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: 2018
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

Oct 28, 2018

In this episode Chris invites publicity expert Sandra Beckwith to answer a listener's question about the difference between an agent and a publicist and what each does. And do you need either?

Links & Show Notes:

-The job description of a publicist and how they help authors. Also, what they don't do. When would you want one?

-The job description of an agent and how they help authors. Also, when you might want to use one. 

-What you can expect to pay and what you'll get.

-What to watch out for.

-Sandra's tip: do you own research!

Links - Click 'em, they're live

More information on Sandra and what she does for authors

Sandra's blog post on why you should hire a publicist

How one author got ripped off and how to avoid it 




Oct 21, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews Kevin Tumlinson, marketing director at Draft2Digital, about the rising trends in book marketing and what isn't working right now. In addition, Kevin catches us up on the latest news from D2D. 

Links & Show Notes

-Draft2Digital's newest staff member--we think you've heard of this guy!

-How D2D can help you get your books in WalMart.

-Meta data and how D2D helps you manage yours to save you time.

-Kevin reveals the latest book marketing strategy that is working, not just trending. 

-Why content marketing is a good fit for every author.

-Why buying ads to sell books might be losing their effectiveness.

-Content marketing can mean lower overhead and better returns if done to fit you and your audience.

Kevin's tip: How focusing for 30 days will up your marketing game and help you do more with less.

Links: Click 'em, they're live!

Becca's Better-Faster Academy 

Kevin's Wordslinger Podcast

Kevin on Facebook

Draft2Digital Website

Books2Read info (home of the universal link)


Oct 14, 2018

In this episode, Chris interviews book cover design expert Joel Friedlander, founder of the The Book Designer. Joel schools us all in on the essential design and branding elements needed in a successful book cover and talks about the elephant in the room: how much will it cost?

Show Notes & Links:

-How Joel got into cover design.

-Chris' monthly must-read: Learn to spot a good cover with Joel's monthly ebook awards blog feature (see link to the feature below (and maybe submit your cover for a critique).

-Two considerations every great cover needs: create excitement and indicate the genre or category of the book

-There are good options and not-so-good options for covers on a budget. 

-Why a cover can make or break the marketing of a book.

-What are some of the good alternatives for covers on a budget?

-What is the difference between template covers and single-sell pre-made covers?

-Why you need to see your cover in a thumbnail before you finalize it. 

-Why nonfiction books need accurate sub-titles.

-The one time you don't need a good book cover.

-Don't miss Joel's smarty pants marketing tip!

Links: click 'em, they're live!

Joel's monthly ebook Cover Awards feature

Joel's book cover design template website

Submission form for the monthly ebook awards critique

Joel's website (check out all his services) 




Oct 7, 2018

In this episode Chris gives listeners two cardinal rules to guide their content creation. Content doesn't have to be complicated--it just needs to be strategic. Learn how to quit wasting time putting our purposeless content and do only the work that sells more books and builds raving fans.  

Show Notes & Links:

-Two cardinal rules of content:

1. Your content should be designed to hit on one stage of the sales funnel (discovery, awareness, sales/conversions). It must be goal-driven. It may hit on two, but it needs to be aimed at one.

2. You need to have three different types of content to reach everyone you’re aiming at in that funnel. 

-Three types of funnel content you need to produce:

1. Interruptive - content that interrupts what the user is already doing.

2. Opt-in - the content you're already doing. Content that followers or fans have already opted in to. This content needs to follow the 80-20 Content Rule. Needs to provide value.

3. Search- content that is designed to help people find you and your books quickly and take a desired action when they are searching. Keyword-driven. 

Links: click 'em, they're live:

-Becca's Better-Faster Academy - check it out!

-Chris' class - The Content Formula: A blueprint for engagement and loyalty. Find out about the class here. 

-Sumo (tools to help you convert people easier). They have a free beginner plan that integrates with WordPress for pop-up forms and more.

-Link to Podcast 102 (How to optimize online bios for discovery)

-Bryan Cohen's copywriting manual, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis

-Link to Dave Chesson's KDP Rocket

Jump to the podcast page and join the conversation!



Oct 2, 2018

In this episode of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast, Chris talks about how to get the most out of your online profiles by optimizing to get discovered by new readers.

Show Notes & Links:

-Find out what kind of information readers want in a bio

-Why you need to make sure you change out old links

-Taking advantage of all the features on your Amazon Author Page

-Why you need to be a reader and an author on Goodreads

-The importance of using live links wherever they are available

-How to optimize bios on social media 

-What kinds of links to include on your website

Links: click 'em, they're live:

Amazon Author Central--click here

Examples of good author bios from BookBub

The secret to engaging on social media: find your primary channel


Sep 23, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews Tammi Labrecque, author of Newsletter Ninja on how to make email your go-to weapon for reader engagement. 

