to get in, but it's worth it!




Jan 28, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews Becca about her writing calendar, a tool that Becca developed to keep her author business and herself on track for success.

Show Notes & Links:

-How Becca set up a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep her writing, publishing, and promoting on task.

-Why "productivity tools" need to take your personality into account.

-Why you need to know your abilities to set up a calendar correctly.

-Why some people are wired to "write fast" and others are not.

-What kinds of tasks should your writing calendar track?

-Why a writing calendar is not set in cement. 


-Link to Becca's new book, Vangie Vale And The Strangled Strudel

-Link to Chris' Content Formula class

-Link to Becca's sample writing calendar you can download and use

-Link to SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group


Jan 22, 2018

In this episode, Chris and Becca have an informal discussion about the three options for authors on Facebook for promoting books and engaging with readers: personal profiles, author business pages, and groups. Pros and cons of each in light of the new algorithm changes.

Show Notes & Links:

-The three types of Facebook pages authors use to promote their books and build fan engagement.

-Tips on how to use each in light of the new Facebook algorithm

-Why using your personal platform to promote your books is not a good idea.

-Get maximum engagement on social media by using to 80-20 Content Rule.

-How tracking your Facebook Insights will help you write more engaging content.

-Why it's important to educate readers to mark your Facebook page as a "See First" page in their newsfeeds. 


-Link to episode 75--Chris' take on the new Facebook algorithm. 

-Link to Chris' video on how to teach fans to designate your business page as a "See First" page in their newsfeed. 

-Link to Chris' video on how to set up the Shop Template on your author business page

-Link to Chris' video on how to set up a redirect in your personal profile About section to your author business page.

-Link for more information about The Content Formula online class. JANUARY 23 IS THE LAST DAY OF THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!

-Facebook's helpful cheat sheet on the differences between profiles, pages, and groups.

-Link to romance author Roni Loren's insider Facebook group. Read the About This Group to find out about the group's guidelines.

Jan 14, 2018

In this episode Chris gives her take on the latest Facebook algorithm changes and how they may affect authors. Keep calm and carry on.

Show Notes & Links

-Why social media is still the best place to engage with your fans.

-Why you should not start using your Facebook personal profile to promote your books.

-The three things you need to do now to keep up with the changes.

-How to track your page on Facebook Insights (pdf-see links below)

-How to train your followers to list your page as a "See First" page and why you need to do that (link to Vimeo video below)

-Above all, keep calm, carry on, and know what's happening on your own page.


How to track your engagement and reach on Facebook Insights to know what's happening with your own engagement (pdf). This is a three page-pdf and the page toggle is at the top of the document.

Short video on how to train your followers to designate your page as a "See First" page to keep your posts in their newsfeeds.  

The official Facebook announcement on the changes

Chris' new online class on how to write content that engages now regardless of the algorithm changes. Info here.

Jan 8, 2018

In this episode, Chris presents part two on the keys to book marketing success in 2018. This week we find out the secret to online content that engages and sells: The Content Formula.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why audience research is your friend.

-The three kinds of audience research you need to be doing.

-Good audience research is free, but it costs your time.

-How to scout what other authors are doing well.

-The four pieces to the secret of engaging content that sells: The Content Formula.

-How you can find your Content Nexus.

-Make it simple: use "buckets" to organize your content.


-Research source links: Pew Internet Research, Buffer blog, EMarketer, Marketo blog.

-Free survey tools: Survey Monkey, TypeForm, Google Forms

- Becca's new cozy mystery book: Vangie Vale And The Strangled Strudel

-Free sample lesson from Chris' new class, The Content Formula. This particular lesson is on Finding Your Content Nexus. 

-Find out about Chris' new online class, The Content Formula, and get 50% off the enrollment fee until Jan. 22.





Dec 31, 2017

In this episode, Chris talks about the new algorithm announcement from Facebook and what it really means for authors.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why won't Facebook tell use exactly what is acceptable and what is not?

-Is this really a new version of the "algorithm"?

-What percentage of authors will probably be affected by the new algorithm tweak?

-Can authors still run a poll on their Facebook page?

-How might this affect third party sites that offer contest and sweepstakes applications?

-Why it's important to remember that the emphasis in the new tweak is on the baiting part and not on the likes, clicks, comments, and shares.

Links (click 'em, they're live-no baiting here)

Facebook's history of fighting click baiting (May 2017)

Facebook's recent announcement on the new tweak to punish click, comment, reaction, and share baiting.

