All updates by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, unless otherwise noted
July 26, 2022 - Our search is offline at the moment, and we're working to re-enable it. Sorry for the inconvenience. -BK Update 7/28: Search is fully functional again.
July 1, 2022 - The 14th annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale starts today. Over 79,000 titles are participating, possibly an all-time record. Authors/Publishers: If you haven't enrolled yet, join the fun now at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos
June 10, 2022 - Authors and Publishers: Enrollment is now open for the 14th annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale! This is our largest sale of the year. You'll find the enrollment link on the home page or click here.
June 8, 2022 - Items. 1. Happy 10-year anniverary to InD'Tale Magazine, which this month features an in-depth interview with myself and Draft2Digital CEO Kris Austin where we speak about the merger and some of our plans. Read it here, starting page 35. 2. This week, Smashwords reduced the amount of personally identifiable information we collect at checkout when customers purchase books via PayPal. We trust this will streamline the purchase experience while also demonstrating our strong commitment to customer privacy. Thank you to our erotica author friends at Reddit for the suggestion.
May 26, 2022 - Draft2Digital will today host a pre-recorded webinar on how to create Books2Read reading lists. Books2Read is a cool marketing tool that allows authors to create a mini-web page that showcases your books and even books of other authors if you choose. You'll learn how to showcase your own books; showcase books from other authors; feature a hero (make a single title more prominent); and how to earn affiliate income from your hyperlinks.This is also a good chance for Smashwords authors to learn more about Universal Book Links, an innovative Draft2Digital tool that creates a single hyperlink you can share with readers that allows them to find your book at their favorite retailer. No more having to promote multiple retailer hyperlinks when a single link does the job. The webinar runs today at 1pm Eastern at https://draft2digital.com/live/. Authors and publishers can register here. A replay will also be available afterward at D2D's Youtube page where you can also find prior educational webinars.
April 20, 2022 - Our automated email system has been having trouble emailing Outlook addresses (outlook, hotmail, live) again. We've opened a ticket with the Outlook team. - BK
March 1, 2022 - Draft2Digital and Smashwords are officially one as of today! For the near term, it will be business as usual. Smashwords authors and publishers should continue utilizing Smashwords as they always have to publish, distribute and market books. Behind the scenes, we now begin the fun work of plotting an integration that will happen slowly and incrementally so as to minimize any incovenience or confusion for our authors, publishers, and distribution channel partners. For customers of the Smashwords Store, one of our top priorities is making the books of Draft2Digital authors and publishers available for purchase here in the Smashwords Store. Over time, as we slowly merge our publishing and distribution operations under a common dashboard at Draft2Digital, customers of the Smashwords Store can expect a cleaner, more streamlined book discovery and shopping experience, and an even greater selection of books.
February 18, 2022 - The official Read an Ebook Week 2022 page is ready with shareable images that authors and readers can use to celebrate their participation in the event. Thank you Rita Toews, the founder of Read an Ebook Week, for supplying these images.
February 17, 2022 - Enrollment is now open for the 13th annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Sale! The sale starts March 6 and runs through March 12. You'll find the enrollment link on the home page, or click here to enroll. Use our handy bulk enrollment option you'll find under each of the column headings for discount level to enroll all your books at once.
January 28, 2022 - Around 1:35am Pacific time, our payment processor PayPal noticed a swarm of fraudulent purchase attempts using stolen credit card numbers. They temporarily paused our ability to transact sales. Full function was restored at approximately 9:15am. We apologize to any customers inconvenienced by this outage. You can now buy your books!
December 31, 2021 - Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! My annual end of year posts are now up. 1. 2022 Publishing Predictions - Indie Authors Take Center Stage. 2. Smashwords 2021 Year in Review and 2022 Preview (big announcement in here!). Thank you Smashwords authors, publishers, customers, retailers, library partners, and industry friends. We couldn't do this without you. Oh, and only about 24 hours left for the Smashwords End of Year Sale, so last chance to load up your cart with these great deals on indie ebooks!
