Writing a Dream

Hard Call – Dropping Smashwords.com

I tried, I really did. But the time has come for me to stop using Smashwords.com as another source for my book sales. Why? Because I have had ZERO sales from ANY of their channels. This includes their extended channels which include the likes of iTunes. Over the past year, I tried to be patient and even directed people over to Smashwords to check out not only my work, but the work of others. Still, with all the self promotion, I have had absolutely no sales or any website referrals from them.

Amazon offers the KDP select option which is available to any author should they go exclusively with them and in exchange, you get to offer your book free for a few days a quarter. I tried this once and it did wonders for my exposure. Within just a couple of days I had over 600 downloads. I know, I didn’t get paid for it, but you have to start somewhere. In this case, sometimes just getting people to read your work is hard enough, let alone getting them to pay for something from an unknown author.

In the end, I am not really losing anything from this move. As I’ve said, I got no return for the work I did concerning Smashwords. For a good year my work sat there and did nothing, regardless of how much I promoted. At least with Amazon, I do get some sales there and a few reviews. That’s more than I can say for Smashwords.


9 responses

  1. I think you’ve made a wise move. Currently I am doing the same with my books–Kindle Select is a great program, and frankly, Amazon is the better platform. Having my ebook in only one place is a lot less stress for me as the author, at this time. And I’ve had good success with free promotion days also.

    December 28, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    • It just made more sense to go with one platform. It was nice to be able to say I was on Smashwords and iTunes, but as long as my stuff was there I never got one click or one sale. Kind of pointless to have my stuff available on those channels when there is no benefit. Plus Smashwords made you do all that extra formatting which was a real pain. They are so specific about what you can and cannot do in your formatting whereas Amazon will take your work and do most of the reformatting for you.

      December 29, 2012 at 5:13 am

  2. I can understand your frustration, as we independent authors have many, but maybe Smashwords isn’t so bad. I’ve had a couple of books on each of those platforms and my results have been favorable. Amazon is obviously the most popular, but my newest (first) novel, Twistir is currently only available via Smashwords, and it’s doing pretty well for a free download that’s only been out a month. So maybe SOME of the their outlets can be fruitful. At least for some type of books. Was yours fiction? Non-Fiction? Maybe that matters when Smashwords is concerned. Thanks for posting. And Good luck!.
    Pierce Minor
    Twistir novel (3-1-13)

    January 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    • the biggest problem is that I got absolutely nothing from Smashwords in the year I had my titles on their. At one point, to try and boost my exposure, I did offer a book of mine free. Not just a 100 page quicky either. I offered a full novel and I did have several hundred downloads. Problem was of all those downloads, I didn’t get a single review. Not one. Same with website hits. I got nothing from Smashwords while I got a good amount from Amazon. Also, free doesn’t pay the bills. I mad zero sales via Smashwords. On Amazon, I can’t say I am raking it in, but I have had some sales and I also got a few reviews. All in all, Amazon has paid off for me much more than Smashwords. I jumped through all their hoops and even had my titles on their extended channels like iTunes. Again, not a single sale. Maybe I just had bad luck, but fact is Smashwords didn’t do anything for me but cause me to reformat all my documents to fit their criteria.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

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  5. I for one feel just the opposite here. I used the KDP system several times last year to kick off my books. I got a huge wave of downloads…and then my books just floated down in popularity dramatically. The problem for all of us is that there are soooo many books out there. And the problem with KDP is that so many “free” books are offered through Kindle every day that we all run the risk of just becoming filler for people’s Kindles.

    But ask any traditionally published author and they suffer the same problem with sales after the first few months once they release. The two things I’ve learned this year are: 1) the best marketing tool I have is to publish another book; 2) this is not a short-term business. Online book distributors allow you to set your books up in perpetuity. My philosophy is to position myself on as many distribution platforms as possible — including paperback offerings, and to stay focused on my writing. See a recent blog post I wrote on these issues.


    I finally got my main work posted to Smashwords this week. I don’t expect this to be a miracle opportunity, I just expect it to be another platform people can go to for my books.

    January 25, 2013 at 9:11 am

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  7. Four years. four years I’ve been on smashwords. the first year, I didn’t make a bump. Not even a free download, the second, I think I did like $50 dollars.
    The third and fourth… I would say it’s been nice.

    the other commentor is right, there are soooo many books out there, the competition is very hard.

    Although Amazon offered me some nice sales bumps and reviews, I still made books exclusively available on Smashwords because #1 I can offer books for free easily over there and #2: I can send them through the ever growing and popular iTune and B&N channels.

    I also found out that readers need action statements, so in the last part of my books, I would encourage them to visit the Smashwords store to see more book by me and please leave a review wherever they purchased the book.

    I also would use my blog, FB & twitter to send out at least twice a week:
    1. Send out thanks for people who purchased on Smashwords & Amazon
    2. Remind people if they haven’t purchased on Smashwords or Amazon they can do so (with a short link attached to that message)
    3. Remind people to leave a review now that they’ve downloaded the book.

    To encourage people even more to get books off of Smashwords, I would often do free fridays and use hashtags (#amreading #freefridays #shortsundays #SeductiveSaturdays)

    I also on my blog set up a free read page and if others had free reads on their page, I would connect with them. On the page, I had free book links to Smashwords and in those books I had links to PAID books which readers would click through and buy right from smashwords or back into my site which lead them back to smashwords.

    It worked like a charm.

    Readers were flocking to smashwords and I would say my sales have bumped nicely every quarter.

    The most important thing I learned and I think you should also think about is that you shouldn’t be your eggs all in one basket.

    The nook and itune stores are really coming strong in 2013 and you don’t want to miss those sales

    February 13, 2013 at 1:33 am

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