Increasing Smashwords success

When I first came into self-publishing, I didn’t even know about KDP Select. I find myself feeling fortunate about this because whilst many authors noted a lot of success at the beginning of Amazon’s exclusive deal, I’ve read quite a lot of material lately that has suggested that the perks of the arrangement are beginning to wane. Instead, I uploaded to KDP and Smashwords, got into the latter’s premium catalogue and pushed Inside Evil onto the shelves of distributors like Apple, Sony and Barnes & Noble.

There are a number advantages of going with Smashwords, including that they issue payment when you have a minimum of $10 through Paypal, rather than waiting for a minimum $100 cheque balance for foreign publishers (or aliens as America likes to call us) that Amazon requires. Likewise, because I’m based outside the US, I can’t access B&N’s own PubIt, so have to utilise Smashwords to get on their shelves. I don’t own a Mac, so directly uploaded to Apple’s iBooks is impossible, and though Kobo have just released their own publishing tool, I’m yet to use it.

Whilst I’ve used Smashwords to offer codes for freebies, I had NO actual sales from the website itself. I thought it was going to take years for me to ever get the $10 minimum, and with no distributor sales either I was beginning to think it was a lost cause. That was until this month, however, when BAM, I had four B&N and three Apple sales. OK, these numbers aren’t high, but I’m in self-publishing infancy, am doing no advertising for those platforms and am not selling huge amounts on Amazon either. In fact, for July, with those seven distributor sales, I actually made more at Smashwords than at Amazon.

Now, I’m finally happy that I’m utilising Smashwords to distribute Inside Evil across its channels, and for the first time, a few sales seem to be appearing. After the first few months of practically selling nothing, sales are actually creeping up each month; a welcome trend. Do you use Smashwords? Have you noted growing sales at distributors?

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4 thoughts on “Increasing Smashwords success

  1. Wendy Unsworth

    Hi Geoff, I am much the same as you and have not gone into kdp for the same reasons. I know I have sold books outside Amazon and am hoping soon to get a report through with sales through some of Smashwords channels (have only sold 1 book through Smashwords direct). I am glad to be with Smashwords but the reporting seems to be slow!

    • geoffwakeling

      Oh, the reporting is soooo slow. And, it seems that even once they notify you of sales there’s still longer to wait for your account to be credited because many companies like Apple and B&N don’t charge their customers up front so there’s an additional lag.

      However, I’m glad that you’ve had a few Smashwords sales too. Here’s hoping that they’ll continue to climb 🙂

  2. Lawr

    Dear Geoff,

    I have four books published to Amazon KDP. I’ve had them out there for a year, and the number of sales I can count on both hands and feet – so roughly 20 sales. I did some Google advertising (expensive) and I’m doing some Goodreads advertising too. I also had an account with PRWeb and did a years worth (about one release a month) of press releases.

    I heard about Smashwords from some other authors in my network. I went out to the site and signed up. It was a bit of a trial since I do all my own e-book formatting, and I had to do some reformatting to get my books approved on SmashW. Nonetheless, I finally got all put out on Smashwords’ site, and to my surprise the very next day (within 24 hours) I had a sale. Now, it’s been another 24 hours and I’ve seen no more movement. I’ll keep an eye on it as the months roll by. As a professional, one must in this business for the long run.

    The thing I like about Smashwords is that it’s more like a real publisher who puts your works into stores where the customers are, rather than just having it in one store such as Amazon. Now, if Smashwords would just offer promotions, marketing, and advertising, I think we indie authors might be able to compete with the big boys.

    ~Lawrence BoarerPitchford, Author
    Tales of Mad Cows and Brothels
    The Lantern of Dern Blackhammer
    In the World of Hyboria
    Thadius
    Sawbones
    http://www.boarerpitchford.com

  3. Grant T. Reed

    Hi,
    I’ve tried a couple different runs with Amazon and sold maybe 20 books in a year. I removed my novels, and changed the covers, revamped the names, paid for some editing etc, and yesterday I uploaded to both Smashwords and KDP again (Smashwords for the first time.). I had a sale on each of the sites last night, so fingers crossed! So far I really like the Smashwords layout, and it feels like you have more control with coupons etc….Good luck boys!

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