Smashwords Authors discussion

Writing and Publishing > Have you ever felt the urge to drop Smashwords?

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message 1: by Jayelle (last edited Jul 26, 2014 07:44PM) (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments I love smashwords. I love their site wide promotions and the fact that they publish your novel in many different formats. They distribute the novels too and have an excellent royalty rate.

But, the problem is that I'm not selling through them. On the free days I get some people buying my novel, but it doesn't result in sales later on. Meanwhile my kindle books sell far better without any of the above.

I was wondering, have you guys ever wondered if you want to do KDP Select/Unlimited or stick with smashwords and regular KDP?

That's where I'm at right now. I'm actually thinking about not selling through smashwords anymore. Mostly because I'm not selling anything through them.

*hugs* and thanks in advance,

message 2: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Smith (douglaslsmith) | 21 comments Interesting question. Are you promoting and pompting people to go visit smashwords? Everything I send out to people to try and get word out on my book includes the smashwords link to point them to that website. Now I do pretty well on Ibooks and Barnes and Noble and don't point people there nearly as much as I do smashwords. All that being said my book wasn't doing anything until I made it free for the month of July and now smashwords, Ibooks, and Barnes and Noble have the book going at 10 a day. If it's free i'll take three. But they are still going faster at smashwords.
I'm curious to see what others think and say.

message 3: by Rita (new)

Rita Chapman | 256 comments Hi Jayelle. No, I don't sell many through them either but I think it's a good site to be on. I've done KDP and that didn't work either. I think KDP is okay for the first three months after you publish but then it's better to come out of it and put your book wherever you can. Did you do the Smashwords Winter/Summer Sale during July?

message 4: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Jayelle, all I can tell you is: don't put all your eggs in one basket - i.e. Amazon. Not everybody has a Kindle or wants to read on a Kindle app. You might not have many readers outside the Kindle YET, but you never know when someone finds you outside of the Amazon market. One lost reader now is lost forever.
I upload to KDP, Smashwords, Draft2Digital (for B&N and Apple, because I don't want the hassle to go direct to those places), Kobo (KWL) and most titles also on DriveThru. Yes, it's a hassle, but sales trickle in from everywhere...
Don't give up on SW. I started with them, but now I mostly go direct and don't use their premium distribution much (in fact I'm not even givin ISBNs to my ebooks anymore) - they're useful for the coupons thing and they have PDF as well, which is good for anyone who doesn't have/want an e-reader. Before buying a Kindle back in 2011, I used to download PDFs of books, especially for research (but then e-books weren't that big back then, so there weren't many fiction e-books available)...
just my two cents! :)

message 5: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I was with Select for a while - it does have some benefits. That said I think being on a wider set of stores is more beneficial. I sell next to nothing on SW itself but I do sell enough on I-books and Barnes and Noble to make it worth while.

message 6: by James (new)

James Corkill | 55 comments During a giveaway on SW for my first book, it was downloaded a few hundred times, but once they stopped being free, I've only sold 10. It was the same with the second book. Since then I haven't sold any, but like the rest of you, I didn't use them exclusively. I'm going to try their new affiliate program starting the first of the August, offering the affiliates a 25% royalty and see it if might increase sales.

message 7: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Jayelle wrote: "I was wondering, have you guys ever wondered if you want to do KDP Select/Unlimited or stick with smashwords and regular KDP?

I have *never* questioned my decision to stick with Smashwords and regular KDP. The vast majority of my sales are in ePub via the Smashwords premium catalog outlets, by a factor of 5:1 compared to Amazon.

Putting all of your eggs in one basket, with KDP-S, just seems foolish. It not only limits your discoverability but, IMO, sends a message to those who have chosen Nook or Kobo (which happens to be the most popular eReader abroad) that you don't want them in your audience.

Just some food for thought.

message 8: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (last edited Jul 27, 2014 08:24AM) (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Well...This thread is timely. I own a Kobo Touch and can't download Kindle books (Amazon doesn't support my elderly MacBook). I've just gone to Smashwords to buy a couple of novels, both sequels of previous Smashwords titles I enjoyed, only to find that the authors have now made them Amazon-only. Result: two lost sales.

