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What Smashwords Does Right

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So I finally got around to putting stories up on Smashwords. And as of this post, my experience has been stellar compared to Amazon. My story was uploaded in a matter of moments; compared to Amazon’s four to twelve hours. It offers several formats and will also put those stories in more than one market.

Along with that, are very key aspects that I think put Smashwords above Amazon.

Page Views

Smashwords tracks the number of page views your book receives over thirty days. I think this is an incredible resource. It allows you to see what kind of exposure you’re getting for the story. Which means you can have a better idea of certain promotions are driving page views.

Knowing that people are coming to the site, even if they aren’t buying, is important. In my opinion.

Sample Downloads

Another great graph like Page Views. Tracking how many people, over a thirty day period, have downloaded the sample of your book. This has a similar benefit as Page Views. The two together create a powerful picture for you as an author. You can get a good idea of how many people are stopping by and staying.

The more information you have, the better you can market.

Coupon Codes

This is the number one reason why I like Smashwords over Amazon. They have put the power in my hands on how to offer my work. Amazon dictates to me on what promotions I can run. I have to work within their parameters. This sounds like old school publishers to me. Isn’t a benefit of self-publishing being in control of your material?

As you can see, I’ve setup a permanent coupon code for “Slip Drive” that you can get here when you visit my site. Why would I do that? Because it let’s me have a good idea of who is getting my story from where. Sure, that code could be pasted somewhere else on the internet. But I find that unlikely with my current level of success.

So baring that, I can see that “Oh, someone came by my website and decided to check out my story. Cool.”

I think that’s good information to have.

KDP Select

At this point Amazon has two ways to offer your work for a temporary low price. Game the system and offer it for lower elsewhere and hope Amazon attaches to it. Or use their very restrictive KDP Select program.

The fact that KDP is so restrictive it really grinds my gears. On one hand Amazon is attempting to free up the market and help people get their work out there. When on the other they want to clench you in their grasp. And I get it. I do. Like any business they want you to only use their service.

But how about offering a competitive, open service like Smashwords. Let the market decide if they want to play with you exclusively. So far, what Amazon offers doesn’t really do that. It feels more like a noose than a wedding ring.

For the foreseeable future, whenever I put work up for self-publishing, I plan on letting Smashwords have it along with everyone else. There’s no reason to let Amazon have it all to themselves.

I’m polygamous like that.



  1. beatbox32 says:

    Hey Jeffery,

    I nominated you for the Liebster Blogger Award. Hope you don’t mind. Check the latest post on my blog for details.

  2. Huw Thomas says:

    Ah, but the catch is, Smashwords does nothing itself to market your work. That’s entirely up to you.
    I agree with you that KDP isn’t exactly flexible but on the other hand, I’ve used their free promotion days and then seen actual sales increasing afterwards as a result of the extra exposure.

    • I suppose my experience with KDP was mediocre at best. The movement during the free days was large. But once they dropped off, the sales only trickled in.

      Another big thing is that you will always have to market your own work, regardless of using KDP or not. That’s just the nature of self-publishing. KDP will only get you so far. So if I’m going to have to put the effort in anyway, why would I cut myself off from other markets?

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