smashwords

Smashwords Teams with Scribd; Indie Authors

Smashwords Teams with Scribd; Indie Authors

This is big news for indie authors and readers. Smashwords signed a global deal with Scribd. Smashwords is the largest distributor of e-books globally, and Scribd is an e-book subscription service with over 100,000 titles that includes bestsellers and new releases. There are so many benefits to this deal I’m going to post what I found in my inbox, and link to a detailed article about the deal. I would also imagine this is going to benefit all small e-presses as well, especially the part about Smashwords authors getting their own bio pages on Scribd.

From my inbox:

Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – December 19, 2013

Inside:

1. Smashwords announces global distribution deal with Scribd

2. Smashwords unveils web site redesign

3. Apple tickets help speed distribution to Apple iBooks

4. How smart navigation can help you sell more books

5. Retailer holiday schedules

6. Helpful author/publisher resources

Your Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/RyanFiield
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1. SMASHWORDS DISTRIBUTION TO SCRIBD
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I’m excited to announce a new global distribution agreement today with Scribd, an online reading community that boasts 10 million readers visiting their site each month.

There are two parts to the agreement:

1. Smashwords will distribute books to their subscription ebook service, where readers pay $8.99 to read an unlimited number of books (read below for the great terms Smashwords authors receive!).  2. Smashwords to sell books on their site.

And this article makes things clearer:

“I’m thrilled to learn about the partnership between Smashwords and Scribd,” said Quinn Loftis, a USA Today-bestselling Smashwords author of nine young adult paranormal romance titles, including the seven-book Grey Wolves series. “I look forward to distributing all my titles to Scribd via Smashwords because I appreciate the opportunity to reach more readers. My fans will appreciate the incredible value represented by Scribd’s subscription service.”

I’m looking forward to it, too. I already use Smashwords because I get distributed in so many other places. I’ve always had mostly good experiences with Smashwords and some that have been interesting and unexpected in a good way.

I also think this speaks loudly for e-books in general. I read a lot lately about how e-books have balanced out and some seem to think they are going to disappear. I don’t get that mindset and these people leave me gaping in wonder sometimes. And news like this global deal confirms what most of us who have been pioneering e-books have believed from the start. I also think it’s a huge boost for indie authors simply because for the first time in a long time I didn’t see them lead the article with term self-published authors. And from now on I’m sticking to indie author as a rule.

 

American Horror Story: Bestiality, Incest, Pedophilia…Huh?

American Horror Story: Bestiality, Incest, Pedophilia…Huh?


For the past couple of weeks I’ve been posting about my own experiences with censorship at retail web sites where e-books are sold like Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. These web sites started censoring self-published e-books thanks to an article in a questionable UK publication called The Kernel. The self-published e-books targeted allegedly contained topics like rape, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, and other topics most romance publishers will not publish. As a result, several web sites removed all self-pubbed titles to suss out the e-books with “taboo” topics. One web site even shut down. Amazon started clearing out their “taboo” topics through search engines, and e-books without the said “taboo” topics were removed for no reason, and without a viable explanation. And guess what I saw last night on American Horror Story: bestiality, incest, and pedophilia.

This article I’m linking to now discusses American Horror Story in an almost light-hearted way. If an author of erotic romance were to do this he/she would be slammed from one end of the Internet to the other.

Death, incest, bestiality, the gang’s all here!

We’re sure this is going to be a weekly occurence, but American Horror Story: Coven had its most insane outing yet on Oct. 23 with “The Replacements,” which found Supreme witch Fiona (Jessica Lange) making her first big kill of the season in an attempt to protect her witchy throne. Plus, the recently-resurrected Kyle (Evan Peters) finally spoke and one of the girls got a little too close to the Minotaur monster for our comfort. Seriously, does anyone have brain soap?!

I did see the show last night and I just sat there watching it wondering how the fuck they can get away with all this on TV and authors like me who don’t even go near “taboo” topics like that have been dealing with the worst brand of censorship since PayPal in 2012. I’m not judging American Horror Story and I’m not judging authors, publishers, or e-books that contain these “taboo” topics. However, I am questioning the actions of the large retail web sites where e-books are sold who made these recent mass sweeps of all books without taking into consideration that many of the books in question never violated one single guideline. I had a book removed from Amazon titled, “Internal Desires,” and the reason why it was removed was because of words like “young” in the book description. And the characters in that book were all well over the legal age limit and it contained nothing that’s considered “taboo.” This week I had a book titled, “Young Doughy Joey,” taken down at another web site for the same reason. It contained nothing “taboo.”