Edit: I should add that it's getting harder for self-publishers to make an impact, as there's quite a lot of us now. A lack of sales isn't necessarily down to the choice of distributor. Look at your marketing, read Kristine Rusch's old business blogs, see what other writers in your genre are doing, etc. Then decide if cutting out certain distribution channels to seek gains elsewhere is a good idea.

message 9: by Zach (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments As I'm still unpublished my comment stems from many author friends and acquaintances I've made over the past year or so I've been part of the community:

Each site has its own benefits. KDP has one of the largest audiences and thus if you put your time/energy into that basket you get a larger selection of potential readers.

Adversely you lose a lot of the "quality" readers from other sites. This holds true for other sites as well where you gain maybe some more quality but lose the quantity.

Publishing with Smashwords, in my opinion, opens you up to a wider range since you have the variety of formats. (Obviously as many venues as you can muster is the way to go, I've heard you can't publish through B&N and Amazon but have never verified that).

No matter who you publish with, the amount of sales you receive is a direct result of the basic factors. 1.) The quality of your work
2.) The visibility of your work
3.) The amount of footwork you put into your own advertising/blogging etc the more exposure the better
4.) And one I think some of us miss is the networking we do. This sort've goes into #3 but the more people you have in your network, the more the likelihood that they will help circulate your story around.

For those reasons I'm going Smashwords for sure when I'm ready. I very well could have misread everything I've seen and fall on my face, but if I didn't want to work I wouldn't have decided on becoming an least a struggling one.

message 10: by Jayelle (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments Thank you guys. you've convinced me to stick it out. It's frustrating because other than 58 free books, I've only sold 1 that wasn't free.

I guess part of my problem is that I am a new author and my advertising budget is kinda low. I do what I can but I honestly don't know what works best.


This is my first year and I know I'll figure out more as I go.

You all demonstrated exactly why I chose smashwords in the first place. lol

hugs and thanks,

message 11: by Zach (last edited Jul 27, 2014 08:46AM) (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments Jayelle,

I just thought of an idea for you, if you don't mind. Check out the Beta Reading group here on Goodreads, there are several reviewers advertising for their blog. I run a small review blog myself and am always looking for new stories to review, or even if you don't want a review I do interviews/advertising posts for free.

If you want me to take a look email me at

*I reread my post and it may have sounded like I charge for reviews, I do not. Just wanted to clarify.

message 12: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Jayelle,
my first year of indie publishing earned me exactly 0$$ because I was under the treshold to be paid both from Amazon and Smashwords. My second year I got a little over 100$ from Smashwords only. By my third year I reached the treshold to be paid by Amazon - but now they've taken the minimum treshold away.

Sales keep trickling through via different venues. I haven't sold a POD book in 4 years, but I do sell e-books - to the weirdest countries, especially through Kobo.

So stick to it. Keep writing good books. Like Steph said, check Kris Rusch's old business posts. You're in for the long run - don't give up just yet! :)


message 13: by James (new)

James Corkill | 55 comments Z wrote: "As I'm still unpublished my comment stems from many author friends and acquaintances I've made over the past year or so I've been part of the community:

Each site has its own benefits. KDP has on..."

Hello, Z. Just to let you know, publishing with Smashwords does not exclude you from publishing with any other company.

message 14: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1396 comments I've never even considered dropping Smashwords. They offer more formats, they have all the coupon and sales options going on, and their customer service team has proven to be better than Amazon's in my experience.

message 15: by Stephen (last edited Jul 27, 2014 10:14AM) (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments Guys, as in most of your comments, that’s what wrong with the FREE pricing model. Customers now have become conditioned to expect books for free. The exposure argument rarely assays out, readers will simply move on to the next free book.

With nearly 49K books available for FREE why would a reader bother using any other search filter button. When a reader chooses a book in the FREE category he/she has nothing invested, which gives you as the writer less of an opportunity to interest them before they hit the delete button.

Targeted promotions of limited free copies are one thing, pamphlets, essays, even short stories, okay, for a reader to assess your style; but full books should never be priced as worthless. If you don’t value your work, who will?

All Smashwords Authors of full length works should eliminate the free pricing option, it devalues all of our work and nearly eliminates sales opportunities.
Consider this, instead of pricing your book for free, increase the length of the book sample to 60%. If you haven’t hooked a reader by then you never will, then you will see if a book converts over to a sale or you can find the correct price point for your book.

Though FREE and .99 cent valuation is killing the price point.

message 16: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Smith (douglaslsmith) | 21 comments Stephen wrote: "Guys, as in most of your comments, that’s what wrong with the FREE pricing model. Customers now have become conditioned to expect books for free. The exposure argument rarely assays out, readers wi..."

