Mark Coker, Smashwords Founder, CEO and Chief Author Advocate
Mark Coker founded Smashwords in 2007 to change the way books are published, marketed and sold. Smashwords opened its virtual doors in early 2008. Read the first two launch press releases here and here.
Mark is co-author along with his wife, Lesleyann, of Boob Tube, a novel that explores the behind-the-scenes world of daytime television soap operas. It was Mark’s experience trying to get Boob Tube published that inspired him to create Smashwords. Mark believes Smashwords holds the promise to make publishing more enriching for authors, readers and publishers. Mark is also the author of The Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook), The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book) and The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors). These three free ebooks about ebook publishing best practices have earned over 800,000 downloads, making them essential reference guides for thousands of professional indie authors around the world.
In the eleven years since its founding, Smashwords has grown to become the leading ebook distributor serving indie authors, small presses and literary agents. Over 130,000 authors and small independent presses from around the world publish and distribute over 500,000 books with Smashwords.
In June 2010, The Wall Street Journal named Mark one of the “Eight Stars of Self-Publishing.” In March 2012, MediaBistro named Mark one of the “Five Ebook Experts to Watch.” In June 2012, Forbes profiled Mark in feature story titled, Apple’s Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-Books. In both 2013 and 2014, Forbes Magazine named Smashwords one of America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies. In 2014, INC. Magazine named Smashwords to its INC 500 list of America’s fastest growing private companies. In 2019, Romance Writers of America named Mark the recipient of the Vivian Stephens award for his contribution to the industry.
In October, 2017, Mark launched the Smart Author Podcast series to serve as a free masterclass for writers who want to learn to publish ebooks with greater pride, professionalism and success. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or anywhere fine podcasts are found.
With Mark’s previous startup, BestCalls.com, which he launched in 1999, he helped level the playing field for small stock market investors, who at the time were denied access to the earnings conference calls of publicly traded companies. His work with BestCalls, as a champion for fair disclosure, was a catalyst for the SEC’s ground breaking Regulation FD. BestCalls was acquired in 2002 by Shareholder.com and was owned and operated by the Nasdaq Stock Exchange up until 2010.
Prior to BestCalls, Mark served as the founder and president of Dovetail Public Relations, an award-winning Silicon Valley PR firm that specialized in representing technology startups. Mark operated Dovetail from 1993 to 2008 which is when he turned his full attention to Smashwords.
Mark is a long time angel investor and advisor to technology and media startups. He currently serves on the advisory board of GoGo Cater, a provider of restaurant order automation services for corporate catering. Mark is an investor in – and previously served on the advisory board for – Flat World Knowledge, the leading publisher of open source textbooks.
Mark is a contributing columnist for Publishers Weekly and a former contributor to the Huffington Post. He writes about ebooks, ebook publishing best practices, and the future of publishing. He blogs at The Smashwords Blog.
Mark is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, where he earned a B.S. degree in marketing.
For Smashwords updates, follow Mark on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/markcoker
(Note from SFWC Director Laurie McLean: “Mark is one of the nicest people in publishing!”)