Monday, November 09, 2015

A Farewell to Smashwords?

When I published Lyon's Legacy in 2011, the first place it went live was on Smashwords. If you're not familiar with Smashwords, it's an e-book distributor that not only makes books available on B&N, Apple, Kobo, and several others, but also sells e-books directly in many formats. (This is handled through their infamous Meatgrinder, a program that converts books in Word into different formats. I haven't had major problems with it, but I know some authors have.) In some ways, Smashwords is a competitor of Amazon Select, which requires authors to make their content exclusive to Amazon in exchange for certain perks. Unfortunately, for me at least, Smashwords isn't an effective place to sell my books. Even with Lyon's Legacy being permafree, it's difficult to sell any books directly on Smashwords or the sites it distributes to. It can take a long time for books to be distributed and even longer to remove them from distribution. Smashwords is also known for automatically opting all books into new markets, requiring authors to opt out if they don't like the terms.

Recently, an alternative distributor has popped up. Draft 2 Digital (D2D) also distributes to Kobo, B&N, and Apple, along with a couple of other sites Smashwords can't reach. They have a streamlined process for publishing books that's not only faster with distribution but easier to use. I even seem to sell better through them, and other authors have noticed the same thing.

I've quietly unpublished most of the works I had on Smashwords. Some are now exclusive to Amazon (or else I'm still waiting to make sure they're off other sales channels, months after the fact). The only books I have on Smashwords are Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes, and it seems to me it would be better to switch them over to D2D. The problem is dealing with Smashword's slowness and concern about how that move would affect readers. Since Lyon's Legacy is permafree, unpublishing it from Smashwords could cause Amazon to drop the price match, even if the book then becomes free through D2D. (I've thought about it and decided to keep this series out of KDP Select for now.) I also want to make sure readers know about the transition in advance before I do anything.

I'm therefore giving notice to my readers that I will unpublish Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes from Smashwords by the end of the month. If you haven't downloaded them yet, you should do so soon. When I know it's down, I'll move it to D2D while keeping the same prices.

Do you have any experience with Smashwords or D2D? If so, what did you think of them?


Pat Dilloway said...

D2D is easier to use than Smashwords. I don't sell that much through either compared to Amazon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope you don't lose a lot of reviews from other sites in the process. Thanks for not making your books available only on Amazon. This iTunes junkie prefers to get his books there.

Sandra Almazan said...

I have the same experience, Pat.

Good point about the reviews, Alex. I wonder if D2D's customer service would be able to smooth out the transition.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

I don't have experience with any of them but I hope it works out for you.
Be sure to tell us how it stacks up to Smashwords going forward.

Anonymous said...

I use D2D to distribute my book to outlets other than amazon. It was a simple upload and quite painless. I do get sales there, but far fewer than on amazon or via my physical locations.

A.K.Andrew said...

Good to hear this , as I am just about to publish my first book.(An Adult Coloring Book) I've gone with Ingram Spark for the paperback, but I was going to use Smashwords for the ebook. You're making me reconsider now. Thanks for the head up:-)

Cindy said...

Sales probably won't be much different with D2D, but D2D is SO much better to deal with than Smashwords. It's easier to use and if you want to take your books off the other outlets, they come down within 2 days (at least in my experience.) Smashwords would have to change a lot before I'd go back to them.

KMAlexander said...

I'm a stickler for interior layout of my ebooks and Smashwords didn't do a very good job rendering them accurately in my experience. I've found it easier just to distribute with each channel separately rather than try and use a third party service to do it. That said, D2D looks interesting, but I'd want to do a lot of testing to make sure I got the right results.

Maria Zannini said...

I'll be interested to hear how your experience goes with D2D.

I've had fair results from Smashwords. Even with no promo I still get good residuals.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks, Jennifer!

Ink, I already have a couple of works on D2D and find the upload process easy.

Congrats on the new book, AKAndrew!

Cindy, I agree D2D is much faster than Smashwords.

Good luck with it, KM!

Everyone's experiences are going to be different, Maria. Glad to hear you're doing well.

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