Show Notes & Links:

-Why email is the most important weapon in your marketing arsenal.

-The podcast epiphany: Why you are not selling what you think you are. 

-Using your email list for just selling your books? Why you're doing it all wrong.

- Why building your email list backwards is the best thing to do.

-How to help your readers make sure they are seeing your emails (deliverability tips).

-Why being transparent is important to your readers.

-How many David Gaughran mentions were in this podcast? Be sure and go to the podcast page on the website and leave your comments or questions. Click here. 

-Link to Tammi's book, Newsletter Ninja. Buy it now.

-More information about Tammi's online class. 


Sep 16, 2018

In this podcast Chris and Becca toast the first 100 episodes of the Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast by reminiscing about their favorite guests and shows, talking about where the podcast is headed in the next 100 episodes, and celebrating a nod from Digital Book World. The podcast closes with an invitation for listeners to give input about where the next 100 episodes should go. And don't miss the special announcement at the end of the show notes.

Show Notes & Links:

Nominees for Best Use of Podcasting for Book Marketing Award (Digital Book World annual awards). We recommend you check out the other nominees' shows here:

The Creative Penn Podcast with Joanna Penn

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Marketing Podcast with Lindsay Buroker

Minorities in Publishing with Jenn Baker

Read it Forward (Penguin Random House)

Macmillan Podcasts

Specific Episodes We Mentioned in the Show:

We believe all 100 episodes are smarty pants episodes, but here are just a few of the favorites we mentioned in the show:

Episode 99 - Writing to Be Understood with Anne Janzer (nonfiction)

Episode 92 - How to Take Your Readers From Strangers to Superfans with David Gaughran

Episodes 89-90: Crisis Management For Authors (Chris)

Episode 87: How to Run Successful Book Promotions with Ricci Wolman (Written Word Media)

Episode 85 - Marketing to Teens and Instagram with Kate Tilton

Episode 72 - Where Book Marketing Is Going in 2018 with Kevin Tumlinson (Draft2Digital)

Episode 62 - How to Get Into the Inbox with Tom Tate (AWeber)

Episode 41 - What's Data Got to Do With Book Sales? with Honoree Corder and Brian Meeks

Episode 37 - How to Build Loyal Readers with Author Roni Loren

Episode 18 - Blogging to Build an Audience with Anne Allen

Episode 15 - Writing Without Bullshit with Josh Bernoff (nonfiction)


Becca's October Write Better-Faster online class still has some openings. If you've been waiting to get into this popular class, now's your chance. Check out the class in this link for more info.


We'd like to know what you'd like to see in the next 100 podcasts. Or maybe share with us some personal highlights from the first 100 episodes. Just go to the comments ( and let 'er rip! Inquiring minds want to know.

Sep 8, 2018

In this episode Chris interviews award-winning nonfiction author Anne Janzer about her new book Writing To Be Understood and why it's a necessary resource for writers.

Show Notes & Links

- Anne's new book is the complete package covering technique, science (yeah, you read that right), and practical how-to. Why you need all three.

-Beware of the curse of knowledge (eerie music).

-How brain science and social psychology is an important part of your writing process. 

- Why you should use analogies and how to make them shine and not be annoying.

-Do you know if your writing is boring? How to fix that.

-How to use your reader's curiosity to your advantage.

- Why nonfiction writers need to learn to spin a good story or two.

- What is meta reading and how it will improve your writing. 

Links - Click 'em, they're live!

-Universal book link to Anne's book. This link will take you to the bookstore of your choice. 

Link to Chris' Facebook business page.

Link to information about Chris' class, The Content Formula - learn how to write and publish engaging content that will help you sell more books and build raving fans.

NOTE: If you are enrolled in any of Chris' paid online classes, you should have access to the private student mastermind group mentioned in the podcast. Check your class dashboard for a link to the group or email Chris at if you have any questions.


Aug 13, 2018

Show Notes & Links:

Why there is a difference between a book marketing system and a book marketing strategy and why that’s important.

There are three basic systems that you need to build a successful author business: email list, website, and primary social media presence.

Why some promotion strategies don’t work for everybody.

How you can know when a strategy is right for you.

Why every online course, mastermind group, and Facebook author group is not right for you.

Before you take an online class, make sure it’s a fit for you. Every class is not for every platform level. 

Episode quote: "When you try and implement an email strategy that another tried with success and you failed…that doesn’t mean that email is a bust for you. It just means that particular strategy is a bust for you."

