Interview with Jason Matthews, author of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks-All For Free

Posted by on March 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM

This will be my first interview in a series of author interviews. Today I will be speaking with Jason Matthews, author of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks-All For Free, The Little Universe and Jim’s Life. See his interview below. At the end I will post links to his books for purchase. So, without further ado, Interview One in my Self Published Authors series.

Amy McGuire: Can you tell my readers a little about yourself? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

Jason Matthews: I was born in Durham, NC and have been living in Truckee, CA since 1991. I worked as a house painter for many years but slowly became a full time writer. From 2005 to 2009 I published two novels and since have written how-to books. Amy McGuire: What was your thinking behind your first novel , ‘The Little Universe’? What was your inspiration? Jason Matthews: There are an estimated 300 billion galaxies, each galaxy with roughly 300 billion stars, each star with roughly several planets orbiting it. We cannot possibly be alone; the universe must be filled with life on other planets. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could zoom around the universe checking out other galaxies and planets and life at will? That’s basically what the novel, The Little Universe, is about—all the amazing things one could find with that ability.

Amy McGuire: You have written several how to’s as well as two novels. Can you tell us a little about why you decided not to take your books to a traditional publisher?

Jason Matthews: I’m not the most patient type after deciding on something I want to do. Since the “traditional” approach to publishing can take months to years or possibly never happen, I quickly realized another approach was in my best interest. I self-published my novels happily and have never looked back.

Amy McGuire: Why did you decide to write ‘How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks-All For Free’?

Jason Matthews: I learned so many valuable lessons when self-publishing the novels, all of which were methods for selling and promoting books at no cost. I began selling ebooks from Amazon, other retailers and even my own free websites, plus I also mentored other authors on how to do the same thing. These people let me know how valuable the information was for them too, and it didn’t take long to realize the need in writing a how-to book for self-publishing in the digital age.

Amy McGuire: What benefits do you see to self publishing and being an indie author as opposed to the traditional route?

Jason Matthews: The most obvious benefit is that your book gets out there immediately and then readers can read it, which is the whole idea. Changes can also be made anytime if you find a typo or want to add a new scene or make additional improvements to the book. The best part is this; if your book is really good and if you work hard at marketing, you can potentially make a lot of money because you will keep the great bulk of all sales and not give the majority to a publisher.

Amy McGuire: Marketing without the support of a traditional house can be difficult and overwhelming at times. What suggestions do you have for indie authors to provide their book with maximum exposure without spending a fortune on marketing?

Jason Matthews: The internet is filled with methods for self-publishing, selling and marketing at absolutely no cost to the author. All it takes is time and an internet connection. Using social media for networking (Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube,forums, etc) and having a blog or website are perhaps the most important things that enable strangers from all over the world to find you and your books. These things can easily be done by anyone for free, but they do take time so don’t expect instant results. Start doing these things, a little bit each day, and stick with it for as long as it takes. For me, it took a few years but the results finally did come.

Amy McGuire: One of the things you talk about in your book, ‘How to Make,Market and Sell Ebooks-All For Free’ is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. To a new indie author or everyday reader that may seem like a fairly foreign term. Can you briefly explain what that is and why it’s so important?

Jason Matthews: Most people find my books by typing search terms into a box, like on Google or Amazon, which is also a search engine. If my websites or books come up high in the results from their searches, those perfect strangers are more likely to check out my sites and/or buy my books. The reason my sites/books come up high on Google/Amazon search results is because I use smart SEO strategies for both my websites and my books. These are all free strategies, and you can think of SEO like doing a lot of little things wisely that add up when put together.

Amy McGuire: Which do you consider more important to sales in the long run, the book cover or reviews? Why?

Jason Matthews: People argue on this, but I believe reviews are ultimately more important for sales in the long run. A great cover will lead to more initial sales, but most people read books that are recommended by a friend or family member. How many times has someone said,”You have to read this book!” And then you read it regardless of the cover. I’d rather have a book with a so-so cover and lots of great reviews and referrals than a book with a fantastic cover that has horrible reviews and no referrals. Of course, the ideal situation is to have both a great book with a fantastic cover, so I do recommend people consider hiring a professional cover designer if they really can’t handle this tough job on their own.

Amy McGuire: In conclusion, what suggestions (besides buying your book of course) would you make to an indie author to help them stand out among all the indie authors on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other sites?

Jason Matthews: Amy, you’ve asked the million dollar question because in this new age millions of writers are becoming authors all over the world. Not everyone is going to make the best-seller list, which of course was also true decades ago. In today’s publishing market the Indie authors who rise to the top will likely do several things: write an excellent book, spend as much time marketing the book as possible, be active online at forums for readers/authors, be open to trying new things, stick with the stuff that works and disregard the stuff that doesn’t work, and perhaps generate some good luck for themselves by staying positive. Be patient. Be persistent. Strive to be the success that you want to be, even when it feels like a monumental task. This is not an easy business, and that is why other authors will give up and make room for the ones who are not just talented but who are persistent.

Amy McGuire: Thank you so much for coming on my blog today and talking a little bit about your books. I would also like to thank you for helping me in my personal dream of becoming a published author.

Jason Matthews: Thank you, Amy, for this wonderful opportunity. Indie authors have a great relationship with each other as in the saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I look forward to continuing our relationship and watching your successes.

Jason’s books may be found on his sites at: and if you have questions you can reach him at  He will be more than happy to help you as he did me.


About Author Amy McGuire

Author of The Heart's Discovery, a YA Romance novel set mostly in British Columbia with a brief foray into Quito, Ecuador. Also the mother of a bubbly second grade redhead who adores turquoise, and wife to a very patient man. She lives in Toronto, the inspiration for so many of her place names and characters.
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