So over the weekend, I realize that I may have not done a very good job explaining one of the retail channels I selected to do business with. Being the biggest in the business, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are pretty much self explanatory. They’re forces of nature that you just accept you’ll do business with if you want to write and publish a book. Sure, you can work around them, but why would you want to?
The third retailer I opted to work with is Smashwords. Unless you have a deep abiding hatred of the big e-retailers or are a serious fan of independent writers, chances are you’ve never heard of them. Hopefully I can turn you around a bit on that, because I’ve found Smashwords to be a fantastic platform for the indy writer (translation: the author gets to keep a much larger percentage of every sale than they do with sales through other retailers).
Although they are a retailer in their own right, Smashwords biggest claim to fame is that they are large and growing ebook distributor. That means their primary mission in life is making indy works available to a wide variety of other retailers like Apple, Sony, Kobo, and others. This is a good thing because the goal, really, is to have your work available in as many places as possible in addition to the Big Two. More distribution channels means more opportunities for someone to see and hopefully buy your ebook… and that makes for a happy author.
From a reader’s perspective, Smashwords has a lot going for it too. Primarily, that’s because once you buy an ebook from them, you can download it in all of the major ereader formats. Whether you own a Nook, Kindle, or iPad, a Sony reader, something from Kobo, or you just want to read on your laptop or desktop, you can download your book in a format best suited for what device you’re currently using. It’s a great way to make sure your ebooks are not locked in to a specific device or proprietary format. While the e-reader market struggles to sort itself and its industry standards out, you’re safe from the impacts of format change and obsolescence. If you happen to be a voracious reader with a large e-library, that’s a very good thing.
So that’s my pitch by way of introducing everyone to Smashwords. If you’re looking for a read that’s not on the best seller list or have a itch for some of the great independent work out there today, give them a go. I’ve been very impressed with them as both a writer and a reader for the last year. If you’re in a clicking mood, feel free to check out The Cynic’s Guide on Smashwords and take a look around the site.