So in their quest to censor the “taboo” topics all authors are now targets of retail web sites where e-books are sold, innocent words like young have become “taboo,” and we’ve basically entered a police state where freedom of speech means nothing anymore.

And the most ironic thing of all is bestiality, incest, pedophilia, and other “taboo” topics are now being treated lightly on television and no one seems to find any fault in that at all. As I said, I’m not judging American Horror Story. They have every right to do what they want. But when I saw one scene where one character lifted her dress, crudely shoved her fingers between her legs, and invited some kind of half man half beast to have sex with her I cringed for several reasons. One, I cringed for the actress. She’s not very good, and that scene seemed to diminish her even more. Two, I cringed because the producer of the show took advantage of a young woman’s need for love and turned it into something disgusting with an animal. Three, because it took the character completely out of context. And four, because television shows like American Horror Story make millions of dollars and small self-published authors who don’t write about bestiality, incest, and pedophilia, and who struggle to make ends meet just to pay for copy editors, can’t even use words like young anymore without fearing their books will be censored by Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out with e-books. And even more interesting to see what “taboo” topic Ryan Murphy will sensationalize and diminish next.

Photo of Mr. Murphy, here.

Censorship in India and Smashwords; Philly News Anchor Slammed for Tweet

Censorship in India and Smashwords

Woody Allen is now refusing to release his latest film in India because censors want him to allow an anti-smoking text to run across the screen about the dangers of smoking during a scene in the film where characters are smoking.

Allen, who has “creative control” over the film’s distribution in India, wasn’t comfortable with modifying the film. The film’s India distributor, PVR Pictures, noted that, “He feels like when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene.” This is probably true — why would you watch a quiet scene of two people talking when you can read giant block letters about the dangers of smoking?

This form of censorship has happened before in India with other film makers. You can read more here.

We get it, censors. Smoking is bad for you. Let us watch the movie in peace.

As for Smashwords, we’ve been releasing back listed books of mine there all month and it’s always an absolute nightmare. First, Smashwords is the most difficult place for indie authors to deal with on any level. Second, now I’m getting e-mail notifications from Smashwords about putting up adults only disclaimers on certain books (there’s no rhythm or reason as to why it’s only certain books), stating that all characters are over eighteen. I have more books on Smashwords than I can count with publishers and this has never happened before. I have never written a book with a character that is under the age of eighteen years old, and I’ve even gone through this hot mess of hell a few years ago with a book that was once published with Loveyoudivine.com. From that post.

But, I assure you, there are no underage characters in this short book. I don’t judge those authors who decide to do things like this, but I’ve never done it and never will do it. In fact, the main character, Jared, the guy referred to as a the Skater Boy, is only a quasi skater boy. He’s in his twenties and is clearly a consenting adult. This is one of the tamer stories I’ve written.

As a matter of fact, I even discussed an incident with one of my contributing authors in The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance on social media because one of her characters was under the age of eighteen and I didn’t feel comfortable with that. And in her story the character in question didn’t even have any sex scenes. I admittedly and reluctantly censored her to avoid future issues with the book from places like Smashwords or Allromanceebooks.com. The author was nice enough to change the character’s age from seventeen to eighteen, even though I’m sure she didn’t want to do it. If she had refused I’m not sure what I would have done. I’d like to think I would have published the story anyway, because there was no reason why it couldn’t have been published in the first place.

In any event, censorship is alive and well in the world, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse. Authors who write erotic romance should seriously be considering selling their indie books on their own web sites in the future to avoid this.

Philly News Anchor Slammed for Tweet

This falls under the category of watch everything you say or do on social media these days. Even if you have the best of intentions, it can get twisted, as Joyce Evans recently learned.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1af41Ut ) reports WTXF-TV news anchor Joyce Evans tweeted “Thought ‘Breaking Bad’ was hot last Sunday? See who’s breaking bad in SW Phllly, leavin’ 6 people SHOT — Tonite at Ten!”

Viewers immediately criticized Evans, with one person writing it sounded “like it was written by a sociopath.”

You can read more here.

