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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Now displaying: 2017
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.

Aug 7, 2017

In this episode author and Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) Ads expert Brian Meeks shares his secrets and tips for selling more books with AMS ads. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Hear Brian's Song!

-What are the two kinds of Amazon ads, what is their purpose, and where are they located?

-Why people think Product Display ads don't work and how Brian makes them work.

-How to master your pay-per-click bid. Warning: there is some math.

-What is the lifespan of an AMS ad?

-Why you shouldn't be afraid of data or math.

-Why you need patience to "start slow and test."

-Why good copywriting can be the key to your book sales.

-The personal revelation of Brian's "one smarty pants tip to rule them all."


Get Brian's new book, Mastering Amazon Ads here

Links to good copywriting resources:

Brian's recommendation: The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

Chris' recommendations: Words That Sell by Richard Bayan (desk reference)

                                    How To Write A Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen

Brian Meeks' Closed Facebook group: Part of the requirement of the group is to buy the book above. 

Chris' new book: The Newbies Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing

Link to Guinea Pig Bridge Song YouTube video

Becca's new cozy mystery book, Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron. If you love cozies, you'll love this new breed of amateur sleuth. Recipe included.

Jul 13, 2017

In this episode, Chris and Becca visit with author Chris Fox about his new book, Relaunch Your Novel and how to make your backlist profitable. 

Show Notes:

- The first step in deciding whether to relaunch a book is assessment. Why it makes you squirm.

-Why your book's genre is important in the relaunch process

-Why Chris uses a "no holds barred" approach when assessing his own books.

-The five types of relaunches

-What if I just want to give my book a makeover (cover, blurb, category check, etc)?

-Why a Product Family Map will help prioritize which of your books is worth a relaunch.


Connect with Chris Fox here:

-Link to Chris Fox's new book, Relaunch Your Novel

-Link to Chris' Product Family Map video on YouTube Also look for the video called The Power of Your Backlist.

-Link to Chris Syme's new book The Newbies Guide To Sell More Books With Less Marketing


Jul 10, 2017

In this episode, Chris and Becca talk about what to do before, during, and after a writer's conference to get the best overall experience. Lot of tips for newbies and seasoned conference goers. 

Show Notes:

-What you need to do before you even pack your suitcase. Get organized for maximum conference enjoyment!

-Why the conference hotel bar is probably the best place to network.

-How to decide which sessions to take in.

-How to get the most out of trade shows.

-The process of pitching a book at a writer's conference.

-How to recover from FOMO fatigue after you get home.

-The pros and cons of "reader" conferences.


How to pack for a conference like a ninja: A video from author Erin Knightley

Chris' new book The Newbie's Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing (includes a free online course on how to put together a master marketing plan you can really use)

How to leave a review of the podcast on iTunes (from our friend Stephen Campbell, host of The Author Biz podcast).


Jul 1, 2017

In this episode guest co-host Anne Janzer talks about her book, The Writer's Process and how writers need to balance productivity and creativity in their writing and their marketing.


-Why we need some distractions - focus alone will not produce maximum productivity.

-How to balance the two different mental systems we are all equipped with: the Scribe and the Muse (productivity and creativity).

-Flow: how to find the zone more consistently when we're writing by establishing a process that helps the Scribe and Muse collaborate.

-How to find the places where you are in “open attention”

-How to apply these principles to book marketing as well as writing.


-The Foreword INDIES Book Awards-

Link to the book Focus by Daniel Goldman

- Link to the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

-Link to today's book by Anne Janzer - The Writer's Process

-Link to Anne's new book - The Workplace Writer's Process

-Link to Chris' latest book - The Newbies Guide To Selling More Books With Less Marketing

Jun 24, 2017

In this episode Chris and Becca talk about the latest updates to Facebook and why they are important to authors. 


-Previewing five new changes to groups and what they mean:

  • Group Insights
  • Membership request filtering
  • Removed member clean-up
  • Scheduled posts
  • Group to group linking

Also, we discuss two fairly new business page options and why authors need to take a look:

  • Setting up the Shop Tab on your author page to sell books directly from Facebook
  • The new video cover photo option


Join our closed Facebook group SMART Marketing For Authors here. After you get in, be sure and read the Group Description and introduce yourself. 

Link to press release from Facebook's blog on the new changes in groups.

Link to the Facebook Help section on the new Shop tab.

Link to new Facebook video cover example from author and her blog post about the process

Link to Animoto animation application (Warning: this is for those of you that already have some tech savvy)

Link to Adobe Spark--the video platform I am using to test videos for cover photos.

Link to get an email when Chris' new online course on how to set up a Facebook page that sells more books is available.

