Mark Coker Interviewed by Hannah Howe

Mom's Favorite Reads

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

Smashwords is a wonderful platform for authors and publishers. What sparked the idea for Smashwords?

Smashwords grew out of my personal experience trying to sell a novel my wife and I co-wrote.

My wife is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine. About 12 years ago we wrote a novel titledBoob Tubethat exploredthe dark underbelly of Hollywood celebrity.

Despite enthusiasm from beta readers and representation from a top New York literary agency, traditional publishersrejected it. Our agent told us that previous novels targeting soap opera fans had performed poorlywhich madepublishersreluctant to take a chance onour book.

Our failure to land a publishing deal opened my eyes to what I perceived as a horribly broken publishingecosystemthat was no longer working for authorsand readers.

I realized thatdue to the limitations of their business model,publishers were artificiallyconstrainingthe supply of books. Publishers were gatekeeping books based…

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