Oh, wow. After I finished the previous post about how the number of self-published books is exceeding the number traditionally published books, I clicked over to the Smashwords home page to discover our word counter ticked past 500 million when I wasn't looking.
Six months ago, I set a crazy goal for Smashwords to publish one billion words by the end of 2010. I called the challenge our Billion Word March. At the time, we had just published our 150 millionth word.
Can we make it? It's too soon to tell. It'll be tough. We have 8 1/2 months to double the number of books now published, which, as of this exact second, stands at 10,426.
After I wrote the Billion Word March post, I recall a few folks snickered, and questioned whether this was a good measure of success. After all, shouldn't quality matter more? Or book sales? Or the name of the publisher? You be the judge.
I see the number as a measure of liberation. These are words that deserve to be published because all authors should have the freedom to publish and reach readers. Readers will decide the value. Some of these books will go on to achieve great obscurity. Others will find, and are finding, thousands of readers thanks to the simple, free and instant publishing enabled by Smashwords.
For the doubters out there who believe the only legitimate measures of a book's worth are units sold or big names on the spine, you're missing the point of publishing. More importantly, you're underestimating the growing power of the indie author collective.