Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smashwords, Kindle and Ebooks by Morgan Mandel

It appears that Ebooks are here to stay. Some don't like the idea, but I'm open to all avenues of book reading and promotion.

Right now, I'm in the midst of converting Killer Career to Smashwords. I know I'm behind the times on this one, but I'm trying to catch up. I still have ebook copies and signed books available at, but I'm trying to cover all the bases.

Also, Amazon sent me a notice that if my kindle version is priced anywhere from $2.99 to $9.99 I can get a 70% payout on each sale, so I went over there today and changed the pricing to $2.99 and selected the percentage as they instructed. The special sale price of $1.99 may still be up for perhaps a day or two, until the $2.99 amount comes into play. I wish Amazon also offered such a great percentage for sales of my print books as well, but you can't have everything.

I'm still holding out to see if the rumors are true about a new kindle reader coming out in August, which is around the corner. I may be getting one then.

I still have to figure out how to make it an Ibook, but at least I feel like I'm getting somewhere.
What about you? Have you been working on any ebook projects lately? How do you like ebooks? Do you own a kindle?


N. R. Williams said...

I don't own one yet and Colorado's new internet tax law has Amazon blocking sells to us. So, when money permits I'll get an iPad or another brand. What is funny is that I'll probably get that money selling my e-book on kindle. It's not ready yet but hopefully will be soon.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Lillie Ammann said...

I recently wrote a post on the growing e-book market.

Interesting times in the world of e-publishing and far different than when I published my first e-book in 1999.

Unknown said...

I don't own a Kindle, but I read Kindle books on my iPhone. I am working on a series of books that I plan to market exclusively as ebooks, and I think that's going to be very successful for me.

By the way, Smashwords, I understand, can get you on iBooks. I read a CNet blog post yesterday that said Smashwords was an authorized iBooks aggregator.

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for the info about IBooks, Juli. If Smashwords can do it for me, that's one less thing to figure out. I like that idea. (g)

Morgan Mandel

Brenna Lyons said...

Smashwords does get books on iBook. In fact, some of mine were some of the first loaded to the iBookstore, as I understand it.

I don't own a Kindle and am highly unlikely to own one. I don't care for their proprietary format, and a friend with the DX has had nothing but problems with that model of it. If I'm going to be purchasing books elsewhere and adding them to a unit, it's going to be one I LOVE.

BTW, Amazon sent me a notice the other day that the new Kindle is shipping now, so it's not a rumor anymore. Grin...

I'm loading directly onto Smashwords, DTP, and several other sites now. Smashwords is funneling my books onto Sony, B&N, and iBook. I wish B&N would backward list all my books onto Fictionwise (where I make the most sales) and eReader, since they own all three sites, but so far...they aren't that organized about it. I'd be willing to sign an addendum to let them do it.

I did NOT choose to raise the price on my DTP Kindle books to $2.99. I firmly believe in pricing to the length of the book, so my shorter works there will stay at the lower prices and the lower royalty rate. Amazon's loss for insisting on $2.99 as the lowest limit.

What am I up to today? Getting some books I've posted on ARe to Smashwords. If Amazon DTP ever allows free reads, I will add a bunch of free content to them. Oh, and working on a new deadline.


Margot Justes said...

Thank you for the info. I regained rights to 2 short stories and plan on putting them on Amazon. I can't charge 2.99 for a short story, I'm hoping .99 is a viable option. Personally, I still like turning the paper pages.
A Hotel in Paris

Debra St. John said...

I have to say, although the market tends to be heading in the digital direction (and has been for a while), I am old fashioned and love holding books in my hand...especially ones I've written.

Right now, my publisher offers print and e-book for the length I write, but that might be changing in the near future. They seem to be heading toward going all digital.

I know this is the wave of the future (well, the wave of now), but it will definitely affect my decision as to whether or not to submit there anymore.

Helen Ginger said...

I don't have an eReader. My husband, though, has an iPad (haven't had a time to read on it since he loves it and it travels everywhere with him).

He can download from B&N to his iPad, so maybe there's a way to download from Smashwords.

Straight From Hel

Terry Odell said...

I have a free short-short at Smashwords, and a 99 cent mystery/romance short story at both Kindle and Smashwords. The free short story gets hundreds of downloads. The 99 cent story (the lowest price either site allows) under 10 percent of that, and that's just the free sample. Sales are an even lower percentage.

The downside to the Amazon 70% royalty is that if your book appears anywhere else for a lower price than you've set at Amazon, Amazon will match that price.

I think you need to be a bigger name, have a lot of selections, and still do a lot of promotions in order to succeed. I plan to put my remaindered 5 Star Expressions book up there, but wasn't all that heartened by the responses to my tiptoeing into the realm.