After reading this post. I can't help but to agree. I found it hard to even get page views when my book was priced at a very modest $1.99 (after researching books of the same length and genre)forget about downloads. I set it to free, with the thinking OK I'll hook them in and develop a following and make up the difference with book 2 and 3 and so on. I published on May 24th (or 25th). July 4th I had ten books downloaded and average 9 to 10 from that point on. I've gotten zero feedback from "my following." I'm more than halfway finished with part 2 and don't even know if people liked part 1 (although I LIKE IT! & Part 2 is coming out VERY good also).I have a blog (not posted yet) on this very phenomenon. I know know especially after seeing this post if nothing invested...nothing earned. "With nearly 49K books available for FREE why would a reader bother using any other search filter button." Wow...uh...yeah. Hahaha.

message 17: by Medeas (new)

Medeas Wray (e-mailmedeaswraycom) | 17 comments I totally agree with the posts about FREE books creating a culture where only free is expected. My books are priced at around $2.99 (get loads of click-throughs, there've been a lot of visitors to my web-site but real sales are very poor). I did I admit sign up for KDP on one of my books and did a four-day FREE give-away but it didn't translate into any decent book sales.

Maybe if writers vetoed the free direction - this culture might change. Put up excerpts or even chapters on sites like WritersCafe but value your completed work higher. I'm thinking about putting my prices up - if I'm going to fail I might as well fail at a higher price rather than a lower one, I figure. There would be some vague satisfaction in that.

It's great to have a thread where we all understand each other.

message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments People who browse for free books are not readers, they're compulsive downloaders. They might never read your book. So I'll leave my few loss leaders (never full novels, though) there and a few 99cents to entice new readers, and leave the rest as it is. I price based on wordcount, although I do occasional sales. But even with the Smashwords Sales Month, this doesn't work very well anymore. So let's upper our prices and forget the Free/99c authors! :)

message 19: by Medeas (new)

Medeas Wray (e-mailmedeaswraycom) | 17 comments Yup

message 20: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Smith (douglaslsmith) | 21 comments Bravo...Bravo...I feel liberated after reading these post. I stand and applaud:

I'm thinking about putting my prices up - if I'm going to fail I might as well fail at a higher price rather than a lower one, I figure. There would be some vague satisfaction in that.


People who browse for free books are not readers, they're compulsive downloaders. They might never read your book.

I feel out of my chair laughing. I will honor leaving my book free for July. After that I'm going out on my sword...sticking to my guns...circling the wagons...But the time and effort of my work of art is worth something!

message 21: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments To expound just a bit, my Ebook sales lag far behind my paperback sales. I’ve sold more books (paperback) at book signings, personal appearances and through Author direct print orders than through Smashwords and it channels. My POD sales are well higher and this carries for all five of my books.

My Author websites (linked below) generate more sales than all of the online EBooksellers combined and the majority of those, more than ninety eight percent are for the paperback editions. As a matter of fact I make more money from the affiliate advertising on my websites than I do from Ebook sales.

You may note there are no FREE paperbacks. Book buyers that do not like EReaders or don’t have them are still buying books, so being competitive is possible. That is not the case in the EBook world, FREE dominates. Not Sure? Just look at the pages views for your free books compared to the ones priced, I’ll bet it’s not even close.

I am actually getting to the point where smashwords is just another free page to sell my paperbacks. I do not think this will change until the Free Ebook goes the way of the dinosaur and the Edsil….And Authors you are the only ones that can do this.

The FREE Pricing Model does not work for anyone, except for those it was designed for; the online entities selling Ereaders, Tablets, Iphones and other devices with which to read your Free stuff.

Did you ever hear them say thank you? Did you get a commission for helping sell and sustain their devices? …..Did you ever wonder why these huge commercial entities go to the expense of carrying and distributing Free books?

That’s what I thought.

Get rid of Free, if you feel the need to get your work in front of people expand your sample size, but value your work.

message 22: by Medeas (last edited Jul 27, 2014 02:50PM) (new)

Medeas Wray (e-mailmedeaswraycom) | 17 comments abso...lutely. Let's start a no-free movement.

message 23: by Linda (new)

Linda Hamonou | 11 comments I totally second the no-free. I'm not a fan of giving my books for free except for review purposes.

