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Old 07-09-2017, 01:29 AM   #1
gmw
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Smashwords Survey 2017

A few weeks ago I got an email about the 2017 Smashwords Survey, but I've only just got around to reading it. You can find it here if you're interested in looking at the original slideshow presentation.

There are 111 slides, though a lot are Smashwords marketing guff you can skip over. Also, since I am not a romance author (perhaps regrettably, given the statistics in those slides: 49% of sales), I got to skim over quite a lot more of the slides.

Of interest (to me):

They claim FREE still draws readers, but their first proof of this is download count, which my own experience suggests has little to do with actual readers. Their figures also show the impact of FREE in download counts seems to be decreasing fairly steadily over the years.

They do, however, offer more substantial evidence that offering the first book of your series as FREE (ie. "perma-free") may have a substantial positive impact on earnings (over the rest of the series).

So the old advice of offering the first book of your series free still stands (and I still continue to ignore it, but never mind that ).


They also offer statistics on word-counts, suggesting that 80..110 thousand words is the best length for sales ... but since the only genre they breakout is romance (which is already the biggest influence on the total figure) this is a less than useful indicator of what you should be writing outside romance.


They talk of "box-sets" as being useful for marketing but not a big impact on earnings.


They suggest their pre-order system has a substantial (positive) impact on sales - but I'm not sure I find this convincing. Once you admit the importance of marketing, and making use of marketing tools like pre-order, then you admit that those using pre-order are probably the most heavily marketed, and so would be up there even if it wasn't for pre-order ... if you see what I mean.


Anyway, just something I found interesting on a Sunday afternoon when I should have been writing.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:28 AM   #2
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My experience is also free download does not equal immediate read. Heck $1.99 doesn't guarantee immediate read.
I remember a few years back, an author would do a free promotion then come to the forums (not here) two days later and say I just did a promotion why don't I have any new reviews. They could not understand that people would grab more than one free book. That was back when it wasn't uncommon for me to grab 10 freebies a day. Now it is uncommon for me to pick up a free book a week. I have 1. Gotten pickier and 2. There are so many reruns.
I don't know if I am typical or a atypical.

It is early Sunday morning here.
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
My experience is also free download does not equal immediate read. Heck $1.99 doesn't guarantee immediate read.
I remember a few years back, an author would do a free promotion then come to the forums (not here) two days later and say I just did a promotion why don't I have any new reviews. They could not understand that people would grab more than one free book. That was back when it wasn't uncommon for me to grab 10 freebies a day. Now it is uncommon for me to pick up a free book a week. I have 1. Gotten pickier and 2. There are so many reruns.
I don't know if I am typical or a atypical.

It is early Sunday morning here.
This is the way I am too. I used to grab freebies all the time, now I very rarely do since I have so many I already haven't read. About the only time I will grab them now is if I see others recommend them or if it is a temporary free thing and I have at least heard of the author or series before.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:40 PM   #4
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Getting lost in people's TBR is something to fear, it seems to me. Once you've done that, the person may not look at you again until they finally get that far into their list - which might be a very long time, if ever.

I'm pretty sure my first book is sitting on quite a few TBRs from the few times I've offered it for free in the Smashwords July sale. They tell me that it's very cold and dark down there.

Last edited by gmw; 07-09-2017 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:56 PM   #5
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Getting lost in people's TBR is something to fear, it seems to me. Once you've done that, the person may not look at you again until they finally get that far into their list - which might be a very long time, if ever.

I'm pretty sure my first book is sitting on quite a few TBRs from the few times I've offered it for free in the Smashwords July sale. They tell me that it's very cold and dark down there.
Oh no worries. I am sure you are surrounded by other warm and fuzzy authors.
A few years ago, any book I downloaded had an approximate wait time of two years +. Then I did an independent study and got rid of 90% in under a week.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:45 AM   #6
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Oh no worries. I am sure you are surrounded by other warm and fuzzy authors.
A few years ago, any book I downloaded had an approximate wait time of two years +. Then I did an independent study and got rid of 90% in under a week.
(Underlining mine.) This is exactly why an author should fear the dreaded TBR list. At first it seems like a good thing, "great, someone is planning to read my book"; then it's like, "well, they might eventually"; then the realisation hits that being on a TBR means the reader has put the author in the "I've already got one of his books somewhere" category, and they probably won't look at the author again until, in theory, they reach it in the TBR, but in practice the TBR either keeps growing or gets cleaned out and bang! the author has reached TBR oblivion.

(Much the same can be said of all those people that tell me "sounds great, I must read it." As my wife commented, the equivalent of being friend-zoned.)

I hope this doesn't sound like I am sulking about this, I'm not. I do the same thing (or used to, these days I tend get what I want to read now - specials be damned). But TBR oblivion is a fact that all hopeful authors need to be aware of.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:29 AM   #7
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(Underlining mine.) This is exactly why an author should fear the dreaded TBR list. At first it seems like a good thing, "great, someone is planning to read my book"; then it's like, "well, they might eventually"; then the realisation hits that being on a TBR means the reader has put the author in the "I've already got one of his books somewhere" category, and they probably won't look at the author again until, in theory, they reach it in the TBR, but in practice the TBR either keeps growing or gets cleaned out and bang! the author has reached TBR oblivion.

(Much the same can be said of all those people that tell me "sounds great, I must read it." As my wife commented, the equivalent of being friend-zoned.)

I hope this doesn't sound like I am sulking about this, I'm not. I do the same thing (or used to, these days I tend get what I want to read now - specials be damned). But TBR oblivion is a fact that all hopeful authors need to be aware of.
Oh you misunderstood that 90%. I actually looked at them before getting rid of them.
It was an independent study on are self-published authors worth reading.
Most of those deleted were not even good enough to be a first draft in a college freshman English class. Several were not even good enough to qualify for "Hooked on Phonetics".

Many were not even at this level.
https://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Wri...dp/B00M3UCJRC/

I completely agree with this review of the book.
"This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It will take you on a journey, you will not soon forget. This young man is a very talented artist and author. I think he has a great future in the writing world."

If you have a spare dollar, buy that book. I am sure the now 7 year old would appreciate the money.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:21 AM   #8
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Oh you misunderstood that 90%. I actually looked at them before getting rid of them.
It was an independent study on are self-published authors worth reading.
You're right, I did misunderstand. I thought the "independent study" thing must be tongue-in-cheek because I didn't quite see how an independent study could be used to clear a TBR list.

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Most of those deleted were not even good enough to be a first draft in a college freshman English class. Several were not even good enough to qualify for "Hooked on Phonetics".

Many were not even at this level.
https://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Wri...dp/B00M3UCJRC/

I completely agree with this review of the book.
"This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It will take you on a journey, you will not soon forget. This young man is a very talented artist and author. I think he has a great future in the writing world."

If you have a spare dollar, buy that book. I am sure the now 7 year old would appreciate the money.
I wonder when the sequel is planned.

Curiously, since starting to read ebooks I've downloaded less really bad stuff than I used to buy from the $2 box at book sales. Not that I haven't seen them, but so far at least I've managed to avoid downloading them.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:36 AM   #9
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You're right, I did misunderstand. I thought the "independent study" thing must be tongue-in-cheek because I didn't quite see how an independent study could be used to clear a TBR list.



I wonder when the sequel is planned.

Curiously, since starting to read ebooks I've downloaded less really bad stuff than I used to buy from the $2 box at book sales. Not that I haven't seen them, but so far at least I've managed to avoid downloading them.
I wish on that study the numbers had been reversed and 90% had been worth reading.

Oh and that study dealt with errors not rather the person actually liked the story.

I was hoping for a sequel myself.
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