Are you on Smashwords?

Something strange happened to me yesterday. I was reading through Google+ when I saw someone ask, “Are there any Indie e-book authors I can throw money at?”

Now, an offer like that is music to my self-promoting ears. So, I responded in the comments, adding links to my books on Amazon, with short synopsis of each. She responded with, “Those sound great, but I don’t think Amazon Germany will take PayPal. Are you on Smashwords?”

So, let’s stop here for a minute. Of course, I sent her a link to my books on Smashwords, but that’s not the point. The point is that a reader asked, specifically, for a distribution format… and it wasn’t Amazon.

My father used to say, “If you see something happen to one person, chances are it’s happened to a hundred people that you didn’t see.” If there’s one person who’s asking for Smashwords, presumably, there are a hundred who feel the same way, and just aren’t asking.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know the plural of an anecdote does not equal a fact, but it was enough to stop me because I’d been considering going completely Amazon Select. If I want to make 70% in India, I need to be in Amazon Select. If I want in on the borrowing bounty, I need to be part of Amazon Select. And if I’m giving away the other versions to everyone who buys through Amazon, then I’m still supporting the other e-readers, right?

Well, according to this… no. From this incident, I’ve been shown that Amazon, ubiquitous as it is, doesn’t cover everyone.

Now please understand, I’m not biased on distribution. I’m not Mark Coker, trying to lure you away from the evil Amazon. I’m a writer, and as such, I don’t have a dog in that fight. My job is to put my book in as many hands as possible, and from what I just saw, Amazon exclusivity will not get me that.

Amazon Select just became an obstacle to sales.

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  1. As a reader, I buy most of my english ebooks at Smashwords
    I explained my reasonnning in a blog post a year ago :

    And for me, not only is Amazon Select an obstacle to buying, but I do “actively” boycott Amazon, be it by not buyiong anything there, but also not putting any reviews. Reviews I write stay on my blog or on the reseller’s.

  2. You’re leaving out the distribution channel that can easily take PayPal and is accessible to everyone, everywhere: your own website.

    If that reader had asked me, I would have said, “No, I’m not on Smashwords, but if you want to buy my e-books using PayPal, you can go to the shop on my site. Thanks!”

    Sure, PayPal will take its 2.9% plus $.30 from each sale, but it’s worth it when these kinds of situations arise!

    As for Kindle Select… I’ve yet to find a compelling reason to enroll in it, especially a reason that makes the ninety day exclusivity worthwhile.