June 02, 2013

Opening up to the market ...

Well, a post about me and not other writers today.

I've done well out of Amazon's Select programme for publishers, which allows you to nominate your books for 'free' download every 90 days. The free downloads attract a lot of people and the idea is that once the free days have finished, readers will continue to download that particular book or any others of yours that are available to buy. The catch is that your books have to be available exclusively on Amazon during that 90 day period in order to 'earn' those free days.

This has worked well for me and enabled me to build up a bit of a head of steam - I'm getting reviews and the recent re-launch of the books with added Search Engine Optimisation means that they're showing up higher in searches on Amazon, too.

But now it's time to move on. I have a new book coming out shortly - Actress - and I want to hit as many markets as possible. So I've added my books to the Smashwords site, which is a site that acts as a distributor of your book to locations like Barnes & Noble, Apple and Sony. I could do all that myself as an independent, but each site has their own requirements for formatting, so in the end it's easier to submit one edition to Smashwords and let them take care of the formatting and all the associated paperwork. They only pay every quarter, but as this is the same (or slightly better) than traditional publishers I don't feel I'm getting a rough deal. We've all been spoiled by Amazon's more-or-less instant reporting of sales on your dashboard, but they still only pay about six-to-eight weeks after your sale anyway, so it's not that different.

So if you don't like Amazon, or want to pay for a book via Paypal rather than credit card (which you can do from the Smashwords site itself) then hurry along to this page where you can buy the books now! In a few days' time they should be available on the iBooks Apple store and WH Smith store too.

Keith Dixon's Smashwords page.


  1. Good luck with it, Keith, but I cannot fathom why people hate Amazon so much. They're giving writers an option beyond the narrow world of the big publishing houses and the royalties are so much better than all but the best-selling writers will get with a traditional publishing contract.

  2. Hi Louis
    I have nothing but good things to say about Amazon - it's enabled me to build a profile and generate sales where I had no chance before. I was published on Lulu.com in paperback but until Amazon's KDP Select program came along I was selling very few books.

    The point about adding Smashwords to the mix is that they give distribution to more places - particularly B&N's Nook and the Apple iBook store. It seems crazy not to have them included in one's marketing mix. I'm not leaving Amazon, just not going for the 'Select' option. My royalties will be the same (except Brazil and India, where I've sold not a single book anyway), it just means that I won't be able to use Amazon's 'free' 5 day option. But as I can do that on Smashwords, and use coupons there to send to people, so they can download at a discount (or even free again, I guess),then I think I'm gaining, not losing. We'll see! Maybe I'll change my mind in 6 months' time!