Facebook's promotion guidelines (see letter E)

Mari Smith Facebook Live on the new changes

Enroll in Chris' free online class: How to Succeed With Facebook Ads in 2018


Dec 17, 2017

In this episode Chris talks with Draft2Digital (D2D) marketing Director Kevin Tumlinson on what is on the horizon for book marketing strategies in 2018. They also discuss D2D's recent decision to add Amazon as a distributor.

Show Notes & Links:

-Sign up here for Chris' free 8-video course on How to Succeed With Facebook Ads in 2018.

-Why content marketing is the next big thing in book marketing and what that means for authors.

-Why building your own personal brand is your key to long-term success.

-Why personalization is going to be key in book marketing in 2018.

-Why "batch & blast" marketing techniques are not working to sell books.

-The nuts and bolts of how Draft2Digital works with authors and what kinds of services they offer.

-How you can automatically update your front and back matter with D2D's publishing options. 

-Why Amazon? Why now?

-How D2D's Author Resources can help authors find help producing and marketing their books.

Important Links:

Click here to see Becca's new cozy culinary mystery book coming out in early January.

Draft2Digital's Author Resources page

Draft2Digital's blog for authors

Get more info on Draft2Digital and the services they provide here

Draft2Digital's Announcement Adding Amazon

How to leave a review on iTunes from our friend Stephen Campbell

Dec 8, 2017

In this episode Chris and Anne Janzer talk about the challenges and opportunities that come with the failure of Pronoun. 

Show Notes & Links:

-If you were using Pronoun to distribute your books, what does the aftermath look like for you? What are your options?

-Why the loss of Pronoun reveals a bigger challenge for all indie authors. 

-Why using goals-objectives-strategies-tactics (GOST) to drive your marketing plan will help you navigate changes in the market.

-How to do you own "House Hunter Analysis" to find your best fit for book distribution companies. 

-The four components of a House Hunter Analysis to find your best option that fits your business goals for publishing :

  • How wide is their distribution?
  • Time: was is the ease of use of the platform?
  • Trust: what kind of relationship does the company have with their authors?
  • Financials: royalties, delivery of royalties, cost of program, etc. 

-How to use "satisficing" to make your business decisions and win. 


Link to Anne's Amazon author page

Link to Anne's website

Link to Barry Schwartz's book The Paradox of Choice

Link to sign up for Chris' free Facebook Ads email class

Link to the December special for Chris' three book marketing books




Dec 5, 2017

In this episode Chris and Becca talk about five paradigm shifts authors need to make to succeed in their author business in 2018. It's just around the corner so let's get going!

Show Notes & Links:

-Why authors need to concentrate on writing better books in 2018.

-The ying and yang of FOMO (the fear of missing out). Can it actually be a good thing?

-How do you decide who to trust to give you marketing advice?

-Why you need to use changes in the market to your advantage.

-What is it that you complain about the most? Can you control that?

-You are unique--your journey is unique--there is no one ring to rule them all. Be confident!


Click to sign up for Chris' free 8-week class on how to succeed with Facebook ads in 2018.

Click to see the Book Marketing Resource Recommendations from the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast.

SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group. Join now--you'll have to answer a few questions to prove you're not a bot.

We're coming soon to Spotify. If you're there, we'll see you there soon. 

Nov 17, 2017

In this week's episode we interview Honoree Corder and Ben Hale, co-authors of a new series of books designed to help authors make writing their full-time career and successful business.

Links & Show Notes:

-Why becoming a writing professional is like baking a batch of cookies.

-What the heck is a writing hobbyist?

-Why authors need business goals.

-Why you need to identify triggers that will help keep you on track to new habits of success.

-What is the difference in motivation between a writing hobbyist and a writing professional?

-Why you need to invite criticism of your books to succeed.

-How making a small change can develop a new habit.


Click here to get your copy of Write Like A Boss on Amazon

Honoree Corder's author website

Ben Hale's author website

Honoree's Prosperity for Writers Mastermind Facebook Group

Click here to sign up for Chris' 8-week free video class on how to succeed with Facebook ads in 2018.


Nov 14, 2017

This week Chris and Becca talk about five book marketing trends that are set to expire in 2018. Food for thought--we want to get you up to speed on which book marketing trends are working and which are not.


Links & Notes:

1. Click to link to Chris' free email marketing class. 

2. Join our SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group. Don't forget to answer the three questions so we can know you aren't a bot. 

3. Sign up for Chris' FREE 8-week online course on how to be successful with Facebook ads in 2018. One video a week. Unsubscribe at any time.

Oct 18, 2017

In this episode Chris and guest co-host Kate Tilton discuss how to produce and promote your own audio books.

