Smashwords and Some Thoughts About E-Book Publishing

So, I have added The Shulim Cycle Book of Dahlia to Smashwords with the first chapter of The Shulim Cycle Book of Susan.

I might have mentioned before that this was coming. Well, now it’s done. If you look to the right you will see that I’ve cleaned up my links area a little bit. You will also see links to something called Eduli Springs Book Club for Facebook and G+. No difference between the two locations, just that some people prefer one over the other (like me. I prefer G+). Please feel free to join the group/community on the social network of your choice. As the groups grow, it is going to be my preferred method, outside of this blog, of talking about the books and doing promotion-type things.

If you haven’t read Dahlia, or if you’d like to suggest it to someone, both the Facebook and G+ communities include a Smashwords coupon code to get the book at a discounted price. And I’m pretty much going to do this for each book in The Shulim Cycle. I love my fans that much.

Onto Discussions of E-Book Publishing In General

So, why the change from exclusively Amazon back to Amazon and Smashwords?

Well, it was not anything personal about Amazon per se. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t.

It’s complicated. But it is explainable.

At the time I made the change over to exclusively Amazon, I did it because Amazon made a change in how they pay out to Authors and I preferred it to Smashwords. My own experience with Amazon has been positive. I have easy to use interfaces. I have always gotten prompt and courteous responses from customer service. I also like that from one page, people have the choice of purchasing the e-book or a paperback copy of the book.

Going exclusive with Amazon has a downside, however. Your promotion avenues are limited. I don’t mean forums and all that. Amazon has that a plenty and it has a pretty vibrant network of authors who engage in cross promotion. What I mean is that if you want to be able to offer readers or potential readers discounts to help generate new and increased sales, Amazon is not so good for that.

In order to participate in any kind of promotion, free or discounted, you have to list your e-book exclusively with Amazon through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and you have to lock into that for a minimum of 90 days (with auto-renewal of the contract unless you go in and cancel that – which is at least easy to do, if you know to do it). Once you have that, you only get, for every 90 day period, 5 days of promotion time.

That’s fine if you’re planning on just doing this kind of promotion around specific conventions or book releases. Not so good, however, if you are doing any other kind of marketing of your book. Have a book club you want to give exclusive coupons to? Nope. Have a favorite blogger willing to link your book with a coupon code? No can do.

So for authors, using Amazon is really a balancing act. Now for a while, KDP worked well for me because I worked a day job. I didn’t have hours a day to be online trying to push my book, managing different sites, etc. I was doing good to remember to come here once in a while. When I noticed I had KDP Promotion days left, I put it up, posted about it, and watched new readers come in.

Now, I’m just focusing on my writing, and one or two other little projects. So, now that having flexibility to get coupons into the hands of potential readers is useful, KDP is not so good.

I’m even considering not doing an exclusive launch on Amazon of Book of Susan when I publish. Why bother if I’m going to have the time for more a active promotion schedule and I have options that offer me more flexibility?

And there we are. That’s why I decided to diversify my publishing avenues.

And those are my thoughts for the day. Good reading everyone.

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