December 7, 2021 - Items: 1. Enrollment is now open for our fifth annual Smashwords End of Year Sale! The sale starts Friday, December 17 and runs through the end of New Year's Day. Enroll now at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos 2. Beta testing is progressing on the new Smashwords publishing wizard. More authors are now seeing it as their default option for publishing ebooks. Thank you everyone for your bug reports. We're squashing bugs as they're reported.
November 9, 2021 - Beta testers wanted. If you're preparing to upload a new book, our new upload wizard is ready for testing! The new modernized upload wizard guides authors and publishers step-by-step though the publishing process. Test it out now at https://smashwords.com/publish. Please share all feedback and bug reports directly via the "?" support link at the top of any page.
August 10, 2021 - July Summer/Winter Sale recap. Thank you Smaswords customers for purchasing a record level of sales volume during the July Summer/Winter Sale. When you purchase books at Smashwords, you're directly supporting the world's hardest working indie publishers who bring you reasonably priced amazing ebooks! Smashwords pays authors and publishers higher royalities than any major retailer. Thank you for your support and enjoy all your great reads!
June 18, 2021 - Enrollment is now open for our 13th annual July Summer/Winter Sale kicking off at the stroke of midnight the morning of July 1. Use the convenient bulk enrollment option to enroll multiple books at once. Enroll here or on the home page. Have fun!
June 15, 2021 - Anti-trust action coming for Amazon? If there's one thing people from across the political spectrum can agree on, it's that Big Tech is out of control. And Amazon is the poster child. They get a lot of attention for the poor treatment of warehouse employees and delivery drivers, but mainstream consciousness is mostly oblivious to how Amazon's policies negatively impact authors and the entire book trade. You can help. The Federal Trade Commission, the regulatory body here in the US responsible for regulating fair trade, today installed their new chairwoman, Lina Khan. She's a noted critic of Amazon's unfair business practices. The role of anti-trust regulators in the US (and EU too) is not to choose winners and losers. Instead, the role of regulators is to ensure fair competition. Competition in the book trade is anything but fair when it comes to Amazon, and nowhere is this more apparent than in ebook self publishing. Amazon essentially holds a gun to the heads of indie authors: Publish exclusively on Amazon, and they'll give your book exclusive access to their store's best sales, merchandising and discovery tools. But dare sell your book at other retailers and they'll bury your book in a virtual cloak of invisibility. When a monopoly throws its weight around to the point that it's impossible for other market participants to compete fairly, it runs afoul of anti-trust law. It's public knowledge that Amazon is under investigation by the FTC now. As an indie author or small press operator, you have an opportunity to help encourage chairwoman Khan to take a closer look at how Amazon's anti-competitive policies and programs - particularly KDP Select which requires exclusivity - harms authors. That's what I did on Twitter today when I celebrated chairwoman Khan's appointment - https://twitter.com/markcoker/status/1404887051619606529 - impact authors specifically. If you agree with my message, you can retweet it or tweet your own message to @linamkhan urging her to restore fair competition for the benefit of authors, publishers, readers and retailers.
June 4, 2021 - New Romance Categories!!! Smashwords has added 35 new romance sub-categories to help authors and publishers target their readers with greater precision. Click to your Dashboard then Settings to update your book's primary or secondary categories. This will help your books appear on the correct micro-targeted shelves at our retail partners. The new categories fall under general romance, historical romance, paranormal, and YA. Under general, new subcategories include Billionaires , Collections & Anthologies, Firefighters, LGBT, Holiday, Later in Life, Medical, Military, Multicultural & Interracial, Police & Law Enforcement, Polyamory, Romantic Comedy, Royalty, Sports, and Workplace. Under Historical Romance, we've added 20th Century, American, Ancient World, Gilded Age, Medieval, Renaissance, Scottish, Tudor, Victorian, and Viking. Under Paranormal, we've added Shifters, Vampires, and Witches. Under YA, we've added Clean & Wholesome, Contemporary, Historical, LGBT, Multicultural & Interracial, Paranormal, and Romantic Comedy.
