Posts Tagged ‘smashwords’

Gabriel: Zero Point hits the iBookstore…from an unexpected angle

May 10, 2012 3 comments

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen some of my rants (some may call them bitch sessions…understandable) Perhaps most notably my Facebook tirades, but also from time to time, my going-off-on-Smashwords ones. I’m not a big fan of Smashwords for several reasons. I could do an entire post about them, but that would just be annoying – therapeutic to me maybe, but annoying nonetheless. One reason stands out: TIME.

Smashwords has opened up an entire new world for self-published authors, and Mark Coker (founder) deserves piles of praise for putting together such an easy-to-enter-market method. The ONLY reason I use Smashwords is to get my books into non-Amazon/Barnes & Noble outlets, such as Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and most importantly, iBooks.

The iBookstore is, at the time of this writing, a disaster of epic proportions for both authors and readers. Apple treats it like Steve Jobs once described the Apple TV – as a hobby. Hard to search, impossible to upload, somewhat clunky apps, and absolutely zero marketing efforts. You’d think with the advent of the iPad, Apple would throw their considerable weight behind iBooks, but as of yet, nada. I DO still believe one day some VP in Cupertino will bring a plan to the table that will go on an all-out attack on Amazon for book market share, but nothing yet. They have the platforms (iPad, iPhone, rumors of a 7″ iPad mini), the infrastructure (over 100 million US customers in iTunes with credit card information), and dollars to spend on marketing and fixing the system. So I’ll be patient.

What I can’t be patient with is Smashwords’ time frame. I uploaded Gabriel: Zero Point on April 2nd (actually 7 days before official release and 6 days before I uploaded to Amazon/BN) knowing they take a while to push through to Premium status (which is a manually-vetted status that allows Smashwords to then send the book through to other channels, like iBooks). A while was an understatement – THIRTY FIVE DAYS. On May 7th, it hit Premium. But I know that it takes still another couple of weeks sometimes for the channels to receive it, so on a lark, I went to my iTunes Connect* app, put together the file, and uploaded, thinking it would be just like the process was for Gabriel’s Redemption, which was over 30 days then Apple returns a mysterious error I couldn’t track down so I threw in the towel.

* Apple does allow direct uploads of books by self-published authors, it’s just a much more complicated process and requires a specific program, Mac-only, and an ISBN. And from what I and Michael Hicks found a couple of months ago, is even slower than Smashwords, believe it or not.

The file uploaded, I didn’t get any errors, and less than 24 hours later, this is available:

Yes, 24 hours and it’s there. Now THAT is how it’s supposed to work, boys and girls. Perhaps Apple is putting some additional effort into iBooks. We’ll see. But in the meantime, I now will CANCEL my Smashwords distro for GZP. And because iTunes will pay slightly more than Smashwords for royalties, plus the descriptions look SO much better (not to mention my other Smashwords pet peeve – I can upload my clean ePub file to iTunes, not rely on a Word doc conversion), and it appears new/changes are being done much faster, I’ll be working on redoing my other books direct.

Oh, and if you notice above, Gabriel: Zero Point is FREE on iTunes. Free as in beer…

Has anyone else had success or problems with iTunes direct? Anyone feel the same about Smashwords as I do? 🙂


Fellow ebook authors – what platform sells best for you?

April 13, 2011 21 comments

It’s now been officially two full months since Gabriel’s Redemption has hit the ‘bookshelves’ of the major ebook distributors. I can honestly say I’m quite pleased with the sales; how could I not be? Three months ago I didn’t even have an ebook, just a collection of Scrivener scenes lumped into a manuscript that was undergoing some massive editing. And now, approaching 100 books sold, for a debut author? I’m thrilled. Rich? No. Satisfied so many people showed an interest in my work, and have been kind enough to leave some fantastic reviews? Absolutely.

But in looking (obsessing, perhaps) over the daily sales numbers in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (where in addition to direct to Smashwords customers, the novel is distributed to Borders/Kobo, iBooks, and Diesel), I noticed a very significant trend in sales. Amazon was cleaning the others’ clocks. I thought about it, trying to figure out why, and came up with a few possible reasons:

  • Public perception – ask anyone to name an ereader; you’ll hear Kindle, then Nook, then, huh? But Kindle will always be first. Whether it’s because of Joe Konrath, or Amanda Hocking, etc. or not, Kindle seems to hold the most mind share. But of course that leads into market share.
  • Market share – at last check, depending on what site you land on when you Google ‘ereader market share’, Kindle led the way with around half of the ereader market. Barnes & Noble recently stated they have 25% of ereader sales, though they backed it up with little to no proof. However, those are probably pretty good indications of where the market stands.*

*I’m not sure if the iPad has yet swept up the ereading public, but it’s certainly on its way…however, since I’ve sold a grand total of zero through iBooks I can’t even factor that in.