We spend hours of our life on these books. Only developers of applications work that much for free and I think they shouldn't either.

The majority of people downloading books for free won't even read them because they can download so many of them. So if the purpose is to be read, free is also the enemy.

I do promotions. At the moment I have 3 books at 75% off and one at 25% off on Smashwords. My free promotions in the past only lasted a few days and I had more samples downloaded while the books had some values. I'm not an expert in marketing, very far from it, but I know my book have some values and I want others to know it too. It's also a form of self-respect.

message 24: by James (new)

James Corkill | 55 comments I'll no longer offer mine for free, either. The movement is on.

message 25: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1396 comments I've got a story listed as free that's probably about 750 words when you take out all the copyright and "about the author" stuff, but I charge for everything else. That short story is a perfect example of the comments made already about free books though: it's had a couple of hundred downloads, and has maybe about 10 reviews.

message 26: by Thaddeus (new)

Thaddeus White | 31 comments Like others, I really like the convenience of widespread distribution Smashwords offers.

I might try out KDP Select (I haven't yet) for a short story or suchlike to see how it goes, but, like others, I'm wary of putting all my eggs in one basket, even if it's a basket with the lion's share of the market.

message 27: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Hugh Howey on exclusivity...

message 28: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Z wrote: "Each site has its own benefits. KDP has one of the largest audiences and thus if you put your time/energy into that basket you get a larger selection of potential readers.

Only in the US. Audiences abroad prefer the Kobo. So,that's something to take into account.

message 29: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Jayelle wrote: "Thank you guys. you've convinced me to stick it out. It's frustrating because other than 58 free books, I've only sold 1 that wasn't free.

I guess part of my problem is that I am a new author a..."

Do you have a FB fan page? A presence on Twitter? A website? A GoodReads blog?

Admittedly, with FB's super-secret algorithms, it is getting harder to use their tools ... but it's still an important piece of the platform. All of those pieces are.

Build your platform with the free tools available ... and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.

message 30: by Jayelle (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments I haven't finished reading the posts since I was last on this thread (uh...yesterday). You're all correct.

On the topic of free...

My husband downloads a lot of free books. He's an avid reader but we can't afford to buy the amount of books he'll read in a month (most novels he finished in 2-3 days, even with a demanding military career). What tends to happen is he'll get hooked on the first book in a series and then buy the others when he can. Because of this, I had considered putting Sadie's War out for free after I wrote the third book in the series. Though, if I have an even better following by then, I probably won't put anything out for free. Right now my novel is priced at $2.99 and I've considered lowering it to 99 cents for a limited time to try and attract more readers.

According to the review I have had, and what my editor told me while we were working on Sadie's War, my novel is well written and well edited. Some people can't believe it's a self published novel until they realize that Cochran Novels is a company I created to publish my novels through. lol I didn't need the company, though I do sell my novels through my site and occasionally in person as well.

Yes, I have a lot of social networking pages and I use them to the best of my ability. Same with my blog and vlog. My twitter has a really good following IMO and I get a few new follows every day. I post not only things about my writing but also tidbits about my life. I want my networking profiles to show that I'm not a spam bot spewing out links begging people to buy my books. I'll post a few links, of course, but not on a constant basis. Honestly, it's been my life posts with appropriate hashtags that seem to get people's attention. Many of my tweets are retweeted which gives me even more exposure. I know how to work my facebook page so I get genuine interest and good reach too and not illegitimate likes.

People liking my social networking has given me a couple of readers. I've had a few say that they can't wait for the next book to come out and that totally rocks. I love reading a review that ends with "I'll keep my eye out for other books written by Jayelle Cochran!" or something like that. One reviewer even e-mailed and asked when my second novel would be out. A that point I had only written about 5,000 words for Tara's Escape, which is the sequel to Sadie's War (it's not out yet...I'm doing my own editing before I send it to the editor.)

I need to keep reminding myself that my books will be picked up as time goes on. They're odd because I don't use an outline and don't have any idea of a plot before I begin writing. I only know the main character and any characters that were in previous stories.

When I began to realize that the writing I had been doing was turning into a book, I tried to picture a realistic idea of what would happen during self-publishing. I guess I forgot about that when I read about Kindle Select Unlimited (which sounds like an awesome program to be honest).

Anyway, I knew that I wouldn't have a decent following until after my 4th or 5th book. I had planned to start doing conventions after my third book was published. That drums up a lot of new readers from what I've read. And I knew it wouldn't be until I had published my tenth novel until I started making a real profit.

