The Journal, Friday, 3/17

Hey Folks,

This morning, after spending about ten minutes with email and Facebook, I dived right into Smashwords. Time for some admin work and hard choices.

That led to the topic below. I’ll be back tomorrow with another set of recommendations re DWS’ lectures (as opposed to his workshops).

Topic: Why I’m No Longer Using Smashwords for My Novels and Short Stories

This is kind of a personal author earnings report. I’ll still use Smashwords for my nonfiction. Some. But only in the Smashwords store.

Oddly enough, my nonfiction sells far better than my fiction.

I find that truly weird. Think about it. People are willing to buy advice on writing from me without verifying for themselves whether I know the first thing about actually doing it. No wonder there are so many scammers out there. Check your sources, folks.

Anyway, there’s an old saying that goes something like this: Change occurs when fear of the status quo becomes greater than the fear of change.

Here’s the rundown on the three main distributors:

First, Smashwords ( Not recommended.

Smashwords distributes to a boatload of venues. Fifteen venues, to be exact. Sixteen if you include the Smashwords store itself. That’s what always attracted me to it.

Those venues include Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Inktera (formerly Page Foundry), Baker & Taylor Blio, Txtr, Library Direct, Baker-Taylor Axis360, OverDrive, Scribd, cloudLibrary, Gardners Extended Retail, Yuzu, Tolino, Odilo, and Gardners Library.

All those venues is one wonderful feature of Smashwords.

But I’m an old sales guy. There’s a difference between a feature and a benefit.

That feature doesn’t become a benefit unless people are actually buying my books through those venues.

Also, the clunky interface at Smashwords takes a lot of time (comparatively, to me) and that’s always been annoying.

So I decided to do a kind of “return on investment” study this morning (with the investment being the time it takes to use the Smashwords interface) for 2011 – 2017. (Because it’s early in 2017, this is almost exactly six years.)

To date, all of my sales — that’s ALL of my sales — through Smashwords have come either through the Smashwords store or via Apple, B&N, Kobo and Scribd, with the exception of Oyster, whom Smashwords dropped in late 2014.

So most of my non-Amazon sales have come through the major players (Apple, B&N, Kobo and Scribd). Keep that in mind. And we’ll move on to

Pronoun ( Not recommended.

Pronoun distributes to Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo, plus GooglePlay. So all of the major players except Scribd.

I still haven’t dealt directly with Pronoun. I have tried. What appeals to me about them is that they distribute to Amazon.

But frankly, for me, the benefit of allowing them to distribute my work to Amazon (so I won’t have to) and the “appeal” of GooglePlay hasn’t yet outweighed the PITA of dealing with Amazon on my own.

Nor does it outweigh the annoyance of putting up with Pronoun’s condescending interface and the effort I would have to expend to learn that interface thoroughly. I mean, even Smashwords doesn’t get condescending except around NaNoWriMo, and I kind’a understand that.

And that leads us to

Draft2Digital ( Very highly recommended.

D2D distributes to Apple, B&N, and Kobo, plus PageFoundry (Inkterra), Tolino, Scribd and 24Symbols. So all the major players except Amazon. (Again, I distribute to Amazon myself.)

With their easy-to-use interface, I can publish any work there in two or three minutes.

This vs. ten to fifteen minutes per book at Smashwords, including time to add an ISBN (required for inclusion in the premium catalogue, which means distribution) and make selections on the Channel Manager.

D2D even generates an interactive TOC (table of contents), no matter how the chapters or sections are titled and with minimal formatting on my part.

Unless all your chapters are in Arabic numerals only (1, 2, 3, etc., no “Chapter” no “One, Two, etc., no prologue or epilogue), Smashwords requires you to send them a Word file with an interactive TOC already formatted. Another hour or two of the day gone.

D2D also takes ZERO fees from the net royalty. Whatever the venue pays goes directly into my bank account. (Smashwords takes a percentage.)

And at D2D, my books are distributed to all the same major players.

Yeah, that’s a really difficult decision to make.

If I continue to use Smashwords at all, it will be only for my major works (novels, collections, nonfiction) and I’ll offer them only through the Smashwords store.

That means I won’t have to jump through several hoops (and spend more time) to get them listed in the “premium” catalogue so they’ll be distributed to outside retailers. Nor will I have to mess with the hyper-clunky Channel Manager.

Ahh, I feel better already. Any questions about this topic, feel free to email me.

Just in case Mark Coker (founder and CEO of Smashwords) sees this, seriously, upgrade your site, Mark. Players gotta compete, and extra venues that don’t sell my books just don’t matter to me.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Got right to work on the admin stuff above, and then wrote everything above this.

Now, a little after 7, a break for breakfast.

7:40, to the Hovel, did a little more admin.

Ah some family stuff came up. I have to visit with my grandson for awhile this morning. I’ll write today if I can.

No fiction on the day. Hey, days happen. Maybe tomorrow. See you then.

Of Interest

See “Freedom in This New Publishing World” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 850 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 850

Writing of Novel Two

Day 1…… 978 words. Total words to date…… 978
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 33439
Total fiction words for the year………… 185305
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 46410

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 231715

2 thoughts on “The Journal, Friday, 3/17”

    • Thanks, Mary Ann. Just wait for today’s Journal topic. I’ve corrected a bit and expanded the information.

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