  • Me – Yes, me. My blog shows Amazon first, most tweets will have an Amazon link, and any time I’m only able to list one outlet to purchase the novel, I invariably list Amazon. Why? Probably because of the first two reasons. And the irony behind that is, I own a Kobo, a Nook, I’ve ordered an iPad, and there are four iPhones in my household. Not a Kindle to be found…

Looking at the numbers, I’m seeing around a 10-1 ratio of Kindle to Nook sales for Gabriel’s Redemption. Smashwords has a few sales, mostly when I do a promo code, but nothing consistent. So I sit and watch the KDP page, click refresh, and hold my breath, hoping the number goes up by one.

The question is – which platform sells for you? Do you see a significant difference in your ebook sales between Kindle and Nook? Which way, and why do you think that is? Any genre reason? Questions, questions…please help with answers, I can’t bear to keep clicking refresh…

Review of Chasing Filthy Lucre by Jarrett Rush

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment


When a greedy corporate power threatens the status quo in Weber Rexall’s town and he’s tasked to do something about it, nothing will stand in his way.

Tough guy Rexall, his underground fighting ring cohort Berger, and a synthetic Serve-O named Simmer are just three of the incredibly interesting characters Rush writes into Chasing Filthy Lucre, the first part in a novella series, one that entertains right from the first page.

Rush seamlessly blends cyberpunk technology and post-apocalyptic settings with deep characters the reader can truly feel for. The tech itself is fascinating; without giving anything away, when Rush describes the hothouse and its patrons, the remarkable imagery he puts together could easily have been pulled from a scene in today’s world. The scene descriptions, such as the underground fighting and the ‘package delivery’ scene (again without giving too much away) are rich, and really paint a detailed picture in the reader’s head.

The story is fast-paced and progresses logically, with a couple of twists, and an exciting climax, then easily feeds into the next novella in the series. Definitely a page-turner, and very well edited for a self-published work. Absolutely worth the download, I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

Find Chasing Filthy Lucre, currently only $0.99 (c’mon…how can you go wrong?) here:

Amazon (Kindle) • Barnes & Noble (Nook) • Smashwords (multiple platforms)

More about Jarrett Rush:

My self-publishing journey, Part 5 – I’m published!

February 22, 2011 7 comments

Still there? My diatribe hasn’t bored you to tears? The journey’s almost to an end. Well, not really – but I’ll get to that in a bit.

So I clicked upload, and my baby was sent to Amazon for review. Wow, I thought. That was quite painless. What happened to writing dozens of query letters, being rejected, trying again, waiting for months? It’s an electronic world, even print-on-demand isn’t fast enough for millions of people.

What’s next? Did two more compiles in Scrivener, one for ePub, and one for Word doc, and uploaded to Barnes & Noble’s Nook program, and Smashwords program. And then came the coolest thing. Smashwords gave me a countdown-type of page, showing where my novel was in the queue. Started at #312, left the laptop open while watching television that night with my wife. By the time the DVR was halfway into our second show, it was down to #3, and “Completed” started showing up one by one next to the version types (I didn’t mention before, but Smashwords, if you’re not familiar, publishes multiple formats – ePub, .mobi, .doc, .pdf, even Sony reader; not to mention pays the best royalty).

There it was, available for sale to anyone with an ereader, anywhere in the world. Out came a couple of glasses of wine, and we toasted to the fact that my novel, the one I had been wanting to write for over twenty years, just got published. I have to say, that was a very significant feeling.

The next day, after hitting refresh several dozen times on Amazon’s Kindle Publishing page, there it was – my novel, available for sale with the world’s largest e-bookseller. The day after that, available on Very surreal experience.

But now what? Now comes the hardest part of all, the part that will never end. Promoting the book. I don’t have an agent, or a publisher, or a PR firm. It was time for another hat.

To be continued…