Finally, a retailer breakdown

On September 16, 2013, in Blog, by Laura

Thanks to Hedonist Six for allowing me to refer to her blog post today, showing off some stats she has uncovered after compiling her sales data for the past year.

See the original blog post here; Exclusivity or not; are other retailers worth it?


(The figures quoted represent royalty income, not number of books sold.)

For her particular work, in her genre – erotica – the breakdown is as follows:

68% Amazon

14% Smashwords (almost exclusively Barnes & Noble since Apple has not yet added her work to its catalogue)

10 % Google Play

6% All Romance Ebooks

2%  Kobo

While these results may not be indicative of how these retailers may perform for you, it’s still pretty interesting. Especially when you bear in mind that beyond linking to book listings on her website, she hasn’t done any advertisements of anything other than Amazon listings. The only significant marketing activity so far has been to just make part one of her serial novel free on all platforms, and wait for readers to find it themselves.


Google Books and the mystery of the missing summary

On February 15, 2013, in Blog, by Laura



Anyone who has ever tried to get their books loaded onto Google Play via the Google Books Partner Program will have found the system a little cumbersome to use. It’s slow and not very intuitive, and more annoyingly, many self-publishers end up with nearly blank book listings; the book summary / description is missing and they don’t make it easy for you to add one.

There’s a reason for this – Google Books gathers book data automatically and their help pages are a little bit sketchy with regards to how to make descriptions show up properly. There is no feature to input it yourself within the Google Books Partner Program interface, though Google Books staff are able to update the records manually if asked via a special form. (If you’re going to use the form, ONLY put the description in there. Mostly they don’t read what’s in there and so if you ask a question with the provided description – simply because you were desperate and didn’t know how else to contact the support team – chances are the whole thing including your commentary will go onto your book listing.)

We at WriteHit found this a bit annoying and tried to figure out if there is an easier way. The answer is: the Bowker books database.

Response from books-support(at)google.com when asked how to make descriptions show up automatically:

” There currently isn’t any way for publishers or authors to update their metadata descriptions within their account. We pull metadata and book descriptions from a variety of third-party systems, including Bowker. These systems provide us with information related to the ISBN for each book. If you need to update your metadata in the future, you can either do it through your ISBN provider, or you can contact us and we’ll be happy to change it for you.”

So, if you buy ISBN’s for your books you may not have had that problem, or perhaps you could ask your ISBN provider to complete the listing of your book for you.

If you get your ISBN for free from Smashwords, their information states that a free record of your book will be created on Bowker, but so far I have not seen this actually happening. Not even for books where the ISBN’s were assigned 6 months ago! I have asked about the reason and will update this post as soon as I hear back from Smashwords support.

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Awesome news from Smashwords!

On January 9, 2013, in Blog, by Laura

This may say more about us than about Smashwords, but we were very excited to see the Smashwords Author/Publisher alert in our email box today. Smashwords has finally listened to us and many other users and implemented a direct epub upload feature!

This is amazing news for us and many others who professionally build ebooks in epub format.

Since the launch of Smashwords, they seeming aimed their service more at the DIY market of small-time authors who are not necessarily tech savvy enough to code a proper ebook. Instead they developed a system that accepts Word documents made according to specific guidelines, which with a bit of guidance and practice can be created by most people who know how to use MS Word.

Here’s the deal though – Smashwords is a great publishing outlet even for people with more tech knowledge because it allows access to Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, etc. Some of these outlets are otherwise hard to get into if you’re not US based.

So obviously we wanted in, but our standard approach for ebook creation does not involve MS Word, instead we prefer to code ebooks in their native format. This allows for more features and better control over the end result.

And that’s what makes this new feature so great. We no longer have to create two different copies of our ebooks; now we can just build the epub file and upload it directly without messing about with MS Word only for Smashwords.

But this isn’t just great news for us as formatters and publishers, it is also brilliant for our customers. There is no longer any need to pay extra for a Smashwords version of your book, simply upload the epub file you’ll receive with any of our standard formatting packages!

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