A little while ago I told you that I was participating in a Smashwords promo called “eBook Week”, where publishers of ebooks could be listed in the special “eBook Week” catalogue in exchange for offering a discount on the price of their book for that week. Having literally nothing to lose – I have never managed to sell a single copy of “Fatal Forgery” through Smashwords – I signed up.
A bit of background: Smashwords is (in its own words) “the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks”. Writers like me (we’re known as indie publishers) can simply upload our books to Smashwords in as many formats as we like, and then Smashwords distributes them to the appropriate sales channels. I went for the whole lot, formatting “FF” so that it could be sent to (wait for it) Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Diesel, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor, Flipkart, Oyster and Scribd. As part of the deal, you allow potential buyers on all those channels to download a sample of the book, a bit like Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Since I signed on with Smashwords in June 2013, my sample has been downloaded 38 times, and the book bought not once.
(Things have not been helped in the UK by WHSmith. They have a Kobo shop on their website, and when they were told that some Kobo books are x-rated, they removed all self-published books from their Kobo shop. I have been in touch with them several times, asking when non-naughty self-published books will be allowed back in, and apparently – I kid you not – they are reading them one by one to check. So don’t hold your breath.)
So how has the Smashwords “eBook Week” promo worked out for me? How many books have I sold? None. How many sample downloads have there been? None. Well, I did promise I would report back. I just wish the news were better.
Roy McCarthy said:
Oh dear, it’s as well we don’t do it for the fame or glory Susan. Rest assured that there is no correlation at all between the quality of writing and book sales. We’ve all read some awful trash by established authors and also great stuff by indies that never get a sniff of the big time.
I liken publishing books to scattering seeds out of the window. Just now and again one will catch a lucky break and flourish without being intrinsically any better than its fellow seeds.
That’s a lovely, calm analogy, Roy – thank you! I shall picture my book as a seed floating gently on the breeze….ahhhh!
Best wishes from Susan