Show Notes & Links:

-How ACX University helps authors navigate the audio book process.

-Some of the initial questions authors need to ask before considering audio books.

-Pros and cons of releasing an audio book at the same time as your ebook.

-What is the process of finding a narrator for your book?

-What kind of investment should you expect to make when producing an ebook?

-What is the difference between royalty shares and charging perhour of finished product?

-Tips for launching an ebook.

-How to find audio book reviewers.

Links (just click 'em)

-ACX University

-Kate's post on 25 ways to market your audio book

-Joel Friedlander interview with Kate and Hannah

-Kate Tilton's website

-Kate's Facebook page

-Info on Chris' online course, How To Set Up A Facebook Page That Sells More Books


Oct 12, 2017

In this episode Chris and Becca interview successful author and entrepreneur Joanna Penn about the business of being an author. Joanna shares her successful strategies for growing her author business. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Hear Joanna's story and how she pulled the plug on a successful corporate career to pursue building her own author business.

-What is the definition of an entrepreneur?

-Why being an entrepreneur isn't for everyone.

- The difference between a marketing strategy and a distribution strategy.

-What does it mean to distribute your books "wide" and what are the advantages? Who might not want to go wide.

-Why is pricing your book an important element of selling globally?

-Joanna shares her Bookbub Featured Deal short cut.

-Why it's important to know the global market and what readers in other countries prefer.

-Why strategy has to do with what you don't know just as much as what you do know.

Joanna talks about her new book, The Healthy Writer, written with Dr. Euan Lawson.

Links (just click 'em)

Joanna's book, Career Change.

Joanna's new book, The Healthy Writer 

Link to Joanna's website, The Creative Penn

Link to Joanna's J.F. Penn fiction author page

Link to The Creative Penn podcast 




Oct 8, 2017

In this episode Chris and Becca interview longtime friend and book marketing expert Sandra Beckwith, founder of Build Book Buzz. Sandra has a new tool for authors to help put together a user-friendly comprehensive book marketing plan.

Links & Show Notes:

-Why you need to look at the marketability of your book before you start putting together a marketing plan.

-Why knowing who your book's audience is will make marketing your book easier.

-How using Google Maps is like putting a marketing plan together.

-The difference between strategies and tactics and how that knowledge will make your marketing plan more successful.

Links (Just click 'em)

Link to get Sandra's free Book Marketing Plan

Link to Build Book Buzz website

Link to the Build Book Buzz Facebook group

Link to Chris' Facebook page online course--get your Facebook page set up to engage fans and sell more books.





Sep 24, 2017

In this episode we interview rock star 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

Want to be a Facebook-page dynamo? Check out Chris' new online course, How To Set Up A Facebook Page That Sells More Books.

Please consider leaving a review of the podcast on iTunes so more authors can find us. Click on this link and then click on "view in iTunes." Next, click on ratings & Reviews and leave your review. Thanks! Or, if you're an Android or Windown person, you can leave a review on Stitcher.

Sep 24, 2017

In this week's episode we interview one of our favorite indie authors, Zara Keane. She knows her book marketing. You won't want to miss.

Show Notes & Links

-Zara shares her tips for success with Amazon Marketing Service ads.

-How to build a successful review team. Learn how to vet your reviewers for a higher success rate.

-How and why Zara cut back on her social media marketing.

-Tips on handling email marketing for multiple genre writers.

-Why you should get friendly with failure.

Links (Just click 'em):

Link to Zara's reader review form (hat tip to J A Huss)

Link to the JA Huss Perfect Year book marketing series on YouTube

Link to Chris' author-recommended Facebook class 

Link to Zara's website

Link to Zara's Facebook page


Sep 22, 2017

In this episode we welcome Tom Tate, AWeber's Product Marketing Manager to give us tips on how to land your emails in your subscribers' inboxes. This episode is a Learning Lab--note taking will be valuable. 

Show Notes & Links

-Why email providers screen your emails

-How email companies decide what is spam

-Why you content makes a difference--is yours valuable?

-Why getting target readers on your list is better than amassing large numbers of general readers

-How to educate your subscribers to make sure your emails land in the inbox. 

-Tips on how to escape the dreaded spam tag

-Are you familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act?

-Tips on engaging subscribers in a conversation to boost engagement

-Why you need to include an unsubscribe link in every email

Clickable Links

-Information on Chris' new Facebook class

-Learn about AWeber here

-Link to info on the CAN-SPAM Act




Sep 15, 2017

In this episode Chris interviews multiple genre author Sue Quinn about how to write for love and money. Also, they explore the process of shutting down a very popular Facebook and when to know when a group has outlived its purpose.

