Smashwords Site Updates

All updates by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, unless otherwise noted

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.

December 31, 2019 - I trust everyone is enjoying a safe and happy New Year holiday.  My annual end of year posts are now up at the blog.  Here are links to each:  Smashwords Year in Review and 2020 Preview   |    2020 Publishing Predictions:  House of Indie on Fire

December 9, 2019 - Enrollment is now open for our 3rd annual Smashwords End of Year Sale.  The enrollment form is linked on the Smashwords home page, or you can click here to enroll now.

December 3, 2019 - Introducing Smashwords Presales, our new patent-pending book launch tool.  Effective immediately, Smashwords authors and publishers with books on preorder can create public and private presales.  Unlike preorders, which act as product reservations, presales enable your readers to purchase and read your new release before the general public.  Offer presale access to your private newsletter subscribers and watch your superfans go wild.  But that's not all.   We also offer customers the ability to grant Smashwords permission to share their email address with you, the author/publisher so they can be subscribed to your private newsletter.   This email capture feature is only available while the book is on presale.  Check out the full reveal at the Smashwords Blog.   We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions as work to enhance this exciting new first-of-its-kind tool!

October 29, 2019 - Items.  1.  The holidays are coming!  If you're planning a book release around the upcoming holidays, please plan to upload your book to us earlier than normal to accomodate slower processing times at the retailers.   In fact, if you're planning to release a book anytime over the next couple months, now would be a great time to establish your book's preorder listing as an assetless preorder, and then rather than uploading your final manuscript 10 days in advance of the release date as we normally recommend, aim for at least two weeks.  This is in line with Apple's recommendation that for all new releases planned for December 20 through January 3, authors should deliver at least two weeks in advance of their release date.    Now would also be a great time to check your Smashwords Dashboard to confirm all your books are Premium Catalog-approved.  Contact our support team if you need help on how to repair any outstanding issues or tickets that might slow or prevent your book's listing at retailers.   2.  Another tease buried in plain sight.  :)  An eagle-eyed long-time Smashwords author contacted me last week to note that it seems like things have been unusually quiet here on the Site Updates page for quite a while.  That's true for this page, thought things have been anything but quiet behind the scenes!  The primarily reason for my muted commentary here is that I've been leading a major skunkworks project here at Smashwords that has consumed most of my attention the last nine months.  You'll find the tease about this project over at https://smashwords.com/next, the teasy text of which, hint hint, was updated earlier today to reflect a major milestone that happened last week on the path toward introducing what might possibly be our most consequential book marketing tool ever.  I can't wait to share more with the Smashwords community as soon as we launch.  I'm expecting launch will be before end of the year!  Stay tuned.

July 27, 2019 - Items.  1.  If you write romance, and you have books currently categorized as Fiction: Romance: Adult, please change the categorization.  Although that classification made sense in years past, the new categorization schemes at retailers and libraries can no longer make good use of it.  Authors using this old categorization should probably want to update the categorization to either fiction: romance: contemporary or something more specific.  2.  Starting within the next couple days, books that are categorized as Nonfiction: Sex & relationships: Sex Guides & how-tos will require certification for the presence or lack thereof of taboo themes, similar to how we require erotic romance and erotica to be certified (click here to view detailed information on the certifications of erotic content).  The upside of this change is that many of these books (those without themes such as incest, bestiality, rape) will receive broader distribution to retailers and libraries.  3.  Scribd is preparing to open up their subscription service to more erotica (yay!), whereas in the past Scribd was largely inaccessible to erotica authors.  If you write erotica, please ensure your books are properly certified.  Books in categories that require certification (erotic romance, erotica, sex guides) that remain uncertified won't ship to Scribd.  4.  Easter egg, almost.  Last week at the Romance Writers of America conference in New York, we unveiled this tease.  That's all we can say for now, but stay tuned!

March 27, 2019 - As an author, your book is unique in the world.  Are books subject to commoditization?  The mere thought sends chills down the spine of indie authors.  In my latest column for Publishers Weekly, I tackle this question and provide tips on how indie ebook authors can preserve the value of their unique intellectual property.  Read now:  How to Fight the Commoditization of Books

March 1, 2019 - Reminder for authors, publishers and readers:  Our 10th annual Read an Ebook Week sale kicks off this Sunday!  Authors/publishers:  Enroll now at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos. We're also sending out a reminder email tonight.   Readers:  Over 15,000 books are already enrolled with thousands more expected before the sale starts.

February 27, 2019 - Smashwords today formally announced Global Coupons, a new tool in your Dashboard's Coupon Manager that allows authors and publishers to generate a single coupon code that works across multiple books.   We actually released this new feature two weeks ago, but didn't announce it because we wanted to give authors and publishers a chance to play with it.  Already, over 13,000 titles are using the new tool!  Full details at the Smashwords Blog.  Please tell a friend!

February 21, 2019 - Enrollment is now open for the 10th Annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Sale.  The sale starts Sunday, March 3 and runs through Saturday, March 9.  You'll find the enrollment link on the home page, or click here.   The official event page for Read an Ebook Week is at https://smashwords.com/ebookweek where you'll find sharable buttons, badges and banners to assist your celebration and promotion.  The kickoff announcement is at the Smashwords Blog.  Once the sale launches, it'll be promoted to over one million customers of the Smashwords Store, so be sure to enroll your books early and prepare your marketing to start on March 3.  Have fun!

February 20, 2019 - The shelves were down from the home page for a brief time today.  Now repaired.  Apologies to customers and authors!

January 15, 2019 - We processed a large Library Direct order for Califa's ENKI in which they purchased over 5,000 unique titles from Smashwords authors and publishers in one fell swoop.   ENKI manages ebook procurement and ebook checkout systems for a network of over 100 public libraries, mostly in California.   Unlike sales through our standard library channels that earn 45% list, sales via Library Direct earn authors and publishers a full 70% list.  To make your books eligible for purchase via ENKI, make sure all your books are opted in to the Library Direct channel in your Dashboard's channel manager.  Also as a reminder, you can set custom library pricing (higher or lower) from your Dashboard's Pricing Manager tool.

January 2, 2019.   Our two end of year posts are up!   1.  Smashwords 2018 year in review and 2019 preview.    2.  2019 publishing predictions: the butterflies will flap their wings

January 19, 2019 - Today on episode 14 of the Smart Author podcast, social media strategies for authors.  More over at the Smashwords blog, or visit the Smart Author home page for links to all the listening options or to access the full transcript.

January 12, 2019 - Learn 25 book promotion tips, today in part four of my six-part audio serialization of the forthcoming 2018 Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.  Listen at Apple Podcasts or visit the Smart Author home page for links to different listening options.   You'll also find links at the Smashwords Blog.

January 8, 2019 - The security team here at Smashwords has detected multiple attempts by cybercriminals attempting to log in to Smashwords author accounts using stolen email/password combinations. (To be clear, Smashwords has not been hacked.) We care about your security and we want you to take these simple steps to protect your account. If you're using the same password at Smashwords that you've been using elsewhere, you're potentially vulnerable. You should update your Smashwords password today. Use the "Forgot Your Password?" option to do so. Out of an abundance of caution, we have logged all users out; please use the sign-in form to log back in. It is now protected by a "CAPTCHA" (which should not be visible to most users).

January 6, 2019 - Learn 17 autopilot marketing tips to leverage your book to sell more books, build your social media following and encourge viral word of mouth.  This is the subject of episode 12 of the Smart Author podcast, part 3 in my 6 part marketing series.  Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or visit the Smart Author hub page for links to where you can find it.  Also at the Smashwords blog