How to post a podcast review on iTunes. Thanks to The Author Biz. 

Jun 18, 2017

In today's episode Chris interviews Rebecca Pollard, Digital Marketing Manager from AWeber, on the process and how-to's of using Facebook ads to grow your email list. 

Show Notes & Links:

Definitions you'll need for the podcast (we got a little nerdy at times)

CTA - call-to-action. This is the button, link, or text phrase that asks people to take an action on your content

Lead - another term for contact information of a prospective reader, whether it is a name, address, email, or phone number.

Facebook pixel - line of HTML code that is embedded on your website or landing page that allows Facebook to collect people data when they arrive on that page. The pixel information is in Ads Manager. If you are new to the Facebook Pixel, read this information in Facebook's help center first:

Retargeting: This is a method of sending ads or emails to a group of people that did not take an action on a first sales ad or email you sent them.

Persona - a term marketers use to define a target audience. It is the collection of data about your audience - demographics, etc. After you gather this data, you can make up a "person" or persona that is a sum of all the data you've collected about your ideal audience.

Email integration: the process of connecting your email account (AWeber, MailChimp, etc) with your Facebook page through an app that allows you to gather email addresses directly on your Facebook business page.

In This Episode:

-What is the Facebook pixel and why is it important when finding a target audience for your Facebook ads?

-Why you should have other sources of gathering email addresses besides just Facebook ads.

-Some of the pros and cons of using Interest Targeting in your Facebook ads.

-What is the ideal number of people in an audience for a Facebook ad?

-What is a lookalike audience and how do you create one?

-The Bryan Cohen podcast link on email follow-up sequences.

-Rebecca's post on Aweber's blog on the types of targeting that work best for Facebook ads to build an email list.

-Rebecca's contact information:

-Learn about AWeber here

-How to leave a review of the podcast on iTunes:


Jun 12, 2017

In this episode Chris launches the new how-to episode format by walking listeners through the process of setting up a Pinterest page as an outpost channel.

Show Notes & Links:

-The two kinds of social media channels in book marketing: primary (engaging & selling) and outposts (redirect to primary for engagement and highlight short term campaigns). 

-What is Pinterest and who is using it?

-The three ways to pin something on a Pinterest board.

-Remember, Pinterest isn't for everyone. If you don't want to use it, that's okay. It's definitely in the outpost category for the majority of authors. 

-What are pins, boards, and secret boards?

-Why Pinterest might be a good place to house your book research.

-The difference between a personal Pinterest account and Pinterest for business. Why you probably don't need a business page for an outpost.

-How to set up Pinterest as an outpost:

  • The first three steps
  • The basic boards you need
  • What to put in your profile bio

Last word: if you’re not on Pinterest, you don’t have to start. If you are there, consider it setting up as an outpost to limit the amount of time you have to spend there.


-Chris' book Sell More Books With Less Social Media on Amazon (hint: it will be on sale on June 16 for 99 cents only. Make sure you follow Chris on Twitter @cksyme to get the link!)

-How to get the Pin It button for your web browser

- Pinterest for Business blog

-Blog post from League Computers: The differences between Pinterest business accounts and Pinterest personal accounts.

-My Pinterest business page

-How to set up a Pinterest Showcase feature for your business page.

Here are some examples of authors who do a good job of using Pinterest with a mix of pins about their books and what interests them.

Link to Sandra Brown's Pinterest page And yes, I don't imagine she does this herself. 

Jodi Vaughn's Pinterest page

Becca Syme Pinterest page

Good example of Pinterest as an outpost from H. Y. Hanna

Jun 5, 2017

In this episode Chris and Becca discuss the million dollar question many authors have been asking: is the email newsletter dead? 

Show Notes and Links:

-What are the four email options for your email marketing strategy?

-Four goals that every author needs for their email marketing plan.

-Why an email newsletter might not be for you.

-Tips on how to improve your open rates.

-Why you need to make sure links “open in a new window.”

-The four fundamentals newsletters need.

-Is it okay to sell in a newsletter?

-Why your newsletter needs to provide more value than you ask for in return. Use the 80-20 Content Rule.


Our earlier podcast on email strategy

Tips for writing good subject lines (HubSpot)

14 Powerful tactics to improve your click through rates (AWeber)

Bryan Cohen podcast on funnels and email welcome sequences

Get a pdf of all the tips, goals, and strategies from today's episode. 

Links to author newsletters that we like:

Roni Loren

Lynn Raye Harris

Krystal Shannan
H. Y. Hanna

Join the SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group

Get Chris’ new book on preorder now for just 99 cents plus a free online course only until June 9!


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