Show Notes & Links

In this episode you'll hear:

  • Authors can write for both love and money and how Sue does it.
  • What are the upsides and downsides of writing multiple genres under one name?
  • Why authors need to interact with both their fans and their peers. 
  • Why and how Sue closed her popular For Love and Money Facebook group.
  • How resurrecting her blog helped Sue get more valuable information to her peers.

Clickable Links: 

Sue's Facebook business page

Sue's self-publishing blog for authors

Chris' Facebook page class is still available. Learn how to set up your author business page for maximum sales and engagement. See what authors are saying about the class here

Sep 9, 2017

In this episode, Chris and Dave Chesson dig into Amazon keywords--what are they, why do you need to know how to use them, and everything in between. You'll want to take notes on this one. A learning lab episode.

Show Notes & Links:

-Hear Dave's story and how he got into self-publishing.

-What the heck is a keyword anyway and why you need to know.

-Where you should be using Amazon keywords.

-How to research the best keywords for your book or Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads.

-What is KDP Rocket and how it can save you tons of time in keyword research and help you find out if your book will make any money.

-The three criteria Amazon uses when deciding where and when to deliver your AMS ad.

-How long does it take an AMS ad to start delivering?

Links You'll Need:

Click here to find out more about Chris' new Facebook course.

-Visit Dave's website here.

-Here's the link to find out more about KDP Rocket. 

-Click here to get into Dave's free AMS Ads online course--highly recommend. 

-YouTube video on how to research keywords.

Aug 27, 2017

In this episode Chris give you her best ten tips for setting up your Facebook page to sell more books.

Show Notes & Links

**Special announcement: Becca's Write Better Faster class is  open again. If you didn't get in last time, be sure and grab your seat early. Click here for more info

-We review the "Golden Rule of Selling On Social Media" and why you can't overlook it.

-Why Facebook is the best social media channel for selling your books.

-Learn the time commitment for getting maximum engagement on the three top social media channels.

-Why you need to know what the self life is of a post on every social media channel.

-How does Facebook rank in effectiveness to sell against the other social media channels?

-Smarty Pants Book Marketing news this week.


Link to episode 57 and 58 for review

How often do you have to post on each social media channel for maximum engagement? Co-Schedule graphic.

The Sales Funnel graphic and AOL Platforms research

Ways to use pinned posts to sell more books

Canva tutorials on how to put together images that attract attention

Copywriting resources I recommend:

Info & sign-up for Chris' new online course, How to Set Up a Facebook Page That Sells More Books

The Newbie's Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing

Be sure and go to the podcast page at and let us know what your biggest book marketing challenge is and what topics you'd like us to cover in future how-to shows.



Aug 20, 2017

In this episode, Chris continues the mini series on how to sell by looking closer at the 80-20 Content Rule, or how to write content that is so valuable readers will want more.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why you need to go back and listen to episode 57 if you haven't already.

-Review of the research - the principle of reciprocity and why fans really follow you online.

-Why generosity has to be a life value and not a sales tactic.

-How to set up a Content Bucket System that will produce an endless stream of content your fans crave.

-Examples of what the system looks like for fiction & nonfiction writers.


Episode 57 link - go back and listen if you haven't already.

Downloadable resources for this episode - Content Bucket System templates

Robert Caildini's book, Influence

Rob Fugetta's book Brand Advocates

Link to find out more information about Chris' Facebook Page class

Link to the preorder of Becca's new book

Aug 14, 2017

In this episode, Chris and Becca start a mini series on how to sell books online. Using questions they've received from authors, they'll start this week with giving you their secret formula for selling books online. It's not what you think!

Show Notes & Links:

What you'll learn:

-The golden rule of selling books online.

-Why authors don't need to guess about how to best sell books online.

-Why do people buy? The six research-based psychological triggers.

-The difference between leading people to buy and telling them to buy.

-What is reciprocity and how does it sell books?

-Three ways to conduct reader research.

-How the 80-20 Content Rule helps you sell more books.


-Link to Robert Cialdini's book, Influence. Click here.

-Link to Mark Dawson's master class podcast on reader surveys. Click here. 

-Link to worksheet on brainstorming your own Content Code, and the Social Media Content Cheat Sheet. Click here.

-Link to Chris' new onine course, How to Set Up a Facebook Page That Sells More Books. Get more info here.

-Link to Becca's cozy mystery Vangie Vale And The Murdered Macaron. Click here.

-Link to preorder for Becca's second cozy mystery, Vangie Vale And The Corpseless Custard. Click here.

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