April 23, 2021 - Erotica is the second most popular category in the Smashwords Store. For this, we're grateful to the thousands of professional erotica authors and their readers. As we state (paraphrased) in section 9f of the Terms of Service, the section that provides special guidance to erotica publisers, the erotica requirements at Smashwords are designed to promote professional erotic publishing and maximize sales opportunities. In that spirit, this week we added a new bullet to section 9f, the section that provides special guidance for our erotica publishers: "• Erotica models for cover art must be adults. Underage models, or models Smashwords believes are likely to be construed as underage, are not allowed to appear on erotica cover images." This is common sense to anyone who understands our strict prohibition on underage characters in erotica. We think it also protects the vast majority of erotica authors who never try to cross such lines.
April 12, 2021 - Our automated email system has been having trouble emailing Outlook addresses (outlook, hotmail, live) for the past few days. We've opened a ticket with the Outlook team. As of earlier today, messages are no longer totally blocked, but their system appears to be throttling them. Sorry for the inconvenience. -BK
March 29, 2021 - Save the dates! On April 17 and 18 is The Bookfest, a free online conference featuring yours truly (Mark Coker) as well as dozens of awesome speakers including New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry. The event is produced by The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. The first day of the online conference is targeted at readers and the second day is for writers. The sessions look so interesting I'll probably attend most of them myself. To view the full agenda and register, visit https://www.thebookfest.com.
February 15, 2021 - Happy day after Valentines Day! Most Smashwords team members are honoring the Presidents Day holiday today. We'll return to normal business hours on Tuesday. Have a great day.
December 31, 2020 - Happy New Years Eve, Smashwords authors, publishers and readers! Each year on this day, I publish my annual publishing predictions and Smashwords year in review. The posts are now live at the Smashwords blog. Here are direct links: 2021 Publishing Predictions – Pandemic Reshapes Publishing, Accelerates Consolidation | Smashwords 2020 Year in Review and 2021 Preview On behalf of the entire team at Smashwords, we want to thank our authors, publishers and customers for their amazing partnership this year. We hope you and your family enjoy a happy and healthy new year!
December 8, 2020 - Enrollment is now open for our fourth annual Smashwords End of Year Sale, running Friday, December 18 through January 1, 2021. We're opening the sale before Christmas this year to accomodate more digital gifting. All authors and publishers are invited to enroll today on the home page, or click here.
December 4, 2020 - Check out this new blog post for the San Francisco Writers Conference by Jim Azevedo of Smashwords on how to grow your private mailing list with ebook presales.
November 16, 2020 - Our Content Delivery Network ("CDN"), which hosts copies of the cover images around the globe (for speedier delivery) seems to be having some issues this evening. We've contacted them to find out what's up. Sorry for the inconvenience (and broken images!) in the meantime. -BK Update Nov. 17: Things appear back to normal.
October 19, 2020 - The holidays are coming, so if you're planning a release for between November 27 and January 1, please remember that retailers request earlier-than-usual deliveries of your manuscripts and metadata. Apple Books, for example, is this holiday season asking authors, publishers and distributors to deliver final files and updates two weeeks in advance of the release. If you're planning your release during this period, here's how to make life easier on yourself and boost your sales: 1. Establish the book today as a preorder listing. Books that start off as preorders sell significantly more copies than those that don't. 2. If the final manuscript isn't ready, no problem; establish your preorder listing as an assetless preorder (no cover or manuscript required until two weeks before the release date). Happy pre-holidays, everyone!
October 15, 2020 - As reported in the news, Barnes & Noble has experienced a widespread system outage since October 10th due to a cyberattack. Because of this, Smashwords is currently unable to deliver any new ebooks, updates, or take-down requests, nor collect sales data for our Daily Sales reporting system. Barnes & Noble is working to restore their systems as soon as possible. We'll bring everything up to date once their systems are back up and running.
