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Discussions > Reputation question if you're on Smashwords

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message 1: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Brooks (kathleen-brooks) Let me start off by saying two things. 1) I am an attorney who has sat through years of Constitutional Law and 2) I am well aware of and support freedom of speech. That being said, I am having a slight problem with Smashwords and the very high volume of books that portray incest and pedophilia. I use these words specifically since that is how they are marketed.
So my question: Will the influx of these books leave Smashwords with a tarnished reputation that will rub off on the other authors listed? Will people see that first page and start associating that type of work with the whole site, authors included?
I ask this because it is such a taboo subject that it stands out more than most and the site seems inundated with these topics.
These seem to be really short books, only about 4000 words. I can write that in a day! I fear other independent authors might get lost on this site now.
Thoughts? And as I said, this is NOT an freedom of speech debate, so please look past that and to the question of reputation and or other site you find to publish on that you like more.

message 2: by Doc (new)

Doc (doc_coleman) | 55 comments I think we need to define the term "high volume" here. Since Smashwords is an e-publishing service and not a publisher, they don't review the content of the books that are listed. That means that anyone can pretty much publish anything that they want, providing they can follow Smashwords' rules and manage to get their manuscript through the meatgrinder. This will naturally attract those who pursue such topics for puerile entertainment, and those who must talk about the subject to raise social consciousness and galvanize people into action to prevent such abuses and ensure that victims get proper care.

For my part, I was unaware that such content was available through Smashwords, although in retrospect I am not surprised. Nor am I aware of any attempt to tarnish Smashwords' reputation as a responsible e-publishing service. I think it would really take a concentrated effort by some party to color the public impression of Smashwords. Right now, Smashwords is just too obscure for the general public to care. At the same time, it is an invaluable service for the independant publisher, allowing access into markets that might otherwise be closed, and providing a single process to generate a variety of versions compatible with most e-reader devices on the market.

I would be very interested in the percentage of total titles that you are attributing to incest and pedophilia. I suspect it is a very small percentage compared to the vast body of work by Smashwords authors, but if I am wrong, I would love to see evidence to the contrary.


message 3: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Brooks (kathleen-brooks) Oh, I completely understand it will happen, and I am sure it is not a large percentage as there are so many books being published every day.
Here's one that was posted today. It was on the front page this morning: "Forbidden Smut offers up a complete collection of hardcore Daddy-Daughter fucking in Daddy Daughter Taboo Sex Tales Volume 1! These stories are bound to satisfy your craving for sinfully delicious sex between a Daddy and his little girl. Titles Include: Daddy's Naughty Slut Punish Me, Daddy! My Daddy The Cop "
So, when I market that my romance book is on smashwords and this the first thing people see, will they be so disgusted they stop looking at the site? I like smashwords because of the premium catalog that sells my books to apple and sony, etc. Are there other services that do this? I would be curious to see if they do, if they maybe have things better organized so the hard core stuff you have to look for and isn't on the front page so often.
If you don't use smashwords, the front page has the most recently published books. So, you never know what you are going to get on the front page.

message 4: by Leila (last edited Nov 10, 2011 12:58PM) (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 20 comments Well Kathleen, I was considering Smashwords, but now you have given me something to think about... I don't think I would like to be on the same site as that!

message 5: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Bowers (bridgetbowers) | 212 comments I can understand what you are saying Kathleen. I honestly hadn't noticed that there was that much being showcased on the front page of Smashwords, but I just went and checked and there were 4 books that dealt with much more than just "sex" on the list.

I could see where potential readers/buyers could very well be turned off by what they see. I'm not sure but if you are not signed into Smashwords does the adult filter kick in automatically?

It might be a place that you would definitely want to refrain from sending readers looking for books for children. I choose to use Smashwords for the benefits of getting my book listed on the many different platforms. Perhaps rather than direct people to Smashwords directly, wait until your work has been placed in the other places such as Barnes and Noble and Sony etc and use those links instead.

message 6: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Brooks (kathleen-brooks) I also think Smashwords are the champs, hands down with their formatting guide. And they let you do freebies and stuff without a big hassle. I love them.

Ditto! Are there any other sites like smashwords?

message 7: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Bowers (bridgetbowers) | 212 comments Ditto Kathleen's ditto, are there any other sites that you can get on to help get your work out there?