Thank you all for reminding me why I had chosen to use smashwords in the first place. I haven't had any business from them other than one sold book and 58 free books. Yes, this is my second freebie promotion through smashwords and I had remarkably low amount of downloads. I'm not even selling in the online stores.

Also, now a days there isn't a restriction as to what books you can read on what devices. A nook can read kindle (I know from personal experience) and I know an ipad can use both .mobi (kindle) and .epub (for everything else). I do believe that a kindle can read .epub too (you just need an app that can read them).

I can't take the low amount of downloads personally. I'm a true Pisces sometimes and very sensitive. I need to create Teflon armor so this stuff rolls right off of me. lol

Sorry this is so long...I'm always so long winded, even in person. I'm a total chatterbox.


message 31: by Jayelle (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments Sorry...that really was too long. This is why I don't write short stories and why on a good day I can write as much as 10,000 words (on the book I'm writing now I wrote 80,000 words in one month. There were a few all nighters from that).

*hugs* Just wanted to say that I'll keep my books from being free from now on. :) I agree that there are too many free books out there.

message 32: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Way to go, Jayelle! All the best! :D

message 33: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1396 comments Ditto what Barb said! :)

message 34: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 17 comments I have a trilogy on Smashwords, the first of which is free, and brings sales of the second and third book, more on Amazon, but some on Smashwords. I recently made the decision to pull a stand alone fantasy title from Smashwords and put it in KDP select. On Smashwords it had sold only two copies in twelve months. Within two days in select priced at 99p with 70% royalty it had sold 80 copies. It has continued to sell an average of two per day since the deal ended. My more recent release, a thriller, went straight into select, and in two months has sold almost 700 copies.

I think Smashwords is great, but if you want to earn enough to write full time, as I do, Amazon seems to be the place to be.

message 35: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) At this point I think authors must have several books before they begin to make any money. I made about $1000 last year from Kathy's Recollections and about $150 from my six other paid books. I don't think I would have made as much from Kathy's Recollections if the first book in the series, Surviving the Fog, wasn't free. I'm planning to publish three more books in that series, and each book is planned to be $2.99.

I regularly purchase books by Jayne Ann Krentz, Lindsey Davis, Eric Flint, David Weber, and Julia Quinn. I buy almost all their books, and I think there are a lot of people like me. We buy books from authors we like. I have bought some SPA books and have gotten a lot more free. I'm thankful that I did not pay for a lot of them, because most were abandoned before the end of chapter one. Other SPA books were gems, and I have or will buy other books by those authors. Note: I can afford to buy a lot. I know there are those who can only afford to buy a few.

Every year new writers enter the market and younger people start writing. Anyone can see that the market has changed and is saturated. If you want to make some money, you will have to attract a following. Having at least one free book is good way to do that. Having a free book that people want to read is even better, but it is the second, third, and fourth books that will bring in a little cash.

message 36: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) Stephen wrote: "All Smashwords Authors of full length works should eliminate the free pricing option, it devalues all of our work and nearly eliminates sales opportunities..."

I agree with that.

It's interesting to see, though, that ignoring Free books on SW, the highest selling price point is actuall $3.99, rather than $0.99, $1.99 or $2.99.

I have a feeling that to some extent people are starting to get jaded by the quality of all those free books they're picking up.

After a while readers might just start believing that FREE = NOOB = Not Worth The Time.

message 37: by Stephen (last edited Jul 28, 2014 02:49PM) (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments I am reposting because I want to be clear on my stance when it comes to FREE; a few emailers didn’t quite get it…

I may even be forced to write a clearer position piece and put it up on my blog site or magazine site. Or maybe I’ll make it a FREE EBOOK like Mark Coker’s Style Guide, (a very worthy and necessary free Ebook that should indeed be priced as he has it) Yes you can laugh now.

Since it would now seem we are developing the grassroots of a rebellion it may have to be titled:


Books of any sort intended to be placed in the competitive marketplace should not be free, period. And let’s not play around with the word “intended,” if you published it was meant to be purchased by others, you are only lying to yourself.

However we will accept there are exceptions to the rule.

Short Stories, Essays, Position pieces, Journals, Research Projects, Poetry, Pamphlets, Articles, works under 5K-10K words are excluded from my definition of a book.

