Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Welcome to Smashwords
"Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers, agents and readers. We offer multi-format, DRM-free ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device.

I initially stumbled across the Smashwords website a couple of months ago after being redirected to a page on the site from an author's blog, but as the page had been moved, at the time I didn't really pay it much more attention. Recently however, I have found my thoughts wandering to it, wondering what Smashwords is, what its aims are and what it's all about. So a couple of days ago, I again find myself on this same website, browsing the authors and generally exploring. I must say that on first inspection, I like what I see.
As an avid reader, and as an aspiring author, I understand the need for a medium through which unpublished authors and self-published authors can communicate with an audience - after all, all mainstream and bestselling authors today were once in the same position as some of the lesser-known authors, striving for someone of importance to take notice of them and their work. However, today's 'indie' authors have an advantage - the growing popularity of eBooks and eReaders (eBooks counting for around 10% of the book market and still growing...), means that self-publishing their work has never been easier, and Smashwords makes this easier still.
From reading the 'about' section of the website, I have learned that rather than the author of a mainstream-published, mass market paperback earning a small royalty per book sold, the author could now earn up to 85% of the cost of the eBook bought. Smashwords itself is free, but the site does require a paypal account to be used, meaning that a percentage is taken by paypal for the handling of the payment.
One downside to this self-publishing route is the lack of advertisement and promotion usually provided by the publishing company - instead, the amount of eBooks sold is dependent on the author's (or indie publisher's, in a few cases) self-promotion and advertising - this means that some authors sell nothing, while others may sell thousands of US dollars worth on the site.
The site is not only good news for authors, but it is also good news for readers too! Thanks to the substantial lack of costs to the author to publish their works on Smashwords, the author is able to decide on a lower cost to the reader for the purchase of the eBook - a win, win situation! For example, an 'indie' author that I have read in the past year is Keary Taylor, who has recently released a new novel, Eden. As a member of Smashwords (membership is free, quick and easy), I can purchase her new novel for $0.99, roughly 61p (converted at

To any avid readers or aspiring authors out there who may be reading this, go and check this site out!
To visit Smashwords, click here.

Happy reading!


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