- Michael Offutt (last Monday),
- Rachel Morgan from Rachel Morgan Writes (today),
- Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse (May 21), and
- Adina West from Stairways and Landings (May 28).
Some agent thoughts on self-publishing
Natalie Lakosil has answered some Author Q & A on Self-Publishing, including how authors can publish traditionally after self-publishing.
Rachelle Gardner has written a post on the intriguing question of: Are Agents Running Scared?
Nathan Bransford has written so many awesome posts on self-/digital publishing. This week his post is about The Biggest Challenges in the New Era of Publishing.
Some "link love"
Rachel Morgan shares some of her publishing stats in her guest post below. And if you are interested in hearing about the publishing stats of another published author, check out Shelli Johannes's recent post where she gives an Update From the Indie Front: My Indie Sales Update. It's very enlightening to see how she's done over the last six months of self-publishing.
Tracey H. Kitts has written a post on Why Do So Many Hate Self-Published Books - I don't know if any of you have experienced this attitude, but it's an interesting read in any case.
In keeping with the week's focus on "Self-Publishing Stats" and the experiences of self-published authors, here's the post from Amanda Hocking that I mentioned last week, where she talks about the success of her two new series, which are being "traditionally published": How Am I Doing Now?
I hope all those links are very helpful. And here is Rachel Morgan's guest post, where she gives her experiences of self-publishing and compares Amazon KDP vs Smashwords:
Rachel Morgan's Guest Post
Self-Publishing: Amazon KDP vs Smashwords
- I found the formatting requirements to be simpler than Smashwords.
- Everyone knows Amazon! More people will come across your book.
- Bestseller lists. Customers can see your book’s ranking overall on the Kindle Store as well as within specific categories. This is a good thing if your book is doing well, but possibly not a good thing if your ranking isn’t great!
- Amazon only sells one ebook format—the Kindle format—and so their ebooks can only be read on Kindles.
- You have to wait up to 48 hours for your ebook to be available for sale.
- The categories you choose when you upload and publish your ebook are NOT exactly the same as the search categories in the Kindle Store. So all the research I did beforehand (number of books in each category, as well as keyword searches within each category) was almost useless!
- Your ebook can end up on a random bestseller list, which may confuse readers. For example, in its first week, Guardian ended up on an Anthologies bestseller list, despite the fact that it’s not an anthology!
- You cannot make your book free unless it is enrolled in the KDP Select program, where you then have the option of 5 free days during every 90 day period. (Unless you try and force Amazon into a price match, but you don’t know how long that will take, or how long it will take for them to put a price back on it.)
- Your ebook may be “lost” whilst publishing! I hadn’t heard of this until it happened to me! When I published the second installment in the Creepy Hollow series, Labyrinth, I received the standard email from Amazon congratulating me on publishing a book, and giving me the link to where I could find it. However, when I clicked on the link, I got a 404 Not Found error. Over and over again! After some research on the KDP forums, I discovered a few other people had experienced the same problem. One person was still waiting a MONTH later for their book to show up! Fortunately, Amazon “found” my book within a day or two. Phew!
- Smashwords produces multiple formats of your ebook, so customers can read it on many different e-readers.
- Smashwords distributes to other online retailers, like Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Baker & Taylor.
- Your ebook can be available for sale on the site within minutes (depending on (I imagine) how many other people are uploading at the same time).
- I found the formatting requirements to be a little more complicated (or at least long-winded) than Amazon’s.
- Not as many people buy from Smashwords.
- You have to wait a while for your book to be approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalogue. It took a little over two weeks for Guardian to be approved. (Smashwords won’t distribute your ebook to any retailers until it has been approved.)
- There are no ranking details for your book.
- Distribution times. After a book is approved, it is supposed to take one to two weeks to show up on other online retail sites. I found Guardian on Sony, Kobo and Diesel within that time, but a MONTH after it had been approved, when I unpublished Guardian from Smashwords so that I could try out Amazon’s KDP Select program, the book STILL had not shown up on Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore. (That was on April 25th, and I first published Guardian on March 5th)
DRM and Piracy
Another difference between Amazon and Smashwords is DRM (Digital Rights Management). I didn’t list it in the pros and cons, because it can be both a pro and a con! On Amazon you can choose whether you want to apply DRM or not. On Smashwords there is no option. None of their books have DRM. If you don’t want anyone
Difference in Sales Numbers
At the time that I unpublished Guardian and Labyrinth from Smashwords (so that I could try out Amazon's KDP Select program) I had sold about six times more copies on Amazon than through Smashwords. And through the retailers that Smashwords distributes to, I had sold only ONE copy!
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Thanks so much for that awesome guest post, Rachel! Here is her bio and her links:
Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. She always loved reading, but decided to do something science-y with her brain when she left school. She studied Genetics and Biochemistry, but eventually realized that research wasn’t for her—writing was! These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school girls, she writes fiction for young adults.
The Creepy Hollow Series
Rachel has kindly offered a giveaway! Just leave a comment then click through the Rafflecopter link below :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Random Act Of Kindness Blitz
A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community.
Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.
So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.
To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!
I am randomly picking Rachel Morgan, who is a good friend--Rachel was my fifteenth follower, and her comment on one of my posts in late 2010 inspired me to create my Writers' Platform-Building Campaign, which I know has helped so many of you connect with other writers and build your platform. I thought it rather appropriate to choose Rachel, given she has shared her guest post with us today *grins*.
Rachel, for my RAOK gift, I'm offering to help by critiquing your next book in the CREEPY HOLLOW series :) And if you have a minute, please stop in and tell Rachel how awesome she is!
Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)
Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.
How about you: Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness? Were there any links above that will be useful to you? Are you self-publishing or digital publishing - if so, where are you in your publishing journey?