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 18, 2018

In this episode Chris and Becca give authors a strategic outline on how to use social media to supplement book sales. 

Show Notes & Links

-The one key to selling books with social media.

-What is the 80-20 Content Rule and why do authors need it to sell with social media?

-Why discovering new readers is the most difficult part of using social media for promotions.

-How to know what kind of content your readers will engagement with.

-What are the four elements of engaging content (The Content Formula Cheat Sheet)?

-What are "meaningful interactions" and why you need to learn how to foster conversations on social media.

-Why every social media post needs a call-to-action and why that isn't always about selling.

-Exciting news: meet us in Denver at the Romance Writers of America conference.

Links: click 'em, they're live:

The Art of Shouting Quietly by Peter Mosley

Influence by Robert Caildini

Your free download of The Content Formula Cheat Sheet

Find out more about Chris' online course, The Content Formula


Jun 10, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews author David Gaughran about his new book, From Strangers To Superfans - described by Chris as a must-read for authors of every platform level. 

Links & Show Notes

-Why it's important for authors to understand the "reader's journey" and how that knowledge informs the marketing process.

-Why the "Discovery" piece of the journey is the "easiest problem to solve and also the easiest to screw-up."

-Why authors need to understand the role that data plays in making marketing decisions.

-Why most authors look at marketing their backlist backwards and how to fix it.

-Why a smaller, more engaged mailing list is better than a huge disinterested one. 

-Why you need to pay attention to the production details of your book first: quality of writing, cover, blurb, keywords.

Links - Click 'em, they're live

Link to David Gaughran's new book, Strangers to Superfans. 

Link to sign up for his regular newsletter and receive a free copy of his book, Amazon Decoded.

Jun 4, 2018

In this episode Chris outlines the three new rules of email marketing all authors need to pay attention to. As online content consumption changes, authors need to adjust to the changing needs of their readers. 

Links & Show Notes:

- Why engagement is now more important than reach in your email strategies.

-Why you need follow-up sequences designed around where your readers are coming from.

-Why giving away free books for email addresses is an incomplete list growth strategy.

-Why designing your emails for mobile phone reading is important.

-Why authors need to be part of value-based information readers are searching for online and quit being part of the noise.

Links - click 'em they're live:

Find out more about Chris' online class The Content Formula

Get Chris' new book, Crisis Managers For Authors, at a preorder discount until June 8. It can happen to you.

May 28, 2018

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.

Show Notes & Links:

-Short review of threat levels from last week's podcast.

-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 will make a crisis worse.

Links - Click 'em, they're live

Pre-order discount for Chris' new book. Discount goes away on June 7

Link to the part one episode of Crisis Management For Authors.

May 21, 2018

In this episode of the podcast, Becca interviews co-host Chris Syme about her extensive background in crisis management and what authors need to know about handling negative events. 

Show Notes & Links:

-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 understand 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 preorder link for Chris' new book, Crisis Management For Authors (Amazon & Kindle Unlimited) 


May 7, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews copywriting expert and author Bryan Cohen on how to fix the most common mistakes authors make writing their book descriptions and ads. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Why writing a book description is more like poetry than prose.

-Waste not, want not. Why every word is important.

-The 4 elements of a successful book description.

-The most common mistakes authors make when writing book descriptions & how to fix.

-Why a plot summary is not just a retelling of the book.

-Less is more. Why too many details can turn your buyer off.

-Where does this stuff go: NY Times or USA Today bestselling author status, info about a series.

-Why you need a call-to-action or selling paragraph. Do you want to leave 20% of your book sales behind?

-How comparisons can increase your sales and how Bryan does it.

-Why effective online ads require research and testing. Not for the newbie or faint-hearted.

-Quote of the show: "Publishing is something you cannot do for a dollar."

-Don't miss Bryan's smarty pants tip at the end--it's gold.

Links: Click 'em, they're live

Bryan's website here

Bryan's copywriting book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis

Bryan's online courses on Teachable

Bryan's Amazon Author page

The Sell More Books Show

RWA Conference - Denver

Book of the Month: Sell More Books With Less Marketing by Chris Syme. Spend less time marketing and more time writing. 



Apr 29, 2018

In this episode we visit with the founder of Written Word Media Ricci Wolman and discuss all things book promotions: when to do them, why to do them, how to do them, and more.

Show Notes & Links

-Meet Ricci Wolman, the founder of Written Word Media. 

-How Written Word's two main programs, BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy, are different and when you might want to use each.

-What kind of return do authors get from a free book promotion? Is making money the only reason to run a promotion?

-What is the difference between running just a one-off promotion for a book and stacking promotions together?

-Why a discount promotion is like the hammer in a toolbox and why you need the whole toolbox for a successful book business. 

