Okay, so it’s been about two weeks since I published my eBook. I wanted to do a quick check-in to let you know what my experience has been with Smashwords so far:
- **Premium Status: **Once you get into Smashwords’ premium catalog, your book can be distributed to their partner retailers, such as Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, etc. This approval process only took about a day, which made me really happy. However, I noticed that I was only second in the queue once I uploaded Rotting Apricot, so I might have caught a slow season.
- **It’s not instant gratification: **I’ve been spoiled by working with online periodicals.When you publish articles on high-traffic websites, you generally receive instant feedback in the form of comments, emails, Tweets, and Facebook shares. But when you self-publish, you typically don’t have another publication shouting about it from the mountaintops. Feedback and sales have been slow so far, but other eBook authors I know insist that this is normal. So I’ve been sitting and waiting and watching my Smashwords dashboard obsessively.
- **Sample downloads: **Lots of people have downloaded the 30% sample of Rotting Apricot. I suspect that this is because you don’t have to sign up for a Smashwords account to do so.
- **Amazon woes: **I was extremely excited about getting my book onto Amazon, however it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon – they seem to prioritize authors who have sold at least $2,000. According to their Distribution page:
Although we have a distribution agreement with Amazon via their Kindle Direct Platform, they’re unable to receive our entire catalog until they create a bulk upload facility. In the meantime, we’re only distributing a few hundred titles to Amazon out of our catalog of over 250,000. We understand that many Smashwords authors would prefer the convenience of consolidating their distribution to Amazon via Smashwords, rather than uploading direct to Amazon. If your book has earned over $2,000 at Smashwords and you would prefer to consolidate your distribution via Smashwords to Amazon as opposed to uploading direct with them, please click the “support” link at the bottom of this page and let us know you’re in the $2,000 club and would like to be considered for our distribution to Amazon.
So why don’t I just publish to Amazon directly? Obviously, I would like to sell my book on Amazon since there are so many readers who have adopted that platform already. However, the Seattle Writes contest rules state, “No previously published works or works accepted for publication elsewhere will be accepted.” I don’t want *Rotting Apricot *to be disqualified, so I’m going to sit tight and wait until the contest is over before I consider other publishing routes.
However, I am pleased with the overall reach of Smashwords. If I need to change the price of my eBook or make a slight formatting change, they provide a centralized system that pushes these updates out to all partner distributors.
So far, those have been my main observations about Smashwords. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep posting more about my self-publishing journey.