Self Publishing Is Not Spelt Kindle“I don’t sell many books on Smashwords.”

I read this comment over and over again from self-published authors and it drives me crazy every time I read it. It should read, “I don’t sell many books on Apple, B&N orKobo because I can’t be bothered promoting my books anywhere else other than Kindle.”

Smashwords is a distributor of ebooks, but after self-published authors add their books to the Smashwords Premium Catalogue, they seem to expect, as if by some kind of magic, that their books will sell. While lazily filling their social media feeds with links to their books on Kindle, most Indie authors can’t be bothered, or don’t even know how to promote their books on other retailers.

Simple question. How many know how to create a link to their books on the Apple iBooks Store? For those who don’t know, perhaps a look at Apple’s Link Builder might help.

Second question. What percentage of self-published authors’ book promotion is linked to Amazon?

I’ll answer this question from my experience. I run a book promotion site for self-published authors and each submission has four optional links available for each book. Of the last 200 books that have been published on the site, only one included a link to Smashwords. Two included a link to B&N and exactly zero included a link to Apple. Of course, all 200 included a link to Amazon.

Third question. Do self-published authors themselves buy ebooks from Smashwords? Or Apple? Or Kobo? Or only, by habit, from Kindle?

Fourth question. There were 43,000 free ebooks on Kindle on 27th December, all being offered by KDPS enrolled authors. But do any authors who are not in KDPS think about offering a free book through Smashwords? It’s easy and comes with no strings attached. Just change the price to free for as long as you like.

Fifth question. What do self-published authors expect from Smashwords? Miracles?

Yes. I agree. A lot of self-published authors don’t sell many books on Smashwords or its distribution channels. But it’s easy to understand why, isn’t it?

Self Publishing Is Not Spelt K.I.N.D.L.E. – Part 2

35 thoughts on “Self Publishing Is Not Spelt K.I.N.D.L.E. – Part 2

  • 07/01/2013 at 3:42 pm

    Derek, if I should write a post on how to download Smashwords books, may I quote your comment above? I imagine that a lot of people with iPads might want to do the same thing. (Personally I have no iPad, no iPhone, no smart phone of any kind, no wireless service – I just don’t need all that stuff. But running Smashwords Kindle through the PC isn’t that hard.)
    Mr. Enache, I also found that amusing, but still there really are people in the world who are even less adept in cyberspace than I am, and that’s not saying much! I may take your advice on the price, although since I only published the book two days ago, I think I’ll leave it like this for a little while longer. Thanks for being interested!

    • 07/01/2013 at 3:48 pm

      Of course Lorinda. Quote away happily. Just one other idea for Kindle ebooks downloaded from Smashwords.
      The ebook file can be sent to a Kindle reader by using a little program called ‘Send To Kindle’. It can be downloaded from Amazon for PC or Mac.

      It’s then just a click on the file and bingo, it’s on your Kindle.

        • 08/01/2013 at 7:40 pm

          No not to download Lorinda. But just add the ebook file after downloading from Smashwords, to your My Documents, and send it to your Kindle. Easy. :)

  • 08/01/2013 at 6:47 am

    For a year, I tried to sell my books on B&N. I paid for ads, I posted in Nook forums, I posted links, and I contacted their marketing department, wanting to work with them to promote my ebooks on the Nook. In the meantime, I was selling really well on Amazon, so it made sense that with all that effort, I could gain some traction on Nook too. It never happened.

    As for Kobo and Sony, all they did for me was discount my books on their sites, leading Amazon to discount my books, which resulted in huge financial losses for me.

    So I gave up on all of them. And the Select program is still working well for me. I make extra money through the KOLL “borrows”, and the giveaway I did in early December had fantastic results that are still paying off.

    Writers link to Amazon because that’s where we sell books.

    • 08/01/2013 at 11:38 am

      That’s where “you” sell books. Just because it worked out for you in one part and not in the other, doesn’t mean it’s the same for others. An individual’s own experience is not a universal experience, and his conclusions are not absolute vis-a-vis where to go and if you want to sell ebooks. I’ve heard a lot of writers claiming that Amazon and KDPselect didn’t work out for them, but that other outlets did, including B&N. Some authors willing to go exclusive because they feel content about that particular retailer and how they’re doing there. Others choose not to go exclusive and appear at other stores. One cannot compute the loss of exposure if they don’t hang on to it. In general, when they opt out of KDP select (and they did well with it), then go to other outlets, they feel they did the wrong thing because they’re not selling as well in the new stores. They don’t give it time and don’t put in the necessary efforts to promote themselves at other aggregators. In the end, every author does what he or she wants in regards to where to sell, but don’t try to blame other stores, just because you weren’t successful. The reader market is very diverse. For example, the majority of reader folk on SW read romance books, thus, this genre is the most popular, while others are not doing so well.

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