writing

Merry Christmas; Lord’s Tale pt 2; Farewell Smashwords

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMerry Christmas, all! I won’t be able to post on the holiday, so I thought I’d put it here now.

Just so you know, I do have part two of The Lord’s Tale up on some platforms. However, I’m not sure what’s going on with some of those (actually, one of those), so if you see that it’s available, you can try purchasing it, however I can’t guarantee there won’t be changes to it after you buy it. Might be best to wait until the official announcement here before buying a copy.

Finally, I will be unpublishing my stories on Smashwords. All of them. The reasons are many and varied. Here are some:

  • In spite of the fact that real-time reporting and monthly payments are possible, they still pay quarterly.
  • There is an amazing delay between when a sale occurs through a distribution channel and when they report how much was earned from that sale.
  • They misrepresented themselves by announcing through the AutoVetter that some sort of mention of their site was required on the copyright page. (I used “Smashwords Edition” for mine.) Passing the AutoVetter was required for the Premium Catalog. They later announced that this had always been optional…for those who complained. The rest of us had no idea it was optional at all. (Mentioned at The Passive Voice as well as on the site, now that it will no longer be flagged by the AutoVetter.)
  • Though they announced that all books, except erotica, would be available through Overdrive in a matter of weeks, my books did not appear. I’m not the only one who has found this to be true. It turns out all books distributed by Smashwords were put into a virtual ghetto, (also see here and here).**
  • Smashwords lists itself as the publisher at Overdrive and Scribd. To their credit, they come right out and say they aren’t a publisher and that it doesn’t affect anything legally when it comes to copyright but that’s not the point. The point is, they aren’t a publisher. They are a distributor*. Big difference. They should not be listing themselves as such without giving the author a chance to put in an alternative, if they have one.

There’s some other things, but those are the big ones to me. And the biggest of all isn’t something I can really fit in a bullet-point: Smashwords is being associated with a certain kind of indie publishing. Not a good kind, either.

I appreciate Mark Coker and all he’s done. I do. But I’m going in a different direction with my publishing plans.

All my titles on Smashwords will be gone by December 31st.

(Note: next post will be on lessons learned in 2014 and what I hope to do in 2015.)

*Correction: They’re not even that. I apologize for getting my terms confused. When it comes to making deals with distributors like Apple and Scribd and so on, they’re an aggregator.

**Update: ebookbargainsuk let me know in the comments section that 160,000 of the 200,000 titles Smashwords submitted are now in Overdrive’s public catalog. Also, it appears the issue wasn’t with Smashwords but with Overdrive.

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2 thoughts on “Merry Christmas; Lord’s Tale pt 2; Farewell Smashwords

  1. Although it’s been along time coming, 160,000 of the 200,000 titles submitted to OverDrive are now in the public catalogue, and it’s reasonable to suppose the rest are on the way.

    As best we can tell,the issues were at OverDrive’s end and not something Smashwords had any control over, although the long silence from Mark Coker as to what was happening was disturbing.

    Unfortunately for OverDrive libraries and for stores like Flipkart Smashwords appears to be the only free-to-upload aggregator that will get our titles to these stores. Other aggregators charge up-front fees (but pay 100% of net, so can be worthwhile)

    But most of the Smashwords outlets are now replicated by Draft2Digital which is far easier to use, pays more frequently and can produce a reasonable epub or mobi from a Word cos in seconds, without having to play games with the Meatgrinder..

    We’re seeing more and more authors jump ship to D2D. Mark Coker needs to sit up and take notice.

    He also needs to embrace the global ebook market.

    1. Thank you for letting me know the current situation with Overdrive. I’m glad to hear that the issues were on Overdrive’s end, not Smashwords. I’ll update the post to reflect that.

      I’m one of those who switched to D2D, even though right now it’s just newer titles in certain channels. I miss the promotional tools Smashwords has and all the different formats for readers, but I was so impressed with D2D, I had to do it.

      I hope it doesn’t take a bunch of authors jumping ship to change things at Smashwords.

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