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Old 11-24-2009, 05:02 AM   #16
llreader
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Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
I've swapped a few emails with Smashwords recently as my own wee house sets out to convert 100 titles to various ebook formats (we currently offer only PDF), and I've been more than impressed.

Their 'meatgrinder' conversion process is, they admit, GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), but they go to great lengths to encourage publishers to go the extra mile and provide perfect source material. It's a tedious job when you're talking about so many titles, but well worth getting it spot on ... and, my experience so far, is that there's no shortage of generous and sound advice from the Smashwords team.

Cheers. Neil
Could you give us some specifics? Are you automating the process? What formats are you converting? I assume you are putting everything into Word format, no?

Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:09 AM   #17
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What took the dummies so long to enter ebook market??
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:39 AM   #18
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Hrmmm... interesting strategy, but I'm not sure I agree with the theory. From what I've seen, a large chunk of Kindle users ONLY use Amazon for their ebook purchases. Not selling on Amazon could cause you to lose quite a few readers.
In fact, I had 10 of my books in the Kindle store for the first year. My sales weren't a tenth as many as I made on my own site. And I've heard from a number of users who have bought my mobi formatted books to read on their Kindles, and others who have asked which formats would run on this reader or that. Then they buy from my site. So, in my case at least, the strategy is sound.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Perhaps it would be worth your while putting one or two of your books through smashwords with a very low RRP, which also include text pointing to your web site.
The problem is that no one sees them. My books are in there with however many thousands of others, with absolutely no way to distinguish them, advertise them, or push them to the top of the lists, other than sales... and no way to generate sales if no one sees them... see the problem? They're needles lost in a barn-sized haystack, and the more material ends up in there, the less likely anyone will find them. The sales I've gotten, compared to the sales I get on my own site, back that up.

As worthwhile as this service is to some (as I suggested, those who do not have a sales website of their own, or maybe those with only 1 or 2 books), it simply doesn't do any good for me: These other sites don't publicize my books, they don't generate sales, and they don't drive new customers to me. MobileRead and TeleRead do a better job of that than all of the "throw your books in our haystack" sites combined.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llreader View Post
Could you give us some specifics? Are you automating the process? What formats are you converting? I assume you are putting everything into Word format, no?

Thanks!
RTF worked best for converting for me. Just FYI.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:09 AM   #21
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And I should probably add that I started with open office (although in a couple of cases, they were .doc BEFORE they were open office.)

For Kindle, I've found that going to HTML before uploading works best, although Amazon's meat grinder has improved loads over the last few months as well.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:13 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
The problem is that no one sees them. My books are in there with however many thousands of others, with absolutely no way to distinguish them, advertise them, or push them to the top of the lists, other than sales... and no way to generate sales if no one sees them... see the problem? They're needles lost in a barn-sized haystack, and the more material ends up in there, the less likely anyone will find them. The sales I've gotten, compared to the sales I get on my own site, back that up.

As worthwhile as this service is to some (as I suggested, those who do not have a sales website of their own, or maybe those with only 1 or 2 books), it simply doesn't do any good for me: These other sites don't publicize my books, they don't generate sales, and they don't drive new customers to me. MobileRead and TeleRead do a better job of that than all of the "throw your books in our haystack" sites combined.
Exactly. To make the sales meaningful you need a big enough paying audience. If you have a big enough audience to make the sales meaningful, you may as well do it yourself and take 100%.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:04 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
The problem is that no one sees them. My books are in there with however many thousands of others, with absolutely no way to distinguish them, advertise them, or push them to the top of the lists, other than sales... and no way to generate sales if no one sees them... see the problem? They're needles lost in a barn-sized haystack, and the more material ends up in there, the less likely anyone will find them. The sales I've gotten, compared to the sales I get on my own site, back that up.

As worthwhile as this service is to some (as I suggested, those who do not have a sales website of their own, or maybe those with only 1 or 2 books), it simply doesn't do any good for me: These other sites don't publicize my books, they don't generate sales, and they don't drive new customers to me. MobileRead and TeleRead do a better job of that than all of the "throw your books in our haystack" sites combined.
Try setting a very low price, or even making one of them free. I usually comb through the top 100 sellers on the Amazon Kindle Store a couple of times a day, and books that are free or very low priced tend to make it into that list. If I find an author I like after a free book, I am very likely to go back and find other things they have for sale and buy them.
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Old 11-27-2009, 11:50 AM   #24
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A search in Kindle Books for smashwords currently returns 19 titles. They all seem to be selling at list price, and without DRM (Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited).
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:30 PM   #25
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Smashwords was really easy for someone like myself to use - what I know about tech you could write on the back of a postage stamp!

