Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smashwords Publishes 40,000th Book

The 40,000th book entered the Smashwords catalog last week.

Smashwords authors and publishers have released over 5,000 new titles in the last 30 days.

To put this in perspective, we published 140 titles in all of 2008. In 2009, our catalog grew to 6,000, and at the end of 2010 (only three months ago), our title count stood at 28,500. We're on track to meet or beat my goal of 75,000 titles by the end of 2011.

1.7 billion words are now published at Smashwords.

We're witnessing the unfettered liberation of the collective creative efforts of over 16,000 Smashwords authors and small publishers from around the globe.

We put the printing press in the sky and made it freely available and accessible to all. Indie authors and small presses are using Smashwords to publish and distribute direct to readers.

Readers are the new curators. Reader word-of-mouth, catalyzed by social media, drive book discovery and sales.

Critics of self-publishing will say that many of these books are drek and not ready for prime time. Certainly, this is true of some of these books. We make it almost too easy to become a published author, but we don't make it easy to become a great author. That's the author's responsibility.

Some authors, despite our best advice, cut corners and upload books that haven't been thoroughly edited, revised and proofed. Others upload books with poor-quality ebook covers. Readers have little patience for such shoddy, unprofessional work. These titles either earn scathing reviews or receive the worst punishment any book can face: they're ignored by readers.

Despite the inevitable drek, the upside of an open printing press is that we allow books to get out there that would never be published by a traditional publisher. Quality books. Books from authors who made the effort to honor their reader with a great read. This advantage of the open printing press, in my opinion, far outweighs any downside.

Traditional publishers are in the business of publishing books that sell. As I mentioned here previously, they judge books through a backward-looking commercial filter. They acquire today what was selling yesterday so they can publish more of the same 12 months from now.

Often, commercial appeal and quality intersect, but not always. Books with small target markets, or authors without established platforms, or authors who are ahead of their time are of little interest to Big Publishers. These commercial publishers also have difficulty predicting which books will have commercial appeal. They make their best guess but ultimately it's the readers who decide.

Does size matter? Yes. Hidden in these numbers are works of genius and yes, here and there, tomorrow's best sellers.

34 comments:

Puvomun said...

Congratulations. This is an enormous achievement.

WolfWootan said...

I'm proud to have 7 of my books as a part of this milestone.

Mark Hill said...

Good on you. Congrats.

E-books are the wave of the future.
Lower prices for readers. More money for writers.

Smashwords makes it easy.

Webmaster said...

As someone who has come "this close" to being published in a tradition publishing house, I'm really excited about Smashwords and happy my book (No Wedding Pictures) is now in the Premium Catalog. This really is a revolution in the dissemination of information.

Puvomun said...

I agree. I have 6 books published and in Premium, through Smashwords. (Not under this name, but as Paul Kater.) Smashwords is great, and the world has to know about it.

Donald Stephens said...

Okay, I just realized I was posting my name as "Webmaster"!! It's Donald Stephens. Congratulations again on publishing 40,000 plus books to Smashwords and Mark Coker.

Cindi Lee said...

Congratulations. Sending love from Jamaica. Smashwords has every reason to be proud of itself. The site really has been an innovative and great tool to help authors from all walks of life and different countries showcase their work to potential readers and buyers. I'm glad to be part of the milestone with my first novel gone Premium, and I hope to add more titles in the near future. Your Ebook Your way!

Shayne Parkinson said...

Congratulations on this milestone! Number 100,000 is just around the corner. :-)

Drake said...

Excellent as always, Mark. Sure, I've read some "drek" on here, but I have also read some great new authors I never would have known about had they not been on Smashwords. Let's keep the titles coming, folks.
http://crescentsunspublishing.blogspot.com/

Christine Brooks Martin said...

Because of Smashwords my book Pray What God Says has been viewed and downloaded by people from around the world. THANK YOU MARK and SMASHWORDS

Brian said...

Congratulations. A great milestone. I'm promoting Smashwords to would-be authors Down Under and am looking forward to adding my 28th title to your book shelf. Keep up the great work.
Brian

BFuniv said...

Wonderful. You must be enjoying the revolution you helped start. I think the massive shift still lies ahead. *enjoy*

More cowbells and servers!

Allan R. Wallace

Will said...

That's great!!!! I have one novel and six short stories with you and I am very pleased with Smashwords!!!

florida said...

What a great achievement - and what a boost for authors! Ebooks and ereaders are not the wave of the future - they're already here. Thank you for including me among your authors.

Judy Croome said...

Congratulations! And I agree with this:

"Critics of self-publishing will say that many of these books are drek and not ready for prime time. Certainly, this is true of some of these books. We make it almost too easy to become a published author, but we don't make it easy to become a great author. That's the author's responsibility."

I've read drek books from traditional publishers. At least with the independent publishing opportunities Smashwords and colleagues offer authors I, as an author, have the chance to take the responsibility and run with it, not have my creative freedom fettered by gatekeepers with private agendas. I will make mistakes, but they'll by my mistakes and I'll learn and grow from them.

I can't wait for my book to be converted so that I can load it up on Smashwords!
Judy (South Africa)

Linda Pendleton said...

Congratulations, Mark. I have 23 books (mine and my late husband, Don Pendleton) at Smashwords, and plan to add more before long. I'd like to mention what a big help your Smashwords Guide is for formatting. It makes the process much easier.