October 8, 2020 - Things are rocking at OverDrive, the world's largest library ebook platform. Sales for September were up just over 200% compared to the same month a year ago. While it's dangerous to read too much into any single month's sales, the overall trajectory for OverDrive has been up, aided by their move late last year to merge self-published titles into their main catalog. This made Smashwords ebooks more discoverable to acquisition managers at libraries. Smashwords was the first to open OverDrive to indie authors six years ago. If you're not currently distributed to OverDrive, click over to your Dashboard's Channel Manager to distribute there. You can even give your books custom pricing for libraries by clicking over to the Pricing Manager tool in your Dashboard. For ideas on how to market your ebooks to libraries, check out Episode 6 of the Smart Author Podcast, Marketing to Libraries.
July 28, 2020 - Merchandising reminder for authors who do BookBub promotions. If you're one of the many authors with an upcoming BookBub promotion, we want to know about it! Each week, Smashwords makes merchandising recommendations to the merchandising managers at the top retailers. To tell us about your upcoming BookBub, please complete this form as soon as you get confirmation of your upcoming slot: https://bit.ly/SWmerch
July 22, 2020 - Author Day Videos Now Available! - Back in April, Smashwords held a one-day Author Day seminar over Zoom. Smashwords marketing director Jim Azevedo presented four power-packed sessions. Whether you're new to indie publishing or an expert, you're sure to learn fresh ideas to take your publishing to the next level. These sessions are now available for your viewing pleasure over at https://www.smashwords.com/authorday Enjoy!
July 16, 2020 - Smashwords now supports two-factor authentication! Authors and publishers are encouraged to take advantage of this new feature which dramatically improves your account security. Two-factor authentication (aka 2FA) prevents other persons from accessing your Smashwords account, even if they've stolen your password. You'll find the feature under the new "Account Security" section on your Account page. Alternatively, here's a direct link.
June 18, 2020 - Enrollment is now open for the July Summer/Winter Sale, our largest sale of the year. This is our 12th annual July Summer/Winter Sale! You'll find the enrollment link on the home page, or click here.
June 17, 2020 - Over at the Smashwords Blog, I've got a new post up titled, "Post-Pandemic Publishing for Indie Authors," where I examine the near and long term impacts the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the publishing prospects for indie authors. Learn how to navigate the pandemic and come our stronger than ever. Stay safe everyone!
May 13, 2020 - We're sending out "security alert" emails to a small subset of Smashwords members today for whom we detected unusual account login attempts. The emails will include the date and country-level geographic location of the device that attempted the login to help users determine if the login attempt was legit or not. See the March 23 update below for more on this. A separate email will go out to all registered Smashwords users later this week with a password security tips. Bottom line: NEVER use a password at Smashwords that you previously used at another website.
April 28, 2020 - The Smashwords site has been getting hit hard with traffic, not just from the ongoing Authors Give Back sale, but also from cybercriminals who continue to attempt to log in to random accounts using email address/password combinations stolen elsewhere from major security breaches at other sites. Never use the same password at Smashwords that you use somewhere else. If you visit the site and you see the kittens screen, please try back in a few minutes. Please also see the March 23 update below for more information. Although we continue to take various countermeasures that I won't share here, the one sure-fire way you can protect your account is to use a unique password at Smashwords (and every other Internet account you have) that you've NEVER used anywhere else. To change your password at Smashwords, log out, then click the "forgot password" option which will allow you to reset it.
April 24, 2020 - Smashwords is now processing a special payment. Not only will it include B&N sales from February, it'll also include early payments for March from B&N & Scribd. Full details in a special author alert which is now flowing out to all Smashwords authors and publishers. The email also includes an update on the performance of our top sales channels. You won't want to miss it. If you're normally paid via PayPal, you should receive the money tonight. If by check, those will mail out starting early next week. Thank you Smashwords authors, publishers and readers, and have a great weekend!
