Anyone who witnessed my angst over the no-apology technical glitches that Amazon stumbled through in Q4 2012 knew that the winds of change would blow through A.V. Harrison Publishing the nano-second I had an opportunity to flee the monstrosity that kdp Select Amazon has become. When recently interviewed by The Seattle Times (Amazon hometown newspaper) Jeff Bezos proclaimed to reporter Amy Martinez that the “technical glitches” (Bezos term for sector shutdowns at Amazon Q4 2013) would probably continue as Amazon expanded its global reach. With that degree of confidence in f*cking up his “partners” [Kickstarter, Netflix, IndieAuthors], I decided that I needed a more reliable eBook vendor than Jeff Bezos (and his Operations VP, Alan Kipust**) – so I’ve turned to Smashwords for expansion of my global eBook distribution in 2013!
Smashwords is the Pioneer of the eBook sales platforms. If you’re a museum curator for the eBook industry I go into a formal and professional history of ‘Smash’ in my ‘Self-Publishing for Smart Cookies‘.
Established by Mark Coker in about 2007, Smashwords and its reformatting machine, affectionately coined ‘Meat Grinder, ;D has churned out billions and billions of eBooks (I’m joking on the numbers here). My take on it is that Smashwords started out as a grunge pub. I stumbled upon it in 2009 and considered it an ‘alternative’ site with a heavy listing of hard-core erotica titles, and titles that were not well edited.
Smashwords fans did not seem to mind interpreting the intentions of Smashwords authors. And, authors seemed to only have to adhere to Mark Coker’s strict formatting guide* which remains the ‘Rule of the Day’ for Smashwords uploads. Especially Rule 22B! ‘Formatting over Content’ resulted in Smashwords being coined ‘the sludge pile’ by industry watchers.
All that has changed! Coker has moved Smashwords to a glittery, classy Uptown operation! First he took most of the hardcore ‘blue’ out of his eBook inventory when his ‘pay-out’ partner, PayPal, balked at Smashwords hard-core erotica offerings.
Then, more importantly, Coker snatched the Apple distribution ‘license’, leaving Jeff Bezos in the dust and making Smashwords the Total Go-To! eBook upload alternative, and gateway to international sales:
Smashwords is now a distributor now for these platforms:
Smashwords Premium Catalogue
It’s the fact that Smashwords was awarded the distribution license for Apple iBooks that should grab YOUR attention.
Note: My kdp Amazon sales dropped 66% from September to November 2012 even though my marketing efforts continued full steam. In December I dropped that effort, as I watched my sales screens sputter through freezes, slow payments, and the like. I now have five of my titles on Smashwords, and they are outselling my Amazon inventory, which I am not currently promoting.
I have moved all of my titles out of Amazon’s kdp Select program and feel exhilarating independence. I now choose to sell directly from my website, on Nook, Kobo, iTunes – and over the next few weeks I will show YOU how to do the same.
** I run the website ‘KindleGate.webstarts‘ which aggregates Amazon’s many ‘technical glitches’. The website has a subscribers page ($2.99 price tag) for those who want ‘insider-information’ on formatting tips and publishing assistance. Imagine my surprise when Alan Kipust, VP Operations ~ Amazon, put down HIS $2.99, came onto my coaching site – looked around, took note – and then GRABBED his $2.99 back in a refund request – AFTER viewing the proprietary information. The insecurity over what a 3,500 sales/annually author could be saying is laughable. But, that is what kind of slimeball Operations Amazon is running now. You can understand why I would want to have alternative distribution options, yes?