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Old 10-14-2010, 08:30 AM   #1
chicki
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Re: Smashwords

Interesting article by author Bob Mayer about using Smashwords.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/...k-distributor/

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Old 10-14-2010, 09:30 AM   #2
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That is interesting. Thanks for the link.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:38 AM   #3
Steven Lake
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Is Smashwords really that bad? I ask, because I've heard so many good things about them.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:00 AM   #4
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The problems described in the article are familiar to me, too. Some of them are a result of Smashwords' "use one file to create for everyone" system, and the fact that satisfying the Premium Distribution channels is... involved. Plus, the system might have you think you have more control, but in the Premium channels at least, you don't. Just like authors who go through big publishers, you are still at the mercy of the people with the big pockets.

I wouldn't blame Smashwords for this... most of it is, quite frankly, out of their hands. The mistake many people make is assuming Smashwords has some special relationship with the bookstores that they will take on your behalf, and it's not so. They are, essentially, an open-to-the-public distributor (one that also allows direct sales). They simplify the process, for those who can't handle the complexity of other channels. Their output isn't always the prettiest, but it works.

As long as you have realistic expectations for what services Smashwords provides, you won't be disappointed.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:04 AM   #5
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I know quite a few authors, including myself, who've had similar experiences. It's not the fault of Smashwords, but the bookstores who discount so severely. Mark Coker, the Smashwords dude, suggested to price the book slightly higher on SW to take into account the discounting that some bookstores do. Or, you could opt out of listing your books in the stores that are notorious for deep discounts (Kobo).

I upped the SW price on my book to $3.99 so that a 25% discount would bring the price down to where I wanted it in the first place: $2.99. If anyone discounts more than that, I'll yank the book from their store.

Now that we have PubIt as an option to get books into B&N, SW is most useful for authors who want their books in multiple formats. For my next book, I will publish at Amazon's DTP, PubIt and Smashwords, but @ SW I will opt out of distribution. I'd rather not have to worry about price juggling.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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I uploaded my 3 novels to Kindle and one to Pubit myself. I like the fact that I have them on Apple, Kobo, Sony, and other places through Smashwords. I sold more novels through Apple in one month than even on Kindle, and I didn't even really advertise they were on there. But, unless I'm offering a free copy on Smashwords, I can't get anyone to buy my novels on Smashwords.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:29 PM   #7
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The reason I'm not happy with the idea of using Smashwords is that they start out from a MS Word document, and although my OpenOffice and even LibreOffice can save in MS Word format, it's not really where I would want to begin from, especially as I have taken a lot of trouble getting my book into epub format.

But this article killed any plan to use the Smashwords premium system.
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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Oh dear... That's me screwed.

Cheers

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Old 10-14-2010, 06:30 PM   #9
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Oh, does this only cover their premium service and not their regular one?
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #10
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Smashwords has been very worthwhile for me, although I'm in a different position from the blog writer, as my books are not yet in the Kindle Store, and neither B&N nor Sony are discounting them (possibly because they're only $1.99). Based on the most recent sales reports, I'm currently selling about 100 books/week at B&N, which is the most successful outlet for me so far.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:37 PM   #11
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I'm considering dropping the premium distribution from SW because the handful of sales I've gotten from Kobo don't make up for having to adjust the price and then offer a coupon to get the price back to $2.99. Smashwords is really convenient for getting electronic copies to reviewers, though. For the first month of my novel's release, I had more sales directly through SW than through any other retailer.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:12 PM   #12
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It tends to be Kobo that discounts and Amazon and B&N match it. If you don't want to have your books discounted, just opt out of Kobo.
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Old 10-15-2010, 04:37 PM   #13
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Thanks for this useful post
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:21 AM   #14
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I think the article is a little unfair. I haven't had any problems so far as getting books distributed to other sites. As for discounting, I'm not exactly sure what Kobo is doing. I have one book (under another name) distributed through Smashwords to Apple, Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Diesel, but directly through Amazon.

I listed the book for $0.99, which is how it shows up everywhere. On Kobo, however, when I search for the book it comes up as $1.09 discounted to $0.99. And then when I click on the book, the book's page shows the discount as $0.99 discounted to $0.89. The book hasn't been reduced on Amazon or disabled.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:28 AM   #15
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How does Amazon's price matching thing work with mixed currency sales, does it go by the current conversion rate? Does it take account of UK VAT versus no VAT for Americans? 3USD (average Smashwords price) is about 1.88GBP, which would be about 2.25GBP including VAT from January onwards.
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