April 23, 2020 - Great news on the Barnes & Noble front. They plan to issue a full payment to Smashwords on Monday, and return to our regular payment schedule. Thank you to everyone at Barnes & Noble for your consideration and for your advocacy for indie authors. We will issue a special payment round to make authors whole.
April 21, 2020 - Bibliotheca, one of our smallest library partners, today informed us that all their publishing partners will be placed on net 60 day terms rather than the current net 30. Although the impact to Smashwords authors is unlikely to be felt (Bibliotheca doesn't sell much), I consider such payment delays as not cool. On the heels of Barnes & Noble, we're now looking at two sales outlets that intend to string out author and publisher payments while they continue to collect money from customers. Here at Smashwords, we consider it our sacred duty to pay you for your sales, and to pay you quickly. If you sell a book in the Smashwords on the last day of this month, we'll be paying you for it in less than a month. It's your money not ours.
April 20, 2020 - Barnes & Noble is having cash flow issues due to Covid-19, and delaying payments to suppliers. This means that this month's round of payments, which we are processing today, will *not* include February sales at Barnes & Noble. Per our Terms of Service, we pay our authors and publishers based on what the retailers pay us. Other Smashwords retailers and library partners are current with their obligations, which means this only affects your B&N portion of accrued earnings. In the next couple days I'll send an email update to all Smashwords authors and publishers because not everyone follows these Site Updates. Stay tuned, and stay safe!
April 16, 2020 - Smashwords is extending the Authors Give Back sale until May 31! If you're currently enrolled in the sale, you'll receive an email within the next 24 hours asking if you want to participate in the extended sale. The email includes a one-click button that will allow you to re-enroll your books in the promotion with your current enrollment settings (same books, same discount levels). We didn't make re-enrollment automatic because you joined the sale with the original expectation it would end on April 20, so we're asking your permission to include you in the extended sale! If your books are not currently enrolled in the sale, now's a great time to do so. This has been an unusually popular sale, largely thanks to the many readers out there that have a greater-than-ever need to access high-quality affordable indie ebooks. Thank you Smashwords authors and publishers for improving the lives of readers through the power of your written words! Enroll now, or modify your existing enrollment options here at the enrollment page (also accessible from the home page). Following April 20, we will again promote the sale to over one million Smashwords customers.
April 15, 2020 - If you write YA sci-fi or fantasy, this update is for you. In one week, Smashwords will change the "YA >> Sci-fi & fantasy" category option's label to simply "YA >> Sci-fi." This will improve discoverability, prevent accidental miscategorization, and help readers find the right books whether they're browsing at the Smashwords Store or at one of our retail or library partners. If your book's themes truly straddle both sci-fi and fantasy, please take a moment to check that you've also selected the YA Fantasy category for your book. The Smashwords category selector tool you used when publishing your book allows authors to choose up to two categories . If you write YA Fantasy, and your book is currently categorized as "YA >> Sci-fi & fantasy", please visit your Dashboard, click Settings, and then change the categorization to YA Fantasy. We ran automated scans to detect books that we suspect have a high probabilility of being improperly categorized as YA Sci-fi after we make the change to decouple sci-fi from fantasy. These authors will receive an alert later today that prompts them to double check their categorization and make any adjustments the author deems necessary. Stay safe everyone!