Books given away free or discounted in limited promotions I have no issues with, I think the Coupon program is a terrific marketing tool. Again Kudos to Mark Coker.

Price your book for it’s value; in your time and effort and as it compares to the real market. Please note that a market is an exchange. Free does not enter the equation, that would be altruism.

Also note that even though I am a proponent of a for profit marketplace, I still provide an option for the Free-lingers. Change your Book’s sample size to a higher percentage.

Make it 90% just don’t give away the ending for free, though if you haven’t hooked a reader by 60% your book still gets deleted.

And pass this on, there are nearly 44K free books on Smashwords, Mark and one other guy didn't write them all.

AND Yes Jayelle That was really long, BTW does any one want a FREE book?....Sorry I couldn't help it, but if you would like one I'd be happy to fulfill a request.

message 38: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments David wrote: "I have a trilogy on Smashwords, the first of which is free, and brings sales of the second and third book, more on Amazon, but some on Smashwords. I recently made the decision to pull a stand alone..."

May have to relook into KDP. When they initially rolled it out there was some scary rights language in there, and I shied away to stay with smashwords. I wonder if they slackened it up?

Amazon has my books in paperback so it’s just a mouse click away. Thoughts & Issues?

message 39: by David (last edited Jul 28, 2014 03:48PM) (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 17 comments You're still tied in to KDP for a 90 day period, as I understand it, but if you're in this for the long game, as any serious writer should be, 90 days is nothing. 180 days is nothing, just to try it out.

I agree with some of the claims that by not being in other markets you are losing potential readers. In my case that would have been two. By holding on to those two I'd have lost 80 and more.

I also agree with you, Stephen, about giving away a larger percentage rather than the whole thing, but that's how I consider the first book of my trilogy. I'm giving away 30% of a large volume that comes in three parts. I also think of it as an alternative to advertising, which in my experience is more effective than conventional advertising. I would, however, never give away a stand-alone book; there's no payback to be had.

message 40: by Medeas (new)

Medeas Wray (e-mailmedeaswraycom) | 17 comments I think that last one by David is a fair comment on the Free topic - using the first one of a series as a give-away ad to launch the rest of them (yes, I can see that it could be used as free advertising but then putting samples of your work onto other sites like WritersCafe could do the same + generate a lot of interest).

message 41: by Stephen (last edited Jul 28, 2014 06:15PM) (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments David & Medeas

Both are valid points however even with a standalone I think a certain percentage of sample is a good idea. In my books, I have one novel, a 77K word piece set at a 30% preview. The continuation of that book, though it could also stand alone is 16% of a 110K word novel and two others, each novellas at 31K words each are set at the standard 20% preview. These percentages actually are just a coincidence for the hook points in the books.

Since I made the adjustments from the standard 20% the conversion rates have improved, but I did notice an oddity. Downloads of the Ebooks stayed consistent though the conversion rate went up slightly, (between 6% and 30% depending upon the book) when I made the changes, but I also added a link to the paperback edition and revamped my website.

The result was Paperback sales generated by my website went up way higher than the Ebook conversion rate. I think what is happening is the Smashwords leads are falling to my Author website, and from there paperback sales are coming. My website converts very close to a 98% ratio of paperback over Ebook though both are promoted equally.

However even with all of that said, my website through the search engines and other links generates thousands more hits than the hundred or so page views I get for all five books in a month at Smashwords. This low page view rate I am sure is because of the prevalence of the FREE filter eliminating priced books from a readers choices.

message 42: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Marlow (jamarlow) | 7 comments Just because newbies tend to get confused when we aren't clear in our language…

KDP - The portal through which any of us can upload ebooks into Amazon's online catalogue. KDP does not require exclusivity.

KDP SELECT - A special program that is accessed through KDP. This requires a 90 day exclusivity period. The new Kindle Unlimited program requires that a book first be in KDP SELECT.

There is a difference between the two. When meaning KDP Select, please use the full term. I've had to calm newbies down who were scared to death to go with Amazon because they thought doing anything with them required exclusivity (when it does not).

message 43: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 17 comments Good point J.A. I recall it being a scary place when I first self published. Felt as if I was selling my soul.

The up turn on offering a higher percentage (30% or so) is interesting, Stephen, I may have a look at that with the books I still have on Smashwords.

message 44: by Jayelle (last edited Jul 29, 2014 04:34PM) (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments Micah wrote "After a while readers might just start believing that FREE = NOOB = Not Worth The Time."