-Why it's important to plan ahead for all your book promotions.

Links: Click 'em, they're live!

Click here for Written Word Media's main site and blog - lots of information on book marketing here.

Learn about Red Feather Romance promotions for steamy contemporary romance books

Follow Written Word Media on Facebook

There's still time to enroll in Chris' Content Formula Class to take your online content to the next level. See some author testimonials here.


Apr 16, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews brain science geek and author Anne Janzer about how to find a sustainable book marketing plan so you can do that one thing you really want to do...write.

Show Note & Links:

1. Three questions you need to answer before you decide on a book marketing strategy.

2. Why sometimes you just have to try something to see if it works and then move on.

3. Why it's okay not to finish an online course, quit reading a book, or not continue a marketing strategy you've invested in.

4. Tips on what to do if your marketing isn't working.

5. Why discovery strategies (finding new readers for your books) are neglected by most authors, but the key to long-term success.

6. What are the dangers of trying to live from book marketing promotion to book marketing promotion with no long-term plan?

7. Why you need to believe your hard work will pay off in the long run.

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

Connect with Anne via her website here:

Find out more about Anne's new online course, Revise Your Writing.

See Anne's books here.


Apr 9, 2018

In this episode, Chris and Becca interview book marketing expert Kate Tilton on how to reach the elusive teen market. Generation Z readers are those born after 1993. 

Show Notes & Links:

  1. Why Generation Z would buy Pepsi even when they believe Coke tastes better.
  2. Why teens need to believe in the brands (authors) they follow.
  3. Reasons why Generation Z flocks to YouTube (the Four Essential Freedoms from YouTube).
  4. Why Instagram photos need to be visually engaging first, message second.
  5. Why the social part of social media is most important to teens.
  6. Three tips to capture teen loyalty.
  7. Tips on marketing to the YA crossover audience (adults that read YA).
  8. How to overcome the content challenge of Instagram.
  9. How Booktubers influence the YA market.
  10. The fastest way to turn off a teen audience: try to talk like a teen.

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

Connect With Kate:

Instagram: k8tilton

Facebook -

Twitter -


SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook Group (you’ll have to answer 3 questions to get in)

Apr 2, 2018

In this episode Chris explains the five points of guaranteed long-term book marketing success--the SMART acronym.

Show Notes & Links

-Five concepts that will guarantee your book marketing is successful in the long run. If you build it, they will come.

-Why the SMART marketing acronym is more than just a slick slogan.

-Why sustainable marketing is key--what it is and is not.

-Is your marketing manageable or is it overtaking your life?

-Nobody writes a book for everybody. Your marketing needs to be audience-specific.

-Relevant is not about having all the latest bells and whistles. It's about building a strong author-reader connection.

-Why tactics come after the strategy--they are not the strategy.

-Always weigh the why before you use a tactic.

-Facebook and Instagram are not strategies--they are tactics. Don't shoot at a target blindfolded. Tactics-last, strategy-first.

Links (click 'em, they're live)

Join the SMART Marketing for Authors Facebook group (you'll have to answer a few questions to get in)

-Winter Wonderland picture link

-Chris' latest book The Newbies Guide To Sell More Books With Less Marketing. (more on SMART Marketing)

Mar 25, 2018

In this episode Chris and Becca interview author Shawn Inmon for tips on how he built his Facebook page from 86 fans to over 3000 by being consistent, persistent, and personable. And, spending less than ten dollars a month.

Links & Show Notes:

-Why it is important to make a commitment to post once a day over a long period of time before even thinking about your engagement rates.

-Why a slow, persistent effort is better than buying fans or buying ads for quick growth.

-How using strategic boosted posts to snag new readers can help grow your page. 

-How to create a "destination Facebook page."

-Why being yourself is your secret weapon.

-Why social media is hard for some people and easy for others.

Links: Click' em - they're live!

Shawn Inmon's Facebook author page

Shawn Inmon's Amazon page

Link to SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook closed group (you'll have to answer a few questions to get in)

The Content Formula class - info about Chris' latest online class on how to write content that defies the social media algorithms. Author-tested and approved. 

Mar 17, 2018

In this episode Chris analyzes how the changes in social media algorithms have impacted the way authors can now sell books and engage fans and what authors will have to do to be successful marketing their own books.

Show Notes & Links:

-Why the presence of algorithms on all major social media channels has changed the way authors can market books online.

-Why it might be time to spend more time developing a Facebook group.

-Why groups and pages need different content.

-Why some genres and age groups need a different approach in social media.

-What our podcast and Facebook groups will be emphasizing in 2018. 


Click here to join the SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group.

Click here to read the Zuckerbeg Declaration

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 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.

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