I would agree that there needs to be more characters allocated for book descriptions.

From what I have been able to see, my book has converted OK, however there is no way of my knowing what it looks like to other people on their ebook readers. It has been approved for their premium status so I presume that it has converted well?

I have a few writer friends who had been using Smashwords for a while and who also distribute their books directly with Amazon. As far as I am aware, they will be better off when they distribute to Amazon via Smashwords.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miladysa View Post
Smashwords was really easy for someone like myself to use - what I know about tech you could write on the back of a postage stamp!

I would agree that there needs to be more characters allocated for book descriptions.

From what I have been able to see, my book has converted OK, however there is no way of my knowing what it looks like to other people on their ebook readers. It has been approved for their premium status so I presume that it has converted well?

I have a few writer friends who had been using Smashwords for a while and who also distribute their books directly with Amazon. As far as I am aware, they will be better off when they distribute to Amazon via Smashwords.
From an earnings pov, yes. From a control pov, not necessarily. It's still faster to do an upload direct to Amazon (a few days, versus waiting for the weekly/monthly upload that occur in batches from smash.) I point this out only because I've done a few minor changes to text (fixed an error someone pointed out in one of the books) and redesigned a cover slightly. That update took about 3 days to get on Amazon direct. I don't know how long it might have taken if I had to upload to smash and then wait for the next batch to go.

And I love smashwords--their support and efforts have been tremendous. These are just points to consider as things get off the ground. I think once things are streamlined, the points to consider will change!
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:40 PM   #27
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Maria

I agree with you there.

I was first approved after a couple of days and changed my cover before the book could be distributed outside of Smashwords. Although it only took a couple of days for the second approval it meant that I missed the distribution dates

Fingers crossed Refuge of Delayed Souls will go to B&N, Shortcovers & Sony today/tomorrow. Have NO idea when it will go to Amazon - 25 Nov is showing on the dashboard but obviously that it not correct.

Refuge of Delayed Souls
Volume One
RoYds

Last edited by Miladysa; 11-30-2009 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
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@ BearMountainBooks
Maria

I agree with you there.

I was first approved after a couple of days and changed my cover before the book could be distributed outside of Smashwords. Although it only took a couple of days for the second approval it meant that I missed the distribution dates

Fingers crossed Refuge of Delayed Souls will go to B&N, Shortcovers & Sony today/tomorrow. Have NO idea when it will go to Amazon - 25 Nov is showing on the dashboard but obviously that it not correct.

Refuge of Delayed Souls
Volume One
RoYds

I wouldn't sweat the B&N--the nook isn't out yet--and certainly not in bulk so from following Kindleboards, my impression is that books that are up there are getting maybe 1 sale per month (if that. I don't think I have had any, but there's some confusion about how and when the sales are reported. I'm not sure if I can tell when a B&N occurs versus a smashwords, other than one is an affiliate sale) The nook is supposedly shipping, but it may take a while to start creating sales. There isn't an active forum for B&N either so it makes it harder to get the word out. (While there is a self-promo thread, from the lack of activity on the other forum threads, I'm not sure there are very many people using the forum.)

I have no experience with the sony store since the first upload hasn't happened. Having recently refreshed all my books, I may not make the first upload, but if someone really wants to read my stuff, it's on smash, so it's available!!!

Good luck with your endeavor. When it shows up on amazon, make sure and tell Kindleboards. There's lots of kindle owners over there, obviously!
Maria
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:07 AM   #29
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Quote:
Good luck with your endeavor. When it shows up on amazon, make sure and tell Kindleboards. There's lots of kindle owners over there, obviously!

Will do & THANK You!
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:44 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Their 'meatgrinder' conversion process is, they admit, GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), but they go to great lengths to encourage publishers to go the extra mile and provide perfect source material. It's a tedious job when you're talking about so many titles, but well worth getting it spot on ... and, my experience so far, is that there's no shortage of generous and sound advice from the Smashwords team.
Most people who sell through Smashwords though are authors with fewer books. Yeah, to convert 100 books like you have would be a nightmare, but not bad at all if you have a handful. Yesterday I worked on a book for someone while on break at work, fixing it so it would be more compliant and friendly with the different readers.
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