These days most authors focus their attention on publishing ebooks through the Amazon Kindle ebook store. After all, if you offer Amazon the exclusive rights to sell your books you get to offer your ebook as a freebie for a short time to boost sales via their Kindle Select program.
However, if you’re keen to see your book available in stores other than the Amazon Kindle ebook store, or if you want to reach out to millions of ebook readers who use other devices aside from the Kindle, Smashwords is ideal for you.
As long as you’re careful about your timing and your promotional strategies, it’s very possible to take advantage of both. You can choose to release your ebook exclusively on the Amazon Kindle Select program for the required 90 day minimum. When your agreement expires, log into your account and remove your book from the Select program, which leaves you free to list the same book on Smashwords as well.
You get double the exposure to a broader range of readers!
Smashwords (www.smashwords.com) is the world’s biggest distributor of self-published ebooks. When you join up with Smashwords your book may be distributed to the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Flipkart (India), Baker & Taylor, Scribd, Oyster! and the Diesel eBook store.
If reaching out to a global audience via a broad spectrum of distributors appeals to you, Smashwords gives you plenty of scope. They’re continually seeking out new distribution partners to help their authors make even more sales.
You have the opportunity to increase exposure of your ebook across a broad range of outlets you wouldn’t have access to if you stuck with just the Amazon Kindle bookstore. Besides, they’ll allow you to discount your book price to $0.00 for a promotional period of time if you want to without signing an exclusive agreement.
Multiple Ebook Formats
While the Kindle ebook reader might be the most popular ebook reading device on the market, it’s certainly not the only one available. Apple iPad and Android tablet PCs are increasingly being used as e-reading devices too, allowing readers to choose from a variety of different formats. There are also plenty of avid readers out there who prefer to read from their desktop monitor, rather than a handheld device.
Why limit your audience to only Kindle readers when there are so many other options to take advantage of?
Book Marketing Tips and Advice
Smashwords even offer an in-depth marketing guide, designed to help authors promote their books and increase sales. The guide explains how to make the most of your Smashwords marketing strategy. It also offers plenty of helpful suggestions for getting your book in front of readers and increasing your exposure.
You can download the free Smashwords book marketing guide here: www.smashwords.com/books/download/305/1/latest/0/0/smashwords-book-marketing-guide.pdf
One of the big advantages of choosing to publish an ebook with Smashwords is that the royalty rates can often be more attractive than those offered on Amazon. Royalties only apply to books with a price tag higher than $0.99
For example; if you sell a book on Smashwords, you could receive up to 85% of the net sale proceeds after the credit card processing fee is subtracted. Books sold through the Smashwords Library Direct channel are paid 70% of the list price.
If your book is sold through one of their distribution networks, such as Barnes & Noble, you could earn 60% of the sale proceeds. Books sold through the Baker & Taylor (Axis360 library platform) earn 45% of the list price.
Sales made in the UK or Europe will have the VAT tax removed from the sale proceeds.
Books sold through Kobo are paid a little differently. For books with prices between $0.99 and $12.99 you receive 60%. For books priced higher than $12.99 your royalty rate drops to 38%. Likewise, the 60% Kobo royalty rate only applies to purchases made in US dollars or Canadian dollars. Purchases made using other currencies are paid 38% royalty.
Of course, if you’re savvy about encouraging your friends, family and acquaintances to promote your ebooks via Smashwords for you, they receive a nice little commission payment every time someone buys your book. Essentially, they become affiliates for your books. So instead of you earning the usual 85% royalty amount, your payment reduces to 70.5% of the net sale proceeds. The rest goes towards paying the person who referred the sale.
Keep in mind that the actual royalty amounts you earn may vary, depending on the country the sale was made in and the currency.
Disadvantages of Smashwords
While Smashwords offers a broad market for authors, there aren’t many people (i.e. non-authors) who know what the site is about. By comparison, almost everyone knows Amazon.
Smashwords also doesn’t have the same massive traffic numbers to leverage, as Amazon does. Of course, if you want to see your books in print instead of just a digital, downloadable ebook file, Amazon also gives you access to CreateSpace.
Now, as long as you aren’t enrolled in the Amazon Kindle Select program you can create your own printed book via CreateSpace - which immediately limits your book to being sold only on Amazon. Or, if you want a little more freedom with distribution channels, you can use Lulu (www.lulu.com) to create your printed books for you. So you do have options available.
There are plenty of authors out there who will happily tell you they make very few sales through Smashwords, so they prefer to stick with Amazon. However, there are also lots of authors out there who are very happy with their sales from the site. Besides, readers can take advantage of the slightly cheaper costs of downloading ebooks as compared to some ebooks available on Amazon. If you’re proactive about your marketing and promotion and you really want to reach a broader global audience with your books, there are some definite advantages to including Smashwords in your marketing strategy.
If you’re looking for specific book marketing and ebook promotion tips for Amazon Kindle, try this article: http://fictionfactor.com/book-promotion/book-promotion-tips-for-marketing-your-amazon-kindle-ebook/