Not to say I don't have e-books; my other publishers all have digital versions available.

I think Smashwords formats their books for every format known to man (as of today, anyway!)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Nearly all my books are on Kindle, some on Smashwords. I began in the e-pub world over 10 years ago, so none of this is new to me.

And yes, I do have a Kindle and have had two other e-readers.


Cellophane Queen said...

We're a two Kindle family. I got one of the refurbs at a low price. A friend just bought a Pandigitial and has fallen in love with it. Supposedly, it works with all the ebook formats. It uses a Wifi connection rather than a dedicated service.

My Kindle books are on sale for 99 cents until the end of the month, then they're going to the $2.99 price along with many other authors' books.

Check my Kindle page for click throughs.

Anonymous said...

Like yourself, I'm late getting ot the party. Only last weekend did I make Breakthrough available for Kindle at Amazon and at Smashwords.

But its not enough to be with Smashwords. You have to take the initiaitive to place your book in the eLibraries of Sony Reader and all for that additional exposure. More work to do.

Stephen Tremp

Cellophane Queen said...

P.S. Just snagged Killer Career at the $1.99. Gotta be fast to get the bargains!

Oh, yeah. My sale is on through 7/31.

Lois Kleinsasser said...

So far, I've reformatted 4 early traditional Berkley category books for Smashwords and Kindle. I have other HarperCollins and Harlequin titles in epub/Kindle everywhere, so they help my own reverted rights books. Smashwords offers an ISBN feature for iPad and Nook, etc. But I haven't done that, so far. Also I'm on traditionally published into ebks author co-op at Reformatting traditionally published books, after scanning is not for the weak; lots of print character errors. :) See I have lots of reverted rights, some westerns and romantic suspense, so the longer books are going to take lots of time.

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks, Marva, for taking advantage of my sale price. Hope you enjoy Killer Career.

Morgan Mandel said...

All this digital stuff is sure keep us busy trying to stay ahead of the game!

Now I have to investigate doing the Sony Reader like Steve's doing.

Lois Kleinsasser said...

BTW, very nice site acmeauthors. Very nice covers, too, which I think ebk covers of a better quality are just as essential as bookstand cover draw.

Larry W. Chavis said...

I don't own a Kindle yet, but I use Kindle for PC, Adobe Digital Editions, and the Barnes and Noble reader on my notebook. I just finished a new book by Karin Slaughter on Adobe Digital, in fact.
Ebooks are becoming a larger part of my reading. I think authors are wise to keep a sharp eye on this segment of the marketplace.

Al Kalar said...

As Larry pointed out, you don't have to buy a Kindle to read Amazon eBooks. They have a free reader you can download to your computer, laptop, or even iPad(?).

Not all Kindle books have DRM protection. We at AKW Books publish all our books without DRM both on our own site ( under 4 different formats, as well as on Amazon.

Not sure how to crack the Amazon market with cheap books. 99 cent shorts have always seemed like a good "impulse buy". Amazon does have cost of sales issues (cost of credit card handling can easily eat up a lot of their profit if they offered the 70% option for a dollar product). Perhaps you could offer the cheap books elsewhere and save the more expensive books for Amazon. After all, Kindle readers still handle non-DRM MobiPocket format (prc).

Marian Allen said...

I, too, have a Kindle for PC on my laptop. I'm waiting for the new Kindle, to see if I want that or if I'll be happy with an "older" model.

I have stories in quite a few anthologies that are available on Kindle, some that are available in PDF downloads from, and I've put some short story collections (the most expensive is $1.49) at Kindle and Smashwords.

Just doing the work of getting the collections together and getting them properly formatted an UP THERE has been empowering for me. Learning how to get the fact of their existence out there has been good practice for marketing my soon-to-be-released ebook from Echelon Press, EEL'S REVERENCE.

Thanks, Morgan, for posting about this. I look forward to your upcoming run-down on the process at Blood-Red Pencil!

Marian Allen

Brian Kavanagh said...

I have my books as paperback and ebooks through Smashwords. Amazon have paperback (they are slow on eBooks) but BeWrite Books have my paperbacks and all eBook formats including Kindle so essentially the books are available for whatever format you want. I think its necessary now to offer that option. I use Kindle and like it. It's also possible to download other formats with a bit of trickery!

jenny milchman said...

Morgan, I loved hearing your status on these apps--especially for a book I read in paper (and would again)!

If you don't mind, I'm going to reproduce my comment from the great discussion going on at DL here. It conveys my current thinking on the subject, but also gets in some other perspectives by people who quite simply know more than I about the e revolution:

"I've been reading about the brave new world of publishing options along with all of you, featuring authors from both sides of the fence on my blog (Rob Walker and Karen McQuestion as two who say that their careers would not be where they are now without e publishing; Edgar winner Stefanie Pintoff and CJ Lyons as mystery authors who have done wonderfully with mainstream houses).