What the rest of the article fails to mention is the serious crime problem within the city of Philadelphia. I watch Philadelphia local news and I witness the reporting first hand. I often wonder how the news anchors can continue to report this heart-breaking news on a daily basis. The actual real life events in Philadelphia, and the daily crimes that include anything from beating senior citizens for money to innocent people getting shot in their bedrooms by drive-by shootings makes Breaking Bad actually look tame in comparison. And yet those issues go unaddressed and they only continue to escalate.

Ryan Field Books Smashwords; Bloggers and Pen Names

Ryan Field Books Smashwords

I’ve had books published with publishers up on Smashwords for a long time. Here’s link to that page.

But we recently uploaded all my indie books, which include backlist titles I’ve been publishing alone since June on Smashwords and other web sites, and I wanted to mention that link, too, because I’ve had a few e-mails from readers about it.

I honestly don’t know how this works, but for people looking for books I think it’s a good thing to know that with authors like me you won’t find the same results with just one search. In other words, my books with publishers are not grouped with books I’ve indie pubbed with Ryan Field Press. So if you’re looking for other authors and for a specific book and you don’t find it in one search, try another and be more specific (book title and author). There are a lot of imperfections still with online booksellers, and if you don’t know these things you’re going to get confused (me).

In any event, here’s the link to my recently uploaded indies on Smashwords. All are .99 e-books. I think there are thirty-eight right now.

Side note: You can also find me here at Barnes & Noble. If you notice all my books on B&N, both indie and those released with publishers, are grouped together in one place.

Bloggers and Pen Names

First, this is only about bloggers, not about fiction writers or authors who have blogs that only deal with their fiction. I want to make that clear, because the most popular bloggers don’t write fiction. They focus on news, pop culture, opinion, and other non-fic related topics, which include book reviews. So again, this isn’t for fiction writer who have blogs or use pen names to write fiction.

If you search the web for articles about pen names and bloggers you’ll find many varying opinions on the topic, and there doesn’t seem to be a set rule. Mostly I found that those bloggers who use pen names defend pen names, naturally. Those who don’t use pen names, don’t trust bloggers who use pen names. If you search for journalists and pen names you’ll also find a few different opinions. However, none of the opinions I found that are pro pen names for bloggers and journalists make a significant argument…at least not enough to sway my opinion about those who blog about real things with fake names and identities. And I found a post that sums up the way I feel about blogging news with a pen name.

I think this article sums it up well, and makes a few valid points about honesty and integrity when blogging. I’ve always believed that if you’re a journalist or a serious blogger writing non-fiction oriented news or even reviews and opinion pieces you should be able to stand behind your own name, and be proud to do it. I realize there are some cases where the rules can be broken, but not in most cases. This excerpt below from the article is the best I’ve seen so far, and why I decided to use my real identity a long time ago. I have no regrets.

It keeps me honestThe Internets (word to George “Dubya” Bush) are a safe haven for anonymous and over the top speech — and by anonymous and over the top I mean ratchet and uncouth verbage slung by those who would never say such things in real life. The allure of going all in on somebody is decreased when you affix your real name to the end of a tweet, blog or article. I’ve gone hard on people before, but I have no problem standing behind what I say (and such was the case when I got blasted over my UFC rankings on a popular MMA website, which has left my Google search in shambles).

Smashwords Helps Authors Sell Books

When Tony sent me this link earlier today, I figured I’d post it for anyone interested in reading about e-book pricing and where the average is for e-books. For those of us who have books out with publishers we don’t get much of a choice in the matter. The publishers set the prices and we have to live with them.

But for authors who have self-published, there’s a different rule of thumb because you’re cutting out the middle man, so to speak, which is the publisher, and in some cases the agent. And you’re able to price your books more competitively. I do this myself with my own indie books. It’s the reason I can have Cherry Soda Cowboy up for free on ARe this week.

 The most popular price points are FREE through 2.99.

They chose $2.99 more frequently than any other price point. In last year’s survey, $.99 was a more common price point than $2.99. In this year’s survey, $2.99 was about 60% more often.

$.99 remains a popular price point.

$5.00 and up has lost favor with indie authors and publishers compared to the same data a year ago.