There are many excellent authors now uploading to Smashwords and because so many authors are now choosing to self-publish, the numbers of books at Smashwords will continue to go up.

It is an exciting time.

Fran Shaff said...

Congratulations, Mark. It's been a pleasure working with Smashwords. I look forward to expanding our relationship. :-)

Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author
http://sites.google.com/site/fshaff

Carl said...

Congratulations Mark and staff, it's nice to see a site that actually goes out of its way to help aspiring authors. For me Smashwords is a forward thinking endeavor, one that will get bigger over time.

I'm half expecting to see other sites popping up to mimic what Smashwords has achieved.

Carl East

roy said...

What would be really nice is for JK Rowling to put all her Harry Potter books exclusively on Smashwords and their retail partners! lol.
Keep up the good work Mark.
Roy

http://www.rdlecoeur.net/

rfeasel@embarqmail.com said...

40,000 amazing and good for we new authors

sgoldin said...

The late science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once suggested to a non-sf reading friend that he try some science fiction. The friend later reported back, "Yeah, there's some good stuff there, but 90% of it is crap." After a moment's thought, Sturgeon replied, "That's true--but then, 90% of everything is crap." This has since become known as Sturgeon's Law, and it works throughout life. 90% of the hamburgers you eat, or the TV shows you watch, or anything else, is crap. The important thing to keep in mind is that the 10% good stuff is different for different people, so there's room for a lot of things in the marketplace. One important difference between SW publishing and the traditional commercial publishers is that the traditional publishers pull material down if it doesn't sell right away. SW lets its material hang around, giving it time to find its market (and giving the market time to find IT). This is a very important distinction.

joleenenaylor said...

Fantastic! I think the best part of smashwords is that there is "drek" because instead of having someone sit on the top of the pile and determine what is good and what isn't, it allows the readers to judge for themselves. It's the same as saying "You're smart enough to determine for yourself what's good" vs the "traditional" model of "we will tell you what's good."

Nirmala said...

On another blog I saw a comment by a published writer who shared how self-publishing has inspired her to dust off some books she was inspired about and had started and then abandoned because she felt they would never interest a publisher. And yet now it is worth her while to write the books and put them out there even if they only find a small audience.

I think this is why it is OK if there are some lower quality books that get published on Smashwords and other ebook publishing venues. That is more than made up for by the opportunity for good books to be found and read that would never make it to being published by traditional publishers.

Opening up the floodgates naturally allows more real gems along with some drek.

onefreakinword said...

I'd feel better about this if someone actually bought my books.

Zacharias O'Bryan said...

An unexpected advantage to the literature of the future has arisen with the creation of the ebook.

Unlike the printed and bound volumes that line our shelves, the ebook can morph and grow. Many of the readers that have found my book Spirit Thorn through Smashwords & affiliates, through Amazon, or through the SpiritThorn.com website have passed along their thoughts to me. At times, their ideas have led to constructive improvements in the book--improvements that have very quickly moved to the published version. A book can now evolve: It needn't be frozen and fossilized. The world has indeed changed... and I believe it's for the better. -- Zacharias O'Bryan

rfeasel@embarqmail.com said...

I have an e book on smash words premium catalog but I also have the same book on create space in softcover. My question is--create space offers a ebook conversion for my softcover on create space for 69.00 to Kindle. If I did this would this effect my term of service with Smash words?

Linda L. Richards said...

OMG! My book, Mad Money, was published by Smashwords last month. Might it have been the 40,000th one? I guess you're not telling, huh?

Judd Exley said...

Mate, I remember first seeing this site mid-last year and thinking "Hmmm... I better get this book ready so I can be in early!" but I couldn't rush it, and I'm still not there.

My goal is to get in on this by September and have my second book ready to publish on here by the end of the year.

Your new goals can be whatever you want, because I'm willing to bet you're going to FUCKING CRUSH THEM.

Well done mate, seriously, you guys are awesome.

Alexis Harrington said...

One of the very best things about Smashwords is that despite its phenomenal growth, the organization still remains accessible, with Mark and staff being prompt and thoughtful to answer all requests and questions. I hope that as growth continues, this community feel will still be a hallmark of the site. Thanks for everything!

Congratulations! I'm looking forward to our future together.

Mark Coker said...

Thank you, Alexis! That's our plan.

Janice Daugharty said...

I LOVE MARK COKER!

Yesterday, I received a royalty statement for one of my books in print--$29 for the quarter! Then I went to Smashwords dashboard and read--$250 for the month of Jan.!
Thank you, thank you, Mark Coker for creating Smashwords. Janice Daugharty

Marsha Ward said...

I love Smashwords, and its honest creator, Mark Coker! I bless whatever long-forgotten mention led me there.

I'm hoping the category tree revamp will put "Westerns" out on the trunk, instead of readers having to dig through a hundred choices to find the proper branch. Please?

Marsha Ward
Westerns with Heart & Grit
Writer in the Pines blog
The Characters in Marsha's Head blog

Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony said...

Awesome news! Congratulations, and thanks for giving so many talented authors a means of letting their voices be heard. I've 3 works in the Smashwords Premium Catalog, with more to come. 40K is a tremendous achievement of which you should be proud. - Anthony Beal