But I haven't come to any resolution on this for myself. I agree that the ease of publishing will make for more chaff, as Rob puts it. The separation of one from the other will be key, which is why some tech guru said 10 years ago that content filtering will be the 21st century version of: Plastics, young man, plastics (to reference The Graduate).

In my case, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be rushing if I e published. My agent has come very close to selling my novel--five editors wanted to make offers during the submission, but were turned down by their boards for wildly varying reasons. Likewise, five best-selling and award winning mystery and suspense authors have offered blurbs about the book--not because I had a publisher asking for blurbs, but out of the generosity of their writers' hearts (which is estimable) and, I hope, because the story really captured them.

So the book is probably vetted and reworked sufficiently, even according to industry professionals. And yet, my crossing the starting line has yet to happen. Is e publishing a no brainer?

Not really. As some of you may know, I carry a big ole torch for print books. I co-host a popular writing series at an indie bookstore where I have hopes one day of holding my book launch. I've got this dream of conducting a book tour called Declaration of Independents where I travel to as many indie bookstores as I can afford to get to, meeting the booksellers even if readers don't yet attend.

You can't do that with a Kindle or a Nook.

I agree that this new wealth of opportunities will be the golden ring for many authors, and I can't wait to read their work. But does the stamp from traditional publishing still offer something unique? Or am I holding out for a gold-fringed surrey when horseless carriages are just about to be"

Maryannwrites said...

Great discussion as we authors consider all the options open to us now. Thanks for opening the topic up.

I enjoy reading e-books and have one up at Smashwords and two direct on Amazon for the Kindle. They seem to sell better than the one at Smashwords, and I promote them all as much as I can.

Jeannie Leighton said...

I own one of the original Kindles and love it (something I never thought I'd say), especially for books I know my husband wouldn't read. I still enjoy a good hand-held book but the Kindle has freed up precious shelf space on my overcrowded bookshelves scattered throughout the house.

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm so glad you're all chiming in and telling us how you're handling the evolution.

I do believe we all have to be careful to put out the best products we can. That way we can keep the ball rolling in the right direction and not let down the readers however they choose to read on a particular day.

Thanks to Jenny and Lois for the compliments, too.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

That was fast - Amazon already has Killer Career up at the new price of $2.99. Took less than a day when they said it might take a few days.

Looks like a few people got in on my ground floor sale price before the dollar jump. Thank you. Hope you enjoy the read.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

Rumor is running rampant that the new kindle 3 will be announced very soon because the kindle 2 is sold out. The DX version was already released in Junem but I'm looking for the smaller version.

Someone said they had more in stock than the sales, so they may be holding back for the announcement.

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

Hello all-
I've been selling on Amazon/kindle/smashwords for about a year now. I publish through Mind Wings Audio, a small but growing publisher that originally wanted to produce audio shorts but soon jumped into the eBook arena. I'm glad they did. I sell more for eReaders and the royalty is bigger.

When I first went this route I felt it was untraditional and thus a copout. Now I'm glad I did. My quarterly reports show me how and what I'm selling as well as where; I'm already worldwide with reviews as far away from Detroit as Australia.

I'm pretty sure traditional printing and eReaders will reach their yin/yang spot. Regardless of what the Buggles said in the early eighties, we still have radio stars.

~Jack Bates

Pauline Alldred said...

I don't own an ereader but my kids do. I'm planning on getting one soon. With the old publishing route so difficult to navigate, I think ebooks will take off at a faster and faster rate.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

My newest book A War of Her Own, coming out Sept 1 is not on ebook and so far, I still retain those rights, so I'm paying close attention. Just may publish it on ebook myself. Then I'll really have to listen!!

BTW--does anyone know why blogger keeps giving error messages when I try to comment using wordpress?

Lynn McMonigal said...

I do not have a Kindle and I am not likely to get one. The biggest reason is that my husband gave me a Sony Reader for Mother's Day thisyear. I'd asked for an iPad, but he did his research and purchased what he thought would be the best value while doing what I needed it to do. Basically, I needed something that would allow me to tae ebooks that I am reviewing with me anywhere.

I do prefer a hard copy of a book. There is something about the smell and feel of the pages--not to mention the thril of holding in my hands a real book with my name on it. Still, I am committed to reaching as many readers as I can. I am working with Smashwords (which I am not finding to be as easy as it sounds, btw) to get my novels in ebook format. One of my books, FORSAKING THE CALL, is curretl availble for Kindle. I plan to release the other three on Kindle before the end of the year.

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