It’s an interesting article, but I’m not sure exactly how accurate it is in a general sense. I have to say that I find most of my books sales come from Amazon, the publisher’s web site, and Allromanceebooks.com. For me, and I’m only talking about me, Smashwords is like Kobo and B&N and the sales don’t usually amount to much. I honestly don’t even shop there myself for e-books. Not for any specific reason, other than I’m busy and Amazon and ARe are faster and easier for me. This could be genre specific as well. I don’t know. Maybe people who read gay erotic romance are more prone to Amazon than Smashwords. I don’t know that either. I do know it took me a while to actually realize I had to turn off that filter on Smashwords to see my own books show up. And I have a black belt in online shopping, trust me. I shop from my iPhone. Imagine how hard turning off that filter is for someone who is NOT familiar with online shopping or e-books. Before Tony showed me how to do it I just gave up and moved on.

So I would love to see how all this information plays out when compared to Amazon or other web sites where e-books are sold.

Indie ebook authors are earning royalty percentages that are 3-5 times higher than what traditionally published authors earn. Publishers are overpricing their books relative to indie ebook alternatives. This means that indie authors can reach more readers AND earn more money selling lower priced books at higher unit volumes all the while earning more per book sold than traditionally published authors at higher prices. The significance of these economic dynamics cannot be overstated.

That’s a powerful statement above, and I wish I could see a survey from Amazon, because I don’t think the majority of the readers out there, especially those who are just beginning to read e-books are hopping over to Smashwords to buy their books…or even indie books for that matter. I know a lot of people in my personal life who are just learning about e-books, as I’m sure most of you reading this post do. Ask them if they shop at Smashwords and they’ll give you a blank stare. Or, just ask a stranger in the supermarket.

I hope Smashwords continues to grow and expand. I think Smashwords is the business of the future. I do think most of the information makes sense in this link, and in many ways it’s valuable for some indie authors and publishers. I’m just not sure it applies to all authors and readers at this point in time.

Getting People to Read Your Book by Mark Coker, Smashwords

When I got this alert in my inbox about getting people to read books, by Mark Coker, of Smashwords, I figured I would post something for those who might be interested. The article itself was in Huff Po and written by David Henry Sterry, author and book doctor.

Anything I could add would only be redundant. It’s a good article you can read in full here.

I first met Mark Coker over the Internet. Which seems appropriate, given how he has done such great things for writers in the world of ebooks. I was trying to upload a book onto his company’s website, Smashwords. I have a problem formatting files. I’m very bad at it. It’s a weakness. I’m not proud of it. But the first step is admitting you have a problem.
 
That day, I got very frustrated and sent a flaming email full of vicious vitriol and a few flagrant f-bombs. I expected to get back some generic, useless response, which is what you almost always get back from e-companies. Imagine my surprise when the president of the company himself, Mark Coker, emailed me back. He was so helpful and kind and nice. I was completely embarrassed. It led me to formulate a strategy for what to do when I get flamed — and believe me, I get flamed online every day. Now, before I respond, I think, “What would Mark Coker do?” And I try to give my flamer some love. You’d be shocked by how many times it works wonders.

I have to say I’m relieved to hear that someone else had a problem formatting files on Smashwords, because we nearly pulled our hair out by the roots trying to figure out how to do it there. Tony could explain it better than I can, but for some reason Smashwords was harder than other sites. However, because Smashwords is such an *important* web site for digital books…it really is if you are an indie author…we were determined and we figured it out through a long series of trial and error.

Another Way for Libraries to Evolve That Involves Self-Publishing


I’ve been watching how libraries will change in the coming years because I’ve always been a library supporter. I’ve seen doom and gloom posts that say libraries are dead, and I’ve also seen posts that say libraries will evolve into something different…more like community learning centers.

I tend to agree with the latter. I don’t think libraries will ever disappear. And the article to which I’m linking might be an indication as to how they will evolve in the near future. Also take into account the mention of self-publishing, which seems to be making headlines everywhere I go these days.

Digital publishing company Smashwords and Califa, a consortium of 220 California libraries, have formed a partnership to distribute Smashwords eBooks in libraries and to give member libraries the ability to let patrons publish eBooks through Smashwords.

Library Journal explained the self-publishing process: “A patron will be able to use the Califa interface, being built with VuFind, to upload their manuscripts to Smashwords, which then will make the books available to its retail partners (such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony). But Smashwords will also notify Califa that a patron has uploaded a title and see if Califa wishes to purchase the title for its collection.”

Less than four years ago publishing professionals were not only laughing at e-publishing, but also self-publishing. You can read more by clicking the link below.

What in the world will happen next?