I've been paying more attention to the new listings on Smashwords and it is a large mix of genres that come across there and none of them last very long because new material is always being uploaded. I honestly don't think just because others do publish risque to uncomfortable books on there that it should reflect on what you write.

message 8: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz I don't want to sidetrack Kathleen's thread, but I haven't used Smashwords for fear of loss of control over content via unlimited distribution (I had a bad experience with Amazon's expanded distribution and stopped electing that option). Also, I noted you referred to the Smashword's "meatgrinder." Could you expand on what that means?

message 9: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 20 comments @Virginia, I don't mind erotica at all, I just don't like pornography, especially something like a daddy 'doing' his little girl!

@Lee, I've had some concerns re Smashwords and how easy I've heard it is for folk to share books around. I'm also interested in your bad experience with Amazon's expanded distribution, or would it be off topic here? The Smashwords meatgrinder is basically their conversion tool for your ebook.

message 10: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 20 comments @Virginia, LOL - no, I didn't find you judgmental at all.

I have just used Mobi for Kindle. I used the Smashword style guide for set up tips. Mobi worked well and I found it quite easy, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.


message 11: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz Virginia wrote: "I had no intention of being judgmental and, on review, I don't see that I was. This is not the venue for moral judgement.

The Meatgrinder is just putting your entire book into Notepad and then t..."

I didn't mean to imply you were judgmental about Smashwords. I was just curious about what you meant by Meatgrinder. Thanks for the clarification. I too have been looking for a better way to put my books into KDP for Kindle. I have been going from Pages (in IWork for Mac) to Epub and uploading the Epub version to KDP where they convert it - the results have been less than the best.

message 12: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz Leila wrote: "@Virginia, LOL - no, I didn't find you judgmental at all.

I have just used Mobi for Kindle. I used the Smashword style guide for set up tips. Mobi worked well and I found it quite easy, if you hav..."

Is Mobi for Kindle available for Mac? If so, where can I get it? Thanks.

message 13: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz Virginia wrote: "OMG. Don't ask me. I am just so grateful there are only 26 letters.

Read all that stuff at"

Thanks, but I've been dealing with kdp/amazon since I published my first novel in 2010. The info on the site is not very helpful regarding formatting/conversion to kdp. Mostly they give you a list of outfits, not necessarily recommended, that will convert your book to kdp for substantial fees with no guarantees.

message 14: by J.H. (new)

J.H. Sked (jhsked) | 5 comments I don't really make many sales through Smashwords - I use it for give-away copies more than anything else to be honest. I struggled with the formatting to kdp as well; I'm not the most technically savvy person and had a few moments of chewing on my keyboard.

message 15: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 20 comments @Lee - Mobi is one of Amazon's downloads to convert your Word doc to Kindle format and no, I don't think it works for Mac. They have another option for Mac which I haven't tried, it's called KindleGen and you can check it out here if you haven't already -
Good luck, it's quite a thing to format to Kindle.

message 16: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz Leila wrote: "@Lee - Mobi is one of Amazon's downloads to convert your Word doc to Kindle format and no, I don't think it works for Mac. They have another option for Mac which I haven't tried, it's called Kindle..."

Thanks, Lelia, but I'm not good at HTML so not what I'm looking for.

message 17: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 20 comments @Lee - ah, I didn't realize it was html! Good luck and sorry I can't be of more help.

message 18: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments Kathleen;This is a very good question, and I'm confused as to what the answer should be. I'm sure everyone remembers the pedophile's guide/Man-Boy Love thing that Amazon published and later withdrew after the resulting bad press. As authors, can we refuse to sell on Amazon? I am a Smashwords author. They were more than helpful when I ventured into the world of digital eBook production. They have actually paid royalties for two years now, so I know I've got readers there. Smashwords is just another child of the internet. There is a lot of reprehensible stuff online. Really, nasty, dangerous stuff. But then, my readers wouldn't be interested in it. No one I want to position my work for would, either, but I'm not going to stop marketing online because of the filth that abounds if you go looking for it. Freedom of the Press puts demands on us. If we lived in Iran, it would be different. We'd probably never have to consider that there might be books like those out there, but there would also be a lot of other books that we'd never know about or have any way to find out about. We all have choices, thankfully. I'm sure if Smashwords gets enough complaints, they'll police the submissions closer. Send your comments right to Mark Coker. He'll respond personally.

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