Understand the value of a promotion. If you have one book and it’s permafree, your read-through potential has no value. Make sure you have value behind that permafree book.

If you have a comment on today’s episode, be sure and visit our site at to weigh-in.

Want to learn more about platform-appropriate marketing? Get a copy of my book on the basics: Sell More Books With Less Marketing.


Jul 28, 2018

In this episode Chris outlines two changes in Facebook recently: the removal of the shop option to send buyers to bookstores and the ability to use third party applications to schedule posts on your personal profile. (14 minutes)

Notes & Links:

-What do the new changes to Facebook's shop tab mean for authors?

-What alternatives are available for those who still want to use social media to sell books?

-Is it worth it to try and sell books on social media?


Link to video on changes in Shop tab on Chris' Facebook page.



Jul 22, 2018

In this episode Chris discusses Amazon's new edition of their ebook bulk buy program--who may benefit and who might not give a hoot.  Included in the podcast are reflections on questions answered by Amazon's director of Author & Vendor Relations, Dan Slater.

Show Notes & Links:

-We'll talk about what the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) official post on the new program says and what it does not say.

-Chris gets reactions from Amazon and BookBub.

-Would a purchase of 100 ebooks count directly as 100 books to my sales rank? 

-Unredeemed copies can result in a refund within 60 days of your purchase.

-The new program involves sending the free codes through Amazon—they don’t generate codes you send out via your email.

-You will earn royalties based on the royalty options in place at the time of your bulk book order. If you buy books at 99 cents, you will earn a 99-cent royalty no matter what the price of the book when it is redeemed.

-Pre-order books and free books are not eligible for the program.


Here is the post from Forbe's featuring comments from author and marketing expert David Gaughran.

Here is the link to the explanation of the new program guidelines on KDP.

Here is a link to find out more about The Content Formula. Remember, if you purchase The Content Formula before Aug. 1 you'll get an email invite to register for Chris' class, How to Set Up a Facebook Page That Sells More Books for free. ($49 value).


Jul 2, 2018

In this episode Chris asks AMS Ads expert Brian Meeks questions from authors in the SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook Group.

This episode is not for beginners. If you're interested in finding out beginning level strategies for AMS Ads, listen to episode 56.

This episode is 52 minutes long.

Show Notes & Links:

-What’s the best way to know which keywords will work the best in my genre with my book? Where would you suggest I start looking?

-What is the minimum number of ads I should be testing to get good results?

-Is it true that AMS ads aren't really worth the effort unless you're in Kindle Unlimited. What's your opinion?

-What are the biggest mistakes people make when running their AMS Ads?

-I’ve heard that you should be running ads targeted at the books in the top 100 in your genre. I would think they would be the most expensive bids. How do you choose which books to target? 

-How long should I let an ad run before I consider deleting it or changing up the copy? And how can I tell if the copy is the problem?

-What are some benchmark numbers to watch? For instance, I've heard 70% ACoS or higher is considered good. Is that consistent? What's a good CPC for AMS? 

- When should I consider tweaking keywords? Those with lots of impressions but no clicks? Only those with clicks even though they have no sales? 

-How do I know if I am bidding the right amount to get traction on my ad?

-Is it important to get on the first page of results for promoted books on another book’s sales page?


Mastering Amazon Ads (book) by Brian Meeks

Mastering Amazon Ads online course

SMART Marketing For Authors Facebook group (you'll have to answer three questions to get in)



Jun 25, 2018

In this episode Chris explains the process of simple audience research--what types you want to gather, where to gather the data, and how it will inform your book marketing.

Links & Show Notes:

-Why you don't need to cast a wide net, just the right net.

-Who is your proprietary audience and how to find them.

-Why you don't have to be a research scientist to gather effective audience research.

-3 kinds of data you should be collecting.

-Why you might want to invest in high quality research.

-Simple ways to survey your readers.

- Four types of research you need to gather with reader surveys.

-Why you should consider spying on your fellow authors.

-Caution: don't get carried away--gather only what you need and no more.

Explanation of how to find your Facebook Insights on your business page: You need a Facebook business page to see Insights, it is not a service Facebook offers for personal profiles. Go to your business page and click on Insights at the top of your page. Go to the People tab on the left side of the page. There are three tabs on this page and each tab has some different data. You can also look at content data on your Posts tab. 

Links: They're live, just click 'em

-Pew Internet social media data page link.

-Links to HubSpot data, Buffer data, and eMarketer data

-Check out info on K-Lytics data genre reports

-SurveyMonkey link

-Chris' updated free class, Quick Tips to Sell More Books on Facebook

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.


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