March 23, 2020 - Over the weekend we observed thousands of unusual login attempts with random email address/password combos. Numerous people also received signup confirmation emails for signups they themselves did not try to initiate (note that a Smashwords account can not be created until the person creating it clicks the account activation confirmation we send). We believe this was likely an attempt by cybercriminals to test email address/password combinations that were previously stolen from other services, under the assumption that it's common (BUT A VERY BAD IDEA!!!) for people use the same email/password combo to log in to multiple different sites. When they gain access to an existing account, they try to change the payment settings (like provide a different paypal payment address) so they can divert author payments. We witnessed similar activivity back in December 2017 and January 2018, for which we instituted new security precautions such as automatic emails to you whenever your payee information is modified. Per section 8b of the Smashwords Terms of Service, we strongly advise all authors and customers to ensure that the email/password combination they use to create and log into their Smashwords account is not the same combination they use to sign into any other site. As a useful excercise for all internet users, you can visit the legit data security site, HaveIbeenpwned, and do a search on your various email addresses to see which online accounts have have been compromised. Bottom line, ALWAYS use a unique email/password combination for every site you access on the Internet. If you're an author or publisher and you're concerned you may have missed important email alerts from Smashwords, we advise you to confirm that your Payment Settings page (pay special attention to the paypal payee address) have not changed, and please also confirm that the password you use for Smashwords is the not the same you use anywhere else. Stay safe!
March 20, 2020 - Smashwords today announced two initiatives to help readers and authors cope with the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic. Both initiatives boil down to the power of books. For authors and publishers who want to make their books more accessible and affordable to the readers who need them, we launched the Authors Give Back sale which runs from today through April 20. Enroll your books here, or view the sale catalog here. To assist the continuing education needs of our authors and publishers, we announced our first-ever Smashwords Author Education Day, scheduled for April 18. This free online event offers four one-hour e-publishing workshops presented live by our very own Jim Azevedo. Many Smashwords authors know Jim from his dozens of workshops at writers conferences around the globe. Advance registration is required for this free online event. To view the full schedule and register, visit our Author Education Day event page. For more on both of today's announcements, see the Smashwords blog announcement.
March 5, 2020 - With over 1,500 "favorites" from customers of the Smashwords store, and tens of thousands of 5-star ratings and reviews of her books at Smashwords retailers, Nicky Charles is one of the most popular authors at Smashwords. Earlier this week, after reading my end of year predictions post, 2020 Publishing Predictions: House of Indie on Fire, Nicky was inspired to write an allegory titled, The Bakers and The Pot of Gold. It blew me away. I think it'll touch anyone who loves books and the authors who create them. Please give it a read and share with everyone you think needs to see it. Read it now at the Smashwords Blog. Thanks Nicky!
February 26, 2020 - Items: 1. On Valentines Day, I did my first public presentation of our new patent-pending Smashwords Presales feature at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Today, I shared the full presentation at the Smashwords Blog, so check it out here! Learn how to reach more readers with ebook preorders and presales. 2. Enrollment is now open for the 11th annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale! Authors and publishers: Click here to enroll now. You'll also find a link on the Smashwords home page. The sale runs for one week only, March 1-7. The sale will be promoted at the top of the Smashwords home page, and via email to over 1 million Smashwords customers. Have fun!
February 12, 2020 - I'm interviewed by Len Epp on the Frontmatter Podcast. Listen to it now on your web browser here. We discuss the history of Smashwords; the indie author movement; Amazon's algorithms, sponsored ads and business model; the future of ebook retailers; and how presales hold the promise of helping authors overcome the perils of having their reader relationships mediated by social media platforms and retailers. A good interview starts with a prepared and talented interviewer, and Len here demonstrates he's one of the best. It was a wide ranging interview that might help you chart a more profitable destiny for your indie publishing. Enjoy!
January 9, 2020 - Items. 1. Smashwords End of Year Sale recap. Thanks to the authors, publishers and readers that participated in our End of Year Sale. We had a record number of participating authors, publishers, and books, and total book sales surpassed sales from the same sale period a year ago. 2. Just before the start of the new year, Smashwords received notification from the US Patent and Trademark Office that the USPTO had granted Smashwords' November 20 request for prioritized examination, and have assigned a patent examiner to our case. The USPTO's decision to fast track their review does not reflect any judgement of the merits of our patent claims. It simply means that our patent examination process will begin much earlier, which means our application may be accepted or rejected earlier. To learn more about our patent filing, see the Smashwords Presales launch announcement.