That's something that I've been worried about. I've decided that this is the last time I put my book out for free on any site.

I do have a certain percentage where I feel that if they aren't hooked by then, then they won't buy at all. I've tweaked it a bit as well. We'll see how that pans out.

As for KDP Select...I'm on the fence. Some days I feel like "no, smashwords will eventually pick up in sales" and other days I feel like "my sales would be higher if I was in KDP Select instead of regular KDP.

BAH! This shouldn't be a difficult decision. Ah well, I'll figure it out eventually. Right now I'm not making enough that I would call any of it "income" and I'm far into the red at this point.

IDK...I think I'll leave it as is. Thank you guys for the advice.

And yes, KDP is different than KDP Select. KDP has virtually no restrictions (except that your book needs to be priced at 99 cents or more).

Again, thank you guys.


message 45: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments J.A. & David,

As I recall when I first read the ‘Publish on Kindle’ terms and conditions, which was before the Select program was instituted, there was language pertaining not only to exclusivity, (which then was not limited), it also required you to surrender rights to the submitted works.

As I recall that language was similar to “By enrolling you hereby waive all rights to the submitted work in the program for all sales and marketing notwithstanding their nature or recipient”

Now newbie as I may have been to publishing years ago when the 'Publish on Kindle' program started, I’ve spent thirty years interpreting and executing multimillion dollar construction and development contracts and that line would have been redlined out of any contract I was a party to. But since you can’t edit their TOS I opted out.

As I interpreted it, as well as would a mildly intelligent lawyer, in that one line you’ve surrendered any and all rights to your work to another entity, that could include sales to a commercial publisher, film adaptation, foreign publishing rights, your characters, and any number of other exploitable opportunities. As I now reread their TOS I may give it some consideration.

message 46: by Medeas (last edited Jul 29, 2014 06:56PM) (new)

Medeas Wray (e-mailmedeaswraycom) | 17 comments I think you waive all digital rights for that 90 day period but that other opportunities such as print, film adaptation are open to you. I may be wrong but that's the way I saw it when opting into that programme for one of my books.

message 47: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (readytoescape) | 15 comments As I stated, the program seems to have changed over the years since I first looked at it, and the Select program did not exist. Rights and Exclusivity were some of the sticking points between Amazon and Smashwords and part of the reason why most of Smashwords 259K books still are not available on Amazon.

Just recently Amazon started to accept Smashwords Books, but only those with a sales threshold over $2K, and that according to Smashwords, is only “a few hundred titles.”

AH..And just a slight note, if your book is free, you will never reach that threshold.

message 48: by Jayelle (last edited Jul 30, 2014 09:37AM) (new)

Jayelle Cochran (jayelle_cochran) | 16 comments See, although you won't meet that threshold with a free book. The sales of your other books could be boosted by that free book.

As I said before, I've seen this first hand. My husband is in the Navy and before his last deployment he bought a nook and downloaded a couple hundred titles (my husband loves books more than anyone I know, including me). Most of those books he deleted before he finished the first chapter (bad writing).

That said, the books he kept he read all the way through. A handful of those books he enjoyed so much that he looked for other books by the same author. He wound up buying the other books because he "needed to know what happened next in the series." He also said that it was a great marketing ploy and he had a few thoughts of "that author was mean. They got me hooked with their free book but now I have to pay to know what happens." Even so, the ploy worked, but only for the authors he liked.

The only problem with having a book for free in an attempt to draw in readers is that it will only work if those readers really loved what they read. ie. they would give the book 5 stars. For a 4 star book they would be on the fence. For a 3 star book or below, they won't even bother finishing the free book, let alone look for more.

It's a gamble. But if your novel isn't great then it's not going to help you. Then again, neither putting your book out for free nor having a percentage free will help if your novel isn't edited professionally or your plot needs work.

I know I've deleted free books simply because I couldn't read past the first few pages without gagging.


message 49: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I sell next to none from SW itself but I do get sales from the associated stores. I am far too lazy and disorganised to manage to keep on top of more sales reports so it works for me.

SW is handy for the coupons too.

message 50: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Jayelle wrote: "See, although you won't meet that threshold with a free book. The sales of your other books could be boosted by that free book.

As I said before, I've seen this first hand. My husband is in the..."

And that's true for traditional series as well. I read the first three Dresden File books before abandoning the series.

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